Tao of Martial Arts

 The origin, evolution and development of Taoist style Internal Martial Arts: Shadow Boxing

The internal martial arts, also known as shadow boxing, are one of the most famous types of Chinese martial arts in the world. More than 300 years have passed since internal martial arts were shown to the public at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. Internal martial arts gained great popularity in Beijing around the time of the 1911 revolution which gave rise to the saying that “the pugilist art was passed down to the secular world by celestial beings”. The true origin internal martial arts is likely to date back many thousands years earlier, from as early as 3000 BC.

Internal martial arts, like any other of the great Chinese discoveries such as Chinese medicine and alchemy, extend far beyond the understanding and imagination of people living today. This powerful and hidden knowledge can be traced back to ancient times. The founding of such knowledge and theory cannot be credited to a single person or to a particular time in history. The development and refinement of internal martial arts occurred through the passage of time and was improved over countless generations.

Despite the accepted facts of the evolution of shadow boxing, there are several fallacies about the history of shadow boxing’s creation and development:

Some believe that Zhang Sanfeng, a WuDang alchemist in the 12th century was the creator of shadow boxing, however as early as the mid 8th century Tang Dynasy, Xu Xuanping was already an explorer of internal martial arts. No matter the number of elaborate stories regarding the creation of internal martial arts, one fact remains certain, internal martial arts can only be achieved by the Taoist practice of alchemy and from this basis grows and extends to benefit all other areas of life.

Peopled needed a way to defend themselves due to the prolonged years of warfare and turmoil that swept across China throughout its history. The expansion of Taoist practices allowed people to face and overcome threats when they needed it most.

Similar issues still persist in today’s world albeit in a different context. You need only briefly examine the state of the world today to easily find that there are many unusual and unexpected occurrences that affect society. People no longer have peace, welfare or security. Being aware of these potential threats, we need to both prepare for them and overcome them.

To fully recover natural power will allow people to cope with a variety of unexpected situations that life presents. Choosing to practice and understand the Tao of martial arts through daily practice and application to daily life will provide a powerful method for dealing with stress and the challenges that present themselves. The practice of internal martial arts is no different from any other Taoist practices as all are based on refining Jing, Qi and Shen and collecting energy until elixir is developed which transforms your life.

LaoTzu Academy offers complete and authentic Taoist training starting with basic theories and practice, broken down into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Completion of these courses will allow the learner to secure themselves from harm when faced with unforeseen circumstances or danger.

About author

Master Dongyang branches out from Daoist lineages that stem from private Daoist hermits. He promotes Dao as a practical, effective and functional way to deal with the world with ease without having to retreat from it. He bridges the gap between ancient knowledge and the modern world.