Wudang Wushu (martial arts) is one of the most important systems in the history of Chinese wushu and is a precious treasure of the Chinese culture. Wudang and Shaolin are two major systems of wushu in China which hold very important status in the history of Chinese wushu.




Mount Wudang, also known as Can Shang Mountain or Tai He Mountain, is located in the Qin Ling Mountain Range of northwestern Hubei Province. Because the scenery around Mount Wudang is so majestic and beautiful, it has been given the name The Famous Mountain Under Heaven. Wudang is a major center for the sudy of Daoism and self-cultivation.


The legendary founder of Wudang wushu was Zhang San Feng. Zhang San Feng was a Daoist who lived in these mountains to cultivate the Dao during the Ming Dynasty. Zhang San Feng was born in 1247 A.D. in the area of what is known today as Liao Ning. Zhang San Feng is a very famous figure in the history of Chinese wushu. His martial abilities and healing techniques were superb and he was known to have cured many people of illnesses. This brought about great admiration from the common people. The emperor of the Ming Dynasty erected a monument on the mountain to commerate the contributions of Zhang San Feng. During Zhang's younger years he met Daoist Huo Lung (Fire Dragon) with whom he studied the Dao. After attaining the Dao, Zhang moved to Wudang Mountain and cultivated an additional nine years. Many historical documents suggest that Zhang San Feng was the person responsible for synthesizing the wushu of the common people with the internal methodology and philosphical principles of Daoism. Wudang wushu is primarily known for its internal styles.


      Zhang San Feng created Wudang wushu by researching the basic theory of Yin and Yang, the Five Elements, and the Eight Diagrams (Ba Gua). Wudang wushu has a very close relationship with the theories of Taiji, Yin and Yang, the Five Elements, the Eight Diagrams, and the Nine Palaces. Zhang San Feng was able to incorporate the Daoist practice of changing the Essence into Internal Energy , Internal Energy into Spirit , and Spirit into Emptiness to form the theory of Wudang wushu.


     Taijiquan, Baguazhang, and Xingyiquan are a major part of Wudang wushu. Not only do these styles require the internal energy to sink to the Dantian, hollowing the chest and straightening the spine, relaxing the shoulders and sinking the elbows, and other demands, but they also have a close relationship with Yin and Yang, the Five Elements, and the Eight Diagrams.


Taijiquan is an internal style which incorporates the Eight Diagrams, Five Elements, and the theory of Yin and Yang. Taijiquan first appeared during the end of the Ming and beginning of the Qing Dynasty in the Chen Village of Henan Province in Northern China. There are many different stories of the origin of Taijiquan. Some say the founder was Zhang San Feng while others suggest it was Chen Fu of the Chen Village. It must also be noted that the Wudang style of Taijiquan is quite different from that of the more popular styles of Taijiquan. No matter which story is correct, the main person who brought Taijiquan into the publics eye was Yang Lu Chan.

Yang Lu Chan, the founder of Yang style Taijiquan, spread the art of Taijiquan throughout the Beijing area during the Qing Dynasty. During his lifetime there were many challenges to test the skill level of Yang Lu Chan; however, to no success, nobody could defeat Yang Lu Chan. Over time Yang Lu Chan was given the name, Yang the Invinsible. After the Yang style was created, many style have developed and spread throughout the world. Some of these style include the Wu, Fu, Sun, Li, Hao, Woo, Zheng, etc.

Taijiquan stresses a relaxed body in which the mind leads the internal energy and the internal energy leads the body. Taijiquan places much intent on the changes of Yin and Yang. The eight methods of Taijiquan which include ward-off, roll back, press, push, pluck, pull down, elbow, and shoulder are the eight gates of the Eight Diagrams. The five stepping methods are related to metal, wood, water, fire, and earth of the Five Elements.

     In combat, Taijiquan utilizes adhering, sticking, and following in addition to the borrowing of force from the opponent to reach the goal of using four ounces to defeat one thousand pounds. All styles of Taijiquan contain at least one open-hand routine, several weapon routines, and various push hand sequences. Even though Taijiquan is considered mainly as a health-based exercise, it is also a very effected self-defense system. Many of the greatest martial artists in the past were masters of Taijiquan.

Xingyiquan is a style based on the principles of the Five Elements. The main standing posture for Xingyiquan is the Three Body Posture. The Three Body Posture is the foundation of the style and develops much internal strength when practiced on a continuous basis. It is said that every technique within the Xingyiquan style originates from the Three Body Posture. The basic fist methods of Xingyiquan include the Five Elements and the Twelve Animals. The Five Mother Fists of Xingyiquan, splitting, pounding, drilling, crushing, and crossing are associated to the Five Elements. The Twelve Animals include the dragon, tiger, monkey, horse, alligator, snake, Tai Bird, sparrow, chicken, hawk, bear, and eagle.

Xingyiquan is positioned in the center of the Nine Palaces of the Eight Diagrams and is practiced in a linear fashion. Xingyiquan attacks from the center gate in which linear and crossing movements are used to both defend and attack. Some Xingyiquan routines include the Five Element Linking Fist, Eight Technique Fist, the Twelve Hong Chui Fist, Entering and Exiting the Cave Fists, the Five Element Creation and Destruction Fists, the Eight Character gong Fist and many others. Xingyiquan also has an array of weapon and two person fighting sets.

Baguazhang, originally called Turning Palm is a very tradtional Wudang style of wushu. Since the propogation of Baguazhang by Dong Hai Chuan (1813-1882) over one hundred years ago during the Qing Dynasty, there have been many inheretors of the style. Presently, there are styles which have originated from Yin Fu, Cheng Ting Hua, Liu Feng Chun, Li Chun Yi, Huang Bo Nian, and Jiang Rong Qiao.

The basics of Baguazhang is walking in a circular fashion utilizing the walking in the mud step. The stepping of Baguazhang is centered around the cyclical changes of motion. The basic stepping method includes raising, lowering, hooking, opening, advancing, closing, blocking, crossing, and turning all of which is the manifestation of change within Yin and Yang. Baguazhang is based on circular movements with hitting points. The practitioner spirals to the left and turns to the right whereupon the opponent cannot come near. The two main palms are the dragon and ox-tongue palms.

The main fighting characteristics of the style is to push, to hold, to carry, to cling, to move, to grab, to encircle, to intercept, to hook, to hit, to block, to close, to weave, and to poke. The basic palm mentods include the Eight Mother Palms, the 64 Palm style, the Eight Animals, Dragon shape Palm, Swimming Dragon Continuous Palm, Nine Palace Palm, Thirty Six Leg Methods, Seventy Two Leg Methods, etc...

Baguazhang also has an extensive array of push hand methods and weapon sets utilizing the Bagua Broadsword, Bagua Straightsword, Cresent Moon Knives, Bagua Spear, Bagua Staff, etc.

The content of Wudang wushu is extremely abundant. The following will introduce some of the main points of the system. Wudang Taijiquan is an outstanding style from the Wudang Sect. The style consists of eight routes with 108 postures. The movements are slow, even, and soft using spiralling and circular energy to spread the internal energy throughout the body. This style has incorporated the circulation of internal energy found in Taiji, the issuing of power found in Xingyi, and the body methods of Bagua into one body. Consequently, Wudang Taijiquan is an extremely functional martial art.

     Another famous feature of Wudang wushu is Wudang Straightsword. Wudang Straightsword includes single straightsword, double straightsword, two person straightsword fighting sets, and free-sparring straightswod routines. The straightsword methods are formed by pulling, carring, lifting, blocking, attacking, thrusting, pointing, tilting, pressing, intercepting, and splitting. Wudang Straightsword movements use the waist from Taijiquan and the stepping patterns from Baguazhang. The straightsword methods utilize combinations in which the movements are fast as lightning and as beautiful as Mount Wudang.