How Split Benefits Your Tai Chi Practice

How Split Benefits Your Tai Chi Practice

The Requirements of Traditional Gong Fu

Back in the days, old Chinese Gong Fu masters used to say that for achieving old age, one must do three things daily:

  • Handstand
  • Bridge
  • Split

These three exercises have two things in common:

  • Improve microcirculation
  • Maintain elasticity to promote the microcirculation

What does microcirculation mean?

The major circulation goes through the five major organs; if this circulation ceases, you practically die. Microcirculation is all the delicate parts like your toes, fingers, and joints, parts that are harder to reach and are only well-nourished when your body has the energy to do so.

Preserving energy

The split is helping us to reduce the resistance of our circulation and the body has an easier time nourishing all parts of the body. The elasticity of our body is very important to maintain a good and healthy condition.

Can I still do a split with 50+?

The short answer is: Yes, definitely! Practicing the split itself always has health benefits, even though you might not reach a full horizontal split soon. You will feel different once the hip becomes more elastic no matter what age. The hip is our largest energy main joint, and once the body has lesser resistance to circulate through your hip, you have the energy for other parts.


It is very important not to be too ambitious in the beginning. In my experience, most students hurt themselves if they ignore their current physical condition. Make sure that you follow our stretching guide to prevent injury!

Working with Energy (Tai Chi)

Once the body has more energy, the Tai Chi practice also becomes fundamentally different. Once the circulation goes easier through the body, the fine tissue has less resistance, and hence strong positions become like bamboo, flexible and yet still without getting tired. With stretching, we can focus on what is important in Tai Chi.

How to practice correctly

We have an extensive Tai Chi program in our online school. For beginners it is recommended to start with Tai Chi 28 steps, this will train you in flexible positions and how to work with high stances without using too much effort. With the right degree of concentration and flexibility the Wudang Tai Chi becomes authentic in its practice!

Start learning Wudang Tai Chi now!

Authentic Wudang Tai Chi 28

Authentic Wudang Tai Chi 28

Tai Chi 28 Performance from Master Ziji:

Steps Translation:

Dì Yī Duàn
Section one


1.預備式 Yù Bèi Shì
Ready posture
Note: 式 refers to a posture or movement, literally the form of physical shape


2.起式 Qǐ Shì
Starting movement
Note: 起 literally means rising up, used in the context meaning starting an action /task


3.退步崩式 Tuì Bù Bēng Shì
Step backward and deliver blow
Note: 崩 has the meaning of bursting or an immense collapse, indicating powerful movement.


4.攬雀尾 Lǎn Què Wěi
Catching finch tail
Note: 攬 refers to seizing with a collecting or trapping posture


5.正單鞭 Zhèng Dān Biān
Front single whip

Dì Èr Duàn
Section two


6.提手上式 Tí Shǒu Shàng Shì
Lifting hand and rising up


7.白鶴亮翅 Bái Hè Liàng Chì
White crane flashes wings
Note: 亮 means showing something which is normally concealed, the word can imply the action occurs for a brief moment. The white crane spreads and showing its wings.


8.左摟膝拗步 Zuǒ Lǒu Xī Ǎo Bù
Brush left knee and step to reversed stance
Note: 拗步 in Chinese martial art terminology refers to an action with the arm stretching out being the opposite side to the leg stepping in front.


9.手揮琵琶 Shǒu Huī Pípá
Strike the lute
Note: 琵琶 Pi Pa is a Chinese string instrument with solid body and no hollow cavity, giving it the uniquely forceful character. Pi Pa is normally regarded as an instrument of “Wu”(武) character (martial, as opposed to Wen (文), meaning scholar/gentle/refined). Common playing techniques involve powerful strokes. The action 揮 means to swing the hand and wipe across the strings.


10.小擒拿手 Xiǎo Qín Ná Shǒu
Small capturing hand
Note: 擒拿 Qin Na refers to seizing (擒 capture) and holding (拿). Qin Na in martial art terminology refers in a broad sense to seizing and manipulation techniques. 擒拿手 refers to the hand action of capturing.


11.右踢腿 Yòu Tī Tuǐ
Right leg kick
Note: the action in Chinese is stated as 踢腿 “kick leg”.


12.左打虎式 Zuǒ Dǎ Hǔ Shì
Left beating tiger posture
Note: the concept of 降龍 and 伏虎 is seen in Chinese philosophical and religious expressions, often in both Buddhism and Daoism. The ability to subdue a fierce beast is used as the representation of distinct capability. In ancient times tigers were notorious and also mysterious. Defeating a tiger has been a widely used theme in literature, such as novels, depicting courage and power.

Dì Sān Duàn
Section three


13.右打虎式 Yòu Dǎ Hǔ Shì
Right beating tiger posture


14.左摟膝拗步 Zuǒ Lǒu Zī Ǎo Bù
Brush left knee and step to reversed stance


15.野馬分鬃 Yě Mǎ Fēn Zōng
Wild horse parting its mane
Note: the opening of the hands mimic the mane of a galloping a wild horse spreading to both sides.


16.正單鞭 Zhèng Dān Biān
Front single whip


17.玉女穿梭 Yù Nǚ Chuān Suō
Fair lady working the loom
Note: 穿梭 refers to the action performed when working a loom. Specifically feeding through the 梭子 in the process of looming.


18.正單鞭 Zhèng Dān Biān
Front single whip

Dì Sì Duàn
Section four


19.下勢 Xià Shì
Dropping down
Note: the word 勢 refers to the direction/tendency of movement/power.


20.上步七星 Shàng Bù Qī Xīng
Step forward to seven stars
Note: literally 上步 states stepping “up”, and should be understood as “forward”.
北斗七星, or in brief 七星, are seven stars referred to by the Chinese as a group. They form the shape of a 勺 (long spoon/dipper). In martial art the name is often used to refer to the shape of stepping pattern.


21.退步跨虎 Tuì Bù Kuà Hǔ
Step backward mounting the tiger


22.雙擺蓮 Shuāng Bǎi Lián
Double swinging lotus


23.彎弓射虎 Wān Gōng Shè Hǔ
Draw the bow to shoot tiger


24.上步搬攔捶 Shàng Bù Bān Lán Chuí
Step forward, shift-parry-hammer
Note: 搬, 攔, 捶 each refers to a movement, the first two of which are defensive moves, and the last a striking move.


25.如封似閉 Rú Fēng Shì Bì
Closing up
Note: literally 如 and 似mean apparently/mimicking/similar to… The movement is literally referred to “like shut”. This is not to be understood as a deceiving action, rather the blockade is well formed that it is like completed closed.


26.十字手 Shí Zì Shǒu
Crossing hands
Note: 十字 ten-character in Chinese means crossed shape, as the Chinese character for number ten is a cross.


27.抱虎歸山 Bào Hǔ Guī Shān
Bringing the tiger back to the mountain


28.收式 Shōu Shì
Finishing movement
Note: 收 has the meaning of reorganizing the things taken out, to collect and pack items. Therefore it has the meaning of withdrawing (power/commitment given out) from the exercise.

Finding the Best Tai Chi School

Finding the Best Tai Chi School

It often happens that someone goes to a seminar for a few days and then immediately opens a Tai Chi school in their home country. Is Tai Chi something that is so easy to understand and reproduce? Many talk about representing a style. So let’s keep going so you don’t fall into the Tai Chi trap. Most people are confused by this topic as everyone is talking about understanding it but just using the same phrases to justify their understanding of Tai Chi.

The Real Tai Chi

Many people speak of the health benefits of Tai Chi, but this is absolutely counterproductive if the body is not well trained, as any slow movement has a more intense effect if done incorrectly and therefore causes long-term harm to the unsuspecting practitioner.

The main focus of Tai Chi is that advanced students practice in three steps to develop a connection with the Dao:

  • Step 1: Improve Coordination externally with Hands and Feet.
  • Step 2: Figure out the internal rhythm with breathing, relaxation, and power.
  • Step 3: Work internally towards self-improvement.

The following things are trained when practicing Tai Chi correctly:

  • Knowledge of body coordination during a combat situation.
  • Most efficient power transmission and earthing principles as well as leverage.
  • Bringing out the most power and focus it

What people really look for without knowing:

People’s typical urge to find a Tai Chi school can be traced back to expectations that improve health, for which Tai Chi is only suitable to a limited extent. Just because we think Tai Chi looks beautiful doesn’t necessarily make it a useful tool for our health cultivation.

If people would listen to the Daoists’ advice, one should practice Qi Gong for one’s health. Care should be taken that this is not easy to do and not watered down by some “quick seminar masters.” It is recommended to practice our Ba Duan Jin Qi Gong and Wu Xing Qi Gong daily for all kinds of health care. These are two holistic systems that train and strengthen the entire body step by step with each new exercise. Best suited for back and knee pain and very effective for neck pain, posture problems, curved spine, and other things. Consult our school in the community forum if you want to ask more about it!

If you are still looking for a Tai Chi school:

Then you probably want to learn internal martial arts! And this is only recommended to study from authentic masters and not from some “weekend certificates.” Master Ziji is giving first impressions in our online classes what Tai Chi really is, but we recommend to visit our school for personal coaching. A real master needs many years of daily training; the education alone in the Wudang mountains takes five years, and from there on, one must develop his Tai Chi for further understanding. Respect Tai Chi and the long journey that comes with it!

Wudang Tai Chi Seminar

Wudang Tai Chi Seminar

In the headquarters of the Wudang Academy in Vienna, there is a new beginner course on the topic of Tai Chi. Tai Chi has a high learning curve and it is difficult for beginners to get into this topic.

Date: 6th-7th June 2020

Tai Chi changes us on a physical and neurological level.

What is important:

Tai Chi gives us a new level of freedom. Tai Chi enables us to work on ourselves in a targeted manner, which is why corrections and the logical understanding of movement and coordination are so important.

This seminar is especially for beginners or advanced Tai Chi users who want to get an overview of the Wudang Tai Chi School for the first time.

Content of the seminar:

  • Tai Chi basic posture and basic steps
  • Tai Chi 13 steps form
  • personal corrections and coaching
  • internal movement principles

Since it is very nice in June we would like to hold the seminar outdoors, in bad weather we would offer the seminar in our academy.

Good weather adress:

Bad weather adress:


  • 6-7th June 2020
  • Saturday from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00 (7 hours)
  • Sunday from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00 (7 hours)
  • There will be small breaks in between and from 12:00 to 14:00 is lunch.

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes with a flat sole.


400 euros full price and 300 euros for members of the Wudang Academy. The discount does not count for course participants.

Please fill out the following form for your registration:

What you always wanted to know about Tai Chi

What you always wanted to know about Tai Chi

In Wudang, Tai Chi is a very structured practice which is lead step by step to achieve accomplishments, yet when you ask the student why do you practice Tai Chi? What do you think is the reason?

The reason why we practice Tai Chi

Tai Chi was meant to learn about oneself, to learn self-cultivation. People believe Tai Chi should be relaxing – which is not entirely true because one needs to learn before one can fully relax. Tai Chi is the complete harmony between Yin and Yang, so we must embrace tension and relaxation evenly to stay in balance. We can all talk very smart, but who has the discipline to stay focused on their training? Ask yourself how much you try to improve today.

Taoist Life of Self-improvement

When people start off with Wudang training, they see the beautiful clothing and the ideal. But what is real quality in life? The freedom to choose? The ability to do amazing things? No, it is the time to be with yourself without distractions like pain or annoying problems with your body. When we have pain we first have to fix it, not ignore it – accept your situation and change yourself. This is the first step for Taoist life improvement.

The practical side of Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a tool to change the mind and body. Mostly people come to a master to learn the form because they want to have something for their stay, they want to have something for their money. This is the wrong approach – it does not matter if you can do the form or every step. Tai Chi is what you do with yourself inside, the feeling and understanding you have of yourself. When you learn to appreciate your body you will have it easier to hear what you need. First, we need to find quietness and take control of ourselves. People are driven by urges and habits, we need to break the cycle and learn what we really need.

Tai Chi is the connection between body and mind – we follow with our intention and coordinate the movements. This is why we look inside and look at our movements, it closes the connection with our universe. We all have our cosmos – our little earth inside ourselves and it is our responsibility to cultivate and treasure ourselves to have a good quality in life.

The feeling of Tai Chi

Unity is what completes the cycle of life, we coordinate and develop an understanding with every small baby step. The body and mind will focus, be compact and stretch towards our will – we are flexible and so changes our situation. The Dantian is the center of balance, the center of energy and power. Inside the Dantian we remain calm and tranquil from there any direction is possible and we can create our universe.

The mission for everybody

Tai Chi is something everybody claims to know, but it is not very smart to say that. Even the greatest masters have trouble to explain Tai Chi to make beginners understand. You can read smart words but the understanding and feelings are different. It may take a person 25 years of experience to explain Tai Chi – the experience is developing and there is no master who is not learning from it anymore. It is the bond between student and teacher which helps the master to improve and learn. It is the first and final mission for everybody.

Last words from Master Ziji:

Tai Chi is what we make of it. But when I teach you, Tai Chi, it means that I trust you that you can accomplish your goal – the goal must be clear – the student’s responsibility is that he may never betray the trust of his master. It is the way of the master to show the student what is below the surface, to help understand the true meaning, the essence. If you take this lightly as a student – I will not talk to you again.

How Tai Chi gave me my life back!

How Tai Chi gave me my life back!

Before I started Tai Chi and Qi Gong training, my physical condition was so bad that I basically saw only two options: either I hang myself and give in to the pain and physical decay, or I catch myself and fight for a more vital body and keep my zest for life.

Everything started a few years ago. My nerves simply stopped moving. Damage to the spinal column and the nervous system, accompanied by severe nerve pain, required the operation of multiple spine and joint operations. That’s why I used bone implants and metal studs. However, the pain was still only with numerous drugs – and only slightly – to get a grip. I could not stand for a long time and could not walk without a walking stick. Numerous therapy attempts with different physiotherapists remained relatively unsuccessful. The inpatient treatments in the therapy center – twice for several weeks – brought little improvement.

Then I read an article about a Chinese doctor diagnosed with cancer. He was told he had only a short time left to live. Since he was a doctor himself, he knew that the diagnosis was correct and he also knew that conventional medicine could not help him here. But he did not want to accept that and so he studied old medical literature and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Finally, he found the health exercises Tai Chi and Qi Gong, which significantly supported his healing process. When he told his story, it was already 30 years ago. This story and this will inspired and motivated me a lot.
Even my grandson gave me strength and stamina. He was just two years old and was full of energy and life. My big goal was to be able to play with him again.

So I was looking for a Tai Chi school in my area, which should not be an easy task. On the internet, I found a coach who was even a medical doctor. That would be the perfect combination, I thought, and immediately called him. When he heard my story, he interrupted me and advised me to try something different. The risk of possible paraplegia would be too high.

In my mind, however, this success article was still so present that despite the unsuccessful first attempt, I was unable to dissuade from my plan. Again, I was looking for a Tai Chi school and came to the side of the Wudang Academy or Master Ziji (Michael Weichhardt). It was Sunday afternoon when I contacted him and he answered immediately. A few days later we already had the first trial training. This time, I was a bit worried about a renewed rejection of my history back a bit.

The training room was on the second floor and I remember well how difficult that way was for me. Already before the training, I was sweaty. Master, however, was very sensitive and took a good look at my physical problems. He showed me three different exercises – for an hour. I could not hold it any longer. I was completely exhausted and powerless and at the same time, I felt like someone had finally taken a heavy backpack from me. I had regained hope and new courage.

Master gave me a homework course every week, and he stopped me for daily practice. He taught me to walk properly and efficiently and to be in the right position. Also important were the breathing and the Qigong exercises. Although the exercises were not always painless, I trusted my body. After a few weeks, the first signs of improvement began to appear. I was able to reduce the tablet intake and my gait improved noticeably. Friends who had not seen me for several months could hardly believe this change. They had to convince themselves.

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P.A in our autumn seminar 2018 with Chen Shiyu

Today – after two years – I still enjoy the smooth and flowing tai chi movements. My physical condition has since improved so much that I can participate once a week in group training. Training has taught me to be better at dealing with my pain while meeting the needs of my body.

I am very grateful for this experience and with my story, I would like to urge everyone to actively take care of their body. At any rate, you are never too old for Qi Gong and Tai Chi.

Best regards

A report by P.A. after 2 years of training in our Wudang Academy.

The professional Tai Chi School in Vienna

The professional Tai Chi School in Vienna

Recognizing and using Tai Chi in a practical sense takes years. In order to achieve this, the method must be the right one. So if you look deeper into the matter, the following things are noticeable:

What “Hobby Schools” Can Never Offer

Tai Chi is nested in the movement and never seen from outside as what it is. The European misconception that a Tai Chi lesson is a form of relaxing entertainment is thanks to the marketing schools in Europe.

Relaxation must be learned because our everyday life consists of exhausting activities and we were conditioned to maximize performance. The consequences are burnout and many other health problems. But this is the content that you read on many other websites of Tai Chi schools as well because it is the absolute mainstream that is perceived by consumerism.

The Facts

Self-recognition is key to controlling relaxation, allowing you to relax in a controlled manner, saving strength and energy and preventing further tension. Taiji practitioners in our academy learn to treat themselves with Taiji preventively. It does not need to be practiced for 20 years to feel the effect, it is much more important to be able to understand the method and apply it yourself. Therefore, it needs a “master” – someone who masters what is on the many websites. Although many say the lesson was great, after a month at the latest, really dramatic changes in body and mind should be noticed. Taiji is a way of life of self-perception and self-recognition, not only can Taiji be used in every day-to-day life but it also works for a self in every situation. We have to cope with all situations in everyday life, and the shower of water splashing sound and incense sticks is just that kind of entertainment program that distracts from the very self and thus the Taiji principles. Taiji is trained in every situation and needs to be controlled in a natural way regardless of time and space.

Learn Tai Chi Properly

I am often told that posture and breathing are neglected in other schools. Without these two components, however, Taiji can never be perceived. It is surprising that a practice is swept under the table. Taiji is not an easy thing, but it is clear that not everyone is good at playing the piano, in Taiji, most people seem to agree that they can do Taiji well. Just like playing the piano, there is a lot of practice and effort behind it to develop appropriate skills that will benefit you all your life.

Visit our school in Vienna!

Tai Yi – Advanced Tai Chi Technique

Tai Yi – Advanced Tai Chi Technique

Tai Yi – Yin and Yang mobilize

Tai Yi is also often called Liang Yi in Chinese, both terms have the same meaning, namely the use of yin and yang. While Taiji always goes back to harmony, Tai Yi is in the outer and inner sequence in the constant change between the two forces.

Tai Yi and Fa Jin

Fajin, the explosive power builds on the Tai Yi principle to get the most power in a sequence. The constant shift from relaxation to strength is crucial to understanding Fajin better.

Superhuman Powers

If you can relax well, you have the power to bring the body to a maximum, so that the body appears superhumanly strong and fast. It is the art of how Daoists can overwhelm stronger enemies and redirect energies. A high degree of self-control is required and the training in Tai Yi needs a clear mind, determination and a lot of patience to learn from the failed attempts. Once the force comes through the definition in the interior is important to optimize the body targeted.

Martial Arts, Tai Chi & Qi Gong on Budget! Worth It?

Martial Arts, Tai Chi & Qi Gong on Budget! Worth It?

You may find many other Wudang schools outside of the San Feng lineage – some are a lot cheaper, but is it worth choosing another lineage over a lower price? Let’s find out:

Different lineage

There are many viable options when you really want a different lineage, for whatever reason. But there are also much less qualified schools due to the lower price and lower quality control. A lower price usually means the schools prefer to have more foreigners coming to their school to make money, often they care less about how you are preserving the tradition in your country. The best option usually is to go directly to the grandmaster of the lineage, which gives you a much higher chance to receive actual high-quality teachings – but not for a lower price.

Why does the master not teach me more? I am disappointed!

Hold your horses here! If you want a traditional school, you have found it! It is not usual in traditional schools to tell you everything from the beginning. Why should the master even teach you? Just because you paid a lot of money? That is not how tradition works in China. In the San Feng lineage, one must prove himself to be of good personality and dedication to the lineage to improve oneself. Whining about your lessons by demanding it will not help you when the master has no interest in teaching you that may be a sign to get your “things” (almost said a bad word) together.

It is common for the cheaper schools to be more attractive to foreign people because they give you a “show” and try to appeal your demands. But with this attitude of the master, you will not feel the accomplishment compared to a traditional school.

There are many more blog posts on this website of how to appeal to a traditional school!

The Method of Internal Arts on a Budget:

This topic is practically nonsense; there is a big reason why schools of internal arts are more expensive than others. The principles and method of internal arts are designed for the whole being and teaches you about yourself, health, personality, and martial arts. Knowing as much as possible is the key in these schools, and that is why most masters do not like to give it away for people who are not prepared to understand. In my school, most people truly grasp to understand the internal arts after one year of intensive training. Working with yourself and your accomplishments from overcoming your borders is something that is experienced during the training. Imagine your body lived wrong to some degree and it got adapted but regularly you feel a lot of neck and shoulder pain, improving health and yourself is usually a very demanding process which relies on the intensity.

I see a lot of people from other Wudang schools, and they have not even scratched the basis of the power & relaxation method (Yin & Yang) instead they wave around their arms like sorcerers. Being blinded by “magical” exercises is part of the marketing strategy. There is no control in China when you register at one of this schools; it is your fault.

Ok, so how can I identify a “good” school?

When you want to have a quality education then you start looking at the number one place with no budget compromises. Watch our Youtube channel and see if the postures are truly combined with Wuji – the movements should be calm and under control – no matter if fast or slow. It is where our Wudang Academy comes in; we always ensure quality even for foreign trainers. Knee pain, shoulder pain, back pain, basically all kind of obstacles physically and also mentally in concentration and behavior can be fixed in a very short amount of time (usually within a month) when the master is qualified. Wudang internal arts are not about fixing your issues over years, but fixing them real quick and then start your real training to improve. You make a compromise in Wudang teachings – the master in China probably will not force you to do it since you are a foreigner, but there is no chance for being ignored in our international Wudang Academy – you are IN or OUT. That is how a traditional school is for traditional students.

Future of Traditional Schools

For now, we have agreed to support Master Chen Shiyu’s school since it is indeed a traditional school if you care about quality content in the internal arts. The most problem people have with his teachings is that he does not talk much, instead of hearing him talk you should carefully observe what he is showing you. And most foreigners stop practicing when Chen Shiyu is not looking, this he will see, and he will think you do not take it seriously – no point in him teaching you seriously too. As a student, you are at fault first, and you should try hard in what is being told to you. It is your choice if you want to be a student or a “tourist”. We plan to support much more authentic traditional schools in the future…

If you are mentally prepared we recommend to learn at his school, more information here:

San Feng Tai Ji Jian (Tai Chi Sword) Episode 2

San Feng Tai Ji Jian (Tai Chi Sword) Episode 2

Master Ziji explains the famous Wudang San Feng Ta Chi Sword in this in-depth tutorial. Each section is shown from different angles and repeated multiple times. This is the second episode of a full series and will provide you with weeks of training until you are ready for the next episode.

This page is for Wudang Student (Monthly) and Wudang Student (Yearly) members only.
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Self-Conflict in Internal Arts

Self-Conflict in Internal Arts

What really is a problem to us are our boundaries, the chains we set ourselves. Believing in one thing is not enough we must explore to know.

When the strength is leaving our body, we get out of our comfort zone, and our concentration drops. Battling with ourselves to the limits will give rise to an internal conflict. Letting go of our ego and accept failure will resolve all problems we have of ourselves. Only to never give up is the goal of our struggle, giving us an opportunity to grow.

The strength to continue is what masters seek in their students, giving them the hardship to strengthen their resolve to continue. This nourishing path is a path of internal development and forms true personality through unwavering discipline.

What is so good in our life if we are never challenged? Nature always has to test itself to evolve. Self-conflict means the development of crystal clear focus on the essential things.If successful then the students have accepted everything in their heart, free from all burdens and only recognize their freedom.

Think about it as a valley and mountains; only birds may fly freely without challenge. The hardship to walk all the way is nothing when the heart accepts the journey.

Sincerely Your Master Ziji