TAIJIQUAN (WUDANG KUNGFU)
Taijiquan is a high level martial, energy and spiritual art and brings many benefits. It is more suitable than most other martial arts for character development, as the very nature of its training, with its emphasis on gracefulness, gentleness, and harmonious energy flow, is intrinsic to the development of mental freshness and cosmic harmony.
Zhang San Feng
Zhang San Feng was the first patriarch of the internal arts. He was the first person who combined the physical aspect of Kung Fu, the energy aspect of Qigong and the mind aspect of meditation into one. This wonderful legacy that he passed onto us means that when practicing genuine Taijiquan today we can achieve the “triple cultivation” of good health, performance and spiritual development”.
Much of the Tai Chi practiced today is what is known as Tai Chi form, involving gentle physical movements leading to relaxation. Naturally this type of practice has the benefits expected from doing a gentle physical exercise, similar to what you would achieve by taking a walk in the country.
The Tai Chi we practice and teach in Shaolin Wahnam is quite different to what has become known as Tai Chi Dance, it is closer to what would have been practiced by the originator of Taijiquan, Zhang San Feng.
Originally Taijiquan was called Wudang Kung Fu. Zhang San Feng was a Shaolin Kung Fu master who left the Shaolin Temple to cultivate his spirit. He was already an accomplished martial artist before he developed the system now know as Taijiquan. Zhang San Feng did not develop Wudang Kung Fu as a need to increase his martial ability or to increase health, even though Taijiquan develops both. He used it as a spiritual practice to gain immortality.
For those that are used to practising Tai Chi Dance it may surprise them that Taijiquan is actually an internal martial art. Meaning that it can be used to defend yourself. As an internal art it develops internal force (energy). Internal force can be used to enhance a persons martial ability or sport or apply to anything they do in life that involves your body, mind or energy.
As you have guessed, it is good for everything!
Sifu Tim Franklin is an Associate Lecturer of Tai Chi at Chichester University