Day Five is a journey through the heavens to the top of China, Wudang Mountain, one of the holy Daoist Mountains in Hubei province, Central China. On the highest peak is a temple made of bronze, transported in parts from the capital long before the cable car that we were fortunate to use, was installed.
“Now we are in Wudang Mountain! Trees everywhere are blossoming pink and white. The shapes of the mountains are different from anything I ever have seen before. The mountain seems happy. Here and there are tea fields. In one of these there is a Chinese shaped scarecrow with a straw hat. We got into a cable car (two and two) and had a 40 minute lift over the blossoming tree tops, wild flowers and beautiful mountains. At once at the top I felt the mountain top's quietness.” MariWudang is the area believed to be the birthplace of Taijiquan. The story tells of how the monk Zhan San Feng came upon the idea that ”softness is stronger than hardness”- the main philosophy of Taijiquan. He observed a snake resting in the sun in the courtyard of the monastery. It came under attack from a crane, the snake made repeated evasive coiling moves and the bird had to give up, thus giving San Feng the idea of yielding in fighting to gain the advantage. The story was beautifully depicted as a mural in the entrance to the court yard.
After returning to Earth, we are invited to Ziaxiao Palace (Purple Sky Palace), a Temple built in 1413 and a place with a rich history connected to Taijiquan and Taoism. We have the honour of training with Head Taiji Master Zhong Xueyong, and two of his top students at the Martial Art Institute of Daoism, at the Purple Sky Palace.
It is a wonderful experience to practice in these special surroundings under the fading rays of the day's sun, the chanting and beating of drums coming from the Temple and the excellent guidance of these dedicated Taijiquan practitioners.