To what extent have daoist practices actually influenced martial arts?

Submitted by Tommaso on Thu, 08/19/2010 - 14:56
Tommaso's picture

Hi everyone,
I am exploring the influences of daoist practices on martial arts in general of China and Japan; sterotypes, myths, effects and benefits starting from the very first studies of daoism and martial arts in the West. I am happy to hear your opinions and advises on the matter.

Any further suggestions; have you come accross the work of Raposa?

Bill Mattucci's picture

Daoist practices interweaven

Submitted by Bill Mattucci on Sun, 01/30/2011 - 11:50.

Daoist practices interweaven throughout the Chinese culture as do many others as well. That makes it hard to state exactly the how much of the martial art is Daoist influenced. I would have to say to the extent of how Daoist influenced the individual is. Tai Chi, Bagua, Luo Ho Pa Fa, Xing- I, Wing Chun and JKD to name a few.

Tommaso's picture

I am now reading the M.

Submitted by Tommaso on Wed, 01/26/2011 - 11:02.

I am now reading the M. Raposa work titled Meditation and Martial Arts, where there are some interesting points about Taiji, Bagua and the circle-walking method of meditation.
Have you ever read it?

Bill Hulet's picture

If I understand your

Submitted by Bill Hulet on Fri, 08/20/2010 - 15:58.

If I understand your question, I could suggest the probably the biggest force in popularizing Taijiquan in North America has been the Taoist Tai Chi Society (TTCS.) It was founded by a self-described Daoist "monk" by the name of Moy Lin Shin, who was a founder of the Fung Loy Kok Taoist Temple in Hong Kong, which I understand was a subset of the Yuen-Yuen Institute (a very large Taoist Institution in Hong Kong.)

While the taijiquan taught through the TTCS is often described as being not very good, a large number of people have started out with it (because at one time it was the "only game in town" in many parts of the world) and then gone on to study the internal martial arts to a significant manner.

Is this the sort of response you are looking for?

Tommaso's picture

Hi Bill, Yes; that is part of

Submitted by Tommaso on Sun, 08/22/2010 - 15:24.

Hi Bill,
Yes; that is part of what I am looking for. Part of the myths and stereotypes about Taoism may have originated from similar environments.

Where can I find some documentation about it? Can I ask you how do you know he is a self-described "monk"?
Given the nature of the topic, it happens that many people seriously interested in learning Taoism and perhaps without knowledge of Chinese culture or language have to start with "what's available in town".

I am happy to continue the discussion.

Thank you

Bill Hulet's picture

I knew Moy Lin Shin and was

Submitted by Bill Hulet on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 10:57.

I knew Moy Lin Shin and was even initiated into the Fung Loy Kok Temple that he ran in Toronto, so I guess I'm a primary source myself. You can learn a bit more by looking at the following websites.

First, this is the Taoist Tai Chi Society site, it is the group that Moy set up to teach tai chi chuan.

Second, here is a sub-page devoted to Moy Lin Shin. It doesn't mention that he was a monk, but that was certainly what I was told. Of course, this would be a bad translation of the term "daoshi". But he did set up and run a Temple in Toronto. He also had another fellow, Moi Ming Do, who used to come to Canada once in a while for specific ceremonies (like my initiation into the temple) and to lead meditation classes. He was supposedly an "elder" to Moy.

Finally, this is a page devoted to the Temple that Moy and Moi set up in Toronto. The giant Guan-Yin in the photo is at the Orangeville, Ontario retreat centre. The property was aquired many years ago, and I spent the summer there the first year. I suspect that it is the largest Daoist temple complex in North America. Again, there is an organizational division between the Taoist Tai Chi Society and the Fung Loy Kok, but functionally they are part of the same organization. And this group is by far the greatest influence on spreading Taijiquan and Qigong to North America, or at least it seems to me.

Gary Abersold 's picture

Hi after reading your post

Submitted by Gary Abersold (not verified) on Fri, 08/20/2010 - 06:01.

Hi after reading your post first area thatcomes to mind is Bagua Zhuang which from much experience and research traces it's origins to various Daoist Sects. Here is something to read here:

Tommaso's picture

Hi Gary, Thank you for your

Submitted by Tommaso on Sun, 08/22/2010 - 15:05.

Hi Gary,
Thank you for your advise.
I had a look at that website; is there any article(s) from that website you would recommend and why.

Thank you

Gary's picture

Hi the link covers how Tung

Submitted by Gary (not verified) on Tue, 08/24/2010 - 17:19.

Hi the link covers how Tung Hai Chuan evolved it to a Martial system based on much research; but their is nowadays lots of teachers and info on the Tao & Martial connection. Traditional Chen Family Taijiquan, Wudang Taijiquan, Liu He Bafa & Bagua have many text that cover the martial and Tao connection.

If you could find a practitioner of a lineage who has received Oral transmission they can expand on what all the great text talk about. Check out Sifu Park Bok Nam has great credentials... Good luck in you research....Gary

Tommaso's picture

Thank you. I read the webpage

Submitted by Tommaso on Tue, 08/31/2010 - 12:23.

Thank you.
I read the webpage and would like to find out more with regards of the inner work daoists developed into that footwork.
At p. 2 you can read some of the details of the practice of walking in circle; this seems to me a religious practice. By 'religious' I mean the daoist has to repeat one or two mantras while moving in circle, almost like praying. The interesting aspect emerged is circle walking should or may take the practitioner towards that stage where stillness in motion can be found.

Yes; there are lots of connections between methods of fightings and daoism. Well we may start enquirying, scholar Tang Hao started a while ago to dig, let's not waste his effort. You may have heard about him.