The Wudang martial arts have always been closed to outsiders and are now open to the public a few decades ago. The political situation was complicated, and without having too much politics here, it is now allowed to talk about Taoism, and the Wudang temples were reconstructed, even though half of them were burnt down and some are still ruined.
Tapping into the tourist trap
The primary interest Wudang has are its sightseeing and tourist attractions, which Wudang schools can be a part of. Dedicated Wudang academies will frequently show performances in front of the public, and many Taoists will engage with foreign people up at the top.
You want to find the truth!
There are still a few traditional Wudang schools on the mountain, but they are difficult to find. Most Wudang academies are just tourist resorts or wellness hotels with a little Qi Gong or Tai Chi class every day. When you are reading this articles, I am sure this is not what you are looking for. Traditional Wudang martial arts training takes years of dedication and also the right master. But before thinking about what you should consider mastering the following first:
- Basic Mandarin
- Learn Chinese culture, how to learn with a Shifu.
- Respect Taoist traditions and ask if you don’t know.
- As newest Gong Fu brother you should help out in the school.
Joining a Wudang Taoist Martial Arts Academy
The first impression Chinese people get from foreigners in a new school is that you are a Cash Cow. They don’t know about your dedication, and they will not show real interest in you at all. You will not be taught by a Shifu with all his heart just because you paid a lot of money. The essence of Taoist martial arts is not presented on a golden platter.
I got acknowledged by my Shifu Yuan Xiu Gang as I accomplished a split in just seven days. You can read my story about this here!
Yuan Xiu Gang accepted me after coming a long way from Vienna with the Trans-Siberian Railway to China. It took me two weeks to arrive, and Yuan Xiu Gang gave me the chance to prove myself in the traditional training. Read about his school here!
Becoming a Taoist and martial artist
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The learning process first hits a mental and physical barrier, the overcoming and the success of each student is monitored by the Shifu himself. Even if he is not near you or not coming to you, he might also try to make himself invisible to you and test your dedication. However, of your progress, the Shifu will be very much aware without you even knowing. The coaches also act as informants for Shifu and will report your progress directly. Most of the time you might be taught by the coaches or older Gong Fu brothers of the school.
Try to be kind and serious, gentle but also dedicated, smiling generally is seen as stupid and does not make you more appealing. You can only show your effort by your actions, keep training when classes are over and try to memorize and strengthen your new teachings. Your weakness is the most important part during training, try to make it your strength. Taoist schools educate character by teaching self-awareness during the training. Never give up and accept each word from Shifu with your heart. There are many students in Wudang academies, but those do not matter, the ones that are important are those who will continue to live by the doctrines and keep up the lineage over to the next generation.
This post should give an idea of the priorities of a traditional Wudang school. It is a hard way and no guaranteed success, but it mostly depends on your mental preparation and the effort you spent. In the beginning, all are equal, Europeans and Asians alike! Feel free to write me questions in the comment section below!
You can order your first Wudang uniform in our store and study a little in our online academy! This might give you a headstart before seeing a traditional Shifu! You can also come to my Wudang Taoist martial arts academy and visit me in Vienna!