Wudang Tai Chi (Wudang Taiji) Introduction
Wudang Tai Chi Fist is situated within Daoism. It is China’s special martial arts culture, even more so a Taoist study of dual cultivation of innate character and life-destiny via moving exercises. Its theories are based on the universal Dao of the 《Dao De Jing》:
“The Dao gives birth to One;
One gives birth to Two;
Two gives birth to Three;
Three gives birth to the ten thousand things;
The ten thousand things support yin and embrace yang,
This adaptive qi is considered harmony.”
Moreover 《The Book of Changes》 says:
”Tai Ji gives birth to the two polarities of Yin and Yang;
Yin and Yang give birth to the four divisions;
The four divisions give birth to the eight trigrams.”
As Wudang Tai Chi principles are based on the doctrines of the 《Yellow Court Scripture》, its theories are rather profound and mysterious. No other fist form theories can emulate or compare with Tai Chi’s. This is why in order to study Wudang Tai Chi Fist, one must first comprehend the Dao of Tai Chi and investigate the doctrine of Taoism’s innate character and life destiny’s dual cultivation.
Exactly like Wang Zong Yue’s 《Tai Ji Fist’s Principles》 first article:
“Tai Chi born from Wu Ji, the Boundless Infinite;
The mechanism and workings of movement and stillness;
The mother of Yin and Yang.”
These are brief few sentences however they embody China’s 5000 years of profound cultural background, and even more so the general principles of practicing Tai Chi. The ancient founding fathers of Daoist sects passed down and spread Tai Ji Fist styles. At first it was intended to circulate qi and blood which had become obstructed after long sessions of sitting meditation, stillness cultivation, the practice of internal alchemy and the cultivation of the Dao. Relying on the Wudang Tai Chi principles makes your body mutually suitable for movement and stillness and it is practiced in order to prevent the body’s aging, weakness and stagnation of qi. However one must conform to the Dao of Yin and Yang, movement and stillness. Moreover, in the past there were many robbers and wild beasts, Tai Ji was to protect one’s body by the means of cultivating the Dao.
• Tai Ji stresses that:
“One moves last, but hits first.”
Therefore Wudang Tai Chi is not an initiative and active form of Kung Fu for people fond of fighting. It is passive and defensive. Practitioners of Wudang Tai Chi, at first need to understand softness and suppleness, stillness and emptiness. The principles of not water nor fire, not hard nor soft, not too much nor too little, not deviation from the center, peaceful without contention. One must regard softness and gentleness as foundation. Softness however does not stand for slackness, tightness does not equate stiffness. Hardness and softness are mutually supportive, therefore effective and never stopping. The reason why it cannot be called softness and the reason why it also cannot be called hardness is that hardness and softness are an indivisible and integral whole:
“Hidden great powers;
Invisible from the outside;
Not leaving a trace;
Thus it can be named Tai Ji;
– The Great Finite.”
Practicing Taiji Fist can be separated into high, intermediate and low frame. Water and Fire Tai Chi are two separate methods. Practitioners take what they need from it. Regardless of whether one strives for health, longevity, self-defense or fighting, the achievements always depend on one’s commitment. One must proceed step by step, temper and steel in accord with the specific needs;
“Ultimately all types of Tai Ji are able to reach the ‘Fist’ representing the Dao;
Reach the unification of the Fist and the Dao;
Reach the realm where the Heavens and the human being unite. “
Tian Ma Fire Style Wudang Tai Chi Chuan (taijiquan)
Water Tai Ji adapts to form to generate momentum, it shifts in a hundred ways winding around objects. Its characteristics are like water: empty, agile, gentle, and trans-formative. Fire Wudang Tai Chi means to be rooted like a boulder, to be strong like iron and steel, swift as a fleeing rabbit, powerful like burning flames. It is applied to protect life and defend one’s body, to generate strength to support the weak. If its force is emitted during fighting, it breaks anything in its path, because intent, qi, strength and a high level sparring method are unified. When practicing Tai Chi Gong one must not emphasize hardness at the expense of softness and vice versa.
“Use stillness to create movement;
Use weakness to defeat strength;
Use softness to overcome hardness.”
If one reacts second, but hits the target first, the one is capable of effectively subduing the enemy with a single technique. It is necessary to have the assistance of strength and force, trademark skills or unique skills, standing meditation and sitting meditation. Nowadays many of the transmitted Tai Chi forms in society place their importance on longevity, this is due to society’s progress and because Kung Fu in its brutal form breaks the law. The old generation of masters left this world, and with them the true knowledge gradually departs.
However there is many highly skilled teachers who by the means of grasping and understanding the principle of yin and yang, cultivate the Dao. Many already moved far away from the noise and excitement, gave up their martial arts for profound cultivation and do not listen to worldly affairs anymore. Only a very small number of people are able to understand longevity and simultaneously fighting application.
For fighting applications one must practice the hands, the eyes, the body, the methods and the footwork for long time. Also one must master the eight strength methods:
Expansion, stroking, squeezing, pressing, plucking, tumbling, elbowing and approaching, etc.
Form and structure is the main focus of the practice, assisted by finger, palm, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and feet techniques as well as unique skills that are secretly perfected.
In the past times the older generation of Tai Chi masters said:
“Ten years of Tai Chi Gong was not enough to dare to go outside of one’s house.”
The reason being is that Tai Ji is unlike other forms of Kung Fu. To establish your Gong is not easy, the requirements for the body, qi, the intent and the spirit are relatively strict. It would be impossible to write down all the principles and rules of Wudang Tai Chi in a very thick book.
At the Temple both fire and water style of Wudang Tai Chi are taught through a short and dynamic Tian Ma Wudang Tai Chi form from the White Horse Mountain, made up of some essential postures of Tai Ji Quan, combining the circular power of Wudang and the deep stances and fa jin of the Chen Family.
Yin Yang – Open Close,
Inhale Exhale – Store Release
Water Fire – After Completion
Void Divine – Profound Mysterious
• 33 movement form
• 3 stance levels, 8 types of form practice methods
• Song Ti (muscle and tendon relaxing technique)
• Chan Si (silk reeling)
• Advanced stationary Fa Li – power emission training (fist, palm, elbow, shoulder, hip, leg) 26 types
• Fa Li combinations
• Advanced rain, mud, ice, water, bowl training to strengthen the balance and equilibrium
• Taiji pillar skill: moving pillar and standing pillar
• Unique skill: pushing mountain palm, shifting mountain elbow, wrenching mountain waist, grinding mountain arm (altogether 7 types of practice)
The exercise teaches a student to be submissive and is a passive form of combat, teaching the subtle and more sensitive areas of the Martial Arts. As Li Shifu says, push hands training is a form of cultivating happiness between two human beings but also can be a deadly tool in close up combat.
• Kou tui (hooking leg)
• Dan shou: ping, li, shun (single hand: vertical and horizontal)
• Ba Zi: zuo, you (figure eight: left and right side)
• Shuang tui: ding, huo (double hands: holding posture, in movement)
• Da hua: nei huan, wai hua (great transformation hand: inside, outside)
• Si zheng: peng, lü, ji, an (basic skill of four standards)
• Si yu (four corners)
• Da lü (great stroke)
• Da kao (great lean)
• Chan si shou: nei,wai
• Luan cai hua (free sparing)
• And more…