Trip to Wudang Mountain 2006
Participants: Sil Lum Kune, Bedworth UK
Number of Participants: 33
Trip Date: 5th April - 24th April 2006
Written By: David
At Wudang Mountain, our first port of call was Zixiao Palace (Purple Sky Palace) temple built in 1413 at the foot of Zhanqi peak. As we arrived at the temple the weather had turned to a slight drizzle. As we got off the coach and walked to the temple, the Fang Chang and the martial arts instructor Zhong Xeuyong of Wudang Taoist Kung Fu Academy were waiting outside to greet us. We took several photos followed by a group photo outside the palace temple, from there they invited us into the audience room where we were able to ask questions and we were served tea. The back walls of this room where covered certificates and pennants from various clubs from around the world. Some of the other walls had pictures of heads of state, which had also been entertained in this room, The room was only used for VIPs. We were very honoured and privileged to be treated as important guests. Myself, and Zhong Xeuyong talked through an interpreter about various aspects of our Kung Fu and its development. We also discussed the historical links between Wudang and Shaolin.
We then exchanged pennants and had several photographs taken. After this Zhong Xeuyong answered several questions from our group who had been listening and watching these proceedings. We also discussed the history of Wudang Kung Fu, the temple and its origins. After all the questions had been asked we were invited to the main courtyard. The weather was the same, but yet it wasn't too cold. I was surprised how quite this beautiful monastery was compared to the hustle and bustle of Mount Emei. One side of the courtyard was lined with Zhong Xeuyong's Wudang Taoist Kung Fu students and our group lined up on the ad-joining terrace next to them with Zhong Xeuyong.
Our group were invited to go first. As usual the children (Callum Burkinshaw aged 6yrs, Rebecca Currie aged 8yrs, Cameron Burkinshaw aged 8yrs, Alexander Currie aged 10yrs) performed open-hand forms first, and then the adults followed. David Richardson performed A Shaolin Monk's Spade form and I followed with a Kwon Do form. While I was performing the routine I heard two ripping noises, which I thought was the Velcro fastenings on my trousers. Unfortunately I wasn’t wearing loose enough trousers and the ripping sounds were my trousers splitting which created a few smiles from both sides as well as the small crowd of tourists that had gathered to watch.
Next the Wudang students performed a mixture of open-hand forms and weapons. I was impressed by all their performances, which demonstrated a lovely grace and yet deadly technique. A couple of the performances stood out. One was the amazing staff form one student did. The moves, and then the way he kept his balance during some of techniques were awe-inspiring. The Monk's Spade and Horse Whip routines were also captivating and very interesting. Zhong Xeuyong stole the show with his performance of an open-hand routine. His movements were graceful and fluid, with sudden bursts of power clearly proving he was the master!
During the whole performance of both groups, after each member by had finished they were greeted with rapturous applause from both sides and the onlookers that stopped to enjoy this intriguing spectacle. If I had to choose anything else other than Shaolin it would be Wudang, but then is that because of the similarity and the links to Shaolin?
We were then invited to look around the remainder of the temple. The way this temple was set out is comparable to the tardis. This temple is deceptively big, every time we climbed the steps up to the next level we found more. It had a similar layout to the Buddhist Shaolin temples, but this Taoist temple was on a much bigger and grander scale. In my opinion this temple is the most attractive temple we saw while in China. Again, unlike the Shaolin temples these temple buildings were very old and so had lots of historical character.
We spent several hours perusing the temple and marvelling at its sites. A particular hall that interested me was the Dragon and Tiger Hall. These two beasts were the brandings of Shaolin masters from certain temples and form part of our club logo.
The following day we took the cable car up Wudang Mountain. The weather had turned very cold. On all my previous visits to China the weather has been very warm, even hot, however, not this trip. As we reached the summit area by cable car the drizzle was starting to freeze. The trees on Tianzhu peak took on a strange beauty covered in leaves of ice. The views were breath taking and the old buildings were dark and intriguing with lots of historical character. Apart from the Golden Hall (gold-plated bronze hall), which was shining like a beacon in the now bleak weather conditions that had enveloped us. As we walked down a little from the Golden Hall we came across a side ally leading to various buildings. Four of us ventured down this ally looking into one of the halls. As we turned away we all noticed the paintings on the opposite wall. One painting in particular captivated us all. It was a painting of a black tiger. One of the sources some of us had read before we came to China related to the Shaolin connection at Wudang as the Black Tiger Temple.
We could have easily spent many days at Wudang, marvelling at its sites and beauty, but time was getting on and we had to move on. I can honestly say that we all remarked that Wudang was beyond a doubt the most beautiful and interesting place we visited in China.