Wudang Martial Arts

Source: 2017年03月09日 Views

In the world of Chinese martial arts, there is a saying that “Wudang is respected in the south, and Shaolin is revered in the north”. It manifests the status and influence that Wudang Martial Arts and Shaolin Martial Arts have enjoyed the culture of Chinese martial arts. Wudang Martial Arts has drawn the essence of Chinese traditional life-nourishing ideas, and accumulated the great achievements of fighting skills. It applies the philosophical theories of Tai Chi, Ying and Yang, Ba Gua (the Eight Diagrams) and Wu Xing (the Five Elements) in the principles of its practice and fighting skills, featuring the unique styles of total relaxation and natural gravitation (Song Chen Zi Ran), as well as being soft on the outside and tough in the inside (Wai Rou Nei Gang) as its distinguished system.


The Wudang Mountains reside in the southwest of Danjiangkou City in the northwestern region of Hubei Province, with grotesque peaks and beautiful scenery. The Wudang Mountains host the temple site of Zhenwu Dadi (Great Emperor of True Martial Arts), which still retains the largest group of architectures of Taoist temples in China.


When people speak of the history of Wudang Martial Arts, the first thing that comes to their mind is the Quanzheng-sect Taoist, Zhang Sanfeng, from the Wudang Mountains in the late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty, presumably the founding patriarch of Wudang Martial Arts. Zhang Sanfeng was influenced by such ideas as Yin-Yang balance, Ba Gua evolution and the mutual generation and elimination of Wu Xing. He combined the internal alchemy (Nei Dan) of Taoism with Dao Yin (guiding) techniques of regimen masters as well as those martial arts techniques from various sects and created the Nei Jia Quan (internal style) of Wudang Martial Arts, suitable for self-defense, self-protection as well as health care and preservation.


In fact, the origin of Wudang Martial Arts can be traced far way back in history. Wudang Martial Arts had already had a long history prior to Zhang Sanfeng. In the records of Taihe Mountain History and Junzhou History, Taoists and Alchemists were already present in the caves of the remote Wudang Mountains in the Zhou Dynasty (1046 B.C.-256 B.C.), practicing cultivation and meditation in seclusion from the secular world. These Taoists in the Wudang Mountains led an aloof life free from the conflicting of the world. They emphasized Qing Jing (quietism) and Wu Wei (non-action) and studied regiment. Although they had already had a long tradition of practicing martial arts, the main purpose of their martial arts training was mainly to maintain health through Qi cultivation and to defense themselves against enemies.


After successive development by grand masters through generations, Wudang Martial Arts has branched out a multitude of various sects and categories and become a school of martial arts with a gigantic system and unique features of its own. There have been no less than 60 different Wudang fist fighting styles that have been passed down up to now, including Tai Chi Quan, Xing Yi Quan, Ba Gua Quan, Taiyi Wu Xing Quan, Taihe Quan, and so on.


There are also dozens of different types of Wudang weapon techniques, including Tai Chi spear, Wudang swordplay, Xuanwu staff, Sanhe Dao (Sanhe blade), Fangbian Chan (convenient shovel), and Fu Chen (horsetail whisk) among others. Wudang Martial Arts also comprises a number of special exercise techniques, including the famous Huo Qi Gong (similar to Tie Bu Shan, or iron cloak), and Xue Gong (blood skills, focused on health), and acupoint hitting skills.


The characteristic of the exercise work of Wudang Martial Arts is in the strengthening of bones and muscles with stress on internal cultivation. The primary concern is health, followed by self-defense. Its moves pay particular attention to using softness to curtail toughness, inaction to restrict action, and slow moves to attack fast moves. They are soothing, calm, soft, natural and harmonious. These movements aim to leverage the power of others as their own, and strikes only after skillful deflecting an attack. They aim to pursue tranquility, inaction, and free flow at will.