Wudang Tai Yi Wushingquan at Wudangshan

I just posted this video from last October’s visit to legendary Wudang Mountain, the highlight of our trip. In it, Master Yang and I perform the first section of the Wudang Mountain Tai Yi Wushingquan, a form that he learned from an old monk during an earlier visit to Wudang. There appears to be several forms with that name, and I don’t know the provenance of the one we’re doing. A great effort was made to restore the Wudang tradition after it had been nearly destroyed during the cultural revolution. Wudang is the spiritual home to Daoism and the Chinese… Read More

Tai Chi Alchemy visits China – Day 1

It was the trip of a lifetime for me. Last spring my friend/teacher, Master Yang Fukui, suggested we visit Wudang Mountain, the legendary birthplace of taijiquan. We would also visit his hometown of Tianjin, another place with a rich martial arts history (see Jet Li’s film Fearless).  Sign me up! I had visited Beijing in ’99, a great trip, but going to Wudang with Master Yang was like a back stage pass to a world I could never access on my own. Maria was immediately up for the adventure, and so were some Tai Chi Alchemy regulars: Jonathan Bricklin, Mike… Read More

Yang Chengfu’s 13 Original Postures

Yang Chengfu’s 13 Original Postures is a short, powerful form I learned from Master Yang Fukui. He learned it from his grandfather in Hebei, China. It is a large frame form, and contrasts nicely with my go-to taijiquan, the small to medium frame, Grandmaster William C.C. Chen’s “60 Movements.” I have been doing Master Chen’s version of the Yang style short form for over 35 years. I love its economy of moment. It is about as spare as you can get. Master Chen comes from a fighter’s perspective, and all unnecessary frills are trimmed to leave a rugged, dependable taijiquan… Read More

Luoxuanzhang: “Spiral Mystery Palm”

Luoxuanzhang is the martial arts equivalent of eating braised short ribs: you can’t believe all that flavor is packed into such a small package. It is astounding how much energy is unleashed in a few movements. When Master Yang Fukui first showed it to me I was dazzled. What was happening? The movements were exquisite and dynamic and…strange. They didn’t seem to follow the rules I had then accepted as fundamental. How could such power be manifested while violating so many of the hoary “truths” I held as gospel? I had to know more. And what I have found so… Read More