Qigong for Mind and Body Health

Qigong or Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese practice that combines breathing techniques, visualization, body posture, and self-massage to bring the mind and body to a higher state of well-being.  Within the Daoist community, we refer to many of our practices as Dao Yin (導引– guiding and leading energy).  In the Daoist community QiGong practices are done in a spiritual context, and while they are very good for the body, the major goal is not healing, but self-cultivation and a stronger relationship with the Dao.

Life as a Continuous Improvement

Improving life is necessary for us as human beings. A Chinese saying states, “If you don’t advance, you will retreat.” (学如逆水行舟,不进则退) We all need continuous improvement in life, work, family, or love. In the summer of 2021, the first time I offered intensive training at the center, Jason, a student from Virginia, came to the Daoist…

Divination and the Book of I Ching

The Book of I Ching (Classic of Changes) contains the thoughts of the Chinese people in philosophy, medicine, astronomy, geography, arithmetic, literature, military affairs, music, art, and martial arts. In addition, I Ching serves different functions for different people. For many scholars, it is regarded as a book of philosophy. For the fortune tellers, it…

Daoism Ritual

One of the primary roles of a Daoist spiritual Master is provide various services to their community.  This includes rituals and ceremonies.  Daoists undergo extensive training in the ritual arts, and often preside at weddings, births, purification ceremonies and blessings for new homes and businesses. Because we have been inspired by these practices, and want…

Weapons of Wudang Martial Arts

Weapons of Wudang martial arts curriculum. After basic conditioning and simple hand forms are learned, a student can train weapon forms as another way to develop strength and agility. Watch what these arts look like on our YouTube channel >> Sword is one of Wudang martial arts weapons and sword is famous throughout China. In…

Daoist Music and Chanting

Daoist Music and Chanting

The Role of Ritual Music It’s 5 o’clock in the morning, the hour of day called “Breaking the Quiet”.  As the sun rises and the people in the temple wake up, the sound of a drum calls them to the main altar where they begin their morning ritual.  They chant sacred texts and prayers for…

  Daoist Lifestyle

With respect to Daoist lifestyle, Daoist clergy follow a variety of paths. Some withdraw from the community to live as hermits or in monasteries. Others live in villages or cities. The work of Daoists in the community is directed towards healing and renewal. In some areas (mostly notably Hong Kong and Taiwan) Daoist priests also…

Daoism Diet

Daoist Diet and Nutrition

Discover the ancient wisdom of the Daoist diet and nutrition techniques for extending long life and maintaining health in this article. Learn about qigong, meditation, visualization, proper diet, and massage, and how these practices can help you achieve Yin and Yang balance and maintain harmony within your body. Explore the different diets of lay people,…

Benefits of Taiji Quan

Benefits of Taiji Quan

“Taiji can give you the strength of a lumberjack, the pliability of a child, and the peace of mind of a sage.” – Chinese saying Relaxation Benefits of Taiji Quan Taiji Quan (Tai Chi) is often described as “meditation in motion”. As with other mind-body practices, Taiji focuses on movement and breathing, creating a state…

Wudang Mountain

Wudang mountain is revered in the martial arts community and is seen by many as the spiritual and historical home of the internal martial arts. The Chinese say that “China has five sacred mountains, but Wudang surpasses them all”. A distinguished pilgrimage site, Wudang has attracted many prolific martial artists and philosophers throughout history. There are more than 2,000 palaces and temples, making this complex the world’s largest Daoist center.

Weaving a Dream

If we do not pursue our dreams, they will become vacant, change into an unfulfilled desire, and only remain dreams. If we follow our dreams, we will have an opportunity to realize them so that they are no longer dreams but become our goals. We must be persistent to realize these goals so that even if we have losses and failures in life, we also have attainments.

Living with the Dao

Living with the Dao

 Living with the Dao. Life is a great training center; existence is a kind of cultivation, we are all constantly refining it. The results depend on the path we choose. The “Dao” 道 is a very abstract word. Everyone understands it a little differently. For me, the Dao is a kind of natural regular pattern in the…

The Witch Healer

At the Daoist Gate Center, there are often Chinese medicine doctors and qigong teachers who come to study with me, and they also help heal people for free. Tatiana B. is one of them. During the Spring of 2021, when the second wave of the pandemic was starting to wane, Tatiana was the fourth student…

Becoming a Taiji and Kung Fu Master

Becoming a Taiji and Kung Fu Master

Becoming a Taiji  Master or kung fu master is something one is born to do, and also comes from one’s ceaseless training and one’s grasp of what one has studied and practiced of Taiji and kung fu. Here I will share one of my student’s personal stories. In March of 2021 I received a letter:…

The Secret of Daoism

If you have a little familiarity with Daoism then you know that for Daoists the final goal is to obtain longevity, to not die, and to become an immortal. There were many methods developed in Daoism, like bigu 辟谷dietetics, refining external elixirs, refining internal elixirs (neidan 内丹) and many others. But there is one extremely important method that…

Traditional Chinese New Year Customs (Part 2)

At one in the morning on the first day of the New Year, we open the doors and set off firecrackers. After the blasting sound finishes little bits of red paper are all over the ground, brilliant like brocaded clouds. This is called “filling the halls with red.” In Chinese culture red represents joy. In ancient times when people “opened the doors and set off firecrackers,” there were no strings of firecrackers or gunpowder, so they exploded bamboo sticks. In traditional culture, setting off firecrackers and exploding bamboo represent eliminating evil, driving off ghosts and monsters, and chasing away pestilence. Thus when the New Year arrives the first thing families do is to set off fireworks, clearing out the old and welcoming the new.

The Chinese New Year

The lunar New year, also called the agricultural New Year or the Spring Festival, is a holiday celebrated in many Asian countries. The calendar used for calculating the lunar New Year is based on the cycles of the moon, which was extremely important in ancient agricultural societies where farmers used the lunar calendar to understand the periods of sowing, sprouting, and growth of crops.

The Problems of Fall

What is the Problems of Fall? The fall is a pleasantly cool season. Where I live in the northeastern part of the United States, every October is extraordinarily beautiful. The multicolored foliage all over the mountains is like an exquisite picture. However, for those who understand how to nurture their health, Fall is an important…

What is a Daoist?

If you like Chinese culture, you have likely also encountered Chinese movies and folktales. Often in these stories, there are people who can ride on the wind, catch ghosts and exorcise demons, foretell the future, and advise rulers. Some of them can enter flames without being burned, or water without becoming wet, can fly to…

The #1 Question Not To Ask a Daoist

Once, in a temple in rural China, I saw a tourist ask an old Daoist his age. The old Daoist did not answer. The tourist chased after him and repeated the question. The old Daoist pointed at a tall tree that was nearby and responded, “I’m as old as that tree”. Daoists to not like…

Inner Alchemy/NeiDan

Inner Alchemy/NeiDan

Elixirs (dan) were pills Chinese doctors made in antiquity, objects that in those times were very mysterious. In novels and movies we often see scenes where a person takes one of these pills (an elixir), and is able to come back to life, or attain the Dao and become an immortal.

Tai Chi vs. God and Lung Disease

Tai Chi vs. God and Lung Disease

Easter will soon be here, and in Europe and the West believers will all pray to God, hoping that the world will be peaceful, their families safe and healthy. A few incompetent national leaders, like Trump, also encourage everyone to pray to God. If we truly examine ourselves, and the actions we take, are we…

How to protect ourselves while the Coronavirus is spreadings

Coronavirus has already become a worldwide problem, and the possibility of becoming infected continues to grow. Although we live in America, an economically advanced country, there are many people without money or insurance who, even if they suspect they have contracted Coronavirus, do not have the several thousand dollar examination fees to go and get…

Reasons You'll Love Gua Sha

Reasons You’ll Love Gua Sha

Hi Everybody! Henry here once again taking over the Daoist Gate Blog! Today, rather than my usual martial arts topic, I’ll be discussing a topic based on my background as a practitioner of traditional Chinese Medicine. Specifically, we’ll be talking about “Gua Sha.” Some of you out there in reader land may have visited our…

Saving the Sun

Saving the Sun

Later today, North America will experience a total solar eclipse.  You already know the scientific explanation of a solar eclipse, caused when the moon comes between the Earth and the Sun. But, what did the ancient Chinese say about eclipses?  How can their ideas help you? It should come as no surprise that many ancient…

Tai Chi vs. MMA

Tai Chi vs. MMA

Fighting requires speed, force, and knowing how to take a hit.  Sure, tai chi contains techniques that can be used in a fight.  But, there is no way around it…the only way to learn how to fight is by fighting.  Practicing tai chi forms alone will not teach students to fight.

5 Chinese Medicinal Plants You Can Grow At Home

Chinese medicine teaches that the health-promoting compounds in plants can be used to treat imbalance and improve your health.   The Chinese medicine classics chronicle thousands of herbs, teas, and foods known and their healing qualities.  Here are five medicinal plants you can grow in your backyard, a small kitchen garden, or even indoors.  Bitter Melon…

What Only The Rooster Sees

What Only The Rooster Sees

I began learning English after I moved to the United States in 2010. It hasn’t always been easy. One of the most difficult things are idioms. You can imagine how confused I was when a student told me it was “raining cats and dogs” outside. Or there was that time before a martial arts performance…

Four Qigong Practices to Welcome Spring

Qigong Practices to Welcome Spring

Spring Qigong Qigong is a traditional Chinese wellness practice that uses a mixture of mindful body posture, breathing, and visualization to regulate the body’s Qi energy. Qigong stimulates meridians and acupuncture points, improving blood flow and organ function.  One of my personal favorite Daoist Qigong practices is Ling Jianzi’s Four Seasons Qigong. Ling Jianzi 灵剑子…

Horsetail Whisk

The Horsetail Whisk (拂尘) is a special weapon. It is made by binding the hair from a horse’s tail to a long wooden handle. The horsetail whisk is associated with spiritual power. It is said that the person who holds the whisk is not an ordinary person. Practical The horsetail whisk originated as a fly…

What Being Daoist Means To Me

What Being Daoist Means To Me

Many people I meet say that they are Daoist, “practicing Daoism” or “studying Daoism.”  But “Daoist” and “Daoism” mean different things to different people.  Today I’d like to talk a little about what then mean to me. There are many different types of activities that Daoists involve themselves in: Reading Daoist texts Philosophy Chanting Divination…

Zhong Kui - Demon Hunter

Demon Hunter – Zhong Kui

Demon Hunter – Zhong Kui(鍾馗),   His legend began in the Tang Dynatry, and by the Song Dynasty he had been adopted into the Daoist pantheon.  Knowing his story is an important part of understanding Chinese culture.   Origin Zhong Kui was born in the Zhongnan Mountain area in the early Tang Dynasty.  Although he was…

The Fake Daoist?

Fake Daoist?

Just recently, I received an e-mail asking an interesting question: “How do you know if someone calling himself a Daoist priest is genuinely a Daoist priest. Is there any way to check?” As Daoism grows in popularity, some people may call themselves a Daoist priest as a way of marketing their business.  So how can…

The Tiger Taming Form

Tiger Taming Form

The Tiger Taming Form is one of my favorite in the Wudang kung fu curriculum.  I learned it when I was 16 years old, and living and training on Wudang Mountain.  The Tiger Taming Form wasn’t a part of the regular classes.  The teacher had hand-picked a handful of students from the school, and came…

Reflections from a Tai Chi Teacher

Reflections from a Tai Chi Teacher

I have been practicing tai chi for 20 years and teaching for 10. Although I consider myself just starting my tai chi journey, I find it useful to reflect on my practice. When I do this, there are certain impressions that rise to the surface. This week I’d like to share them with you. Why…

Daoist Masters - Master Lin Reads The Book of Heaven

A Daoist Master Reads The Book of Heaven

During my years as a wandering Daoist, I spent some time at Taiqing Temple on Jiugong Mountain in Hubei Province (湖北省,九宫山,太清宫). It was there I met Master Lin (林道长)。 I had been at the temple for a year when Master Lin arrived. He was from a small temple in Hunan Province and also spending time…

The Five Steps to Building a Home Altar

The Five Steps to Building a Home Altar

Daoism teaches that the Dao manifests itself across six different realms, the heaven, spirit, human, animal, earthly, and ghost realms. An altar is a place to connect with the spirit realm and strengthen your own spiritual nature.  Here are the 5 steps to building an altar in your home: Find a suitable location When building…

How Daoists Celebrate Little New Year

How Daoists Celebrate Little New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival,  is the most important Chinese holiday. It is a time of reunion, celebration and tradition. But one of the most interesting Chinese New Year traditions takes place before the old year has even come to an end. On the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month,…

Bigu - Daoist Fasting

Bigu – Daoist Fasting

One of the most interesting things about Daoism is that it does not draw a line between spiritual and physical health. Daoist martial arts, qigong, and meditation all make changes in the body as a form of spiritual practice. One such Daoist art is bigu (辟谷) which means “avoiding grains”. Bigu is a fasting method…

4 Simple Qigong Exercises to Get You Through the Winter

Qigong is a traditional Chinese wellness practice that combines mindful body posture, breathing, and visualization.  The word “qigong” (气功) is made up of two Chinese characters.  The first character “qi” (气)is the natural energy that gives us life.  In traditional Chinese medicine, your Qi stimulates the flow of blood and ensures that the organs function…

The Daoist Bible

Here in the West, I have heard many people refer to the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching) as the “Daoist Bible”. While this isn’t completely wrong, it also isn’t completely right. The Dao De Jing is a very important sacred Daoist text, however it is not the only Daoist sacred text. If Daoism has…

Eating for Winter

Did you know that food can be used as medicine? Knowledge of the effects of different foods can be used to keep your body in balance and prevent illness as the seasons change. In the winter, Yin is dominant over Yang. The days are shorter and colder. All living things slow down. Animals hibernate, and…

Daoist Masters – Flying Legs Kuang

Ever wonder where Wudang kung fu’s amazing kicks came from? It’s time to meet Flying Legs Kuang. WordPress is evil There is a saying that all Daoist martial artists in China know. It is “Guo in the south, and Kuang in the North” (南郭北匡). This saying refers to two famous Daoist martial artist masters, Guo…

The Mountain of the Vermilion Bird

Mount Heng (衡山) is one of China’s most sacred mountains. It is in Hunan Province, about 100 kilometers from the provincial capital. In Chinese, the mountain is called Nanyue (南岳 – the Southern Marchmount).  Like Wudang Mountain, Nanyue is is not a single mountain, but a mountain range. The highest part of the range is…

Mazu

This is the story of a girl who became a goddess. In the year 960, on the island of Meizhou off the coast of Fujian Province, a girl was born to the Lin family.  Because she did not cry at birth, they named her Mo (默) meaning “silent”. One day, young Lin Mo was at…

Living With The Seasons – Winter

Winter is the most Yin of the seasons.  In the winter the temperature drops, it is dark outside, and people tend to spend more time indoors. Lakes freeze over and animals hibernate.  It is a time of stillness and quiet. Winter is the best time to rest and reflect.  When possible, go to sleep early…

How Chinese Foot Baths Can Improve Your Health

The Importance of the Feet Feet are the foundation of the body’s energy system, yet they are an often overlooked part of the body. One-quarter of the body’s bones are in the feet, and over 72,000 nerve endings. Six meridians (liver, gall bladder, kidney, bladder, spleen, and stomach) run through the feet, containing over 70…

Don’t Be in a Rush

Hi everyone! In the last post, we talked about making sure to properly build up our understanding of techniques and exercises in order to prevent injury.   (So, let’s go ahead and assume injury is a non-issue.  What’s left then?  If we’re injuring ourselves then shouldn’t we just keep going and learn more forms and…

Don’t Be In a Rush

Hello everybody! In today’s post let’s talk about, in my opinion, the most important reason for not rushing through your martial arts training: injury prevention. Every good training regiment has its warm-ups. Well over 99% of the time, I see students from our school and other schools doing their warm ups consistently and properly. So…

Don’t Be in a Rush

Something I see a lot in a variety of students is this pattern of being in a rush or skipping steps. I see new students wanting to try out the more advanced kicking combinations without having learned the individual kicks that make up the combo first. I’ve seen intermediate students who have studied other styles…

What Xingyi Can Teach You About Martial Power

Xingyi Quan “form and intention boxing” is the most esoteric of the internal martial arts, and the most aggressive. Xingyi overpowers an opponent with fast, close-range strikes. But how do you develop the internal power needed for Xingyi? Xingyi martial power is developed through practice, and practice starts with standing meditation. Unlike seated meditation or…

Mountain Climbing and Chrysanthemum Wine

The Double Nine Festival October 9th, 2016 on the Western calendar is the 9th day of the 9th lunar month on the traditional Chinese calendar.  It is the day we celebrate the Double Nine Festival.  The ancient divination manual, the Yi Jing (易经) uses 6 as a Yin number and 9 as a Yang number.…

The Day I Entered a Daoist Temple

I was 17 years old when I left the martial arts academy where I had grown up and entered a Daoist temple. In 1997, many of the temples on Wudang Mountain were at capacity; so getting accepted into the temple was not an easy process. I had a distant cousin who worked for the government…

Growing up on Wudang Mountain

In 1994, when I was 14 years old, my parents sent me to Wudang Mountain to study martial arts. There are many schools on Wudang now, but the only school at the time was the Daoist Association’s Martial Arts Academy. It was there that I began my training. WordPress is evil Our schedule was intense.…

Daoist nun – Sun Buer

Early Life Sun Buer 孙不二 (birth name Sun Fuchun 孙富春) was born into a wealthy family in Shandong Province in 1119. She was educated well as a child and enjoyed poetry and calligraphy. In her teens she was married to Ma Yu (马钰) the son of a prominent local family. Together they raised 3 sons.…

Jianghu – The Hidden World

The Chinese word jianghu (江湖) literally translates to “rivers and lakes” but it means so much more.  Jianghu is the name of the brotherhood of outsiders that existed in old China.  It is the counterculture society of workers who made their living with the skill of their own two hands: craftsmen, beggars, thieves, street performers, fortune…

Daoist Masters – Doctor Ye

In the spring of 1999, I was 19 years old, and living as a wandering monk. In my travels, I came to the Zhongnan Mountains (钟南山) in Shaanxi Province. I visited Louguantai Temple (楼观台) where it is said that Laozi wrote the Dao De Jing. When a Daoist goes to stay at a new temple,…

4 Ways You Can Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival

The mid-autumn festival (中秋节) is an important Chinese holiday.  It is celebrated every year on the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar.  On the Gregorian calendar, it falls on a full moon near the autumn equinox in September or early October.  The mid-Autumn festival this year is Thursday, September 15th.  The…

Understanding the Human Soul

Think of the human body was a microcosm, a physical landscape inhabited by different spirits.  This is how Daoists think of the body.  We believe that the human soul is made up of many different spirits.  The Yang aspect of the soul is made up of the three Hun (魂) and the Yin aspect of…

Eating for Autumn

Dietary therapy is an important part of Chinese medicine. By observing the effect that different foods had on the body, the ancient Chinese classified them into categories by flavor, their ability to heat and cool the body, and their moistening or drying effects. Knowledge of the effects of different foods can be used to keep…

What’s Wrong with the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts?

The traditional Chinese martial arts are wonderful. They are an irreplaceable part of Chinese cultural heritage. Their teachings encapsulate the the wisdom of thousands of years. They create a flexible, strong mind and body. Practicing these arts is a way to give yourself the gift of physical and mental well being. WordPress is evil But,…

How Daoists Say “Hi”

Instead of waving to each other or shaking hands, Daoists says “hi” use a hand gesture called the Zi Wu gesture.  The same hand gesture is also used for devotional practices and in meditation.  But, what does the Zi Wu Gesture mean?  In order to understand the Zi Wu gesture, we need to talk a bit…

Daoist Answers 10 Questions From Readers

For this blog post, Daoist XuanYun Zhou asked readers to send him any questions they may have.  Questions came from followers of his Facebook page, members of his private Facebook group, and students in his Boston classes. Here are his answers. . .   About Martial Arts Q: Do the different Wudang sword forms teach different energies?…

The Hidden Meaning of the Daoist Topknot

Perhaps you have noticed that I have an unusual hair style.  Many Daoists have long hair worn up in a topknot.  Learning about the Daoist topknot can teach you about Daoism and Chinese culture. WordPress is evil Daoists believe that people should live in harmony with the natural flow of energy that runs through all things.  Not…

Why Priests Use Weapons

Weapons are associated with violence.  They exist to help someone defeat an opponent quickly and from a distance.  Because of their connection to brutality, many people ask why Daoist priests train weapons. The answer is that many of the Daoist weapons were objects that the Daoist happened to have on hand for other purposes. Most…

The Truth about Wudang History

China has experienced an unbelievable amount of change in the last 50 years. During that time, the Wudang marital arts have faced persecution, experienced a renaissance, and begun to spread internationally. Understanding these changes, is an important part of understanding the Wudang martial arts. Cultural Revolution 1966-1976 From 1966 to 1976, China’s underwent a time…

Secrets You Can Learn From Water

Without water, there would be no life. Life on his planet began in water, and without water, life as we know it would end. Daoists celebrate water’s purifying properties and use water as a tool for both spiritual and physical healing. Daoism teaches that water can be a spiritual teacher. Water helps all living things…

Why is everyone talking about breathing?

Breathing is simple. You inhale and your body expands with air. You exhale and the air is pushed out. It is so simple, that most people never thing about how they breathe. But, proper breathing is a powerful tool. No other practice will produce such an immediate and profound impact on your physical and mental…

Zhen Wu The Perfect Warrior

The protector of Wudang Mountain is the Dark Warrior (玄武 Xuánwǔ).  The Dark Warrior is a turtle intertwined with a snake.  It is one of the Si Shen (四神), four Chinese astrological figures that symbolize the cardinal directions and elements. North – Xuan Wu (玄武) the Dark Warrior – Water Soth – Vermillion Bird (朱雀)…

Calligraphy and the Sword

Someone once told me the story of a duel between a Japanese calligrapher and a samurai.  The calligrapher had been walking in the market one day when he accidentally bumped into the samurai.  The samurai was offended and challenged the calligrapher to a duel.  The calligrapher was terrified.  He had never held a sword in his…

Why Taiji

One of the questions I get asked a lot by our students is, “what is your favorite style, Henry?” To which I answer with not a moment’s hesitation, “Taijiquan.” This catches a lot of students off guard since they usually see me coaching our Kung Fu classes and demonstrating the fast and dynamic movements there. …

How to Follow the Dao

How to Follow the Dao without a Master Many people are dream of  finding a master, living in a temple, and realizing spiritual truths.  But in modern times, most people have financial obligations and commitments to their families that determine their lifestyle.  The good news is, it is possible to practice Daoism without leaving home. …

Letter to a Beginning Martial Arts Student

Congratulations on starting a martial arts practice! Martial arts can help you stay in shape, protect yourself, and feel happy.  But, martial arts are not easy.  Martial arts show us our weak spots and push us to new limits.  Here is my advice on how to meet this challenge and build a practice that will…

8 Immortals

The 8 Immortals

If you are practicing Wudang style martial arts, I am sure you have heard of the 8 Immortal staff and sword forms.  The 8 Immortals are a group of folk heroes who play an important role in Chinese culture. They first appeared as a group in the Ming Dynasty novel Chronicle of the Eight Immortals’…

Standing Meditation for Health and Healing

Please begin by reading  “Standing Meditation for Martial Power” first. The standing meditation practices for health and healing use proper body alignment and relaxation to encourage proper Qi flow and remove physical and emotional blockages. This differs from the martial standing because the whole body is relaxed, with no force or power. Qigong style standing…

Standing meditation for Martial Power

When you hear the word “meditation” you probably picture a person sitting down.  But, standing meditation (zhàn zhuāng 站桩) is a simple and powerful practice you can use to build strength, improve balance, increase sensitivity, calm the mind, and promote healthy Qi flow. There are two main types of standing meditation depending on your goals:…

Living with the Seasons – Summer

Summer has the most Yang energy of all of the seasons.  When the weather is nice and the sun is out, people want to have fun outside. Summer is a time of light, activity, and joy.  In Chinese traditional thought, summer is associated with fire, the color red, and the heart and small intestine in…

Daoist Masters – Immortal Cui

When I was 22 years old, I met a fortune telling master for the first time.  During my time as a wandering monk, I spent half a year at Mingfeng Mountain (鸣凤山) in Hubei Province.   It was there that I met Cui Ji Cai (崔吉财).  Everyone calls him Immortal Cui (崔神仙).  He was middle-aged and…

Xing Yi Quan and the Legend of Yue Fei

Of all of the martial arts that I practice, Xing Yi Quan (形意拳, Form and Intention Fist) is one of my favorites.  Xing Yi Quan is the oldest internal martial art, and is the most no-nonsense. I first encountered this style in 1995, when I was living in the martial arts academy.  We were initially…

The Health Benefits of Internal Martial Arts

Practicing an internal martial art is a great way to maintain good health.  Instead of using brute strength to overpower an opponent, the internal arts use fluid, whole body movements. The Chinese internal martial arts include: Tai Chi - “Great Ultimate Fist” Ba Gua - “Eight Trigrams Palm”  Xing Yi - “Form and Intention Fist”…

Chinese Summer Diet Recommendations and Practice

Diet therapy is an important part of Chinese medicine that uses certain foods to intentionally cause changes in the body. By observing the different effects that foods had on the body, the ancient Chinese classified the different foods into categories by flavor, their ability to heat and cool the body, and their moistening or drying…

Yin and Yang of Physical Training and Discipline

Yin and Yang refer to two complementary forces that can be found in all things in the universe.  Everything in nature (seasons, night and day, birth and death, etc.) can be understood as Yin and Yang.  Chinese philosophy teaches that: Yin and Yang cannot exist without each other –you can’t have night without day There…

Religion & The Martial Arts

People often ask if me it if people of other religions can study the Wudang arts.  The answer to this question is rooted in the relationship between the Wudang martial arts and the Daoist arts. “Wudang Arts” is a very broad category that could include any practice found on the mountain.  But at Wudang we practice different kinds…

The Symbolism of Wudang Sword Forms

Wudang martial arts come from Wudang Mountain in China.  Of all the martial arts we practice on the mountain, Wudang is the most famous for the sword. Some of the Wudang sword forms include the Eight Immortals’ Sword, the Taiyi Daoist sword, and Tai Chi sword.  Mastering the sword is considered the highest achievement in…

Shaolin Vs. Wudang

Many people in the United States ask me the difference between Wudang style and Shaolin style.  Both Shaolin and Wudang are traditional Chinese martial arts, but they are different in many ways. SHAOLIN Shaolin style kung fu comes from Shaolin Temple, in Henan Province, Northern China.  Legend has it that around 500 CE, a Buddhist…

Daoist Masters – Su

In 1999, when I was 19 years old, I stayed in the Jade Spring Temple (玉泉院) on Hua Mountain in Shaanxi Province.  One of my closest friends on Hua Mountain was Zhong Faqing (钟法清) a Hua Mountain Daoist who I had met when he was visiting Wudang Mountain. One evening after dinner, Zhong Faqing said…

How to Choose a Martial Art to Start Learning

Choosing which martial art to learn can be difficult.  There are many choices available. Different martial arts will benefit you in different ways, so being clear on your goal will make your choice easier. Self-Defense Every martial art teaches some elements of fighting and self-defense, but some more-so than others.  For example, Chinese Wushu is…

Daoist Tricks for Better Sleep

Over 70 million Americans suffer from disorders of sleep and wakefulness.  It is no wonder that so many people feel exhausted, and turn to coffee or sleeping pills to regulate their energy levels.  Fortunately, there are ancient Daoist techniques that can improve the quality of your sleep Calm the Five Senses Daoism teaches us that…

Diet for Spring

Improving your health is an important part of any spiritual path.  This can be done through exercise, qigong, and meditation.  Another way to improve your health is through diet. By eating mindfully and by making minor changes to what you eat, you can use food to bring your body into balance with the world around…

Spring with the Ancient Chinese Calendar

Although modern China uses the Gregorian calendar for day to day use, China also has a traditional calendar that has existed for over 5,000 years.  The traditional calendar is still used throughout Asia to determine the dates of holidays and choose lucky days for special events like weddings. The 24 Solar Terms Thousands of years…