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Mythology and Martial Meaning behind the Ancient 4 Dragons

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  • Mythology and Martial Meaning behind the Ancient 4 Dragons

    Greetings from the sunny Palm Beaches of Florida! I am sifu Dr. Gary Cecil of the Wu Chi Martial Arts Society. I am doing research in the area of the ancient Chinese legends, myths or apocraphyl stories concerning the 4 dragons; namely, Divine, Heavenly, Hidden and Earth. They appear to be counted among the original dragons of Chinese mythology, at least acc. to one source. I would welcome any fighting forms or stories related to this topic as a project I'm developing for my students. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you!

  • #2

    Dear Dr. Cecil,

    I do not have any information for you in this area, however I would like to extend my warmest greetings to you. I hope your visits here are fruitful and I look forward to hearing more from you.
    Charles David Chalmers
    Brunei Darussalam


    • #3
      I thank everyone for my warm reception into this forum, and I apologise for posting an inquiry that appears to be rather obscure...I find it curious that one of the 4 dragons is mentioned in a popular movie, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", yet so far no has had anything to offer about it...Let me throw out some speculative thoughts, just connecting some dots loosely...if the claim has some validity that the 4 dragons are early archetypes in Chinese mythology, then one might suggest that some of the dragons we know in chi kung and kung fu may find associations back to these archetypes. For instance, Hidden Dragon may have inspired what is called Black Dragon and techniques of invisibility, etc. Divine Dragon suggests a connection to Immortal Dragon (Wu Chi Chi Kung) or Golden Dragon. Earth Dragon leads me to think of Green or Red Dragon. Heavenly Dragon conjures White Dragon or maybe Fire Dragon. This is only speculation, mind you, intended only to stimulate some thinking, some hypothesizing, or the like, so please don't quote these as definitive or substantiated statements. Still, the language of myth and legend lends itself to some degree to this sort of exercise, don't you think? As long as we are honest about the distinction between fact and fiction, form and function. Let me say, however, that myth is a powerful language, and its images can have meaning on multiple levels, some having little to do with verifiable history or fact, but speak to us on a more visceral and intuitive level. Sometimes, I think, these ancient images find their way into martial arts forms and schools to communicate something important about us as students, warriors, and disciples, that is transhistorical and transformative. This is why I persist in my inquiry, and I look forward to your input and any helpful information along the way...Blessings and peace, Dr. Gary


      • #4
        you are right

        Dr Gary Cecil,

        I was just looking at the 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' phrase and as I believe I understand it, it is an behavoiural and attitudional concept regarding skill and its expression.
        Many people are proud of their association of their great master and feel their skill is the best so they automatically 'show themselves' (no longer hidden or crouching in wait) and become fodder for those who are less skilled while wondering later how they were so easily defeated.

        The secret of martial way is grounded in the Daodejing.
        Not a secret but the way is to be ridiculed and stay hidden so as to grasp life in its essence, as opposed to be ridiculed and strike back at 'nothingness' (idle talk and illusion)!


        • #5
          Cant say I have interest in harming others or learning techniques for doing so.

          If it helps, pethaps you're looking for the wrong names. I'm not familiar with ryu but I imagine some are associated with fire. Seems to be a reocurring theme with the elements. Perhaps fire dragons legend would move you in the right direction.


          • #6
            I'm not sure these people are going to want to continue a conversation that they started and ended 10 years ago...