MASTER YUAN’S CONCERN ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT, MAINTENANCE, AND TRANSMISSION OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS
In the 1960’s and 1970’s Chinese martial arts prodigy, Bruce Lee, brought to the world Chinese martial arts, or “wushu”.Since Lee’s exposition and dispersion of wushu, many people from other countries have become greatly interested in it.In the early 1980’s the “Shaolin Temple” movies again brought more interest in wushu to different parts of the world.As a result, in the past 20 years wushu developed rapidly to its peak in China, as well as overseas, and wushu enthusiasts and practitioners can now be found everywhere.However, with the impact of modern economic society, wushu has become commercialized and dramatized primarily for entertainment and performance, which has brought its steady deterioration and decline.Also, since traditional wushu is known by very few, the heavily emphasized performance based trend has become a tremendous impediment to the development of traditional \Xwushu with more people interested in learning performance wushu than traditional.There is no short cut in traditional wushu; looking for shortcuts is contrary to the essence of wushu.
In the past few years the learning atmosphere for wushu in China has deteriorated rapidly for the following three reasons:
MASTER YUAN’S OPINIONS ON HOW TO DEVELOP AND TRANSMIT TRADITIONAL WUSHU
Master Yuan Xiu Gang (Daoist name, Shi Mao) began studying Shaolin wushu for three years after middle school.In 1991 he became a student of Wudang and became a 15th generation disciple of Wudang Zhang San Feng Sect.In his twenty plus years of wushu experience, Master Yuan has witnessed both the rise and decline of wushu.With many years of wushu training experience he started the Wudang Daoist Traditional Gong Fu Academy in 2004 and since has developed many effective teaching theories and methods over the years.With his rich and unique background in wushu practice and teaching, he believes that the traditional manner of practicing, teaching, and transmitting wushu is essential to its continued sustainment and development.
In the past, a master and a disciple formed a formal relationship of transmission.The Chinese saying “Yi ri wei shi zhong shen wei fu” means that “one day spent with a master and he becomes your father for a life time.”Thus, a good master brings up good disciples; and good disciples are willing to listen to their master without wavering in their devotion and foundation.The master will do what it takes to train his students, and the students will follow.The master does not only train his students in wushu, but also has strict expectations of his students’ daily lives and personal growth.Before students become official disciples, the master will strengthen both the wushu and personal character of his students.When his students have fulfilled all of his requirements, the master will then give a specific physical artifact to each student as a representation of the student officially becoming a disciple of the master.This disciple will have been rigorously tested and trained over many years by the master in both wushu and the disciple’s personal development.
Master Yuan believes that if one has chosen the pathway of wushu then one must have the passion and strong will to transmit and develop wushu with all of their energy and continue to walk this pathway for their life.These qualities are often lacking in modern wushu.
In Wudang wushu the training first focuses on “form” and then “intention”.Master Yuan’s training regime is to first soften the body, then to strengthen it to the right hardness (“hard” here does not mean stiff or rigid), then from the right hardness to the right softness, and to finally fuse the right hardness and right softness to become one.Hardness without softness is like steel: it is strong, but can be broken with a single twist; jumping and spinning in modern wushu with large overly expressed movements, while at the same time adding regular combat training usually causes injuries to the students.Similarly, if we train only softness but not hardness, we will lose the basic defensive power that is trained for in actual combat, let alone the power for attack.Losing both of these means losing the meaning of the practice of wushu.
Master Yuan believes that for internal wushu one needs to first build the right basics of body mechanics and movements and the movements must be practiced correctly.After one has trained in the correct body mechanics and movements one can begin to regulate breathing and cultivate “qi” through standing and sitting meditation.Only when both training systems have been attained can one combine “form” and “intention” together.When this is done, forms and movements can flow uninterrupted like clouds and running water.Looking from the surface there is no force, only “intention”, but in the true practice there is a full power hidden within, without fully expressing itself.If one continues to practice there will be unlimited “qi” congregated in the “dan tian’’ (the “dan tian” is the physical energy center of the body) ready to be used and can destroy all hardness.
Master Yuan has preserved the traditional way of teaching over the years.In order to better communicate with foreign students, he has been learning English diligently over the last few years.Now he can easily communicate with foreign students.Not only can Master Yuan communicate with foreign students, he also has the ability to observe mental changes in his students, discovering their strengths and weaknesses, and can encourage students’ learning by helping to bring out their strengths.For students who have a negative mentality, Master Yuan can correct their attitude and help to purify their thoughts.Since the opening of his academy, Master Yuan has maintained detailed attention on his students’ mental well-being and daily life; often-times developing a father-son relationship with his students.Through his years of teaching, he has observed that there are three main types of students who come to learn.
The first type are founders, teachers, or coaches of wushu schools.These students generally have a good mentality and can respect the teacher and the teachings.Generally, their purpose for coming to study is to upgrade and refine as well as to learn some forms to bring back to their own schools to teach.These students usually look to learn many forms, but because of their older ages and also their own personal responsibilities (maintaining their schools, family, etc.) they do not have enough time to fine-tune and refine their limitations.
The second type are those with jobs or careers.Due to the lack of attention paid to their bodies’ conditions plus the added pressure from work and daily life, many of these students have some health issues and often feel exhausted.These students generally come to build up their bodies and to “recharge”.This type of student usually cannot spare too much time to learn systematically.They generally are interested in relaxing their mind and learning some qi gong and tai ji so that they can continue their practice when they return home.
The third type are generally students who just graduated or have left school.These types of students usually do not know much about society and their minds are not matured.They do not have accurate judgment or discernment towards people and things, and therefore cannot find an ideal job.Some of them are not satisfied with their current position and are searching for change.Due to the promotion of wushu through movies, television, and other media, many of them come to learn.
Because of the different needs of these three types of students, it is hard for a wushu school to maintain a standardized training program.Currently, Master Yuan tries his best to customize a training program for each student based on their body, mind, and social conditions so that each student can gain something through their personal learning experience.However, from the view-point of developing and maintaining traditional wushu, Master Yuan believes that it is only the third type of students that have enough time and energy to carry on traditional wushu.These students are usually young, not matured mentally and emotionally, and do not have a clear direction for themselves and their future.However if there is an experienced master to guide their minds, sharpen their will, and help them to analyze the development of traditional wushu in the world, it should not be difficult to find the right person (one who is developed in both wushu and character) to carry on the teachings of traditional wushu.
THE CHARACTERISTICS AND PRACTICAL VALUE OF WUDANG WUSHU
With the development of civilization and science in the modern world, mankind has entered an age where people pay more attention to and have more interest in their personal growth, maturation, and life.People are looking for health in both body and mind, a better living environment, and a better quality of life.Improving people’s bodies and their quality of life is also beneficial towards building a more harmonious and prosperous world.Health and longevity have been common concerns of mankind since the beginning of our history.A major emphasis in Daoist teaching is on the cultivation of the mind and preservation of the true human nature to attain longevity, which is exactly what so much of the world is looking for at this time.Wudang wushu, based on ancient wushu combat theory, has added teachings from the “Yi Jing” (“The Book of Change”) and Daoist internal alchemical methods, forming its own unique style and system of wushu.The core of its theory are the interaction of “yin” and “yang”, the exchanges of the “ba gua” (the eight trigrams from the “Yi Jing”), and the interaction of the “five elements” (wood, water, metal, earth, and fire).The practice is focused on cultivating and preserving; the purpose being self-defense and health.The characteristics are focused on “intention” instead of force, efficiency and economy of power, softness over hardness, stillness overcoming action, longevity and health maintenance, improved wisdom, etc.Currently, more and more overseas visitors are coming to Wudang to experience Wudang wushu and its life-preserving methods.
WUDANG DAOIST TRADITIONAL GONG FU ACADEMY – this is the first time a traditional wushu program will be set up for foreign students
In wushu there is a phrase: “The north has kicks, and the south has fists.”Nowadays, Wudang wushu has inherited the best from both and combined them.Grandmaster Zhong Yun Long (Daoist name, Qing Wei), Wudang Mountain San Feng Sect 14th generation successor, has learned all of the Northern Wudang wushu from the Northern Wudang (Lao Shan) master, Kuang Chang Xiu, and then combined it with the southern to blend them perfectly through years of study and consolidation.This has not only increased the effectiveness of combat skills, but also has lead to many effective teaching methodologies and programs.These unique teaching programs can accommodate students with different backgrounds, interests, learning durations, and objectives.
Based on Master Yuan’s vision, the Wudang Daoist Traditional Gong Fu Academy has now set up a traditional wushu program for foreign students.The details are as follows:
TRADITIONAL WUSHU PROGRAM
To spread Daoist culture and train excellent wushu practitioners.
Learning Style and Focus:
Once enrolled in this program students cannot choose their own learning programs or change to a different class.The school will arrange a standardized curriculum and proceed in a specifically arranged order of learning.In regards to the training program, besides the thorough basic training, students will also learn Daoist culture, life nurturing “qi gong” (regulating and nurturing of energy), and “nei dan” (internal alchemy).This training will strengthen learning confidence, guide the mind, and lead to a clear objective in life for the students.
Vision for Development:
In order to spread Daoist culture and to sustain traditional Wudang wushu this school will focus on training wushu practitioners.Based in the Daoist sacred place, Wudang Mountain, this traditional wushu program will train outstanding disciples and coaches to set up branches in different parts of the world so that Daoist culture and Wudang wushu can be spread and more accessible to a larger population.This will also help the healthy development and sustainment of Wudang wushu.
The Main Training Ground:
In order to allow students to train in Wudang wushu in a large and culturally rich place the school has selected the largest Daoist site in Wudang Mountain, Yu Xu Gong, for daily practice.Yu Xu Gong (full name Xuan Tian Yu Xu Gong) was built in 1412 during the Ming Dynasty and rebuilt in 1552.Unfortunately, it was mostly destroyed in 1745 during the Qing Dynasty.While the main structures of the temples remain, Yu Xu Gong still maintains a rich cultural significance and aesthetic quality.From the remains we can still see a flowing river, gardens, temples containing large sculptures, and the heavy doored gates.The wide-open space with natural seclusion and fresh air is the perfect place to train the body and cultivate the mind.Students can experience the serenity of moving away from the busy world, enjoy the natural scenery of the sacred mountains, experience the life of traditional Daoist practitioners (which is to practice the external and internal of Wudang wushu), while appreciating one of the world’s most beautiful cultural heritage sites.
First year learning content （First Level）:
Focus will mainly be placed on strengthening and developing basics of sight, body, hands, steps, and the 36 kicks (including front heel kick, front toe kick, side heel kick, side kick, high side kick, sweep, jumping side kick, tornado kick, spinning kick, etc.).Also acrobatics, tumbling, and falling will be learned.Empty hand forms will include Ji Ben Quan (Basic Form), Xuan Gong Quan Yi Lu, Er Lu, San Lu (1,2, 3), and Xuan Zhen Quan.Weapons will include Xuan Gong Dao (Broadsword) and Xuan Men Jian (Straightsword).
Second year learning content (Second Level):
Consolidation and continued strengthening of first year content and also learning Xiang Long Fu Hu Quan (Capturing the Dragon, Taming the Tiger Form), Da Dao (Two Handed Broadsword), Long Hua Quan (Dragon Form), Ji Wu Qiang (Spear), Xing Yi Quan (including Xing Yi standing meditation), Tai He Quan, Ba Ji Quan (Eight Extremes Form), Long Hua Jian (Dragon Sword), Tai Ji Quan 28 (also practicing tai ji walking and tai ji standing meditation).Also combination kicks, punches, and steps will be learned as well as basics for traditional and modern combat, etc.
Third year learning content (Third Level):
Consolidation and continued strengthening of first and second year content and also learning Tai Ji 108, Ba Gua Zhang, Xing Yi 12 Animals, Tai Ji Jian (Sword), Ba Xian Jian (Eight Immortals Sword), Ba Xian Gun (Eight Immortals Staff), Liang Yi Quan (including Xuan Wu Quan and Tai Yi Wu Xing Quan), Daoist special weapons: Fo Chen (Horsetail Whisk) and Fang Bian Chang (Monk Spade).Traditional combat, Hard Qi Gong, Five Animals Qi Gong, etc. will also be taught.(There are other forms that do not belong to Wudang wushu, such as Tang Lang Quan [Praying Mantis], She Quan [Snake], Qian Kun Shan [Fan], which students will need to obtain permission from Master Yuan to learn.)
Note: At this point all student learning is completed, but if one is interested in becoming a coach, then one will need to continue with their training.
Fourth year coach training (Fourth Level):
Continued consolidation and strengthening of prior content.During this year students will learn to explain movement and learn to train in actual combat.Also learning Wudang Life Nurturing Qi Gong, and continued practice of standing meditation, Tai Ji walking, Ba Gua standing meditation, Xing Yi standing meditation, etc.Hard Qi Gong training will include Ying Qi Gong (iron throat, iron body, iron palm, iron arm, dragon claw, two finger strengthening, etc.).Also, basic push hands training will be taught.(Medicine fees will be paid by students for Hard Qi Gong).
Fifth year coach training (Fifth Level):
Continued consolidation and strengthening of prior content.Also Tai Ji 13, push hands, traditional combat, standing and sitting meditation, Ba Gua walking, cultivating the energy in the “dan tian”, cultivating internal power, learning to use internal power, standing and sitting Ba Duan Jin (Eight Pieces of Brocade Qi Gong), Five Animals Frolic, Crane Standing, Tai Yi Qi Gong, Tong Zi Gong, basic “nei dan” method, etc. will be learned.
Note: The coach training program may not be completely learned by everyone.Master Yuan will adjust the curriculum to best fit people’s background and progress.
Target Class Size:
For better management, to ensure quality of teaching, and so that the highest quality wushu practitioners can be trained, the maximum capacity for the training program is thirty students.
Target Students and Requirements:
The age range is between 10 and 28 years old.Students must have a positive attitude and good character.They must be willing to obey the rules and laws, and must have patience and perseverance.Both male and female students are welcome.
Class will begin on September 1st, 2009.Students will be responsible for obtaining their own visas (the school will help in providing necessary documents).Students may have holidays not exceeding one month per year.Students are not allowed to leave the school in the middle of their training; this will be considered a forfeit of their training.
The duration for students is three years, for coaches the duration is five years.Graduates who wish to do further study may stay in the school, paying only for their living accommodation fees.
Before and After the Program:
Before enrollment, all students must sign a regulations and guarantee letter of the school.All learning fees must be paid in full.During training, students must strictly obey the school’s systems and regulations as agreed to in the signed contract.If the rules or regulations are broken, students will receive punishment from Master Yuan or the coaches.Students must adopt a positive attitude towards their training and their personal growth.The school reserves the right to expel students who repeatedly disobey rules and regulations.After three years of training, those who pass exams will be awarded a student diploma.Those with excellent learning and character may be considered for becoming a disciple of Master Yuan through a formal ceremony.In the ceremony a disciple must read a declaration and Master Yuan will give a physical artifact and Daoist name to the student becoming a Wudang San Feng Sect 16th generation disciple.
WUDANG DAOIST TRADITIONAL GONG FU ACADEMY RULES AND REGULATIONS
The rules and regulations are as follows:
Upon entering the academy for study each student must register with the manager on duty and provide the following details and documents; a completed registration form, one passport size photograph and contact details of your next of kin in case of a emergency.
STUDENTS’ LEARNING REGULATIONS AND GUARANTEE LETTER
Those younger than 18 years of age must have a guardian sign.
ENROLLMENT AND TUITION
Print and sign the guarantee letter, fill in the application form, and mail both to the school.Students below eighteen years of age should obtain a signature from their parent or guardian..
Before sending tuition, please e-mail or call Master Yuan to confirm the bank account information.Students should bring and submit the bank transfer receipt upon arrival at the school (the receipt must have the same bank account number as listed in the school website).Payment must be submitted by wire transfer to Master Yuan’s bank account.Students who have completed enrollment should arrive at the school before September 1st, 2009.
Tuition is to be paid in full before arrival at the school.For those interested in taking part in the three year program the tuition is 120,000 RMB. For those who are interested in completing the coaching program the tuition is 200,000 RMB.
School Address: Wudangshan Taoist Traditional Kungfu Academy
Wudangshan, Shiyan City, Hubei Province, China 442714
c/o: Yuan Xiu Gang. cell phone: 00-86-13597886695
Also, print and attach the address in Chinese to expedite the postal process.
Method of Payment--Wire Transfer
~ PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT ALL BANK INFORMATION IS ENTERED EXACTLY AS DISPLAYED ON THIS PAGE WHEN WIRING TUITION
Master Yuan’s e-mail address:email@example.com
For any questions, please e-mail or call Master Yuan.
|This article and program were created and written by Master Yuan Xiu Gang. If this article and program are found elsewhere in whole or part bearing other names, school names, or other altered information, it is an infringement of copyright and thus a stolen production. This article was not written for public use, but for the sole use of the Wudang Daoist Traditional Kung Fu Academy run by Master Yuan. It is written specifically for use on this website and those enlisted in helping to advertise for the program that Master Yuan has created.