7 days Bagua Training at Wudang Mountain
Program Title: A Week Intensive Training Course at Wudang
Course Date: 2nd July - 9th July 09
Written by James Brown, British (SCIC Medicine & Tai Chi Student)
After a week Yunnan visit and a week training course in Chen village I took the train to Wudang Mountain to spend a week at the Wudang school of gong fu. Wudang Mountain is famous in Chinese history as the birthplace of Taoism, one of China's major religions that expounds living life by following the 'Way' (Lao's Zi's famous 'Tao Te Ching', for example, is centered on Taoism).
At present there are perhaps twenty to thirty foreign students living and studying at the Wudang school, as well as the Chinese students. The head of the school is Master Yuan, a Daoist priest who teaches gong fu, taiji, Daoist weapons, chi gung and medicine. The normal training schedule is 8:30 to 11:15 in an old temple, and training again in the evenings after dinner, 7 - 9. The afternoons are left free for leisure time, exploring the town, or more training. Because of the nature of the school the atmosphere is different from other places I have trained - ironically due to some of the foreign students there. Some students stay at the school for long periods of time and have committed themselves to serious study - five years being the maximum.
I studied Baguazhang while at Wudang, a martial art I had not studied previously. It involves 'circle-walking', walking round and round the perimeter of a circle with a sliding-step action. It has many different strikes, throws, kicking and locking actions, and is based around the I Ching, the ancient Taoist Book of Changes. Although it bears some relation to Chen-style taiji Bagua is very much its own art, and it took me some time to get used to the strange movements, especially the caterpillar-like 'circle-walking'. After a few days the movements became more comfortable, and at the end of my time there I had become very interested in this martial art.
Three weeks; three very different experiences; each one a facet of China that many people never see. I feel privileged to have spent time with Chen's family in Yunnan, and I have had great training to pursue in the future.