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San Feng Lineage
The legend of Zhang San Feng, along with his origins are subject to a lot of controversy. Scholars have varied suggestions as to his origins from different parts in the Song, Yuan, or Ming Dynasties. In any case, Zhang San Feng is credited for the creation of Nei Jia Quan, or what we refer to as Tai Ji Quan (Internal Boxing).
Zhang San Feng (original name Zhang Jun Bao) lived a life of an ascetic, traveling from place to place becoming adept in martial arts. Eventually he came to the mountains in Wudang to study the Daoist methods for cultivating and achieving immortality.
In Wudangshan, Zhang San Feng was accepted as a disciple in one of the temples and continued his training and study of Daoism and the internal arts of qi gong. One day, Zhang San Feng was inspired when he witnessed a snake defending itself against a birds attack. Moved by inspiration and rooted through his experience and understanding of Chinese wushu, Daoist alchemy, and the practice of qi gong, he created Nei Jia Quan, also called Tai Ji Quan.
Tai Ji Quan is a soft, internal art designed to create balance in the body and spirit. The set of movements and postures help the body cultivate a more stronger, more flexible, and more revitalized state of being.
San Feng Lineage
To this day, the teachings of Zhang San Feng have been preserved and handed down generation to generation. Throughout the lineage, the Wudang San Feng Pai has strived to create proficient practitioners in the art.
Although much of the history is dated and obscure because of martial artists' tendencies to pass on information orally, we can trace our lineage back a few generation where we can see where the structure emerges for our diverse curriculum. Many schools of thought are contested over the true origins of many of the styles in martial arts. Ba Gua, TaiJi, and Xing Yi for example all have origin stories that differ dependent upon where you are and who is telling the story. This is to be expected from a country like China with such a diverse and at times, unforgivably violent changes in leadership.
The most recent of such eras was during the Cultural Revolution during 1966-1976. During this time, there was unprecedented policing of religious practices of which Daoism was very much included. Many temples suffered during this time and were not allowed to practice or to take on disciples. Wudang Mountain itself had many people taken into labor camps to never return and left only a few dozen monks on the mountain. After the Cultural Revolution came to an end, it still took a few years before these restrictions were removed and Daoists began returning the Wudang.
At this time (from 1979-1981), a few masters who returned to Wudang. Alongside them came students who would become disciples in the future. Although, it was not easy to put back the pieces of such a practice without it sustaining lasting injuries to the overall curriculum. Luckily for Wudang, the masters had set forth a plan to send our Grandmaster and 14th Generation disciple, Zhong Yun Long (钟云龙) out through China to meet, learn from, and potentially persuade other masters of the Wudang Arts to return to Wudang. It was not completely successful in bringing many masters back but it did allow Zhong Yun Long to learn a wealth of practices and bring them back to be consolidated in the San Feng Lineage.
San Feng Lineage came out of this era as a new structure than what it traditionally once was. With all of the arts collected under one system, the styles began to take on their own set, as the influences adapted to each other and grew into its own system. This is why the school of thought on certain practices may differ in Wudang than in their counterpart. Although, the art in complemented with various styles, each has its place in the San Feng curriculum.
After a decade of these arts we getting established and preserved to the next generation, Master Yuan Xiu Gang (袁修刚) traveled to Purple Heaven Palace to begin his own training in 1991. Master Yuan was part of a traditional course that indoctrinated him through all of the practices of Wudang including the religious rites and chants of Daoist belief. Master Yuan eventually came down the mountain and opened up his own school in 2006 where he opened the doors to teachings any and all who were interested in Wudang Wushu and Daoist practice. It was here that Master Yuan created a 5 year traditional program solely for international students. Maintaining his responsibility of spreading the awareness of Daoism and the Wudang Arts so that the Cultural Revolution would never be repeated, the class began in September of 2009. This class was the first time foreigners would be allowed into the Lineage and become fully indoctrinated into the practices with the responsibility of passing them on in their entirety to the next generation. This international class was the first of its kind, and in an ever growing modern world, potentially the last as well.
Master Xiao Yan Wan (萧耀宛)
Master Wang Guang De (王光德)
Master Zhong Yun Long (钟云龙)
Master Yuan Xiu Gang (袁修刚)
Disciple Jake Pinnick (平懋资根)
In March 2011, the students from this class, as well as many others training at the school, were inducted into the San Feng Lineage in a disciple ceremony. This marks their official entry into the Lineage and solidifies each students responsibility to themselves, their master, and to their future students and disciples alike that they will uphold the practices of San Feng Pai and continue their own study and cultivation. As disciples, they seek to be a model for the methods that Wudang San Feng Pai instructs and they take it as their responsibility to spread such teachings to all that can benefit from such instruction.
*A great resource for this information and more history on San Feng Pai, please visit Wudang Houston online. This is the website of fellow 16th Generation Disciples Brandi Beckett and Simon Cox. Very well put together research and great instructors of the Wudang San Feng system. Be sure to check them out.**
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