Empty the left wherever a pressure appears,
and similarly the right.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we begin a 3-part series onThe “THE JADE EMPEROR’S HEART SEAL CLASSIC” from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy.


“The Gao Shang Yu Huang Xin Yin Miao Jing, (The Jade Emperor’s Heart Seal Classic) similar to the Qing Jing Jing, is a short Daoist text with an emphasis on the importance of preserving and cultivating the three treasures (Jing, Qi, Shen).
Reading this Daoist experience helps practitioners of Daoist living to understand the necessity for preserving Jing, Qi, and Shen and how to practice correctly.

“The first two lines of this experience explain clearly the importance of this practice:

“‘上药三品,神与气精。’ – Shàng yào sān pǐn, shén yǔ qì jīng.
These two lines state that the highest and best medicine is comprised of three parts: Jing (精), Qi (气), and Shen (神); all of which are contained within the human body. Jing can be loosely translated as essence; Qi can be loosely translated as energy or vital energy; and Shen can be loosely translated as spirit. In order for us to be healthy, strong and balanced individuals it is essential that we learn the practice which enables us to cultivate these three vitalities in our bodies. Sometimes in our practice of meditation we feel nothing, only that we are sitting for a long period of time. However, the Yu Huang Xin Yin Miao Jing tells us that this is normal and merely the first step in our meditation practice, and with continued and devoted practice, as the temperament and heart begin to calm and the mind races less, we begin to experience new feeling.

“Because Daoist cultivation requires a disciplined and devoted practice, it is essential that we follow the natural laws of Daoist cultivation in order to advance and progress. If we are always wasting our energies (both physically and mentally), then we will never be able to progress in our practice. If we are devoted to our practice and take our training seriously, then we will bear the fruits of our efforts.” – “The Jade Emperor’s Heart Seal Classic,” Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning

Today’s Video: Yuan Xiu Gang: Improving the Liver with Leopard Posture



Don’t lean in any direction;
suddenly appear,
suddenly disappear

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are continuing the blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

Here is the final step (4) Turn “shen” into “emptiness”

“This is the ultimate stage of the internal training. It is also known as “9 years stage”. In ancient Chinese, 9 is the highest positive number. It implies it would take a long long time to achieve this stage of “one becomes nothing”. Becomes nothing is the same as back to Daoism. To achieve this, one must relocate “shen” to “upper Dan Tian”. “Upper Dan Tian” is the home where “shen” is to be trained. “Middle Dan Tian” and “lower Dan Tian” are the home for “medicine” and “essence”. Shifting “shen” to “upper Dan Tian” is to shift the embryo (resulting from the previous stage) to “upper Dan Tian”. The emphasis is on emptiness. One’s character is trained under this relaxed, peaceful and empty mind. The feeling is like the body has combined with Earth and Heaven, lasting forever. It is known as “body and heaven combine into one”. The final result is the body and “shen” form a pair which can greatly enhance our life.
Male and female have been co-existed since long time ago. However, the percentage of male that achieved success in Daoism has been much higher than that of female. Why?

“There are many reasons. Some of them are: In ancient China, men were free to travel around. Women had to stay at home and were not allowed to go out. This restricted them from finding a mentor. There were quite a number of books in training for men but hardly any for women. Men went to school and could read; women were in general illiterate. Even if there were books for women and they could read and allowed to travel and find a mentor, the percentage of those that succeeded would still be lower than that of men. This is because there are some intrinsic problems with female’s training. Some of the problems were: quite often women did not know the value. For those who were aware of the value, they did not want to give up their usual life. For some that did give up their normal life and joined a Daoism temple, there was no drive for improvement. Some did not know there are differences in training between men and women. Some wrongly assumed that the position of “dan tian” in the body for man is the same as that for woman. Some did not realize that “chop the red dragon” is the most fundamental for female training. <Note: “chop the red dragon” is a jargon in Daoism meaning stop the female period. > Some were so proud of themselves and considered that they could “chop the red dragon” without guidance from a mentor. Some died because of inappropriate training in “qi”. Some did not know the difference in the sequence of training between male and female. Some gave up half way. Some thought that they already got to the final stage when they were only half way through. Some did not even try.

All these problems hinder the chance of success. For achieving result, one must know the way. There are 3 aspects: (1) character, (2) body characteristic and (3) method for training. For instance, male is “yang”; “yang” is clear. Female is “yin”; “yin” is opaque. The characters of male are hot/hard, fast, complex and those of female are soft, slow, simple/pure. Male is active and could cause loss in “qi”. Female is calm/still and could restrict the flow of “qi.” It is difficult to calm the “qi” of male. It is easy for female to store the “qi.” This is the difference in character. The life of male is at “qi xue” whereas for female it is in the breast. The most important essence for man is sperm which is white and hence called “white tiger”. For female, blood is most important and is called red dragon. While the male sperm is “yang,” there is “yin” in it. While the blood of female is “yin,” there is “yang” in it. There are lots of “qi” in the sperm but not so much “qi” in the female blood. This is the difference in body characteristic. Male should first train basic essence and then external quality. Female should first train external quality then basic essence. When male can stop ejaculation, it is called “taming the white tiger.” When female can stop her period it is called “chop the red dragon.” Male should achieve reverse flow of sperm and female’s blood should return to the heart.

For female with irregular period, she should improve her blood, improve connection of the “meridians”, and strengthen the internal organs so that the period is back to normal. Only then, she could start the training in chop the red dragon. When the red dragon is chopped, the training for external quality is accomplished. At this stage, the female body becomes pure “yang” from “yin” and opaque. From then onward, she should keep up with training in Neidan/Meditation.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy, “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Strengthen the Lungs & Improve Breathing”



Effortlessly the chin reaches the headtop.
Let the ch’i [vital life energy] sink to the tan-t’ien [field of elixir].

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are continuing the blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

Below is the summary of Steps 2 & 3 in the introduction to training in inner alchemy (or Neidan):

“2. Turn “essence” into “Qi”

In training of internal power, this is the elementary stage. The routing is the same as that in the Fundamental stage. At this stage, the emphasis is to build on the basis of the Fundamental stage and to improve the training in “Jing”, “Qi” and “shen”. Combine “Jing”, “Qi” and “shen” to form the “medicine”. With the circulation of the “medicine” in the Governing and Conception Vessel Meridians, the “medicine” is purified. The purpose of circulating in the Governing and Conception Vessel Meridians is to refine the “medicine” through the circulation. Practitioners believe that the kidneys are the root of life. The essence of the kidneys is of “yin (negative)” which has the tendency to sink. The heart is the home of the “shen”. It governs everything and life is dependent upon it. “Shen” is of “yang (positive)” and would naturally rise. Losing “yin” and “yang” shortens life. Therefore, in the internal training, practitioners would try to raise “essence” and lower “shen”. When these two meet and combined, they accompany each other. Circulation of this pair would generate “big medicine”. This completes the training of “three combining to two”. To achieve this stage requires patience and continual training with the correct technique. In the old days, the training method was not documented. Teaching has traditionally been through oral instruction. The key is finding a good mentor and follows his instructions.

“3. Turn “Qi” into “shen (spirit of vitality)”

This stage is to further combine the “big medicine” with “shen” to form “embryo”

<This is a terminology in Daoism. It is similar to mating between male and female in fertilization. >

“This is the “two combining to one” stage and is also called intermediate stage. Training in this stage , the emphasis is in breathing naturally without mind control. One should concentrate and reach a calm and relaxed state. The mind is at the “middle Dan Tian”. The circulation should be following the “large heavenly cycle” i.e. connecting all 8 meridians. <Method is not mentioned here. > The student must master the technique for this stage before training for turning “shen” into “emptiness”. In “large heavenly cycle”, the “middle Dan Tian” is the vessel and “lower Dan Tian” is the furnace. The circulating cycle is much shorter than “small heavenly cycle”. The circulation is between the two “ Dan Tian”. In the “small heavenly cycle”, the motion is based upon internal breathing to achieve reverse flow. In “large heavenly cycle”, the natural ingredient of the “medicine” generates the motion. Continual training day after day would achieve result. One should see white light with a golden spot between the eyebrows. The light would gradually cover the whole body.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy, “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

Tomorrow we will have Step 4

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning.

Today’s Video: Yuan Xiu Gang: Activating Meridians & Stimulating Energy



Without long practice
one cannot suddenly understand T’ai Chi.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are continuing the blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

Below is the summary of Step 1 in the introduction to training in inner alchemy (or Neidan):

1. Fundamentals

“To start, choose a time and place that suit your daily life (it does not have to be an isolated place in a mountain). Adjust your sitting posture, with eyes half closed sight horizontally, hold the hands to form Tai Ji, follow the breathing pattern and sink your “Qi” to “lower Dan Tian”. When you are in a relaxed state with sufficient “Qi” in “ Dan Tian ”, the routing part can begin.

“To route “Qi” through the three points in the back of the body, “Qi” should start rising from the first point “Hui Yin ” up the back and get to almost the level of the heart which is called “ Jia Ji ”. This part is relatively easy. When “Qi” rises through the back of the neck to the back of the head about the level of the mouth, the point called “ Yu Zhen ”, the passage becomes rather difficult to get through. One should take time to establish the route. If pressing too hard and too fast, “Qi” might pass into wrong route. The path from the “Hui Yin” to the “ Bai Hui” is called “Governing vessel meridian( Du Mai) ”. From “ Bai Hui” down the front to “ Dan Tian” is called “Conception vessel meridian(Ren Mai) ”. A cycle is completed if these two meridians are connected. If “essence” is routed through this cycle, it is “small heavenly cycle(Xiao Zhou Tian) ”. The completion of the cycle is entirely dependent upon the mind. Governing and conception vessel meridians are the two primary meridians and the most important ones amongst the eight meridians of the body. Routing through and connecting with the other six meridians would follow when these two are connected. When all eight meridians are connected with “Qi” flowing through, it is called “large heavenly cycle(Da zhou Tian)”. There would not be any obstacle in the meridians. At the fundamental stage, the process should be done through mind control. This training improves the blood circulation and breathing. It would also strengthen the body and aid in healing minor ailments. The time period required to get through this stage varies amongst individuals.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy, “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

We will have Steps 2 and 3 tomorrow.

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning.

Today’s Video: Yuan Xiu Gang: How to Open the Hip Blocks



From familiarity with the correct touch,
one gradually comprehends chin [intrinsic strength];
from the comprehension of chin one can reach wisdom.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are focusing on another blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Meditation – Internal Alchemy.”

“Survival is the most primitive need of human beings. The question of how to improve quality of life, improve health and pro-long life has been of central interest to us through-out time. Achieving good health has been a central part of the culture of Daoism. With its long history and development, the way for improving health has been developed and modified through the centuries by the ancestors. This is due to their continued research and practice, in particular, the training in inner alchemy and spiritual awareness. Such training includes stillness and movement. No matter whether it is in the active or the still (calm) mode, both are of high value.
“Dao gives rise to one; one generates two; two generates three; three generates everything”, “Everything is originated from three; three combining to two; two combining to one; one becomes nothing”.

“Doing it correctly would achieve good results; any deviation could result in disaster. Benefit can only be achieved through practice with proper guidance and understanding. Otherwise, not only no benefit would be gained, it might cause harm.

“Below is a summary of the introduction to training in inner alchemy (or Neidan):

“Turn “essence” into “Qi”; Turn “Qi” into “shen (spirit of vitality)”; Turn “shen” into “emptiness”; Turn “emptiness” into “Daoism”. Concentrate in the basic. Develop and improve the 3 vital elements of the body. This would in turn lead to good mental conditions and wisdom. Those who reach such a stage would achieve abilities beyond the scope of others. In Daoism, training in inner alchemy is to manage the three natural vital elements: “Jing”, “Qi” and “shen”. Such training leads to good health and long life. The training can be classified into four stages: (1) Fundamental (2) Turn “jing” into “Qi”(3) Turn “Qi” into “shen (spirit of vitality)”(4) Turn “shen” into “emptiness.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy.

On Monday, we will have Parts 1-2-3 followed by Part 4 on Tuesday.

In today’s video, Grandmaster Yuan Xiegang continues his seminar in Austria on body conditioning. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. And keep practicing.

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Open the Spine and Improve Relaxation”


Relaxed, natural movement,
a soft external and strong internal,
moving like clouds and flowing water,
continuous and unimpeded action,
the nature of Wudang Wushu

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Continuing our look at the Internal Arts practices at Wudang Mountain, today we are focusing on a blog from Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang’s Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, entitled “Qingjing Jing”, an important Daoist text on quieting and calming the mind.

“The Qingjing Jing is one of numerous Daoist texts that focuses on quieting and calming the mind. The title in Chinese when broken down by character can be understood as:

清 – qing – clear or pure
静 – jing – quiet or peaceful
经 – jing – scripture, classic, or experience

The Qingjing Jing discusses the original nature of the Dao and also the original nature of both men and women. Men, exemplifying that of ‘yang’ and women that of ‘yin’. The Dao is comprised of both yin and yang. We can also understand yin and yang as stillness and movement (yin-stillness and yang-movement). The nature of man is that of movement. The nature of women is that of stillness.

Much of the Qingjing Jing addresses why it is that humans tend to have so much trouble maintaining a still and quiet existence. It identifies the causes of this tension as desire and over-thinking. When the yang qi in our bodies rises, causing over-thinking, and the yin qi sinks, causing desire, they become separated, leading to the loss of balance and harmony. This leads to over-thinking, worries/anxiety, delusional thoughts, and desires that are perpetuated by our greed. The arousal of these problems makes it impossible for us to experience the Dao and true quiet because our minds are constantly chasing thoughts, worries, and desires. This is constantly distracting us from truly experiencing life.

To truly understand Dao we must experience it. And in order to experience Dao we must quiet our minds. The question then arises: Well, then how can I make myself quieter? In answer to this, the Qing Jing Jing tells us that in order to experience true quiet and peace that we must balance and bring back to harmony the yin and yang in our bodies and rid ourselves of over-thinking and desire. Quieting our minds is not something that we can simply decide on doing; it is something that gradually comes from the practice of meditation.

Most people live in a world of illusion that is perpetuated by uncontrollable and insatiable desires and over-thinking. Because of this worry, desire, and delusional thinking arise and guides all action and thought. When we follow the distractions created by our imbalance it takes us further and further away from truly experiencing and understanding original pure nature. The reason that those of us who live in this world of self-delusion cannot feel and understand our subtle original nature is because of these delusions distracting us from true feeling and experience. When we learn about ourselves, clean, and make ourselves pure and at peace we can then deeply experience Dao through our feeling. As a result of this internal balancing and purification we can also begin to feel and understand others more. It is only through making ourselves tranquil that we can come to perceive the original nature of ourselves, all life, and Dao.

For us to live and enjoy healthy and peaceful lives it is important for all people to have balance. Balance with the outside world can only come when we have balance within ourselves.” – Wudang Traditional Daoist Kungfu Academy

Speaking of balance, here is Master Yuan at his affiliated schools in Austria teaching the basics of posture and unlocking physical blocks.

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Posture and Unlock Blockades”



“Human beings follow the pattern of Earth;
Earth follows the pattern of Heaven;
Heaven is patterned by the Dao;
Dao follows Nature”
– Lao Tzu

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Today we continue our look at the Internal Arts practice at Wudang Mountain with one of Grandmaster Zhong Yulong’s foremost disciples, 15th generation Zhang Sanfeng Pai Grandmaster Yuan Xiugang. Grandmaster Yuan oversees one of the top training facilities at Wudang, the Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy. Here is a brief bio on Grandmaster Yuan.

Master Yuan Xiu Gang began his journey into martial arts with a local style in his hometown in Hubei Province. It was at the young age of seven years old that he realized his love of martial arts. He continued to pursue his training as often as possible in his free time. Master Yuan suffered from rheumatism at a young age and diligently trained to find some way to strengthen his body to rid himself of the pain. At sixteen years old, he traveled to a Shaolin school to train Shaolin wushu and fighting styles. There he spent three years while training daily where he became adept at the styles offered there. Although even with the training, Master Yuan still was afflicted by rheumatism. After much debate, he decided to leave behind Shaolin and travel to the Wudang Mountains where he had heard of the internal styles of Wudang and Daoist culture. He hoped beyond hope that this would finally be his answer and heal his body. He began his training with renewed vigor at the Purple Heaven Palace on Wudang Mountain under the tutelage of Master Zhong Yun Long. It was here that he studied extensively in Wudang Martial Arts, Daoist chanting, traditional music, and Chinese medicine. He spent three years at Purple Heaven Palace and became a 15th generation disciple in the Zhang San Feng Lineage. One day, Master Yuan realized that his rheumatism had completely left him. The rheumatism had been replaced by an affinity for Wudang Gongfu! From that moment, Master Yuan made it his life’s purpose to continue his training and bring these treasures to the world.

In our video, Master Yuan teaches a group of students at his academy how to stand in Zhan Zhuang.

Today’s Video: “Yuan Xiu Gang: Learning Zhan Zhuang – Wudang Healing Arts”



If the opponent’s movement is quick,
then quickly respond;
if his movement is slow,
then follow slowly.

Dear Friends and Practitioners.

Today we continue our look at the Internal Arts practice at Wudang Mountain with a description of the 3-part “Tai Chi System” used at some of Wudang’s internal arts schools.

“Tai Chi (Tai Ji) originated from Wudang’. In English, tai chi roughly translates as: “supreme boxing,” “the root of all motion,” and “optimal fist fighting.’’ Tai Chi is an internal training method that was created by the great Daoist priest and immortal, Zhang San Feng at Wudang Mountain. Generally when people discuss “Tai Chi” they are referring to Tai Chi Quan, or the forms practice involved in Tai Chi. However, in Wudang, Tai Chi Quan is considered a part of the greater ‘Tai Chi System’. The Tai Chi System is composed of 3 parts: Wuji, Tai Chi, and Liangyi. Each of these three parts contains their own practices, purposes, and methods of training. Although the Tai Chi System is separated into three parts, they are all integrated and complementary to the others.

Wuji is another name for ‘nee dan’ (Daoist meditation practice). The practice of Wuji (loosely translated as ‘ultimate emptiness’) is for the cultivation of our three vitalities: Jing (Essence), Qi (Energy), and Shen (spirit). We practice Wuji in order to promote the health of these three vitalities; Wuji is also understood as the road to immortality. In order to become stronger and more robust in our health and our lives, we must strengthen and practice our Jing, Qi, and Shen.

Tai Chi is the balancing interaction of yin and yang. Under the Tai Chi System, Taijiquan is the form that we use to cultivate ourselves and learn to develop and understand feeling in our bodies and how to integrate that into movement. In Taijiquan practice we learn to conceal hardness within the softness of movement and learn to use our breathing through the dantian, and our intention and internal awareness to guide our movement. Contrary to the widespread misconception that Taijiquan is simply a callisthenic exercise for the elderly, it is actually a deep internal practice that requires great dedication and a strong determination.

Liangyi is the separation of yin and yang. Under the Tai Chi System, Liangyi quan is for the use of the energy that we have cultivated through our practice. Whereas in Taichi Quan we combine the soft and hard, in Liangyi Quan practice, we separate the soft and hard. The power of Liangyi Quan is explosive, resembling a bomb detonating; its practice is more for use in practical fighting application. While in Tai Chi quan, all movement is the same speed, with the same balance in softness and hardness at once, Liangyi quan movement is slow and soft, followed by fast explosive movement, called fali.”

In our video today, we watch as Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong patiently trains young students in practicing the first part of the Wudang 28 Tai Chi form.

Today’s Video: Wudang Taiji Quan with Master Zhong Yun Long – Wudang Sanfeng Pai



When the opponent is hard and I am soft,
it is called tsou [yielding].
When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up,
it is called nian [sticking].

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Yesterday we began our look at Wudang Mountain and Wudang Internal Arts with a brief account of it historic and cultural importance. Today we learn about some of the landmarks at Wudang.

“The first site of worship—the Five Dragons Temple—was constructed at the behest of Emperor Taizong of Tang.[2] Further structures were added during the Song and Yuan dynasties, while the largest complex on the mountain was built during the Ming dynasty (14th–17th centuries) as the Yongle Emperor claimed to enjoy the protection of the god Beidi or Xuantian Shangdi. During the Ming Dynasty, 9 palaces, 9 monasteries, 36 nunneries and 72 temples were located at the site. Temples regularly had to be rebuilt, and not all survived; the oldest existing structures are the Golden Hall and the Ancient Bronze Shrine, made in 1307.[2] Other noted structures include Nanyang Palace (built in 1285–1310 and extended in 1312), the stone-walled Forbidden City of the Taihe Palace at the peak (built in 1419), and the Purple Cloud Temple (built in 1119–1126, rebuilt in 1413 and extended in 1803–1820). Today, 53 ancient buildings still survive.”

“One of the highlights of a trip or stay at Wudang is a hike to the radiant Golden Palace or Golden Peak that sits atop Tianzhu Peak, the highest peak in Wudang mountain, 1613 meters high.. It’s glow in the afternoon setting sun can be seen from most locations on the mountain. Also named Taihe Palace, which means Palace of Harmony, this sacred palace is the soul and symbol of Wudang Mountain, so it is the must-visit place for tourists and pilgrims. It is commonly said that one has really visited Wudang Mountain only if one has stepped into the Palace of Harmony. Built about 600 years ago under the order of Ming Emperor Zhu Di who stressed the respect to nature without any change to the mountain itself. Golden Palace was featured with royal magnificent charm and looked authentically harmonious with nature. With the impressive natural sea of clouds, sunrise and sunset, lush forests and rocks, the Palace of Harmony is like a heaven on earth. No wonder so many make sure to pay the Palace a visit before leaving the mountain.”

“While the Golden Palace is often the last stop on a visit or stay at Wudang mountain, the Purple Cloud Palace is usually the first since many of the tour buses from Wudang town stop there. Purple Cloud Palace or Zixiao Palace is one of the best preserved palaces on Wudang Mountain, and was first built during 1,119-1,125 AD. The Palace has undergone many repairs over the centuries to maintan its original appearance. Comprised of 182 rooms, Purple Cloud Palace, also houses countless carvings and paintings of dragons, the phoenix, suns, moons, clouds, seas, skies, birds and beasts, floras and plants as well as statues of Taoist immortals. Many have found it to be an ideal place to watch Daoist monks perform ceremonies and chantings.”

In yesterday’s video we saw Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong, the grandmaster of Wudang Sanfeng Pai, performing the Wudang 28 Tai Chi with several students. Today, we get to see the grandmaster perform the Wudang 28 again, but this time in Slow Motion so you can follow along.

Today’s Video: Wudang Sanfeng Taiji Quan 28 by Master Zhong Yunlong (slo-mo)



T’ai Chi comes from Wu Chi
and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion T’ai Chi separates;
in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi.
It is not excessive or deficient;
it follows a bending, adheres to an extension.

This week we are starting an extensive look at Wudang Internal Arts, particularly through Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong and his disciple and principal instructor at Wudang, Grandmaster Yuan Xiu Gang. We will also include a look at Wudang Mountain, an historic landmark and home of the legendary Zhang Sanfeng.

We begin with a brief history of Wudang and the Chinese Daoist culture…

“Wudang Mountain has already been an important site for religious activities from the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC) to the end of Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) in ancient China. During the reign of Emperor Tang Taizong (627 -649 AD), the Wulong Shrine (Five Dragon Palace) was constructed under order. And in later periods, as Taoism developed prosperously, this mountain gradually got its reputation among people under the praise of the emperors and was regarded as the No. 1 Famous Taoist Mountain in Ming Dynasty and the royal temple for the emperor and his family, since which it became the largest Taoist rite nationwide. Under the imperial order of Emperor Zhu Di in Ming Dynasty, Wudang Mountain began its expansion. 33 architectural complexes including 9 palaces, 8 temples, 36 abbeys, 72 rock temples, 39 bridges, 12 pavilions were completed during 12 years.

For thousands of years, Wudang Mountain is and has been the center of Chinese Daoist thought, practice and belief. It is here that Daoist legends like Zhang San Feng cultivated wisdom and attained enlightenment. Through the mountains, many have come in pilgrimage to pay respects to the sacred origin of Daoist practices like Tai Chi Quan and the deities within the Daoist religion. ”

About our Video and Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong…

In our video, we meet Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong, the grandmaster of Wudang Sanfeng Pai, guiding a few of his students in the Wudang 28 Tai Chi form. The Sanfeng Pai lineage was transmitted to master Zhong Yunlong through the 13th generation leader, Wang Guangde (1947-2001), who became the head of Wudang mountain after religious practice was legalized in 1979. Master Wang had studied under Longmen Pai master Li Chengyu (1885-2003) and Xiao Yaowan (1911-1997), the 12th generation head of Wudang Sanfeng Pai, from whom master Wang received the lineage.

Since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, China began to open up to the world. Subsequently, there was a slow trickle of Daoists returning to Wudang. Most importantly, Guo Gaoyi (1900-1996) and Zhu Chengde (1898-1990), both Longmen Pai masters returned in 1980. In 1981, Zhong Yunlong came to Wudang to study internal martial arts and became a disciple of masters Wang Guangde, Guo Gaoyi and Zhu Chengde, studying Sanfeng Pai and Longmen Pai practices under them. In 1985, master Wang, then the head of the Wudang Daoist Association put out a call for Taoists scattered by the cultural revolution to return to Wudang. Simultaneously, he sent master Zhong Yunlong all around China with letters of introduction with the goal of assisting Taoist masters to pass on their teachings to his disciple. Through his travels and training, master Zhong amassed a huge body of knowledge ranging from Daoist martial arts to inner alchemy and healing practices. After four years of traveling he came back to Wudang in 1989 and together with master Wang Guangde, founded the Daoist Association Martial Arts Academy at Purple Cloud Temple, with master Guo Gaoyi serving as the head martial arts instructor and master Zhu Chengde as the head qigong master.

Today’s Video: “The Grandmaster of Wudang Sanfengpai – Visiting his School on the Mountain”



The shape of a circle
is a structure of great strength.
– Chu Shong Tin

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continue with a descriptive blog from Sifu Nima King’s website entitled “What is Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) Kung Fu?” Here’s Part 2…

Among its techniques also includes a form of training called “Chi-Sao”. It’s a drill used to develop sensitivity and reflexes and improve the flow of motion and mass. It builds the ability to stick to an opponent, bridging the gap and controlling their body. Also, it is a two-person drill in which two people stick their arms and roll with each other. Moreover, by creating a steady flow in which both can benefit and cultivate from. It starts off slow with the possibility to build onto sparring.

Benefits of Ving Tsun
Ving Tsun is not only a martial art, it is a self-improvement process that is used for any situation in life, beyond self-defence and fighting. From injury healing and therapy, to bringing your athleticism to the next level. Or, even something as simple as maintaining a good physical and mental health. Ving Tsun has the ability to unlock next level potential within the human body and the human mind.

In conclusion, Ving Tsun is a traditional Chinese martial art that has its roots dating back tot he early 1700s of China’s famous Shaolin Temple. It is characterized by fluid, efficient and minimal movement. Its focus on cultivating the mind and the body to produce mass with speed and power beyond brute strength through the 3 forms. Its application on close-range combat and rapid striking techniques. The principles of economy of motion and centreline theory are central to Ving Tsun, and the art. It is a versatile martial art that can be used for self-defence, sport, and even as a form of therapy. Generally, making it suitable for people of all ages. – “What is Ving Tsun?”

In his video today, Nima King focuses on footwork. Good for all Martial Arts practitioners to try out, the exercise in this video is NOT for self defense. It’s a simple test for being able to naturally move the body back and forth.

Have an enjoyable weekend, everyone. And keep practicing.

Today’s Video: “Wing Chun’s footwork and mobility”



The use and practice of Wing Chun Kung Fu
is free of any brute strength
even in confrontation with an opponent.
– Chu Shong Tin

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we focus on an important blog from Sifu Nima King’s website entitled “What is Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) Kung Fu?” Here’s Part 1…

History of Ving Tsun
It is one of the world’s youngest Kung Fu styles and the only one founded by a woman. That woman was Ng Mui (or Ng Mei), a Buddhist nun of China’s famous Shaolin Temple. Ng Mui was recognised as one of the top five martial artists in China during the early 1700s. Although highly proficient in the existing styles of Kung Fu, she felt it was possible to devise a more effective fighting method. Which did not rely so much on brute strength or take too long to learn.

Ving Tsun technique is divided into three main forms: Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu anbd Biu Gee. Siu Nim Tao means “little idea”. Its purpose is to cultivate a particular state of mind of absolute focus, creating a stronger mind-body connection and produce power with mass that is beyond brute muscular strength. Chum Kiu builds upon the foundation of state of mind established in Siu Nim Tao and focuses on moving the mass with speed and power, to bridge the gap between the practitioner and opponent. As well as developing the ability to strike and defend at the same time. Biu Gee is the final non-weapon form and is considered to be the most advanced form of using the bodies movement and movement of mass. As it is a foundation of Chum Kiu, Practitioners must be proficient with Chum Kiu form.

The Principles
One of the key principles of Ving Tsun is the concept of “economy of motion.” This means that practitioners aim to use the least amount of energy possible to achieve the greatest effect. This is achieved through the use of fluid and efficient movements, rather than relying on brute strength.

Another important principle of Ving Tsun is the use of “centreline theory.” This refers to the idea that the centreline of the body represents the most direct and vulnerable line of attack for an opponent. By controlling the centreline, a Ving Tsun practitioner is able to neutralize an opponent’s attacks and quickly counter with strikes of their own.

It is a unique style of martial art that is based on neutralizing the danger quickly and effectively. Furthermore, it places a strong emphasis on the use of the “four gates,” which are the four main areas of the body where strikes can be delivered: the head, the solar plexus, the groin, and the legs. By targeting these areas, a Ving Tsun practitioner can quickly incapacitate an opponent…(to be continued tomorrow) – “What is Ving Tsun?”

In today’s video, Grandmast Chu Shong Tin presents the finer adjustments necessary for Wing Chun.

Today’s Video: “Chu Shong Tin about the finer points of Ving Tsun Kuen”



”Yong Chun and Wing Chun
both stem from Shaolin,
but if you were to believe
that they are one and the same,
then you will be far from the truth!“
– Ip Man

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continue with Wing Chun master, Sifu Nima King’s, personal story of his encounter and tutelage under Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin who stressed the internal side of this external martial art.

“Six years ago, I received a call from my brother from Australia stating that our little sister had been murdered. This dropped a bomb on my heart. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for Wing Chun, I don’t know how I would have managed without going into extreme anger and depression.

But through this internal and meditative practice, I was able to dig deep into the mind and observe and therefore detach from the unproductive thoughts and emotions. For me, it’s still astounding that a form of ‘Martial Arts’ has actually become my tool for maintaining balance in the body and mind.​Wing Chun has helped me realize that under all the surface ripples of the mind, rests a peaceful state of love. Having had a taste of this myself, I can’t help but to dedicate my whole life in trying to pass on this tool to as many people as possible.

Having gone through a violent upbringing, it’s ironic that Kung Fu has taught me that the best way to deal with violence and negativity is actually through love. I’m not saying we shouldn’t defend innocent people and ourselves, but all our actions should come from a place of love and for the benefit of humanity.

From a teenage boy who started learning Wing Chun for defence to now having taught Wing Chun for 17 years and running the biggest full-time Wing Chun School in Hong Kong, I can say that the defence aspect of Wing Chun is but a small leaf on the tree of this art.

This beautiful art, when practiced correctly and persistently, can decrease stress levels, relieve aches and fix postural misalignments. It can also promote better energy flow and overall health to the body, and ultimately, it can be used as a tool that can lead to inner peace. ​

In the chaotic world that we live in, a little bit of peace could go a long way. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”.​The Dalai Lama said “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

Personally, I see Wing Chun as one of a few perfect systems that can help us take a step in the direction of Gandhi and Dalai Lama’s words. It has done so in my life, and I can only repay it by sharing it with as many people as I can. It is truly an art of health, self-development and inner peace! ​Ω” – Sima King, “Wing Chun For Life”

In our video, there’s more from Chu Shong Tin as he hold a teaching workshop on the Siu Lim Tao form. Here’s Part I

Today’s Video: “Chu Shong Tin breaks down the Ving Tsun Siu Lim Tao form | Part I”



”Do not fight with the strength,
absorb it and it flows,
use it.” – Ip Man

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continue with Wing Chun master, Sifu Nima King’s, personal story of his encounter and tutelage under Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin who stressed the internal side of this external martial art.

“He (Grandmaster Chu) was very big on maintaining a correct and natural postural alignment within the pelvis and spine. He would always say that the secret to his remarkable body control and power was in the energy released through uprightness and decompression of the spine.

One day, I remember him telling us he had noticed even young kids forming a compressed posture due to the hunched over posture of playing with smart-phones. Correct Wing Chun training, he explained, could really help open up their spines and form better postural habits.

In 2008, I started to learn how to relax my spine. As a result, my body started to feel completely different. Now 8 years later, I know first hand that the spine is the root of the health of the body. During my body building years, I used to catch the flu and be bed bound at least 3 times a year These days, I can honestly say I don’t remember the last time I was sick.

Moreover, I find that with an open posture, the body is much more open and balanced, and it’s a lot easier to observe and gain some control of the mind. The body and Mind are a lot more connected than we think. By bringing relaxation and balance to the body, we can calm the mind, and a clear mind promotes a healthy body!

So the true essence of Wing Chun is in the correlation of the mind and body, which requires control of the mind. But how does Wing Chun help tame the mind? It’s actually simple, and the creator of Wing Chun left us a hint in the system through calling its first form Siu Nim Tao!

Chu Shong Tin, who was coined as “The King of Siu NimTao” by Ip Man, explained that Nim Tao is the power of a “highly focused mind”. It is what we can call one-pointedness in the mind, which I believe is actually the goal of every major form of Taoist, Buddhist, and Yogic meditation I have practiced so far…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Sima King, “Wing Chun For Life”

You are in for a special treat in today’s video, a compilation of the grandmaster, himself, Chu Shong Tin, demonstrating Siu Nim Tao.

Today’s Video: “Chu Shong Tin Siu Nim Tao – compilation”



T’ai Chi comes from Wu Chi
and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion T’ai Chi separates;
in stillness yin and yang fuse
and return to Wu Chi.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we continue with Wing Chun master, Sifu Nima King’s, personal story of his encounter and tuteledge under Grandmast Chu Shong Tin who stressed the internal side of this external martial art.

“In Wing Chun, we aim to achieve this one- pointedness in the mind through focusing on the entire body as a whole. We can start by holding the body in perfect balance in a naturally upright posture, while we try to perform the movements of Siu Nim Tao with as little effort as possible.​It’s important to note that effortlessness does not mean sloppiness (mindless relaxation). Unusually, when people relax, their joints give-in to gravity resulting in compression in the spine and legs; and lose the correct shapes and structures in the arm movements.

On the contrary, with a mindful method of relaxation we are able to maintain an upright and open posture along with structural integrity of movements. So the muscles relax while the joints decompress! Not only does this give us a complete different internal view and control of the body, it helps to develop a highly focused yet clear state of mind as well.

We start to feel deep relaxation physically and mentally, but at the same time, feel awake and energised in both body and mind. We become completely submerged in the present moment which is the pinnacle of Siu Nim Tao.

Then we can start to take this gentle ‘Siu Nim Tao State’ into not only the rest of our Wing Chun practice, but into our daily lives as well. Within this state, we can utilize the body in the most efficient way, resulting in great amounts of power and productivity levels with minimum use of brute strength.

Correcting postural misalignments helps get rid of aches and pains in the body. This control in the body can be then used in any physical activity, be it walking, climbing stairs, carrying objects, sports etc.

Through personal experience, I have found that the self-observation aspect of Siu Nim Tao helps us detach from emotions such as anger…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Sima King, “Wing Chun For Life”

Sifu Nima King has been a participant in the Martial Man’s Martial Camps over the past few years. Here’s Part 2 of an interview and demonstration…

Today’s Video: “Mindful Wing Chun 詠春拳 | Sifu Nima King (Part 2) ”



A healthy spine
helps support the body’s weight,
protects the spinal cord,
allows proper movement and flexibility.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are going to focus on something a little different from Tai Chi, namely Wing Chun. Wait, you say, isn’t that hard, external style? Well, yes…and no. Not the way Nima King teaches it as learned from his grandmaster, Chu Shong Tin.

Nima was born in Iran, but his family moved to Sydney, Australia when he was nine. Unable to speak English at the time and living in a poor area infested with gangs, Nima led a very violent and topsy turvy life until Chu Shong Tim came to Sydney from Hong Kong to teach seminars at Sifu Jim Fung’s Wing Chung Academy, where Nima had been studying off and on. Nima had become good friends with one of Sifu Fung’s senior students who had studied with Grandmaster Chu in Hong Kong. He introduced Nima to Grandmaster Chu, and Nima’s life changed drastically from that point. Here’s the rest of Nima’s story in his own words…

“When I first met Chu Shong Tin, who was then in his early 70s, I was very drawn by his happy and passive demeanour. I attended all his seminars and was lucky enough to touch hands with him a few times when he asked for volunteers. Even though Mark had told me about Chu’s unbelievable power, I was in complete shock from the sheer force coming out of his every movement, which he performed in a slow, soft and graceful fashion! ​ I was astonished as to how this skinny old man was throwing me around like a rag doll and doing so with a smile on his face. I realized that what he was doing was not at all based on external techniques and went far beyond my idea of structure or mechanics.

The essence of every seminar he did during that trip was ‘to use the power of the Mind with a completely relaxed body’! To my pleasant surprise, he talked about Wing Chun like it was a form of meditation.

After meeting Grandmaster Chu, I knew I had found my mentor. Within a year, I moved to Hong Kong to start training directly under him. I started training at his house up to 6hrs a day. I was instructed to first learn how to stand ‘properly’ and practice Siu Nim Tao as effortless as possible, in an optimal posture, until the muscles started to soften and the joints started to decompress (in particular the spine). This sounds a lot easier than it is and you’d be surprised how difficult it is to even feel the joints let alone tap into them with the mind in order to relax them.

So I spent the first few years of my training under him by mainly standing and practicing Siu Nim Tao for 6hrs a day. It was physical agony at times, as the muscles in the back and legs would seize up. Needless to say it was also a mental roller coaster. Prior to coming to HK, I had spent some time meditating every day, but nothing came close to 6hrs of silent focus! It’s amazing how you get to know yourself and the workings of the mind when you keep the body still and try to focus the mind.

The first 4 years were very difficult. I remember witnessing extreme amounts of random emotions such as anger, depression, jealousy and selfishness arise from my mind while standing in Master Chu’s living room!

As the years went by I started to be able to connect the mind and body to a point where various areas of the body started to relax and respond to my command. I started to gain some clarity in the mind. I noticed I was beginning to control my emotions and in particular my temper. Literally, during every visit back to Sydney, someone would highlight how much I had changed as a person.​​Of course, it was a blessing to spend so many hours training under someone with such knowledge and ability of the internal side of Wing Chun. Being a Chinese bone-setter in his younger years, Chu Shong Tin’s method of teaching was very hands-on, in that he was able to guide our bodies in such a way as to help release tension and give us a feeling of ‘Mindful Relaxation’ in the joints…” (to be continued tomorrow.) – Sifu Nima King, “Wing Chun For Life”

Sifu Nima King has been a participant in the Martial Man’s Martial Camps over the past few years. Here’s Part 1 of an interview and demonstration…

Today’s Video: “Mindful Wing Chun 詠春拳 | Sifu Nima King (Part I) ”



Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river
rolling on unceasingly.Dear Friends and Practitioners,

To close out the week, we are posting the conclusion of Matt Inn’s article, “IF THERE IS NO CH’I, THERE IS PURE STEEL” as well as the final Ben Lo video.

“Is this not strange? I felt that this concept seemed even more at odds with Laozi’s theory in particular, and asked, ‘Why is this so?’ I certainly already knew of the softness that comes through not using strength, but had not heard that there was such a thing as not using qi. If one doesn’t use qi, how indeed can one have strength. And then attain pure hardness?

In 1923, I assumed a teaching position at Beijing fine Arts Academy. A colleague, Liu Yongchen, was good at this art of taijiquan. Because I was emaciated and weak, he urged me to study. Barely a month passed before I had to quit because of important commitments, so I was not able to catch on to the art.

In the spring of 1930, because of overwork while establishing the China Academy of Literature and Arts, I had reached the point of coughing up blood, so I resumed study and practice of taijiquan with my colleagues Xiao Zhongbo and Ye Dami. In less than a month, my illness swiftly subsided, and my constitution became stronger daily. From that point on, I practiced day and night with steady efforts. Within two years, when I matched up with men ten times my strength, I could beat several of them! I was beginning to believe that softness was sufficient to defeat hardness, but still didn’t understand the subtlety of not using qi.

In the first lunar month of 1932, I met Master Yang Chengfu at Mr. Pu Qizhen’s house. After the old gentleman had introduced me, I humbly presented myself at Master Yang’s door, and received his teachings, including his oral instructions of the inner work. I began to understand the meaning of not using qi. By not using qi, I follow the flow, which the other goes against the flow. One has only to follow, then softly yield. The way that softness subdues hardness is gradual, while the way hardness subdues softness is abrupt. Aburptness is easy to detect, and so it is easily defeated. In this notion of not using qi is the extreme of softness. Only the extreme of softness can produce extreme hardness.”

In Barbara Davis’ 2004 translation of the Tai Chi Classics, she gives a translation of Chen Wei-ming’s commentary. “Taiji is carried out purely with the shen and does not set store by exertion. This qi is post-heavenly exertion. Nourishing qi is pre-heavenly qi. The qi of movement is a sort of post-heavenly qi. Post heavenly qi has an end. Pre-heavenly qi has no limit.” – Matt Inn, “IF THERE IS NO CH’I, THERE IS PURE STEEL”

In our final Ben Lo video, Scott Meredith explains Ben Lo Principles with regard to how we stand and turn the waist, very import in the form and especially in push hands….Have an enjoyable weekend, everyone, and keep practicing.

Today’s Video: ZMQ37 Ben Lo Principles: ‘Turn the Waist’



The whole body should be threaded together
through every joint
without the slightest break.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today and tomorrow we are reviewing Matt Inn’s article, “IF THERE IS NO CH’I, THERE IS PURE STEEL”

“In the Expositions of Insights into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures of the T’ai Chi Classics, Wu Yu-hsiang states that “The hsin (mind) mobilizes the ch’i.” “The ch’i mobilizes the body.” He later says, “Throughout the body, the i (mind) relies on the ching shen (spirit), not on the ch’i (breath). If it relied on the ch’i, it would become stagnant. If there is ch’i, there is no li (external strength). If there is no ch’i, there is pure steel”. In 1950, Prof. Cheng wrote in his “Thirteen Treatises”, “These words are very strange. They imply that the ch’i is not important, and in fact it is not. When the ch’i reaches the highest level and become mental energy, it is called spiritual power or ‘the power without physical force.’ Wherever the eyes concentrate, the spirit reaches and the ch’i follows. The ch’i can mobilize the body, but you need not will the ch’i in order to move it. The spirit can carry the ch’i with it. This spiritual power is called ‘divine speed.”

“n 1934, Prof. Cheng’s teacher, Yang Chengfu published his book, “The Essence and Application of Taijiquan”. It is accepted by the Yang family that Prof. Cheng had ghost written this book. In the Louis Swaim translation of 2005, Prof. Cheng writes in his forward, “In the nautural realm, only by the hardest can one prevail over the softest, and yet it is only the softest that one can prevail over the hardest. The Book of Changes says, ‘Hard and soft stroke each other, the eight trigrams stimulate each other.’ The Book of Documents says ‘The reserved and retiring are subdued with strength, those of lofty intelligence are subdued with gentleness.’ The Book of Songs says, ’Neither devour the soft nor reject the hard.’ If it is so that all of these follow the same principles in the application of hard and soft, how is it that Laozi alone said, ‘In the natural realm, the softest things ride roughshod over the firmest’? And, ‘the soft and weak win over the hard and strong’? I was highly skeptical about this.

“At the end of the Sung Dynasty the sage Zhang Sanfeng created the technique of taiji soft fist, with what is called ‘having qi, then there is no strength; not having qi, then there is pure hardness.’

“Is this not strange? I felt that this concept seemed even more at odds with Laozi’s theory in particular, and asked, ‘Why is this so?’ I certainly already knew of the softness that comes through not using strength, but had not heard that there was such a thing as not using qi. If one doesn’t use qi, how indeed can one have strength. And then attain pure hardness?…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Matt Inn, “IF THERE IS NO CH’I, THERE IS PURE STEEL”

In today’s video, Lee Fife of Rocky Mountain Tai Chi explains and demonstrates Ben Lo’s five principles of Tai Chi.

Today’s Video: Ben Lo’s 5 Principles



Insubstantial and substantial
should be clearly differentiated.
At any place where there is insubstantiality,
there must be substantiality;
Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we are picking up Matt Inn’s article, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan,” where we left off yesterday.

“That evening, she snuck into my room and asked me for my knowledge of what her experience was. I told her that I understood what she experienced, but that I didn’t feel it like she did. To satisfy my curiosity, I asked her several questions. “Do you love your parents?” She answered that she didn’t love her parents in the usual way that we do, but that she loved her parents in a universal and compassionate way. I then asked her whether she was going to marry her fiancé when she got back to the States. She said no, that she wasn’t in love with him in the way that one would to be married. Wow! To me, this was authentic proof that what she experienced in the meditation retreat was the real thing.

“After the retreat, we attended private classes to translate and comprehend the wisdom of the “Tao Te Ching” and the “Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch” with one of Master Nan’s students who was also recognized as someone who was awakened. As the months passed and my departure from Taiwan approached, I watched the body of my classmate go through a dramatic physical change. She had lost a lot of weight and her body reflected her spiritual transformatoin. After I left Taiwan, I never saw her again and I often wondered how her life had changed since her experience with Master Nan.

“Enlightenment that is spoken of in T’ai Chi Ch’uan is of the physical/energetic centers of the body that, when applied to the martial arts, give the practitioner an almost super normal advantage. When applied to health, it provides the practitioner with an environment of wellbeing and longevity.

“It is widely accepted that cultivation of the spiritual path in Taoism and T’ai Chi Ch’uan is not as high as the spiritual goals of Buddhism. However, the practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan is a wonderful complement and stepping stone toward the pursuit of the spiritual enlightenment of Buddhism.” – Matt Inn, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan”

What was it like to study tai chi with Master Lo? Hear about it in today’s video.

Today’s Video: “Tai Chi with Master Ben Lo 2004”



Alternating the force of pulling and pushing
severs an opponent’s root
so that he can be defeated
quickly and certainly.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we are picking up Matt Inn’s article, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan,” where we left off yesterday.

“In addition to the practice of “emptying” in T’ai Chi and seated meditation in Buddhism, there is also the similarity of “listening” in both practices. In practicing the single movements of T’ai Chi, you are listening to the differentiation in the body, the parts that are tense, whether the ch’i is sinking, or the inhalation and exhalation. In general, you are listening and following the principles as described the T’ai Chi Classics. In push hands practice, you are listening to your opponent and comprehending where his chin force is. In Chinese Buddhist meditation, you are using listening as a technique in meditation to follow your thoughts into emptiness and then into a spiritual enlightenment. With these aspects of emptying, listening, and subduing the ego incorporated into the practice of T’ai Chi, T’ai Chi Ch’uan can truly be thought of as a form of dynamic meditation.

“When I was studying Chinese Zen in Taipei, Taiwan in 1969-70, I participated in a meditation retreat conducted by a famous Zen Master named Nan Huai–chin and who was also one of my T’ai Chi teachers. One of my classmates there was a Harvard graduate student studying comparative religions. She didn’t know much about Buddhism so I encouraged her to attend this retreat. It was a seven-day retreat held across the street from where I lived. There were at least twenty participants and we all meditated facing outwards instead of to the wall. Once in a while during the seven days, I would sneak a peak at the other practitioners to see how they were doing. It was quite a grind to sit for nine hours a day for seven days. On the third day, I glanced over at my classmate and for some reason, she had a big smile on her face. She was beaming. Wow, I thought to myself, she is doing pretty well compared to the pain I felt from the awkward sitting position I was in.

“At the end of the seventh day, after the retreat had ended, Master Nan gathered all the participants and announced that a New Buddha had been born. As he announced this, he started to cry with joy and sorrow. He talked about all the suffering that he had to endure to achieve his enlightenment and what others had to go through. He then said that my classmate had the door cracked open just a little to allow her to “see”. From her experience, she explained she now sees the world differently. For instance, when she looked at the painting hanging on the wall, she now saw it totally differently…” (to be continued tomorrow) – Matt Inn, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan”

In yesterday’s video Master Ben Lo executed the Cheng Man Ching 37-movement Tai Chi with perfect precision. In today’s video, Master Lo breaks down each posture separately, showing precise details.

Today’s Video: “Chen Man-Ch’ing Tai Chi”



Be spacious,
without a center,
without a periphery

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are featuring another one of Cheng Man Ching’s premier students, Benjamin Lo. While Cheng Man Ching opened a school in New York, he had Ben Lo establish Tai chi on the West Coast with a school in San Francisco. Ben along with Matt Inn, who established the Inner Research Institute in Maui, Hawaii, co-translated Cheng Man Ching’s popular “Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”

While Ben passed away two years ago, Martin is still teaching at the Inner Research Institute in San Francisco. So, we will post excerpts from Martin Inn’s articles along with videos of Ben Lo.

Today’s excerpt is from a Martin Inn article entitled “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”

“Development in T’ai Chi is based on the process of transmutation of energy in the body through one’s practice of the single movements to store and sink the ch’i, and then to transform the ch’i into spirit (shen) by means of the sword practice. At this omnipotence level, the spirit becomes a spiritual force which mobilizes the ch’i to move the body. Since the outward expression of the spirit is through the eyes, “wherever the eyes concentrate, the spirit reaches and the ch’i follows. In turn, the ch’i mobilizes the body. However, because the spirit in the same action carries the ch’i with it, the spirit mobilizes the ch’i and the body at the same time. This is what Cheng Man-ch’ing calls “divine speed”. At this omnipotence level, the body is transformed and can manifest miraculous powers. Hence the Classics describes as the highest level in the body, “If there is no ch’i, there is pure steel”.

“It is important to keep in mind that the practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan is based on Taoism. The ultimate goal of Taoism is longevity or immortality through the harmony of Man with Heaven and Earth. This should be differentiated from the goal of the Buddhist practitioner which is to become enlightened to end the cycle of death and rebirth, and enter Nirvana after all have been saved.

“The enlightenment that Cheng Man-ch’ing talks about is an energetic/physical enlightenment by means of the cultivation of the spirit through the transformation of the ching to ch’i, and the ch’i to shen. The application of this transformation is applied to the martial arts.

“It is difficult to draw the line between the term enlightenment as it applies to T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Taoism, and enlightenment as it is referred to in Buddhism as they both overlap and influence each other. In Taoism, enlightenment refers to a more material and energetic realm while in Buddhism it refers to the enlightenment of the spirit. Both disciplines are rooted in the practice of emptying the body or emptying the mind as a precondition. In T’ai Chi, you must empty the body of all external strength and relax. As Prof. Cheng often said, you must “invest in loss”. By investing in loss, you are subduing the ego and its manifestation by the nonuse of strength in push hands. In Buddhist meditation, you must empty the mind so there are no past or future thoughts, and no ego. Sometimes it is difficult to empty the mind without first emptying the body and vice versa…” (to be continued) – Martin Inn, “The Spirituality of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”

The video today is of Ben Lo’s precise performance of the Cheng Man Ching 37-Tai Chi

Today’s Video: “Benjamin Lo – 37 Movement Tai Chi”



The Master who Knows does not speak;
he teaches.
The Master who speaks does not know;
he talks but cannot teach.
Follow the first; Stay away from the latter.

Dear Friends an d Practitioners,

Earlier in the year, we featured Master Cheng Man Ching, who brought tai chi to America in the 1960s and 1970s. We also featured one of his premier students, Huang Sheng Xian, who spread his own version of Cheng Man Ching’s 37-form Tai Chi throughout Southeast Asia. T

his week we are featuring another one of Cheng Man Ching’s premier students, Benjamin Lo. While Cheng Man Ching opened a school in New York, he had Ben Lo establish Tai chi on the West Coast with a school in San Francisco. Ben along with Matt Inn, who established the Inner Research Institute in Maui, Hawaii, co-translated Cheng Man Ching’s popular “Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan.”

While Ben passed away two years ago, Martin is still teaching at the Inner Research Institute in San Francisco. So, we will post excerpts from Martin Inn’s articles along with videos of Ben Lo.

This first excerpt is from a Martin Inn article entitled “Inner Exercise.”

“All the movements practiced in T’ai Chi Ch’uan must come from the center so that the movements of the four limbs are completely relaxed and follow the rotation of the hips. There must not be any muscular activation of the external
body or the internal stimulation of the Qi is broken. Even while standing, the practitioner must try to relax the legs. The deeper the relaxation, the deeper contact there is with the Qi and the inner layers of the body. The headtop must
be suspended so that the neck is relaxed and the Qi can reach the crown. The spine must be straight so that the chest may be sunken, the abdominal muscles relaxed, and the lower back released. When the abdomen is relaxed and the chest is sunken, the diaphragm takes on the task of breathing. By relaxing the torso and breathing abdominally, the body has a lower center of gravity. This means it becomes more stable. The rhythmic movements of the diaphragm gently massage the internal organs with each breath.

“The weight of the body falls on the thighs (the quadriceps muscles). As the legs relax and the weight falls on the thighs, the kidneys become stimulated and tonified with each weight shift and rotation of the hips. In Chinese Medicine the kidneys are the storehouse of the immune system, the source of the sexual energy, and the origins of the prenatal Qi upon which his or her longevity depends. Therefore much of T’ai Chi Ch’uan involves the development of the kidney Qi through the emphasis on the legs and the spine. When one practices the solo movements an inner heat is aroused and spreads throughout the body. This warmth begins to heat up the spine and all the bones. As the spine and bones begin to cool after working out, a condensation forms which then begins to
permeate the bones. After many years of this permeating process the bones become more dense and powerful. This tends to reverse the vulnerability of osteoporosis which comes as we get older. The Qi also nurtures the sinews of the body which allow us to maintain our youthful stature in instead of shrinking as we get older.

“All T’ai Chi movements consist of various combinations of shifting the weight from one leg to the other, rotating the hips, stepping outward and letting the arms follow in different patterns in a slow rhythmic motion that coordinates with the breath. The mind is in a state of emptiness as in meditation, so it directs the Qi to circulate throughout the body during the various postures of the exercise. The Qi acts as a medium between the direction of the mind and the execution of the movements. Because the muscles are relaxed while in motion, the Qi which circulates throughout the body is not used up or metabolized in supporting muscular action. It is therefore full as it returns to the internal organs to nurture and support their functions.” – Mrtin Inn, “Inner-Exercise”

Our opening video is from 1953 and not the best quality. However, it is unique in that in features The Professor, Cheng Man Ching pushing hands with Ben Lo and others.

Today’s Video: “Cheng Man Ching pushing hands with Ben Lo, Liu Hsi-heng, Tao Ping-siang and Ong Zi Chuan. 1953”



All movements are motivated by I [yi, mind-intention],
not external form.
If there is up, there is down;
when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
when striking left, pay attention to the right.
If the I (yi) wants to move upward,
it must simultaneously have intent downward.

Dear Friends and Practitioners

We are closing out the Sam Tam week with the conclusion of “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

“Other points
– I should remember to keep my chin down when pushed backward, otherwise I have no chance to stay balanced.
– I have had a tendency to use my thumbs to push towards the ribcage of my practice partner. Sam thoroughly demonstrated why this was a bad idea.
– I have a tendency to collapse and thus allowing my practice partner to get me. Collapsing implies allowing the opponent to enter your circle, so a project for me is to keep my frame when pushing hands.
– I have a tendency of pushing down, where it would make sense to go more upward.
– I have a tendency of leaning forward with my upper body, both when I am receiving a push and when I am delivering it. If I keep straight my sensibility will improve.
– When pushing use the whole body and aim for a feeling of fullness. Keep the sensation of wholeness while practicing the form.
– Don’t retreat.

When doing the form
Sam keeps emphasizing that the form is about learning how to “sink the chi and shift the weight”, but for me there are other central points that should be remembered. A central sensation that I am taking with me is the idea that I should have fighting power in (and between) every position in the form. Otherwise I am not doing it right. This one is going to take a while to work through.

There is a subtle difference between focusing on the movements of the form and keeping awareness on the form practice. The first will lead to divided attention, while the second is a catalyst for flow. Sam would also express it as letting the chi move you rather than thinking about the movements.

Other points
– I have a tendency of looking down while I do the form which makes it harder for me to balance and according to Sam also generally weakens my movement.
– Remember to have a lot of airtime in the form to practice sinking, but also to give power to the legs and feet in the form.
– Lots and lots of corrections to specific movements that I won’t try to reference here.”
– ‘Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

More pushing and bouncing with Sam Tam in the video below. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and keep practicing!

Today’s Video: “Tai Chi with Sam Tam”



The principle of adjusting the legs and waist
applies for moving in all directions;
upward or downward,
advancing or withdrawing,
left or right.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are focusing on the art of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam as one of his students takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam in a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas. Today we have the first part of the section entitled “Ironing out my mistakes.”

“Sams teaching entails a lot of time spent “ironing out” the mistakes and bad habits of his students. His attempt is to not just deliver information to his students, but to actually allow them to learn and gain embodied knowledge.

“We generally have a tendency of seeing other people’s mistakes while being blind to their own. If you can start to see your own mistakes more clearly you will learn more, so below are some of my notes on what to work with and improve in my own practice.

“Sam defines yielding as “not allowing the opponent to lean on you”. To achieve this you cannot use force as that will give your opponent a “handle”, but neither “run away from the force” of the opponent and allow him to find your center of gravity. This balancing act is excruciatingly hard to perform in practice. I have a tendency of yielding “halfway” (to the place where I feel safe) instead of going until the end of the push. This habit is part of the reason that I often find myself in situations where the second attack is impossible to respond to.

“Don’t do anything against the opponents will when you start to yield. Give him what he wants without giving him your center to push on. Don’t think or try to get your opponent and yield without the intent of getting his center – that will happen by itself. If you commit by having intention in your movement, it means that you have already lost. Intentional movement = force.

“Let the whole body move when you yield – don’t isolate the arms. Always yield where there is more force. If the force is equal between the hands, yield the place closest to the body.

“Another central point is that you don’t move by your own accord when yielding – only if your opponent moves. Personally I have a horrible tendency to start guessing what my practice partner will be doing next and move accordingly. This works in many cases, but while touching Sam and some of his other students I quickly realized that it was a dead end street, however hard it will be to let go of the habit.” – Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

Today’s Video: “Sam Tam Tai Chi Take-downs”



If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are focusing on the art of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam as one of his students takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam in a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas. Today we have the section entitled “More than just a martial art.”

“I was positively surprised about how much Sam focuses on the connection between your general being and behavior and the taiji practice. I had a lovely time chatting with Sam about politics, philosophy and life in general and really enjoyed his honest and firm approach to everything around him.

“Taiji is about confronting the problem without confrontation. Many people tend to go for confrontation without confronting the problem.” (Sam Tam)

“Sam is also very focused on communicating the inner aspects of taiji (or “inner martial art” in general). Control in taiji is not about controlling the enemy, but about controlling yourself. You don’t want to do anything towards the other. You just follow and fill out the space that he is leaving, so that he has no exits.”

Very good advice, indeed. Another important aspect of “tui shou,” yielding is demonstrated by Sam Tam in his video.

Tiday’s Video: “Master Sam Tam yielding 2014”



The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can grasp the opportunity of favorable timing
and advantageous position.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are focusing on the art of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam as one of his students takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam in a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas. Today the last part of “My Experience.”

“I mentioned earlier on that Sam is good. Well he is. But to be honest his level exceeds my understanding as I feel completely defenseless when I am in his hands – and he only rarely opens up the bag to show his fighting skills. Most of the time we practice his taiji form, bouncing or pushing hands exercises, but once in a while he will demonstrate applications or just reveal a little bit of his fighting skill – and when he does, the experiences is that he could kill you in seconds if he wanted to.

“You are the mouse and I am the cat. How can you win? You need to transform yourself into a cat as I am telling you and maybe you can do something. You can gather 100 mice and throw a conference, and still you couldn’t do anything.” (Sam Tam)

“Sam’s taiji philosophy is undogmatic. People have different bodies and different strengths and weaknesses and thus cannot perform taiji in the same way. Rather he refers to “the happy medium”, the personal place of comfort you can find while following the taiji principles.

“Very patiently he repeats again and again that you should not react (reaction is something you do after the fact), but rather respond to whatever is coming at you and that the only way you can do this is to have no intention or idea of what you are going to do, but rather follow and yield. If you try to use technique or have a premeditated idea of what you are going to do, you will not be able to cope with change in the situation. My conceptualization is that Sam responds to what is actually there (in reality), rather than assuming that something is going on…”Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas.

Tomorrow we will post the next section “More Than Just a Martial Art. In the meantime here is a video with Sam teaching tui shou techniques.

Today’s Video: “Push Hands Tai Chi Seminar in Portland with Grand Master Sam Tam”



The chin (intrinsic strength) should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
manifested through the fingers.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

This week we are focusing on the art of Tai Chi Master Sam Tam as one of his students takes us through an entire week of one-on-one training with Master Tam in a post entitled “Lessons from the Masters: Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas. Today is Part 2: “My Experience.”

“When I arrived Sam asked me what I wanted to practice while I was staying with him. After answering something rather incoherent I said something about improving my yielding and that is what we have mostly been working on. I have practiced the taiji form, done a bit of standing meditation, some mokabu and a lot of bouncing exercises and pushing hands.

“Practicing form with Sam is a very giving experience. Apart from the fact that he himself can show how everything should look, he is very attentive and can demonstrate why it is supposed to look as it does. When teaching Sam will repeatedly demonstrate the practice by letting you touch him, which often results in you lying on the floor or thrown against the wall after a few seconds. But he also has the extraordinary ability to slow down to a pace where you can actually follow what is going on and notice every slight movement made, allowing you to become aware of still more imbalances and tensions.

“After instructing us to practice on our own, Sam would do chores around the house, fiddle with his computers or just sit and watch in silence. Several times during my stay I was surprised by how aware he was of what was going on, even though he was doing something else.
– While I am practicing the form walking past me with the laundry basket he points out that the angle on my front hand in the single whip should be more than 90 degrees and quickly demonstrates how easy it is to push me if the angle is wrong.
– Or when he steps into the middle of me doing the form to very powerfully demonstrate why the back hand in single whip should be around a fist above shoulder height (so that you can hit the throat of the opponent, and then grab the collarbone)…” (to be continued tomorrow) – “Taiji with Master Sam Tam (2015)” by Peter Munthe-Kaas

In the video today, Torben Bremann and a fellow student pay an early visit to Sam Tam for a basic tai chi/tui shou lesson.

Today’s Video: “Visit at my teacher’s place – One of my first visits to Sam Tam back in 2006”



Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.