Posted 18 June 2012 - 03:32 AM
Do you think wu dang really started tai chi ? I don't think so. Their stuff are so "yang style tai chi" like, and it just seems like they brew up a rumor -> history. Jeung San Fung don't even do tai chi much, he is just into those internal alchemy stuff, and now people all praise he is the tai chi founder because of the movies? any historians hee got clues?
Posted 19 June 2012 - 10:17 PM
Posted 23 June 2012 - 11:37 AM
You look familiar. Aren't you a former member of Kung Fu Magazine forum? Anyways, no, Wudang did not create Taiji. Several martial arts historians have covered the history before. For instance, Douglas Wile wrote T'ai Chi's Ancestors: The Making of an Internal Art (1999). It's been a while since I've read anything on it, but if I remember correctly, Taiji stems from the 18th or 19th century.
Wow you really recongnize me well. I am a member of the KFM I am CYMAC over there if you find the name. Great to hear abou tthe book, I will try to search for it then. But surely Wu Dang now is BS-ing about their tai chi really originate from Zhang San Fung which is a big lie and rumor. Nice relationship to the Jin Yong 金庸 too, people just got addicted to novels too much and forget to come back to reality?
Many Chinese traditions are like that too, shame.. people don't read real history... and got fooled.
Posted 23 June 2012 - 04:23 PM
"The tendency to define novel fighting reference to Shaolin's established reputation is best exemplified by the seventeenth-century Internal School Fist (Neijia Quan), was taught by Wang Zhengnan (1617-1669) in Zhejiang. Huang Zongxi (1610-1695) and his son Huang Baijia (1643-?)--who left us the earliest accounts of the school--contrasted it with the Shaolin method, which they designated 'external.' In his 1669 epitaph for Wang Zhengnan, Huang Zongxi wrote that 'Shaolin is famous for its hand combat. However, its techniques are chiefly offensive, which creates opportunities for an opponent to exploit. Now there is another school that is called 'internal,' which overcomes movement with stillness. Attackers are effortlessly repulsed. Thus we distinguish Shaolin as 'external.'
The Huangs attributed Wang Zhengnang's seventeenth-century Internal School to a mysterious Daoist immortal named Zhang Sanfeng (fl. 1380), who had lived two and a half centuries earlier. According to Huang fils, Zhang had studied the Shaolin style before creating his own more sophisticated method. 'The External School flourished at Shaolin,' wrote Huang Baijia. 'Zhang Sanfeng, having mastered Shaolin, reversed its principles, and this called the Internal School. Very little is known of the historical Zhang Sanfeng (whose name was originally written with a different character for feng), except that he had been active during the early Ming in the Daoist monastic complex on Mt. Wudang in Hubei. However it is clear from the early records that he had nothing to do with the martial arts. Why then did the Huangs, or Wang Zhengnan, attribute the Internal School to the obscure Daoist?
Zhang Sanfeng's association with a military god was likely one reason for his choice as creator of the Internal School. The saint had resided at the Wudang temple complex, which had been dedicated to the cult of a valiant deity, the Perfect Warrior (Zhenwu) (also known as the Dark Warrior (Xuanwu)). Beginning in the eleventh century, some Chinese emperors attributed their success in battle to the martial god, who was extolled for warding off nomadic invasions. Moreover, the third Ming emperor Chengzu (r. 1403-1424) credited the martial deity with his successful usurpation of the throne, for which reason he embarked upon a massive temple construction on Mt. Wudang. Huang Zongxi, at any rate, explicityly linked the Perfect Warrior's fighting techniques with the Daoist saint's Internal School. 'That night,' he wrote, 'Zhang Sanfeng dreamt that the Primordial Emperor (The Perfect Warrior) transmitted the techniques of hand combat to him, and the following morning he single-handedly killed over a hundred bandits.'" (Shahar, The Shaolin Monastery, pp. 175-177)
Shahar goes on to say another reason the Huang's attributed Zhang as the founder is because it might have been a political statement. Mt. Wudang was the family shrine of the Ming royal family. After the Manchu invasions and founding of the Qing Dynasty (when these men wrote their works on the Internal School), the Huang's chose the saint as a symbol of loyalty to the former native Chinese dynasty. He notes: 'Douglas Wile is likely right in his assertion that by combining the mythic figures of the Perfect Warrior and Zhang Sanfeng with the righteous martial artist Wang Zhengnan, 'the Huangs attempted in an environment of strict censorship to issue a spiritual rallying cry against alien aggression.' (p. 177) He follows this information with this paragraph:
…the Zhang Sanfeng genealogy matched the Bodhidharma ancestry in a perfectly harmonious structure. On the one hand was the “External” school associated with Buddhism and attributed to an Indian patriarch who supposedly meditated on the sacred Mt. Song; on the other hand was an “internal” school affiliated with Daoism and ascribed to an immortal who reputedly secluded himself on the holy Mt. Wudang. This flawless symmetry of directions (external and internal), religions (Buddhism and Daoism), and sacred peaks (Song and Wudang) was joined, on the geographical axis, by a correlation of north and south. Because Mt. Song was the more northern of the two peaks, the “External" school was named the “Northern,” whereas its “Internal” rival came to be known as the “Southern.” Like Chan Buddhism a thousand years earlier, the martial arts were gradually imagined in terms of a “Northern School” and a “Southern School.” (p. 179)
Another source, an article by Anna Seidelv called "A Taoist Immortal of the Ming Dynasty: Chang San-feng," spends a good portion of the paper describing mentions of Zhang in Chinese records. There is by far more mythical information available on him than there is historical. Despite this, there have been enough scholars and emperors to write about either knowing him personally or knowing of him during the pertinent time to verify his historicity (just barely). There is no reason for me to transcribe any of this. Concerning his connection to boxing, Seidel states:
"Some readers may be surprised that this hagiography contains not even the faintest allusions to the Taoist techniques of boxing, whereas Chang San-feng is known today, if at all, as the founder of the boxing school of T'ai chi ch'uan.
The earliest data on a boxing master Chang San-feng is found in the biography of a famous boxing master Chang Sung-chi who lived in the sixteenth century in Ningpo. He called himself a disciple of an alchemist Chang San-feng, a recluse in the Wu-tang Mountains who refused the invitation to court of Hui-tsung of the Sung (1101-1126). In a dream the Dark Emperor (Hsuan-ti) taught him the boxing techniques which enabled him alone to overcome a hundred robbers. The name of Chang Sung-chi's technique is not T'ai chi ch'uan but 'esoteric school' nei-chia in opposition to the older Buddhist boxing tradition of the Shao-lin Monastery which he called 'exoteric school' wai-chia. The nei-chia technique was inspired by Taoist conceptions of yielding and defending the enemy less by force than by knowledge of his weak spots. Rivaled by Buddhist boxers of the Shao-lin branch who traced their tradition back to Bodhidharma, Sung-chi chose a famous Taoist as the patron saint of his 'esoteric school.'" (pp. 504-505)
Seidel goes on to talk about Wang and the Huangs and gives similar reasons for why they may have connected Zhang Sanfeng with the Dark Warrior. In his paper on Taiji legend, Stan Henning says this article is not always correct. I imagine he is referring to the outdated research on the origins of Taiji by another scholar that is presented in Seidel's paper.
Posted 24 June 2012 - 09:20 PM
But then there was an article written by Wong Yuenming in the Journal of Chinese Martial Arts, Issue 2, winter 2010, with the title "Taijiquan: Heavenly Pattern Boxing", p. 28 - 37, with lots of interesting new stuff on Zhang Sanfeng. That might give us all some more space to think, and research on this topic is not final in any way.
Here is their website:
Edited by hongdaozi, 26 June 2012 - 07:50 PM.
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