How Zhan Zhuang Improves Your Taiji

How Zhan Zhuang Improves Your Taiji

As recently discussed in this post, Zhan Zhuang is an important pillar in internal martial arts. But what skills does Zhan Zhuang actually bring to Taiji practitioners? We want to go into that today.

Feel and recognize Yin and Yang

Through the continuous practice of Zhan Zhuang, we become aware of areas of tension. Like others train for more strength, we train Zhan Zhuang on the way of relaxation. Constant standing means no change for body and mind, but something will change constantly in this exercise with untrained students. It is about accepting situations and perceiving the state. When the body is calm and controlled, the focus should be on the mind next, otherwise, the mind will always find something to deal with. In the state of absolute calmness, we will really experience the states of Yin and Yang. Therefore, a connection to the extreme can be made next.

Yin and Yang in Taijiquan

In Taiji, yin and yang move, it is like the balance is held in two glasses so that none of them drips over. The movement out of balance is the direction to harmony. When someone can keep a close focus on Yin and Yang, the body and mind are in control of the movement. Taiji is thus controlled at the extremes and harmonized therefrom, which is an important basic understanding for self-cultivation.

The Immortal Powers of Zhan Zhuang

The Immortal Powers of Zhan Zhuang

Master Yuan Xiu Gang leading a Zhan Zhuang class:

What is Zhan Zhuang?

Zhan Zhuang is one of the most important pillars in the inner martial art of Wudang. This exercise is a relaxed standing with open arms and shoulders. In Wudang, it is one of the Qi Gong exercises that everyone should do every day.

Why do we stand?

For beginners, Zhan Zhuang is important to feel the tension in the body and to become more relaxed. For advanced users, Zhan Zhuang is important to be able to control the flow of energy. It is also the only exercise that builds up Qi effectively.


Zhan Zhuang has a positive effect on the entire body. The reason for this is breath control and relaxed standing, which calm the brain waves. This significantly reduces stress and the body can concentrate on the stimulation and circulation of blood and oxygen and thus also on qi.

How to practice:

The body requires a certain basic condition, but also a strong mind, to make progress with Zhan Zhuang. It is recommended to exercise at the same place and at the same time every day to avoid further internal conflicts. The duration between 15 and 60 minutes is recommended. Under 15 minutes, Zhan Zhuang is not effective because our brain needs time to adapt to the exercise.

The Invisible Mother – Dao De Jing Chapter 6

The Invisible Mother – Dao De Jing Chapter 6

Dao De Jing, chapter 6

谷神不死 是謂玄牝

“The valley spirit does not die, it is called the invisible mother.”

玄牝之門 是謂天地根

“The gate of the invisible mother is the root of heaven and earth.”

綿綿若存 用之不勤

“Formless but appears to exist, use it and it never depletes.”

Master Yuan Xiu Gang explains:

In September 2019 we have a seminar with Yuan Xiu Gang in Vienna! Register if you want to learn more about Daoism!

The Windbox – Dao De Jing Chapter 5

The Windbox – Dao De Jing Chapter 5

Our school interviewed Master Yuan Xiu Gang about complex topics of the Dao De Jing and other Daoist doctrines. Before we show you the video we want to clarify a few things:

  • The philosophical explanation of the Daoist text is pointless without practice. It is a life philosophy and therefore people should live inspired by the Daoist doctrines.
  • The context of the Dao De Jing is always an interpretation, it is easier to follow the practice of your master.
  • There are many versions of the Dao De Jing in Chinese and to clearly speak of it is perhaps not possible. English translations are even further away from the context and this is one of the reasons why the interview is solely in Chinese.

The Interview

We held the interview completely in Chinese and then constructed a translation with our translator who is a native speaker and Coach in our academy and follower of the Daoist doctrines for many years. If one does not understand the historical and philosophical background or does not practice self-cultivation, then even for Chinese native speakers it is not possible to fully comprehend the context.

Therefore we can say that together with the participation of our professional group we can hereby present you the clip with the most accurate possible translation and interpretation from our Daoist Grandmaster Yuan Xiu Gang.

Dao De Jing, chapter 5

天地之間 其猶橐籥乎

“Between heaven and earth, is like the bellow of a wind box.”

虛而不屈 動則愈出

“Empty yet does not collapse, the more it is moved, the more it comes out.”

多言數窮 不如守中

“Speaking too much leads to calamities. Better to just hold the center.”

This concludes the answer to the first question! Read more Dao De Jing Chapters in our forum here!

The Foreigner Classes at Yuan Xiu Gang’s School

The Foreigner Classes at Yuan Xiu Gang’s School

Right at the crossing of Shan Shui Jie, Yuan Xiu Gang’s school is easily visible.

Wudang Academy

The foreigner class is specifically designed for people from other countries who come for a short-term or long-term stay. The classes are easier than the Chinese traditional class but they are more optimized to get an understanding of the Wudang martial arts and consider the fact that most foreigners are older than the 13y old students at the Chinese traditional class.

If you are interested in visiting the school please check this post!

Now, some pictures of the foreigner class:

Master Yuan Xiu Gang – Honorary Member

Master Yuan Xiu Gang – Honorary Member

We are happy to announce that we invited Master Yuan Xiu Gang as an honorary member in our Wudang Academy.

Master Yuan Xiu Gang

Master Yuan Xiu Gang

Master Yuan Xiu Gang (Daoist Name: Shi Mao) is a disciple of the 15th generation of Wudang San Feng Pai and the direct Master of Michael Weichhard (Master Ziji 16th gen.). You can find more information about Master Yuan Xiu Gang on his website here!

Future Cooperations

We plan to invite Master Yuan Xiu Gang in September to our Wudang Academy in Vienna. More information follows!

Study at Master Yuan Xiu Gang’s School

Study at Master Yuan Xiu Gang’s School

wudang-kung-fu6.jpgMaster Yuan Xiu Gang was born in 1971, he is a Daoist priest (Daoist name Shi Mao) and a 15th generation disciple of Wudang SanFeng Sect. Master Yuan’s lineage dates back to the 14th century when Zhang San Feng became enlightened by the Dao and created Taijiquan.

Master Yuan has loved martial arts since his early childhood. At the age of 7, he started basic physical training in wushu, and at 16 he studied Shaolin wushu for 3 years. As a result of his increasing skill in gongfu, understanding of internal martial arts, and enthusiasm for Daoism, in 1991 he went to Wudang Mountain, the known center of Daoism and internal martial arts. Master Yuan was fortunate to be accepted as a disciple by the great Master Zhong Yun Long. Since then, Master Yuan has been practicing internal gongfu like TaiJi, Qigong, XingYi, Bagua, and meditation. Wudang kungfu Baguazhang In 1994, Master Yuan was selected by the Wudang Taoist Association for Taoist Wushu Performance Team, and initiated into the Purple Heaven Palace, the largest Daoist temple at Wudang. With the blessing of the Chairman, Master Yuan joined the circle of Daoist culture. Since then, Master Yuan has furthered his practice of Daoist philosophy and internal gongfu.

As a member of the Taoist Wushu Performance Team, Master Yuan has traveled to various places in South East Asia to demonstrate Wudang Gongfu. He has also represented Wudang when receiving high-level Government officials and celebrities from other countries during their visit to the Daoist mountain.

With the promotion by the Government of the Wudang special administrative region, more people from all over the world have embraced Daoism and Wudang mountain. Improving well-being and health through exercise is becoming popular worldwide. Foreigners are becoming more aware of the famous Wudang internal gongfu previously known only to Chinese. Visitors from aboard are coming to here to explore Wudang internal gongfu.

Master Yuan has been responsible for teaching foreigners for years. Throughout these years, he has been dedicated to learning and improving his English for better communication with foreign learners.

In line with the slogan of the Government of the Wudang special administrative region: “Let the world know about Wudang”, Master Yuan established his own Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy with the agreement of Master Zhong Yun Long. The mission of the academy is “To broaden the reach of Taoism and to train outstanding wushu experts”. The Academy welcomes visitors from any part of the world.

Wudang Kung Fu Training:


1978 -1988: Various training throughout China with masters of traditional martial arts.
1988 -1991: Training in Shaolin kungfu, traditional sanda, and qigong.
1991 -1993: Training in Wudang Traditional Kungfu and internal arts.
1993 -1995: Lived as a Daoist monk at ZiXiao Gong. Studied Daoism, Daoist music (mainly singing), and Daoist Acupuncture and herbal medicine.
1995 -Present: Teaching while continuing his practices and studies of internal work.


Member of the Wudang Mountain Kungfu Research Institution
Committee Member of the Wudang Wushu Association
Officer in Charge of the Wudang Mountain Daoist Taiji Center for Health and Longevity
Numerous shows for Daoist singing, kungfu, and Taiji
Many shows have aired throughout China most recently was the Wu Lin Feng Zhen Zhou Show which aired on National China Television (CCTV)

Wudang Mountain is the birthplace of internal martial arts where the great Daoist priest Zhang San Feng came to live as hermit and learn the Daoist methods of immortality

During his time in Wudang Zhang San Feng created Neijiaquan, or what is now more commonly referred to as Taijiquan.Showing great respect for the long history of deep knowledge and culture Wudang was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994.

By incorporating his many years of training in wushu, Daoist internal alchemy, and qi gong Zhang San Feng created Neijiaquan, which was later called Taijiquan or the Taiji 13 Form.

Wudang Kungfu

The Taiji 13 Form has formed the basis for Wudang internal wushu.The Wudang San Feng Lineage continues the traditions and teachings of our patriarch and the lessons of his successive generations.As a result, several branches of practice have evolved over the years which now comprise an abundant system.

Master Yuan has been practicing Daoist wushu in Wudang for over 20 years.Being a 15th generation lineage holder of the Wudang San Feng Lineage, Master Yuan considers it his great task to continue with proliferating the wonderful practices that have been passed down to him.He is a Master of exceptional skill and knowledge and is dedicated to teaching the wushu of Wudang and sharing the knowledge and practice of Daoism to the rest of the world.

Daoist Health Cultivation

In keeping with improvements in modern living conditions, people all over the world are looking to improve their health.As a result, there are many different systems of health improvement that are springing up all over.China possesses thousands of years of development in self-defense practices, various artistic forms of self-expression and various methods and systems of health cultivation.The reason that Wudang Wushu has been able to continuously prosper up to today without being drowned out by modern trends is that it maintains a truly unique cultural character; its primary focus is on its oldest and most practically applicable value – health cultivation.

Ancient Daoist practices apply the theories of combining movement and stillness, internal and external, refining and cultivating, and the physical with the mental/emotional/spiritual as the major focus for cultivation.These practices are used to balance and fortify the body’s original qi, vitality, and spirit. The cultivation of jing, qi, and shen as well as the physical body are given significant importance.Specifically, in the methods of refining and cultivating one follows the method of the meridians or energy channels of the body.Daoist Health Cultivation uses dao yin (Daoist stretching and breathing exercises), qigong, wushu/gongfu methods to harmonize and improve the circulation of the meridians, improve the flow of qi and blood, and harmonize yin and yang within the body – thereby achieving a great improvement in overall health.

At the present time, several Daoist Health Cultivation practices are suitable for all to learn and practice, including Taiji, standing meditation, Ba Duan Jin (the Eight Pieces of Brocade Qi Gong), Taiyi/Liangyi Quan, Five Animals Qi Gong, Taihe Quan, push hands, etc.These practices are soft and slow-moving and are helpful in coordinating breathing and intention/thinking, regulating blood and circulation, and relaxing the spirit and mind.They can help in lowering the degree of blood viscosity, reducing cholesterol, and blood stasis; improving blood circulation, and can significantly improve the condition of blood clotting related problems of the internal organs that may be at risk or in a bad health and cause for concern.For example – those at risk of heart attack, cerebral thrombosis (blood clotting), early stage cirrhosis of the liver, etc. can significantly benefit by adopting these practices into their daily lives.By opening the meridians and removing sickness and toxic substances from the body, one can therein begin to improve the overall yin-yang balance of the internal organs.Daoist Health Cultivation methods can significantly enhance and strengthen practitioners’ immunity to sickness and disease as well as slow the aging and deterioration of the different organ system of the body.It can be seen that these practices are quite suitable and beneficial for everyone – especially young children, the elderly and infirm and those suffering from waist and neck problems.

Wudang Kungfu

The Mysterious Spirit of Wudang Wushu

Wudang Wushu is one of China’s most famous systems of wushu.It possesses a long established history and is well known both in China and abroad.By using traditional self-defense and fighting technique as its foundation, implementing theory derived from the Yi Jing (Book of Changes) and Daoist neidan technique gradually a clear system was created that gave shape to a truly unique style of training.The core of Wudang Martial Arts is comprised of the theory of the waxing and waning of yin and yang, the changes of the Bagua (the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing), and the phases and interactions of the Five Elements.Wudang Wushu encapsulates the deep and profound philosophical traditions of China including Taiji, Yin Yang, Five Element, and Bagua philosophical traditions and theories.It combines this theory with fighting theory and technique, training and cultivation principles, and fighting strategy as methods of searching to understand the natural laws of life.We use wushu as a method of self-cultivation to improve our health and our wisdom. This is the great treasure of Wudang Kungfu.

The entire body of Wudang Wushu is comprised of Wuji, Taiji, and Liangyi.Taijiquan, Liangyiquan, Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, Wudang Sword and other internal wushu systems are representative of Wudang Wushu.Wudang Wushu maintains the traditions and unique styles of the different systems. It uses Daoist philosophy and theory to guide and also combines the study of Daoist medicine, the Yi Jing, and neidan health cultivation methodology as its overall guiding principles and disciplines.Alongside these, it fuses wushu fighting skills and exercises to strengthen the body and places great emphasis on understanding the body’s energy channels and acupuncture points.Wudang Wushu greatly stresses the importance of establishing a strong foundation in internal practice.By practicing to synthesize and coordinate the internal qi and the external body, there is born a unification of internal and external.Using the qi for explosive power, borrowing power, becoming adept in using the soft to overcome the hard, using stillness to regulate movement, possessing a great unification of soft and hard, nimbly turning, circling, and evading and many other techniques are all characteristic traits of “internal kungfu”.

Relaxed, natural movement, a soft external and strong internal, moving like clouds and flowing water, continuous and unimpeded action and many other techniques are Wudang’s great attributes that distinguish it from other wushu.

Location & Timetable

Yuxu Palace was built in 1413, formerly one of the largest buildings in Wudang with its 2,000 rooms, until it was destroyed in 1745. The remains of the palace include two pavilions housing stone tablets positioned upon stone tortoises, each of which weighs over several hundred tons. In recent years the Yuxu Palace has scene significant renovations and refurbishments while at the same time still retaining much of its original structure.

Training is held in the Yuxu Palace every day. If the weather does not permit outside training, there are two large newly renovated training halls at the academy where classes are also held. The academy also has a meditation hall for students.

What does a day of training look like?

Schedule Times
Qi Gong/ Free Training 6:00-7:00 AM
Breakfast 7:30 AM
Morning Training 8:30-11:00 AM
Lunch 12:00 PM
Afternoon Training 3:00-5:00PM
Dinner 5:30 PM
Free Training 7:00-8:30 PM

* note that the exact times may vary throughout the year to make full use of daylight

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Below we answered some of the most common questions

Visa information:

All persons intending to enter The People’s Republic of China from outside countries must first have a valid passport and a Chinese visa. We can help you with obtaining your Chinese visa by providing you with an invitation letter to hand in with your visa application.Any other circumstances or special needs for visa application can be communicated to Master Yuan via e-mail.

Visas can be extended here in town for up to one year. After one year, foreigners are required to leave the country to apply for a new visa. Most students who stay for more than one year simply travel to Hong Kong or other neighboring countries to do so.

Travel information:

Wudang Mountain (武当山– Wu Dang Shan in Chinese Pin Yin pronunciation) is located in the province of Hubei, located in Southern Central China.

The most common route for students coming to study is from Beijing.From Beijing, one can travel by airplane or train to Wudang. The train, about a 20-hour ride, is much cheaper and more direct than flights. If you are planning on taking the train, purchase a ticket for the K261 or K507 train to a town called Wudangshan. Wudangshan train station is located about 20 minutes from the school. If you cannot purchase a ticket to Wudangshan train station, purchase one for Shi Yan. Shi Yan is a city located about 1 hour from the school.
The following are some directions and Chinese phrases to print out to help with your ticket purchase:

Take a taxi to the Beijing West train station.

“Please take me to the Beijing West train station” – 。 (beijingxizhan)

Purchase a ticket for the train, K261 or K507, to Wudangshan.

“I would like to buy a ticket for the K261 or K507 train to Wudangshan .” – (womaiyizhangquwudangshan de huochepiao)。

Choose either a soft sleeper or hard sleeper ticket.

“Soft sleeper” – (ruanwo)
“Hard sleeper” – (yingwo)

If you are going to be flying from Beijing, purchase a plane ticket to Shiyan(WDS) city.Shiyan has located about 1 hours away from Wudang. If you would like for a taxi to meet you at the airport, please communicate this to Master Yuan promptly so that it can be arranged.

Helpful hints:

When traveling, be sure to keep an eye on your belongings. Keep your passport, money, and other valuables on your person at all times. Make sure that you keep Master Yuan updated on your travel plans so that it can be arranged for someone to meet you at the airport or train station upon arrival.
Some people have trouble setting up a VPN in China, if you wish to use one it is best to arrange this before departure

Contact Master Yuan Xiu Gang personally:

Go to Master Yuan Xiu Gangs website!