THE SCHOOLS, THE MASTERS, THE LINKS AND VIDEOS

 

CAUTION: When browsing through a school’s website, be aware of superlatives and hyperbole. Always read between the lines. When watching videos of these Wudang masters, do not imagine yourself doing what they are doing. Stick with reality. Also, if they have written any informative articles on any aspect of the internal martial arts, be sure to  read them. And, as mentioned at the end of Part II, Daoism and the internal martial arts go hand-in-hand in Wudangshan. Therefore, if your religious beliefs or lack thereof may prevent you from honoring the rules and rituals of a particular school or temple, always check with them directly for any questions you might have before you travel.

Keeping these points in mind, let us begin our rundown of the more important internal martial arts schools and temples in and around Wudangshan.

China Wudang Kung Fu Academy (DaoistKungFu.com), a San Feng Pai facility, 15th generation Master Chen Shixing. Established in 2007, the schools new 5-star, 16-million yuan facility opened in 2013 and occupies over ten thousand square meters, in a quiet and peaceful environment surrounded by mountains. It is the largest, wholly-contained martial arts school in Wudang with 130 comfortable rooms in a four-level student building with hot water facilities, classic meals mostly vegetarian (usually 80% vegetables, 20% meat), air conditioning, Wifi, spacious yards with ample traditional training equipment, and its very own Taoist Temple. They teach a full range of hand and weapon forms, qigong, and traditional herbal medicine gong, also calligraphy and Mandarin. . Everything that you need to learn more about Chinese culture could be found on the school territory: the Taoist Temple, a clean, up-to-date kitchen, a special hall to practice painting, the Hall of White Tiger Hall, the Hall of Green Dragon- the places that are decorated with Chinese calligraphy, where they practice in case of the poor weather. There is a large room for tea ceremony and a place where you can learn to play traditional Chinese musical instruments. Check website for latest fee changes. Last posted 7600 RMB for single room; 6600 RMB for double room. For Taiji teachers and those who want to be, they have an excellent 6-month certification program for only 40,000RMB double room and 45,000RMB single room. You can extend your stay for 3-months of self-practice at only 4,000RMB double room and 5,000 single room per month.

Chen Shixing YouTube Channel:  China Wudang Kung Fu Academy

Of particular interest:

An Introduction to China Wudang Kung Fu Academy

CCTV Highlights of Master Chen Shixing

Wudang Taiji – Six Basic Skills

Demonstrating Taiji Applications

Wudang Taoist Traditional Kung Fu Academy (WudangWushu.com), a San Feng Pai facility, 15th generation Master Yuan Xiu Gang. The school is currently in a transition to newer facilities. They are still in Wudangshan just a few kilometers from the old school at YuXu Temple. The new school is near the Wudangshan Stadium and Taiji Lake, which is part of the new Taiji Lake tourism area, the Chinese government’s idea of improving upon Nature by mixing environmental protection with the rich heritage of Wudang culture. Supposedly diverse forestation and landscaping have been completed around the lake. During this transition, new students coming to take part in the Health Class and specific workshops/courses will be directed to the new location next to Taiji Lake as the Academy is fully relocating to the new area. This is one of the largest schools at Wudang. You can also expect the accommodations and food at their new location to be among the finest in Wudang. Both Master Yuan and his coaches are bilingual and teach a full range of Wushu, taiji, qigong, weapons as well as calligraphy, music and Mandarin. And the prices are very reasonable. The Monthly rate for a single with A/C is 8100 RMB ($1265), a single without A/C is 7500 (1172), a double with A/C is 7500 (1172), a double without A/C is 6900 (1078),

Yuan Xiu Gang YouTube Channel Wudang Wushu (Mostly performance and group videos)

Of particular interest:

Teaching a Master Class in Spain

Learning Gongfu from Master Yuan

What is Internal Alchemy? (audio volume low, read subtitles)

Preparing for Meditation

Demonstrating Taiji 28 with international class (the perfect form)

Wudang Daoist Martial Arts Academy (/wudang.academy/learning-with-master-chen-shiyu/), a San Feng Pai facility, 15th generation Master Chen Shiyu. School is located at Huilongguan (Returning Dragon) Temple. Huilongguan is the first temple after passing the entrance to the National Park of Wudangshan. Clean, comfortable rooms with hot water facilities, mostly vegetarian (usually 80% vegetables, 20% meat), Wifi available. Both outside and inside training areas with traditional training equipment, a medium-size school usually with no more than 30 students. A full range of hand and weapon forms, qigong, and traditional herbal medicine gong, also calligraphy and Mandarin. Very clean, up-to-date kitchen. Monthly rate for luxury single with separate bathroom 9900 RMB ($1550), standard single 9500 ($1485), single with public toilet 6800 ($1062), double with A/C and separate toilet 7900 ($1235), with public toilet 6900 ($1078)

Chen Shiyu YouTube Channel: Chen Shiyu (Mostly performance videos), A more extensive list here: YouTube Videos:
Master Chen Shiyu

Of particular interest:

Tour of the kitchen facility

Explaining the Principles of Taiji (Mandarin)

Leading a Taiji 13 Class

Wudang Bagua Form

Wudang Taoist Wellness Academy (TaoistWellness.com, a San Feng Pai facility, 15th generation Master Gu Shining. The school is located in a picturesque valley below the central tourist bus route between Purple Heaven and Cai Shen Temples near Hotel 33 (Mountain Villa 33). This is a new website with videos by George Thompson. The old website had some glaring inconsistencies especially regarding prices and the courses thought by Sifu Gu. I cannot say that I am sure the new website has corrected all the inconsistencies regarding his courses. If you have a particular area of study you are interested in, for example, bagua, xingyi, tuina massage or acupuncture, make sure you email ahead to find out if it is indeed available. But, it should be noted that where Michael Weichhart is the most experienced and proficient of the Wudang posters, George Thompson is perhaps the least with only four months of formal martial arts training, yet he talks incessantly throughout the posts on his channel. So, stick with those videos specifically on the Wudang Taoist Wellness Academy channel (See link below).

As noted in Part II, the accommodations are rather Spartan with smaller rooms, mostly doubles, some with A/C some without, a smaller shower building with an Asian style toilet, and one single bedroom with a Western toilet. The facility is adequate for about six or seven students. More than that and it becomes rather tight. The community room is not large enough to hold taiji classes on rainy days. The dining area adjacent to the kitchen is small, and the kitchen can use a major clean up as well as updated remodeling and menu. On the plus side, though Master Gu Shining may not have as extensive a skill set as the other four San Feng Pai masters, it must be remembered that he spent years obtaining a college degree and teaching high school English while the other masters were training. Nevertheless, he is perhaps the most congenial and accommodative of any master at Wudang. Since his classes are very small, only about four to six students generally, he has time to work one-on-one in English with each one. And that should account for something, but perhaps not the 9000 RMB monthly price tag (a substantial increase). Much too much compared to other facilities for a small, shared double with only one outside Asian style shower room, no rain-proof indoor training area, and a kitchen in need of a major clean up and modernization  But for 7000 – 7500 RMB tops, it may just be a good value for a raw beginner.

Gu Shining, Wudang Taoist Wellness Academy Youtube Channel Wudang Taoist Wellness Academy

Of particular interest:

Five Animals Qigong instructional video

Taiji 33 Performance Video with View of training yard

Taiji 33 Back View, performed off-site

Talk on Wudang culture in small community room

Wudang Dao (WudangDao.com) a San Feng Pai facility, 15th generation Master Zhong Xuechao (also called Master Bing). Slightly larger than Master Gu’s facility, as of the 2017 renovation and construction, the school had 7 rooms, without air conditioning. It will be hot during the Summer months, from June to end of August. Rooms have bed, blanket, sheet set and pillow. Students must use public lavatory (most likely Asian style) and shower. Work was to have been completed by September, 2017. Also a long 40-minute walk to the main road to catch the Mountain Tourist Bus. If you need a ride to town, Master Bing drives his car to town twice a day every two to four days.

I do not know if any part of the facility has been upgraded since 2017, but Master Bing has told me that his community room can hold three to five students for indoor practice on rainy days. As I mentioned in Part II, Master Bing has an extensive following in the U.S. and tours America every year generally from January to May. So, he has little need of a much larger facility in Wudang. To make sure the accommodations are adequate, he divides his Wudang schedule into three modules: Easy, Medium and Difficult, and teaches each separately for two weeks with about a 10-day break between modules. Each module will have one form or technique as well as a qigong, foundation exercises and an easy, medium or difficult hike. He limits class size to 12 maximum to avoid overcrowding and to provide individual corrections.

If your own schedule and location work out, you may be able to study with Master Bing at a city near you on his U.S. tour, and then later at Wudang. Master Bing has one of the most extensive skill sets at Wudang as he has been studying martial arts since he was six years-old, first informally with his uncle, Grandmaster Zhong Yun Long, the 14th generation Wudang Master and head of the Wudang San Feng Pai. Then right after high school in 1992, Master Bing began formal study at Wudang.

Master Zhong Xuechao (Master Bing), Wudangbing YouTube channel: WudangBing

Of Particular Interest:

Spontaneous Qigong, Formless Form

Five Animals Qigong with Instructional ending

Taiyi Wu Xing 5 Element Form

Two-person Sword Form in Virgina

Fire and Water two-person sword form

Wudang Gong Fu and Health Academy (Wudang-Academy.com). Xuan Wu Pai master Tang Li Long, a disciple of You Xuan De. At the top of their website, it states: “A small and secluded academy…” So, I would anticipate the school to be exactly that – small and secluded. Although this is the largest of the three Spartan schools, perhaps averaging a dozen or so students. Even their booking site, StudyMartialArts.org, lists this facility as “Spartan.”  According to WGFHA website: “Students should be prepared to meet the simple living conditions here, bunk beds, shared shower rooms and squat toilets, insects and the humidity (especially in the Summer). That just about sums it up. The price is slightly out of line for a triple room – $7500 RMB for 1 month. That is more in line with a standard double room. However, if the teaching is exceptional, then it may well be worth it. But I have no idea if that is the case. The training looks a bit over-the-top to me, but… See for yourself.

Master Tang Li Long, YouTube channel: (WudangAcademy)

Of Particular Interest:

WGFHA Introduction (also on Home Page)

Tang Li Long Promotion

Impressions of our new school (2013)

Forms and Applications

Push hands (tui shou)

Wudang Skill Training (Gong Li)

Wudang Taoist Wuji KungFu Academy (DaoistGungFu.com) – Another 15th generation Xuan Wu Pai master Chen Li Sheng, a disciple of You Xuan De and a graduate of the Chinest Daoist Academy. Wuji Kung Fu Academy is no doubt head and shoulders above most other schools in Wudangshan when it comes to size and comfort. It can accommodate up to 280 students. Despite such the vast size, the website claims that all classes are taught personally by Master Chen, the first student in Mt. Wudang to attend graduate studies at the Chinese Taoist Association. Instead of a dormitory or temple, students are housed at a 4-star Wudangshan hotel, the QiongTai Hotel. The monthly fee is very reasonable considering the 4-star accommodations, 10,000 RMB for a private single room and 8000 RMB for a double room. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how good his translators are. And you will definitely need a good one if you are not fluent in Mandarin. Also, all of his taiji and qigong is painfully slow and IMHO not necessarily inline with most Wudang styles – But you be the judge…

Master Chen Li Sheng, YouTube channel: (Chen Li Sheng)
Of Particular Interest:

An Introduction to Chen Li Sheng

Master Chen’s School in Wudang Mountains

Explaining Internal Basics (If you’re not fluent in Mandarin, go somewhere else)

Teaching Amsterdam students internal taichi (No Sound, No English?)

Teaching Taiji Quan (His translator hopefully is very good. Again, No Sound!!!)

Wudang Dragongate Kungfu School, (Wudang-kungfu.net), 25th generation of longmen pai (dragongate), the 23rd generation of chunyang pai (pure yang energy lineage) and 13th generation of songxi pai (the flowing river lineage) Master Wang Xing Qing. The school has two locations. There is the main school located at the foot of Eastern side of Wudangshan in Plum Valley near Taiji Lake. You can reach it via the public bus #202.  The other location is the school’s Mountain Retreat on Wudang Mountain. The main school has a large training ground and was newly furnished in autumn 2011 with proper western standards such as: western toilets, high-speed internet access, air conditioning and comfortable furniture.

While the school and surroundings look very upscale, I am not certain if I can say the same about Master Wang Xing Qing’s lineage. During the restoration of Wudang Daoism and Kung Fu after the Cultural Revolution, several Longmen (Dragongate) Pai masters guided that process as I pointed out in Part I of The Wudang Experience. Yet, they decided to initiate just two lineage schools, first the San Feng Pai under Master Zhong Yun Long and then later Xuan Wu Pai under Master You Xuan De, because Master Zhong had crossed Northern China to learn and bring back San Feng Pai forms while You Xuan De traveled to Southern China and returned with Xuan Wu Pai kung fu. But Master Wang did not study under either of them. Instead, for whatever reason, he claims that he was raised through the secret guidance of his first master Jia He Xuan, who taught him the old original style of wudang internal martial arts and kungfu. But isn’t that what Master Zhong and Master You brought back to Wudang?  It sounded a bit far-fetched to me especially since I could find no historical details on Jia He Xuan. But if you feel Master Wang is the real deal after doing your due diligence, then go for it. Prices are very reasonable: 8000 RMB for a single, 7000 RMB for a double for one month. FYI: Master Wang apparently does not speak English but uses translators.

Master Wang Xing Qing, YouTube channel: (Wudang Dragongate)

Of Particular Interest:

Welcome to the Wudang Dragongate School

Master Wang teaching Taiji Basics in Russia

Internal Wudang Daoist Kungfu

Constructing a Meditation Platform (good exercise!)

Rooftop Meditation

Basics of Traditional Wudang Boxing

Training in the Mountains

Wudang Dragongate Training Tour

And last but not least, the Mystery Temple. Why do I call it a “mystery?” Well, see for yourself…

The Five Immortals Temple, (www.fiveimmortals.com) Master Li Feng does not specifically claim to be a disciple of any named master but of many anonymous masters. So, right there, some may decide to proceed slowly and read with a sceptical eye. Like Master Wang Xing Qing above, Li Shifu does claim to be a Dragongate and Pure Yang Sect inheritor as well as a High Priest but does not credit any particular master as his teacher. The website states, “Five Immortals Temple is a small and secluded place in the Wudang Mountains of China, welcoming all who seek to shape themselves in the Taoist Arts.”

So, again we have a school that is considered small and secluded…

“Our goal is to produce coaches of a high-standard, masters of medical treatment, and the recovery from illness, people sharing the same path of the Wudang Internal Alchemy practice. Through study, the ultimate goal is to open one’s own Wudang Kung Fu school to instruct Kung Fu, to establish a longevity space, a healing center, to transmit the theories of longevity, to help even more people by easing the pain and suffering of illness, to make people return to naturalness and to co-exist with the harmony of Heaven and Earth..”

And to get your new business going, they offer certification that doubles the non-certified course fee. This may relate more to those with an entrepreneurial spirit rather than those who merely want to improve their kungfu or taiji. But what is unique about the Five Immortals Temple is that they give you a first-hand opportunity to decide if it is right for you.

“Future students can also choose to first visit the temple for 3 days to inspect the conditions, at which time food and accommodation will be free of charge. One must study and take part in the temple’s everyday chores and tasks – for example being in charge of temple halls, lighting incense, sweeping, cleaning, and so on. One to three people are accommodated per room; the diet is vegetarian inside the temple.”

They caution, however: “This place is not a school or martial arts academy, this is a temple and this is a home for a family. This is the only place in Wudang where foreigners can legally lodge and study Taoism and Martial Arts inside a temple. That is why one must respect the temple rules and Taoist precepts. One must be able to endure bitterness, follow the plans and arrangements with discipline, unite and mutually support each other with love, compassion, kindness, as well as understand the concept of gain…”

Master Li Feng (Li Shifu) YouTube channel Five Immortals Temple

Of Particular Interest:

An introduction

Wudang Five Dragons Bagua

Daoist Medicine

Wudang Chun Yang Yang Sheng Gong

 

There you have it, a compilation of the top masters and their schools at Wudangshan. If you are planning a trip to Wudang or think you might like to visit there in the future (And you should because the natural beauty and energy is off the charts), keep an open mind as you view all the links. Don’t expect to have a lay back, comfy stay. After all, this is training, and it was not meant to be a vacation. Instead, see if any particular school or master seems to resonate with you. Remember, this is all about internal kung fu, so listen to your own inner voice and feel what resonates the most with your internal energy.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to write them in the comments area. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

THE END

 

Of all the grandmasters who trained the current generation of teachers at Wudong, 14th generation grandmaster Zhong Yun Long is the most well known and best documented. Not as much is known about You Xuan De and little if any of Jia He Xuan. So, here is a Hong Kong TV documentary “Kung Fu Quest,” that has scenes of the two 15th generation San Feng Pai masters Yuan Xiu gang and Chen Shiyu instructing students. It also has scenes with their master, the head of San Feng Pai ,Zhong Yun Long, teaching Taiyi Wu Xing Quan.

 

Here is another video of both Masters Chen and Yuan with their master, Grandmaster Zhong Yun Long.

 

Finally, Here is a link to a 9-part Wudang Documentary posted by Michael Weichhart’s Wudang Academy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *