Learning Wudang Kung fu, and Taoist Culture.

Qin Tze Wudang Mountain Retreat offers the unique opportunity to learn QigongGuqin, and Taiji Quan on Wudang Mountain. A step back in time the retreat is nestled on the hillside of a beautiful valley on Wudang Mountain. From Master Qin Tze’s retreat you not only have stunning views, but also can enjoy hikes all over Wudang Shan and up to the Golden Peak. The Retreat is not only a great place to learn it is also a fun, very authentic place to study Wudang Martial Arts, Music and Longevity practices. Master Qin Tze has a huge wealth of information to share. Students attending this retreat can expect a curriculum that is very heart, and culture centred through Taoist philosophy and Qi cultivation.

Below is a video giving a glimpse of life at the school.

Below is an example of the retreat time table

– A normal training day would begin at 06:30. From 07:00 to 09:00 you will learn Taiji Quan and Qigong.

– From 09:30am morning practice will include personal study, farming and daily Taoist Health practices.

– After lunch you will take part in afternoon study meditation and tea culture.

– Dinner starts at 16:30. After dinner training in Xuan Wu, Wudang Sword, and Taoist Baguazhang.

– From 19:30 to 21:00 evening Gu Qin class.

– This is followed by free time. Bedtime is normally 22:30

Review of Tancheng Chan Kung fu School

Check out some of the latest reviews of Tancheng Chan Kung fu School one of the most affordable schools available for learning kung fu in China.

Tan Cheng Chan Wu International Kung fu School 

Tancheng Chan Wu International Kung fu School is an all-inclusive residential kung fu school in China offering food, accommodation, martial arts training and additional classes for very reasonable prices. At this kung fu school you can learn Shaolin Kung fu, Taichi, Qigong, Wing Chun, Calligraphy, and even Chinese traditional music. With 3 meals a day included as well as the choice of rooms or a private apartment students are given a level of flexibility that is not available at some other international martial arts schools in China in terms of accommodation options.

Located in Linyi, Shandong Province and close to Mengshan National Park the martial arts school has a rural feel as well as a good Kung fu Master to Kung fu Student ratio. Living costs at the school are low and the school translators are more than happy to provide students with assistance when necessary either when learning kung fu or for daily life.

Ashraf Abouali, from Lebanon

“The Tancheng Chan Kungfu School is a great place to learn Kungfu and experience the best form of the Chinese culture, it is located in a peaceful place surrounded by farms and large wheat fields, I learnt Wingchun and Shoilin Kungfu and gained a brotherhood that will stay with me for life. The masters are amazing, they care for you alot and they will consider you part of there family, and they will listen to all what you have to say and make you benifet from all you potentials. “

Salman Abouali, from Lebanon

“Tancheng Chanwu international kungfu school is the best place to learn kungfu and the best experience you can make in life with best masters.”

Markus Joohs, from Germany

“Good atmosphere to train and experience kungfu, friendly staff and experienced kungfu masters. Very nice area and real China feeling and great food, nice vegetarian options especially for breakfast. Have been there for a month and hope to go there soon again”.

Kenadid Osman, from Somalia

“A great place to learn kung fu, located in beautiful countryside by lashes and trees, masters are pretty helpful and professional, people at the school are friendly And place is so clean. It doesn’t matter whether you’re familiar with martial arts or not. In just three months i learnt kung fu skills that i will use over a lifetime.”

For further information on this school you can visit the studymartialarts.org website for an independent look at what the school has to offer. For a quick guide to pricing see their monthly prices below.

 

My Martial Arts Journey

by Bill Fettes

My martial arts journey began in 1969 at the first classes of the Tomiki aikido style in Melbourne, Australia, under the guidance of (then) Leoni Heap.  I was a drifter at the time, doing unskilled work in order to finance my travels in Australia and overseas.  I was playing several contact sports at the time and Aikido was a fitness adjunct for me.  Eventually, against my better judgement, I was persuaded to attempt my shodan grading.  I had coached junior sports during my youth and suspected that I would be requested to teach when I made shodan, so I had resisted for nearly a decade.

Sure enough when I received my grading and whilst making preparations to travel to South America, I was asked to go to Sydney to fill in for a teacher who was relocating.  Not being particularly stable at the time, I accepted and through that decision was able to meet and learn from the first person to teach Shindo Muso ryu jyodo (way of the stick) in Australia, Paul Maloney sensei.

Shindo Muso ryu Jyojutsu
Shindo Muso ryu Jyojutsu at International school in Tokyo ca 1989

I was ready to depart for South America after a couple of years in Sydney, when the Falklands war broke out and I was advised it was an inopportune time to visit South America.  Step up Paul Maloney, who suggested a trip to Japan instead.  As he had not long returned from Asia himself and was full of praise for the culture and fighting arts, I quickly agreed.

Through Paul and his contacts, I obtained various introductions to Jyodo and Aikido dojos,where I trained under such notables as Kaminoda Tsunemori (SMR jyo), Ohba Hideo (Tomiki aikido), Nitta Suzuo (Toda ha Buko ryu naginata jutsu) and long-time Japan resident Phil Relnick (SMR).   Through the introduction of the principal of my Japanese language school, I commenced my third style of karate and Taijichuan, with Nakano Harumi sensei, a well-known teacher in Japan and China.  I studied with her for the best part of 8 or 9 years and, through her, was introduced to various teachers, including Matsuda Ryuichi who taught me Xingyi chuan, Bagua zhang and Shaolin chuan.  We were also regularly exposed to teachers from the Chen jia gou (Chen village) in their annual visits to Tokyo.

In 1989, I was introduced by friends to Nitta Suzuo shihan of the Toda ha Buko ryu naginata jutsu school, which I have also studied since that time.

When it was time (a regular occurrence for foreigners) to leave the country to renew my visa, Nakano sensei suggested the Chen village for further training.  Most foreigners either went home to renew their visa or went to Korea for a few days, but I wanted something more.

I wanted to continue Xingyi and Bagua as well as Taiji, so we decided on Shanghai, instead of the village and Nakano sensei gave me introductions to her friend Mr. Chu Jin Ming, who was then the vice president of the Shanghai Chin Woo athletic society and 2IC of the Shanghai Olympic Hotel, which at the time was the safest place for foreigners to meet Chinese without the obligatory “spies” getting their knickers in a knot.  Remember, this was 1987, shortly before Tiananmen

Mr. Chu introduced me to He Bing Quan who introduced me to Wang Zhong Dao.  Master He had trained with Chen Zhao Kui when they lived together in Shanghai.  He was a Shaolin master who had trained in several styles of Taijichuan under the old masters.

Wang Zhong Dao/ He Bin Quan
Wang Zhong Dao & He Bin Quan (ca 1990) at Shanghai Olympic Hotel

Master Wang had trained under Master Chu Gui Ting, a student of the famous Li Tsun Yi and taught me his version of Xingyi and Bagua – which differed slightly from Matsuda sensei’s version (which he learnt in Taiw

an).  When Master Wang died, I continued under Master Chen Jian Yun who had studied Shansi style Xingyi as well as learning from Master Chu.  When he died, I was left rudderless, to continue on my own.

Then, in 2018, I was lucky enough to find Mr. David Kelly at studymartialarts.org who provides a wonderful introduction service for practitioners seeking training in Chinese chuan fa.  Whilst scrolling through his pages, I happened to come across a reference to Master Chu Yu Cheng.  Further research showed that he was the grandson of Chu Gui Ting – fancy that, his other students (my teachers) never mentioned he had a grandson!

David quickly arranged for us to get together and I went to Shanghai for the first time in 15 years to resume my true lineage.  I found Master Chu to be extremely knowledgeable and up to date.  Lest I be considered to be a poor follower of my previous teachers, they were getting on in years and had possibly forgotten some of the deeper work.  No such problem with Master Chu – in the space of a month, he was able to upskill me, even after 30 plus years of training in the art under various Masters.

Master Chu Yu Cheng
Master Chu Yu Cheng teaching Xingyi Quan

Unfortunately, it was a test run for me and I had let my Chinese skills lapse, which made it hard for Master Chu, but he never failed to teach from his heart and luckily enough I had enough experience to bumble through.  In order to honour him and his compassionate students, I am frantically trying to rejuvenate my language skills before my next visit.

If there is one theme you will notice through this narrative about Asian combatives it is INTRODUCTIONS – they are essential in Asia (for locals and foreigners) and you won’t find a more generous spirit with the necessary contacts than David Kelly.

If you wish to read more you can find my book “At the Feet of the Masters” on Kindle books.

Best wishes

Bill Fettes

Simplified Taijichuan (Licenced instructor All Japan Taichi Assn.)

Yang style Taijichuan (Fu Zhong Wen lineage)

Chen style Taijichuan (He Bin Quan lineage from Chen Zhao kui)

Xingyi chuan (Chu Guiting lineage)

Bagua zhang (Chu Guiting lineage)

Tomiki aikido (roku dan)

Shindo Muso ryu Jyojutsu (Yodan, Go moku roku)

Isshin ryu kusari gama jutsu

Kasumi shinto ryu kenjutsu

Uchida ryu tanjyo jutsu

Toda ha Buko ryu naginata jutsu (Chuden)

You can find details of Bill’s classes here. at budokaiaustralia.com

My Journey to China to Learn Kung Fu

by Carmen Isabella

Here in Germany most of the kids do an Au pair year or go to Australia for Work & Travel or just take a break for one year at home to find out what they want to study after it. From my school a lot of my classmates go directly to university because that is the way it is supposed to be if you attended the ‘Gymnasium’ (the version of high school that only lasts twelve years of school and is commonly described as the most difficult one) – according to teachers and principals.

“What are you going to do after your abitur?”

I must have heard that question about a thousand times. My response almost comes naturally:

“I am going to travel to China and there I am going to study Kung Fu.”

Some people gave me a polite laugh and then asked again: “No really, what are you going to do? Which university will you go to?”, others just raised their eyebrows and didn’t ask any further. I think that a lot of people thought it was just a phase I was going through. Last week a friend came to me and asked me if I still wanted to go to Asia. Yes, I booked my flight month ago, yes I do this voluntarily: I want to train the whole day six times a week. Yes, I am a 18 year old girl and yes I do Taekwondo and am really passionate about martial arts. But I am not annoyed. I love to talk about it and I don’t mind explaining every last detail my research came up with to anybody. I know that this is what I want to do after school, what I want to do now.

I am really lucky that my family supports me and my decisions. Almost one year ago I spend weeks researching on the internet for a programme that would allow me to study Kung Fu. The idea came right after I spend my summer break in Korea at the Sehan University with my Taekwondo-Team. I have never been that exhausted in my life. Three training sessions a day (at least) and rice everyday to lunch and dinner. And I loved it.

I decided to try a different style of martial arts and chose Kung Fu. A really easy decision
since I have been dreaming about becoming a Teen-Shaolin-Monk since I was a kid and got obsessed with the ‘Five Ancestors’– book saga by Jeff Stone. I am currently on the last metaphorical meters to finishing my last 3 exams before high school is over and somehow I still find the time to write this article/blogpost and enjoying my
time. I am even enjoying studying. Because I understood and still learn to understand every single day that I live in the present and that I can determine it. So why not take a chance and go to China ;).

I know I can only get to the very top of the iceberg by researching, reading the website of the Yuntai Mountain Cultural and Martial Arts school over and over again, learning the basics of the Chinese language and getting in contact with people who have already experienced similar adventures.

At this point I would like to add that I am really thankful for the help and support with my plans which I got and still get from the website www.studymartialarts.org and it’s operator David Kelly. I can’t imagine how my individual experience will be and how I am going to change. I will probably laugh about the things I imagine now at the time I am there but I do it anyway. This blog is as much for me as it is for everyone interested in the topic for various reasons. If I can make my future self laugh or paint a smile on her face I already achieved something with it.

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Carmen Isabella

Carmen Isabella – Studies martial arts in China. She recently graduated from high school and did Taekwondo in her home country Germany which already led her to Korea last summer. Her interest in martial arts in general will lead her this summer to China where she plans to study Kung Fu for 6 month. As one of her other passions is writing she wants to share her future experiences with detailed reports about her journey to help and give tips to other travellers and especially women who are interested in martial arts. To learn more about Carmen’s journey click here.

Chinese Kung Fu throughout the ages

by Du Peizhi

There is no doubt to many Chinese that the original source of martial arts is China, but the history of this art is highly controversial. In primitive times when tribes traveled throughout what is now known as China. They fought not for trophies or medals, but for survival against wild animals and other tribes or even within their own hierarchy.

The first time martial arts started it is widely thought it came in form of wrestling. Participants would intertwine their arms to mimic the interlocking horns of animals and the stronger would try and subdue the weaker. The only weapons that would have been available at this time were primitive clubs, sticks and small rocks.

When the tribes became more organized they started to develop their weapons and combat skills. They sharpened the ends of sticks to make spears. Also, they began to tie a shaped rock to a club, to produce a weapon that we call today as an ax.

Shang period (16—11 century BCE)

When Chinese tribal society developed as result their combat skills were developed. The most important change came during the Bronze Age in China between the (16th and 11th centuries BCE).

After discovering the bronze there was a significant advancement in the development of different weapons, such as ax, the halberd, spear, straight sword, bow and arrow and broad sword.

At that time the several Chinese tribal began to organize their armies by equipping their armies with horses, armor, and long-handled weapons such as the long-handled broadsword

Horsemanship skills were improved during that time in order to use the weapons more effectively.

Spring & autumn and warring states period (770-220 BCE)

During this period both armed and unarmed combat skills became highly improved by adding many methods of attack, self-defense as well as counter attack.

Also during this time martial art competitions and events became very popular throughout China and many people were seriously wounded or killed because of lack of protective and safety clothes and wraps. This did not lead stoppage of the enthusiasm for competing, however.

Fighting using swords became very popular during this time. Both female and male shared the love of sword fighting.

Qin dynasty (221-207 BCE)

Martial arts competitions became much stricter during this period, with more rules, the placement of referees and improve the use of the laitai (a raised open ring; pronounced lay tie).

During the periods previously mentioned, combat skills were used to develop the armies whose leaders were always struggling for supremacy. Many of the famous generals during that time were very skilled in armed and unarmed combat skills, and by this time the martial arts’ skills were continuously being refined or modified to keep up with the development of weapons. With the several weapons now being used, the most popular were known as the Eighteen Weapons (sword, longbow, crossbow, lance, battle-axe, staff, long-bladed spear, cudgel, dagger ax, fork, truncheon, mallet, jingal, joined bludgeon, chain, hooks, halberd, and shield).

Han dynasty (206 BCE—220 CE) to Sui Tang dynasty (518-907 CE)

During Han and Sui Tang Dynasties the development of martial arts within the army forces continued. Officers and generals had to take tests then ranked by their skills. These tests consisted of the both armed and unarmed combat skills, on foot or on horseback.

Now you can see how the Chinese martial arts developed through the military training. Many people in the West have only heard of the word of Kung Fu to refer Chinese martial arts, but in fact, the correct term that refers all Chinese martial arts is Wushu. The term Wushu covers all kinds and styles of the Chinese martial arts.

The Chinese character Wu 武means military and the Chinese character for Shu 术means art.

So merging the two characters together simply merges the military training and the arts together.

There is a direct translation of Wushu into English but is generally known as Chinese martial arts.

Song dynasty (960-1279 CE)

During the Song Dynasty, martial art associations had been organized and set up in the different provinces of China. And Kung Fu/Wushu was most popular art during this period.

A part of the civilian population was now demonstrated Kung Fu/Wushu performances at festivals.

While many street performers demonstrate their Kung Fu Skills by breaking large rocks with their bare hands and breaking spear shafts.

Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE)

During the Ming Dynasty, Kung Fu/Wushu began to form many different schools.

Before this time martial artist and Masters kept their skills secret and lessons were passed from the master to the student through word of the month, there was very little written books or articles, therefore the student was not able to read and they only rely on watching and listening to their masters.

However, there are paintings that have been unearthed dating back to the primitive age and shows men wrestling in different combat stances.

Qing dynasty (1644-1911 CE)

During the Qing Dynasty, the martial arts became more defined in their several skills, every school developing its own approach to the many training methods. There was also a rise in secret societies that used Kung Fu/Wushu to great effect.

It reported that students practiced not only their art but also they were taught poems or songs and calligraphy, the words of which held the secret of their fighting skills.

During this period many of the styles that we know today were developed, such as Tan Tui, Xingyiquan, Taijiquan, Baghuaquan, Changquan, Bajiquan, and Tongbiquan.

the Jing Wu Sports Society (Shanghai) was formed In 1910 and that was considered the beginning of the Kung Fu/Wushu martial arts that we know today. In 1928 the now-famous Nanjing Academy (the Central Wushu Institute) was established by the Chinese Government to develop Kung Fu/Wushu as a structured training syllabus, not just for self-defense but for the obvious health purposes.

It was during the Qing Dynasty that many of the Kung Fu styles known today were developed including Taijiquan.

1900 onward

In 1936 Kung Fu delegates were sent out to visit Southeast Asia in order to spread and develop the many different styles of Kung Fu. In the same year, the Chinese Wushu Team present a show at the XI Olympic Games in Berlin.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 Kung Fu/Wushu has become a significant part of the Chinese culture, and is on all physical education curricula. Kung Fu is listed in all existed sports institutes.

The Chinese Wushu Association was founded in 1956. The State Physical, Cultural & Sports Commission in 1958 presented the first draft of Kung Fu/Wushu Competition Rules, which was officially adopted during the same year. Throughout Wushu history from old times to today, the fundamental rationale for competitions was aimed to spread the culture, knowledge, and skills and to improve the development of Kung Fu/Wushu.

The term Kung Fu originated in Hong Kong and means any skill that requires an effort or “a skilled man” that works with his hands.

Kung Fu as were introduced to the west by the Bruce Lee in early 1970s.

Since then there has been an increasing interest in Kung Fu particularly Kung Fu Films. The first television series about Kung Fu was David Carradine’s (Kung Fu), Jackie Chan has made many successful films, Chow Yun Fat is a well known movie for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Jet Li is now the new world Kung Fu star. All these famous films have been very good for the promotion of Chinese Kung Fu.

The International Wushu Federation and the Executive and Technical Committees supported by the Chinese Sports Ministry, are all working toward improving Kung Fu/Wushu and their efforts yielded entering of Kung Fu/Wushu into the 2008 Olympic Games, which hold in Beijing.

My General Travel Tips for Visiting Wudang Shan

1. When travelling, be sure to keep an eye on your belongings whether you take the train, bus or plane. Keep your passport, money, and other valuables on your person at all times.

2. Make sure that you keep your point of contact at StudyMartialArts.Org updated on your travel plans in case of changes. Normally we will add you to a group on Wechat so communication with both the school and us is clear and you always have someone supporting you. This will also ensure that someone is waiting at the train station or airport to pick you up, if you’ve requested it. It would not be the first time that schools have forgot to do this or there has been delays or miscommunications. Article on the Best Travel Apps for China.

3. Be aware of the Great Firewall of China. Some social media sites, like Facebook and YouTube, are blocked. Also if you use Gmail this will also be a problem to access. If you wish to setup a VPN, it is best to do so prior to your travel. And here is an article on the best ones. I highly recommend ExpressVPN.

4. Travel according to the seasons. While cloths can be bought in Wudang, larger size shoes can be more difficult to find. Make sure you come prepared with proper footwear and clothing.​ If you can I always recommend you bring a good all season sleeping bag as it will add some extra comfort and keep you warmer during cold winters.

5. Overall, have a good plan that is well communicated with the your point of contact at StudyMartialArts.Org. We have experience coordinating students from countries all over the world! We won’t let you down!

Cities famous for Martial Arts in China – Cangzhou City, Hebei

The-Iron-Lion

by Greg Bundage

Cangzhou City is in the South-east of Hebei Province and is called the martial arts and acrobatics village – one of the birthplaces of Chinese martial arts. It has a population of about half a million and is only 90 km from Tienjin, a major port city 180 km south of Beijing.

Cangzhou is the famous hometown of martial  arts. Enjoying equal fame with central China’s Dengfeng and southeast China’s  Putian, Cangzhou is one of the three traditional martial arts centers. With a long history, Cangzhou has various martial arts sects. A person born in  Cangzhou is probably going to be asked whether he is good at martial arts during his first meeting with others.

In the late Qing Dynasty, many martial arts masters emerged. The most famous master is Wang Wu, who was called Big Blade. Another master Huo Yuanjia (1868-1910 A.D.), whose original family home was in Cangzhou, was regarded as a national hero for his continuous victories over foreign challengers.

There are over 600 martial arts schools in  Cangzhou now, where martial arts fans from all over the world learn and practice martial arts. In local middle and primary schools, martial arts are  listed on sports courses. More than 300 schools established their own martial arts teams. Martial arts have become an important cultural industry in the  city. Many people make their living by teaching martial arts. However, most people practice martial arts for body building and health.
Source: http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=58645
Source: (Xinhua/Chen Xiaowei)

Bājíquán (Chinese: 八極拳; pinyinBājíquán;Japanese: 八極拳, Hakkyokuken) is a Chinese martial art that features explosive, short-range power and is famous for its elbow strikes.  It originated in Hebei Province in Northern China, but is also well-known in other places today, especially Taiwan. Its full name is kai men baji quan (開門八極拳), which means “open-gate eight-extremities fist”.

Baji quan was originally called bazi quan (巴子拳 or 鈀子拳) or “rake fist” because the fist, held loosely and slightly open, are used to strike downwards in a rake-like fashion. The name was considered to be rather crude in its native tongue, so it was changed to baji quan. The term baji comes from the Daoist classic, the Yijing(I-Ching), and signifies an “extension of all directions”. In this case, it means “including everything” or “the universe.”

The first recorded baji quan teacher was Wu Zhong 吳鍾 (1712–1802). Famous teachers that promoted the style included Wu Xiufeng 吳秀峰 and Li Shuwen 李書文 (1864–1934). The latter was from Cangzhou, Hebei, and earned himself the nickname “God of Spear Li”. A Peking opera Wu Shen (martial male character) by training, he was also an expert fighter. His most famous quote is, “I do not know what it’s like to hit a man twice.” Li Shuwen’s students included Huo Dian Ge 霍殿閣 (bodyguard to Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China), Li Chenwu (bodyguard to Mao Zedong), and Liu Yun Qiao 劉雲樵 (secret agent for the nationalist Kuomintangand instructor of the bodyguards of Chiang Kai Shek). Baji quan has since acquired a reputation as the “bodyguard style”.

Baji quan shares roots with another Hebei martial art, Piguazhang. It is said that Wu Zhong, the oldest traceable master in the baji lineage, taught both arts together as an integrated fighting system. They eventually split apart, only to be recombined by Li Shuwenin the late 18th to early 19th century. As a testament to the complementary nature of these two styles, there is a proverb that goes: “When pigua is added to baji, gods and demons will all be terrified. When baji is added to pigua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it.” (八極參劈掛,神鬼都害怕。劈掛參八極,英雄嘆莫及)
Source: Wikipedia

This article was featured in www.fightingartsasia.com

Here are two schools in Cangzhou carrying on the tradition for teaching martial arts as well as intensive full time kung fu training in China. 

The Bajiquan International Training Center

school imageThe Bajiquan International Training Center is school dedicated to teaching students the art of Baji Quan. Located in the Muslim autonomous county of Mengcun, Cangzhou City in Hebei province in the historical home of Baji Quan (Eight extremes fist). The school lineage is steeped in Wu family history and prestige, boasting a long line of family masters. At the school you can learn Bajiquan, Pigua, Sanda, Liu He Fist, Tantui, Cha Fist and Taizu Fist.

Facilities: Impressive training facilities both indoor and outdoor as well as excellent student living conditions.

Training at the Baji Quan International Training Center focuses on Baji Quan.  At the school you will train in Baji Quan basics, theory and the history of Baji, “assault methods of Bajiquan” as well as tactics for Baji competition. You will learn a comprehensive system of attack, defense and wrestling and be exposed to Dazhuang and Kaozhuang as well as the school’s Qigong and traditional Chinese medicine.

Additional styles taught to supplement your Bajiquan include the following Piguazhang, Liu He Fist, Tantui, Cha Fist and Taizu Changquan.

Each day students will train for at least 6 hours, 6 days per week with a Monday off as a day of rest. And all students have access to the excellent school facilities, training and conditioning equipment.

Typical Training Schedule: 

Morning Training – 9am – 11am
Afternoon Training – 3pm – 5pm
Evening Training – 7pm – 9pm

The Curriculum:

1. Theory & Philosophy
2. Stance Training
3. Explosive Power Training
4. Internal Training
5. Fighting Techniques
6. Fighting Tactics
7. Forms
8. Weapons

Prices: Prices per month start from 6000 RMB / $900 USD for food, accommodation and tuition. You can learn more about the school here.

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Cangzhou Technical College

Cangzhou Technical College is a full-time state run vocational college where you can study wushu in China. Students can chose to study for either a full semester or on a monthly basis. Both options are the cheapest I have seen to date in China.

The course includes an introduction to wushu, taiji, baduanjin, wuxinggong and wushu culture. Along side the martial arts studies participants of this course can expect to learn the Chinese language, Calligraphy and also take part in local tours to kung fu schools and visits to various local martial arts masters of interest.

Prices: Tuition and Accommodation for a semester 4600 RMB / $695 USD or for a month 1500 RMB / $226 USD.

Full details of this Wushu Course with Cangzhou Technical College as well as full details on the Bajiquan International Training Center can be provided on request when you visit StudyMartialArts.Org or email info@studymartialarts.org.

Study Martial Arts in China

Here’s a short video explaining why if you want to study martial arts in China you should book through www.StudyMartialArts.Org

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If you book your place before the end of June 2018 you’ll get 5% off your training, accommodation and food. Other exclusive offers can be found on the website’s current promotions for kung fu schools in China.

StudyMartialArts.Org offer – Martial Arts Training and Travel experiences in China and Thailand. With one point of contact and independent information as well as support its not just a booking platform but much more. Contact them now for further information.

How to practice Liu Zi Jue – The six healing sounds

Practice Tips

Liu Zi Jue is a set of Qigong exercises for health and fitness. During the exercise breath work, pronunciation and movement are combined. The following provides beginners and advanced practitioners with tips for perfecting the exercise.

Adjusting the mouth forms and feeling the air flow

Mouth forms should be done correctly with particular attention given to pronunciation and air flow. Beginners should find the right mouth form and then exhale with gently making the sound.

Combining the mind with breathing and movements

Renmai
Renmai
Dumai meridian
Dumai meridian

During practice the mind should be relaxed and in tune with the movements and the accompanying prolonged breathing and pronunciation. Excessive effort in the mind and body should be avoided. Focus should be on the breath work in a way that it is combined with physical movements that assists and compliment and enhance the practice.

It helps to relax the body and calm the mind, and dredge such meridians as Renmai (or conception vessel extending along the anterior midline of the body) to improve the circulation of the blood and vital energy.

Breathing with slight control

Liu Zi Jue should be done naturally using regress breathing.

Regress breathing occurs when inhalation is done through the nose and the chest is expanded while pulling in the abdomen. On the out breath this should be reversed through the mouth, increasing upward and downward movements diaphragm. This process both massages the organs and improves the circulation of blood and vital energy. Excessive efforts should be avoided.

Coordinating breathing with slow, realised and gentle movements

During practice even, prolonged and relaxed breathing and pronunciation will achieve the best results.

Step by step for consistency

Find a quiet place to practice in peace, be consistent in your practice. An environment that relaxes and allows the mind to be at peace is essential as is confidence in the exercises health benefits.

This article is based on studies and guidance compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association. 

Learn Liu Zi Jue, the Six Healing Sounds

Introduction

Liu Zi Jue is a traditional Chinese health practice. Liu Zi Jue or Six Healing Sounds is an exercise that regulates and controls the rise and fall of Qi inside the body and related in halation and exhalation through different mouth forms.

The six healing sounds are “XU, HE, HU,SI, CHUI and XI” and their aim is the strengthening of the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys and sanjiao (the three portions of the body cavities housing the internal organs). The exercises are designed to be completed slowly, gently, with extended and graceful movements.

Practitioners of these exercises report not only that they have experienced a general improvement in their quality of life but also that they have experienced an improvement in their social relationships. With decreased family frictions ranking among the top benefits of this practice. This is likely due to the calmness brought about by the gentile breathing movements. Other medical tests have shown positive improvements and curing of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and high blood sugar.

This article is based on the work of the Chinese Health Qigong Association.

Origins and Development of Liu Zi Jue

The term Liu Zi Jue first appears in ‘Caring for the Health of the Mind and Prolonging the Life Span’, – Tao Hongjing of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589).

According to Tao Hongjing a leading figure from the Maoshan School of Taoism. “One has only one way for inhalation, but six for exhalation – CHUI, HU, XI, HE, XU and SI. CHUI gets rid of heat; HU sweeps away wind; XI eliminates worries; HE promotes the circulation of energy; XU drives away cold; and SI reduces stress. Those with heart disease should practice CHUI and HU, to drive away cold and heat. Those with lung disease should practice XU, to relieve swelling. Those who have spleen trouble should practice XI, to eliminate stress. As for those who suffer from liver disease, HE will help to cure it.”

Zou Pu’an of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) in his book ‘The Supreme Knack for Health Preservations’ recommends.

“Don’t listen to anything when pronouncing the sounds. Close your mouth, lower your head after finishing, breath in fresh air from the universe slowly through the nose. Don’t listen to anything when inhaling.”

In terms of the practice it was not until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that body movements where introduced.

“Open the eyes wide when doing the XU Exercise for the liver. Raise the arms when doing the SI Exercise for the lungs. Stick head up and cross the hands when doing the HE Exercise for the heart. Keep the knees level when doing the CHUI Exercise for the kidneys. Thrust and round the lips when doing the HU Exercise for the spleen, and lie down when doing the XI Exercise to drive heat from Sanjiao”

There are a number of exercises which use elements of Liu Zi Jue. These include Yi Jin Jing (Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Exercises), Emei Zhuang (Emei Stake Exercises), Xing Yi Quan (12-Animal Shadow Boxing), Bagua Zhang (Eight-Diagram Palm), and Da Yan Gong (Wild Goose Exercises). For these exercises the sounds are used to aid these dynamic physical exercises.

Theory

The theoretical basis of the Liu Zi Jue is Traditional Chinese Medicine‘s (TCM) Five Elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth), and Five Solid Viscera (heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys).

Characteristic

Mouth forms required for pronunciation

Liu Zi Jue features six special mouth forms and methods of pronunciation to regulate and control the rise and fall of qi in the body and related to inhalation and exhalation.

Combining breathing and movements with cultivation of energy

Through combined use of breath work, pronunciation, and physical movement practitioners can benefit from “proper internal circulation of energy vital for the health, and those who know the ways to apply strength and the ways to relax can expect a long life’ – Ge Hong of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420).

Dynamics infused in calmness and flowing grace

During practice pronunciation should be even and extended and the movements relaxed and slow. Regulated breathing should be even during the postures cultivating a calm and dynamic state.

Simple, reliable and effective

The six sounds are pronounced during exhalations and accompany nice movements as well as the preparatory and concluding postures. The exercise is easy to learn and practice making it practical.