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Origin and Development of Tai Chi

It is said that the Taoist holy man Mr. Zhang Sanfeng set up Wudang Sect in Wudang Mountain in the early Ming Dynasty (1368) and recruited followers from different places. After years of the study of Taoism, he made a great contribution to promoting Taoist theory. Besides, he created several Martial arts with using fist only, Tai Chi included. One legend tells that when Zhang Sanfeng practiced in a cave, he found a magpie and snake fighting. The magpie took the initiative attack and the snake just avoided hitting. When the magpie was exhausted, the snake gave a deadly strike. Illuminated by the snake, Zhang Sanfeng created Tai Chi which is famous for conquering the unyielding with the yielding and coping with all motions by remaining motionless. Because of his Kungfu accomplishments and Taoist attainments, Zhang Sanfeng enjoys a long standing reputation. The Emperor Zhu Di has invited him to the Forbidden City to propagate Taoism in spite of his refusal.

Afterwards, Tai Chi was come down in Wudang Mountain. On the basis of Zhang Sanfeng’s accomplishments, many successive generations continue the traditions and several branches of practice have been evolved over years. Since the founding of People’s Republic of China, it has experienced a rapid expansion and the Tai Chi players are popping up all around China. As the birthplace of Tai Chi, Wudang Mountain is still popular place for learning Tai Chi. Many modern style of Tai Chi traced their development to several schools, most influential schools including Chen (陈氏), Yang (杨式), Wu(吴氏), Wu(武式) and Sun(孙式).

At present, there are many Scientific Research Departments researching on Tai Chi from the perspective of medicine, physiology, psychology, biochemistry etc.. Their research shows that playing Tai Chi is helpful to prevent or cure some chronic diseases, like hypertension, heart disease, arthropathy, intestinal tract disease etc.

Tai Chi 13 Form (Tai Chi Shi San Shi)

As the name implies, Tai Chi 13 Form means 13 groups of movements (60 postures) with a strong purpose of offense and defense. It was the mother of all Tai Chi forms and created by Zhang Sanfeng. People praised it as the treasure of Chinese martial arts and the essence of Tai Chi. The 13 groups of movements were created according to Eight Extra-Meridians (八脉) which connect with five internal organs. The 13 Form contains eight basic movements and five steps and the two are integrated with each other closely. The eight hand movements were derived from Eight Trigrams (Pa-kua), which can be interpreted as heaven, earth, water, fire, wind, thunder, lake and mountain. It can be divided into two parts – four primary hands warding off, pulling back, pressing and push) and four corner hands (pulling down, splitting, elbowing and shouldering). The five steps refers to five footwork sills, namely advancing forward, retreating backward, stepping to the left side after faking right, stepping to the right side after faking left, and settling at the center.

For thousands of years, the Wudang Taoism has always been a key school of Chinese Taoism, and has the same religious doctrine and dogmata with Chinese Taoism. This religion put emphasis on the faithful filial piety ethics and the harmonious combination of three religions, namely the Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. Besides, Wudang Mountain is preferred for its Wudang martial arts. The famous Tai Chi also called shadowboxing, Eight Diagrams Palm, Xing Yi Quan, etc. were originated there. Therefore, so many martial arts likers visit Mount Wudang from different countries and regions to feel its charm and the benefits to their bodies and minds.

Brief Explanation of 13 Form of Tai Chi

Beginning Phase: sinking shoulders anddropping elbows

Hugging a Ball – relaxing chest and arching back

Single Pushing –breathing into belly

Exploring –pointing up the head lightly

Holding – relaxing waist and hip

Flapping – differentiating between the empty and full, namely Yin and Yang

Loading– coordination of upper and lower parts of body

Separating – using the mind instead of force

Surging – harmony between internal and external

Dissolving - connecting the mind and the breathe

Push with both Hands – find stillness within movement

Pressing down – movement and stillness present at once

Finishing Phase – continuity and evenness through the form

Wudang Tai Chi Postures Jackie Chan is playing Tai Chi in Tiananmen Square
Wudang Tai Chi Postures Several Postures of Wudangshan Tai Chi

Experience Tai Chi in Wudang Mountain

Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy (武当道家传统武术馆)

Among the many Kungfu Schools in and around Wudang Mountain, the Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy is a professional and old one. It was established in 2004 by Taoist priest Yuan Shimao – the 15th generation of Zhang Sanfeng and the disciple of Zhong Yunlong (famous Taoist priest, once the abbot of Purple Cloud Palace). Mr. Yuan was the champion in three items of the Third World Traditional Kungfu Championships. He and his group have performed Wudang Kungfu in many important occasions, like World Martial Art Expo in Beijing, International Martial-music Festival in Moscow, Spring Festival Gala in Beijing etc. After several years’ exploration, Mr. Yuan adopts many effective teaching methods in accordance of different students with different learning period and learning content to make sure everyone able to get the essence of Chinese Kung Fu and feel the mystery of Taoism.

In order to make students learn in a spacious site with the atmosphere of Taoism, all the martial art classes will be given in the Yuxu Palace – the largest Taoist palace in Wudang Mountain. With red walls, green tiles, fresh air, and elegant surrounding environment, this palace is a wonderful place for self-cultivation. The teachers master a good of ability of Kungfu as well as English. There are various kinds of Chinese martial art classes available in Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy, and Tai Chi attracts more Kungfu fans.

Generally, the classes can be divided into two groups, short-term study and long-term study. If you are a traveler with limited time but want to experience the joy of playing Tai Chi, it is a good idea take part in the short Tai Chi experiencing classes. You can spend 0.5~1 day or more days playing Tai Chi with the guidance of the coaches. In the study, you will get a brief understanding of Tai Chi and learn the basic postures. If you are a Tai Chi fan and want a little further study, some other classes are available. Usually, it takes 10~15 days to learn Tai Chi 13 Form or Tai Chi 28 Postures Course and 20~30 days to learn Tai Chi 108 Postures Course. Of course class lasting several months can also be tailor-made according to your needs. The school offers meals, accommodation and Kungfu uniforms. Please note that the short-term classes are not available during the summer vacation (July ~ August) usually.

For Kungfu enthusiasts, you can spend 3~5 years learning Chinese Kungfu, including Tai Chi, Qigong, Ba Gua Zhang and other martial arts classes if time permits. There is a list of class schedule for your reference, and it might be modified in different seasons. No classes are arranged in the afternoon of Wednesday and whole Thursday, and the students can take a rest or travel around.

How to Get to Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy

Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy is located beside the Yuxu Palace, in Wudang Special Zone of Shiyan City

  • 1.5km (about 7 minutes’ driving) to the entrance of the Wudang Mountain Scenic Area
  • 15km (about 30 minutes’ driving) to Wudang High Speed Train Railway Station
  • 40km (about 40 minutes’ driving) to Wudangshan Airport
  • 40km (about 1 hour’s driving) to the downtown area of Shiyan City
  • There are shuttle buses connecting Wudang Scenic Area with the airport, railway station and Shiyan City. For Independent travelers, you are advised to transfer to Wudan Mountain Scenic Area first, then you can take a bus to Huoshenmiao Station (火神庙站), which is only 800 meters away from the school.Check more at Wudangshan transportations

Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy Mr. Yuan is teacheing his student Tai Chi
Wudang Mountain - Golden Palace The student is playing Kungfu
Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy The Sutudents in Wudang Mountain
Wudang Mountain Tourist Map Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy Location Map

China Wudang Kungfu Academy (武当师行功夫馆)

In 2007, Taoist Priest Chen Shixing, another disciple of Zhong Yunlong, founded China Wudang Kungfu Academy. Then the school inherited thousands of years Wudang culture, strived to brighten the Taoism thought, expresses Taoism within Chinese martial arts, and applying Taoism in preserving Taoism. During the next years, it has developed to a big Kungfu school attracting many Kungfu fans. Paying attention to every detail, this school provides the good training environment, like skilled coaches, spacious training ground, healthy food, and comfortable accommodation. As the authentic Wudang Sanfeng Sect, the school is on a mission of spread Daoism and Chinese Kungfu over the world.

They offer a large variety of classes to cater to different people’s purpose, like getting a better understanding of Taoism, learning Kunfu Skills, becoming healthier etc. There are long-term classes and short-term classes in China Wudang Kungfu Academy as well. The short-term classes vary in different learning contents and periods. Check the following short-term Tai Chi classes’ information:

The long-term class aims to train professional martial arts coaches to carry forward the Taoist culture as well as Tai Chi health preservation theories. It takes 5 years to finish the class usually.

How to Get to China Wudang Kungfu Academy

China Wudang Kungfu Academey is located Danjiangkou County-level City and embraced on three sides by green hills.

  • 5km to Wudang Mountain Scenic Area
  • 11km (20 minutes’ driving) to Wudangshan High Speed Railway Station
  • 30km (about 40 minutes’ driving) to Wudangshan Airport
  • 35km (about 1 hour’s driving) to the downtown area of Shiyan City
  • If you are an independent traveler, you can get to Wudangshan by train or flight. There are daily buses running between Wudang Railway Station Wudang and Mountain Scenic Area with a stop at Haokoucunjiuzu (蒿口村九组), close to China Wudang Kungfu Academy. If you want to travel from the airport directly to the school or the city area, you need make a transfer. Check more details at Wudangshan transportations.

Experience Taichi in Wudang Mountain

Want to play Tai Chi in Wudang Mountain? No problem. Tai Chi experience can be arranged in the Qiongtai Palace. In the early morning, our guide will can accompany you to Qiongtai Palace and join the one hour’s interesting class. Then you can go on with your sightseeing trip, admiring the ancient Taoist building complexes in Wudang Mountain and appreciating the natural beauty. After sucking the Taoist fragrance in the day tour, visit Qiong Palace and enjoy another one’ hours class again.

In your sightseeing tour, you might meet some Taoist priests playing Tai Chi or other Chinese Kungfu in Zixiao Palace.

China Wudang Kungfu Academy Priest Shixing - the Headmaster of China Wudang Kungfu Academy
China Wudang Kungfu Academy Foreigner Students in China Wudang Kungfu Academy
China Wudang Kungfu Academy China Wudang Kungfu Academy Location Map

Important Notes

  • All the short-term classes (less than 2 months) are not open during summer vacation (July ~ August) in Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy.
  • There aren’t available classes in the weekly day off (half day of Wednesday and whole Thursday) usually in Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy.
  • More than Tai Chi Courses, there are many other classes for your choice, like Wudang Qigong, Wudang Qixing Sword and some other Kungfu Classes as well as other Chinese arts, including brush-writing, stringed plucked instruments, traditional Chinese painting etc.
  • The classes in both schools need to be booked at least 7 days in advance, especially classes in weekends.

Tai Chi Experience with China Discovery

Are you interested in Taoism and Tai Chi? Or do you want to have a short experience of playing Ta Chi? Feel free to contact us and our travel consultant will customize a private Wudang Mountain Tai Chi tour for you. You could take a wonderful cultural exploration and touch the real Chinese Kungfu while feasting your eyes on the spectacular natural view of Wudang Mountain.

During the tour, you will get rid of the hustle and public transportation and troublesome navigation. Our local guide and driver will pick you at the airport or train station, and escort you to any attractions with speed and convenience. You will be taken care of all the time. The professional travel guide can explain you the history and culture of the different Taoist palaces, and some interesting legends.

Recommended Wudangshan Tours

Top 3 Wudangshan tours chosen by most customers to explore Wudangshan in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

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Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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