This is my very first post on our new blog, oh yeah~ Because of my interest in ancient Chinese culture, most of my posts will be related to cultural background information. For my first post I will start with something what I think is fun by sharing my experience practicing Taijiquan in China.
Ever since I started practicing martial arts at age 15, my dream was to go to China and train with the masters. I started to study Chinese language to get a deeper understanding of the culture and to be able to communicate in the motherland. I’m not the only one to walk this path… right?
After frequent visits to China I finally found the place of my dreams: Wudang Mountain* (Wǔdāng shān or 武当山). Wudang Mountain is located in the northwestern part of Hubei province in China. According to legend, a mystical figure named Zhang Sanfeng created Tai Chi here after witnessing a fight between a white crane and a snake (Unfortunately I wasn’t around at the time, so I can’t verify this fact).*Editor’s note – this is where Wu-Tang Clan got their name
I found a school called Wudang Taoist Kungfu Academy (武当道教功夫学院) where I studied for 8 months with master Li Zàifēng (李在峰). Located halfway up the mountain, opposite of the Purple Heaven Palace (紫霄宫), the school was the ideal place to relax your mind and body. Can you imagine? A place completely isolated from the rest of the world, the only sounds you hear are the wind and birds chirping. When I was there I didn’t think about the past, I didn’t worry about the future… I could simply BE. It was wonderful .
During my stay there I lived together with the other students and teachers. Each day consisted of four two-hour blocks of training, including Qigong, Kungfu stances + kicks, Tai Chi and meditation. Each class was divided into one hour warm-up + basics, and one hour practicing the forms that you want to study. My main focus was on the Wudang 13 and 28 forms.
Practicing in China under the guidance of a true Tai Chi master added so much value to my understanding and performance of the art. I learned something new every class and seeing the teachers and other students practice was really motivational. I highly recommend you all to come to China to practice if you have the chance; it is more than worth it!
Hope you liked reading this introductory post; I will go into further detail about my experience at Wudang Mountain in the future. Have any of you trained in China? Share your experiences below!
Wishing you health and happiness~