Train In Wudang
Training at the Wudang Daoist Traditional Kungfu Academy continues year round and is open to students of all ages and experience levels. We are happy to welcome people from all over the world and give them the chance to come together and add to the Wudang community, sharing the experience of learning traditional Wudang Martial Arts and immersing into Daoist and Chinese culture.
Our practice changes throughout the seasons but there are two basic schedules that we follow for Summer and Winter. Following are the typical schedules here at the academy.
Training And Evaluation
Training begins on Friday and goes until Wednesday every week. Daily training (for the summer schedule) starts in the morning with Qigong, then moves on to two main classes after Breakfast and after the lunch break, and finishes the day with a Meditation class in the evenings. For five days a week, each day is over 7 hours of training time. This gives each student the chance to focus on their training and learn aspects from not only the external basic training, but also the internal cultivating practices as well like Qigong, TaiJi, and Meditation. Daily basic training is a combination of stretching, stance training, coordination, kicking drills, light acrobatics, partner push hands work, strength training, shadowboxing, cardio, meditation, TaiJi walking, Cloud Hands, balance exercises, and more. This is dependent on the coaches discretion and according to the weather at the current time. Typically summer time training will place emphasis on stamina, cardio, and flexibility while winter time training will focus more on strength, balance, and power.
An example of a more detailed schedule for the whole week during Summer may be as follows:
The weekly Evaluation, held on Wednesdays, is a school wide event where students perform the system or style that they have been learning for Master Yuan and the rest of the school. This gives the student a chance to show their training, and Master Yuan the chance to offer feedback in what parts of the training may need to be improved upon.
Wednesdays And Thursdays
Wednesday evening and Thursday is the rest period for the week. Otherwise, during the training week, there is a short break in the afternoon for a rest in between training times.
On Wednesday afternoons there is also a school cleaning that takes place. We maintain our own space to show respect for the school grounds and training grounds.
Curriculum: What to Train?
While training is open to all experience levels and all ages, you may be wondering where to begin or what style suits you for training? Is there a certain system or way of training that suits your and will help move you towards your individual goals? Does the time you have available affect what you can learn? These are all great questions to start asking yourself and begin considering when you are registering for classes here at WDTKA.
Over the years, we have taught students, beginners and instructors alike, from all over the world. Any discipline that you begin requires a foundation. Even as you become more advanced in your techniques, it is the reinforcement of the basic training that enables you to continue cultivating your practice towards mastery. This is why at our academy everyone participates in the daily training schedule. This way all student start from the ground and work up. The branches of their personal curriculum, however, may be more unique to each individual.
Following are a few things to consider when planning your training here in Wudang.
Long Term Training
Long term students have the opportunity of a much more flexible schedule. This opens up the possibility of following the traditional Wudang practice. The traditional method of training strives to combine hard and soft. Basic training is the first used to teach and correct posture, strength, coordination, and to begin gaining flexibility. Once these methods are learned, the student begins form training. Form training teaches one how to express this coordination in the most efficient way.
A basic progression of learning in the traditional way may be the student beginning with basic training and then moving into basic empty hand forms like Ji Ben Quan. From here, one moves on to more technical styles. This may be an internal, like Qigong or TaiJi, or an external style, like Dragon Fist or a weapon form like Straight Sword or Eight Immortals Staff. While it is not necessary to follow this way, it can be very beneficial is a student has the time available, is a beginner to martial arts, or if they are unsure of where to begin.
Training like this will create a more comprehensive training program. One will have more time to dedicate to strong fundamental skills and then learn how to apply them in many different ways through different forms and systems of training. This training will be much more intensive and may follow the traditional path a little closer. Because the type of student has more flexibility in their schedule, they will have the chance to focus on multiple aspects of training. This way they may be able to try out certain styles that their coach recommends or stumble upon something that was unknown to them before they began their training. This program is typically more beneficial for younger students, however it can also be a great time to dedicate towards cultivation the internal system for older or more experienced individuals.
Short Term Training
While there are many benefits for the long term students, that does not mean short term training cannot be beneficial as well. Short term students can enjoy a crash course in basic training and gain a new perspective on how to train the body and mind. Typically, a student is able to learn a single form in one month alongside the basic training, the morning Qigong, and the evening Meditation classes.
For students who only have one month or less to dedicate to training, WDTKA still has much to offer. Training in Wudang Martial Arts is a lifelong endeavor, but that does not mean that you have to accomplish everything on day one. Goals must be met over time as the body slowly becomes better balanced and ready to handle the more advanced. More is not always better. Health medicine is healthy because it is taken in proper portions and schedules. We cannot simple eat all of our medicine at once and expect to be in perfect health. Just so, we should approach our training with a similar mindset.
Students may come for one month, a few weeks, a single week, or even just a few days. Of course what they may accomplish may get lower for each time period. One week can still be enough time to learn a simple qigong pattern like Five Animals Qigong, and a few days is still a good chance to delve into the training and possibly plan for returning at a later date to continue training.
Internal Or External?
Deciding between learning internal or external systems may be determined by what your overall goals are or what you previous experience level is.
Are you goals to be more stable, both mentally and physically? Are you looking for methods to release anxiety or lower blood pressure? Are you trying to find ways to correct posture and reinforce better habits? Do you have chronic injuries or imbalances that you wish to correct or be more sensitive to? Have you always been fascinated by meditation and curious about the benefits that can be reached by taming your emotions? If these are questions that ring true for you, maybe you should consider learning an internal, soft style like TaiJi.
Are you an energetic, sports active person? Are you looking for a challenge physically, something to take your training to the next level? Are you experienced in martial arts and curious about the styles of Wudang? Are you interested in weapons techniques and how the body can be used in unison with these ancient methods? Do you want to gain a more dynamic training regime that will increase strength, endurance, stamina, power, flexibility, and coordination? If these are things that get your blood pumping, than maybe an external, hard style is more your speed.
Best Season for Training?
While the schedule for training and curriculum may vary depending on the seasons as most of the training is outside, every season will still offer comprehensive development in martial arts training. Even still, some times of the year are better if your goals are specific. For example, developing flexibility and speed is going to be much easier during the summer months while training power, and strength (just in willpower alone!) will be better focused on during the winter months.
The summer months can also be more busy in the academy. Expect the student population to be greater during June, July, and August. If you are registering for training during these months, make sure that you reserve your space at least one or two months prior to your arrival. This way we can ensure and reserve your space.
The winter months, normally are lower in student population and allow for more one on one time with the coaches.
Make sure to plan accordingly for training. If you are going to be here during the winter months, it is advisable that you bring plenty of warm, athletic, moisture-wicking clothing. During training, you will want to wear layers so that you can stay warm but be able to move around freely and remove layers if you get hot while training. It is important to stay dry and warm during the winter.
Summer months may be easier to train during. Here you will want to remember to stay cool, stay hydrated, wear loose clothing, and apply sunscreen if you have sensitive skin as much of the training is done outside, year round.
The Spring and Autumn months can have days of rain. Although Wudang does not have a very aggressive wet season, it does benefit the student if you consult the charts here or on the updated websites you can find online like climate-data.org or weatherspark.com. Or if you are looking for current weather forecasts use sites worldweatheronline.com or weather.com for detailed information.