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Legacy of Zhang San Feng: 10 Questions to the Grandmaster

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  • Legacy of Zhang San Feng: 10 Questions to the Grandmaster

    Dear Family and Visitors,

    As you know, Sifu has some special, unique and "never been done before" courses lined up for this year's Summer Camp. One of them, Essence of Spiritual Cultivation, already has its own Q&A, which is likely to prove to be another treasure.

    As you may also know, Sifu considers Zhang San Feng to be the greatest ever martial artist as well as being the founder of the first art to bring together the training of Kung Fu, Chi Kung and Meditation as a single practice. Sifu has been sharing a wealth of information about this art and the way Zhang San Feng brought it to life in words. You can read more about this amazing treatise on the links here:

    I pointed this treatise out to Sifu Tim sometime ago and since reading it he says it has literally changed his life. As you know Sifu Tim is a very high-level martial artist. He also says just reading this treatise has taken his martial arts to another level. He tends to bounce up and down excitedly when we talk about this course and recently said "For me, this is the most highly anticipated course ever, and wherever it was being held in the world I would be there. Not just high-level Chi Kung and Martial Arts techniques and skills but actually how all our arts are brought together."

    We are lucky that Sifu will be teaching the Legacy of Zhang San Feng course this year from June 29th to July 3rd, which you can read more about here and here. We are even luckier that Sifu is constructing a brand new set to contain and distill the essence of Wudang Kung Fu (or Tai Chi Chuan) and the Treatise of Zhang San Feng. Crikey
    . To get the early bird discount on this and the other Summer Camp courses you now have only 19 days in which to book.

    Now we are EVEN luckier that Sifu has agreed to take 10 questions on the Legacy of Zhang San Feng.

    Before you rush into this (remember this is Tai Chi Chuan
    ) you should know that Sifu has already answered many questions likely to come up in some video interviews. These cover the following topics:

    • What is the Legacy of Zhang San Feng
    • What are the everyday benefits of receiving the Legacy of Zhang San Feng
    • What are the benefits for instructors or practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan
    • Who was Zhang San Feng
    • What is the place of Zhang San Feng in the history of Tai Chi Chuan, Kung Fu and Chi Kung
    • How Zhang San Feng developed Tai Chi Chuan
    • How did Zhang San Feng train
    • Why was Zhang San Feng the greatest martial artist
    • Who did Zhang San Feng pass his legacy on to
    • Why is it important to keep the Legacy of Zhang San Feng alive
    • What type of conditions can the Legacy of Zhang San Feng help overcome
    • What areas of performance can the Legacy of Zhang San Feng improve
    • How is spiritual cultivation affected by the Legacy of Zhang San Feng
    • How could a Tai Chi Chuan teacher honour the Legacy of Zhang San Feng
    • How could a Tai Chi Chuan teacher help revive the Legacy of Zhang San Feng
    • Why hasn't everyone already booked on this course yet

    We will be sharing the video interviews gradually during this thread. So, you don't have to ask any of those. That means you can feel free to be really creative and specific about the questions you would like Sifu to answer.

    Looking forward to some wonderful questions, some marvellous answers and then training together in June.

    With metta,

    Profile at Capio Nightingale Hospital London Click here
    Chi Kung & Tai Chi Chuan in the UK Fully Alive
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    UK Summer Camp 2017 Click here for details

  • #2
    Many thanks to Sifu for allowing this question/answer thread on this very important topic.

    My question has two parts concerning material I have read about Zhan sang Feng, and I would be grateful if you can answer my questions

    1a) I am a practitioner of mainly taijiquan (yang style) but my knowledge on the origins of taijiquan is very basic. I have heard that taijiquan was invented by Zhang San Feng and in some of the taijiquan classics (such as yang panhous 40 chapters) it says that Zhang created taijiquan by essentially 'reversing the process of shaolin'. Would you please be able to explain exactly what process of his shaolin training Zhang San Feng reversed.

    But before you answer the above please note the following text which explains my previous knowledge of shaolin and taijiquan as I have come to understand them, which might help in explaining my question, and also I would like to let sifu know the extent of my existing knowledge (rightly or wrongly) so that Sifu can help to clarify where I may be lacking in knowledge on account of the following bold description:

    I know some say that shaolin is not internal and taijiquan is, is wrong on account of the former i.e. shaolin is an internal art but I think the way in which shaolin and taijiquan are internal is a little different. As far as I know, Taijiquan uses the yi aspect of the shen to lead the chi and subsequently you get jin power due to yi leads the chi which leads the jin, as per the classics.
    Shaolin, on the other hand use Li, or brute force to somehow lead the chi by contract/relax actions of the muscles in coordination with breathing. The energy then flows into the meridians via this mechanism, it's similar to yi jinjing methods I believe. So one uses li and the other uses yi, I wonder if this develops a different quality of Internal Force as well and perhaps one is more superior than the other?

    1b) Also in Yang PanHou's 40 chapters I have read regarding 2-man push hands sensitivity training that Zang San Feng said in brief and to the nearest meaning, 'to seize the female within our own bodies is not as good as the interaction of yin and yang between two males'. This is concerning the idea of xuejin and placing the force of the opponent in the dantien. Would Sifu kindly be able to explain more about what Zhang San Feng meant by this statement and how it works in practice, do shaolin practitioners work with this idea or is it purely a training for taijiquan practitioners?

    Many thanks to Sifu and I look forward to attending the summer training camp. I'll probably attend sinew metamorphosis as I can only afford this one although I would love to attend them all, if I could. I have really enjoyed your question and answer topics, have read every one of them and your knowledge is just simply vast and thank you for sharing your knowledge and presenting an opportunity to learn more from you.
    Last edited by jp571; 13 March 2015, 12:02 AM.


    • #3
      Dear Sigung,

      Thank you for this opportunity to ask questions again.

      Internal force from Wudang Taijiquan flows at the deepest level at the bone marrow.

      How is the force that is generated and manifested from flowing at the bone marrow level different from the other classic flowing types of force (like Dragon Strength)?

      Thank you,


      • #4
        Dear Sifu,

        Could you please elaborate why and how the Cloud Hands practice is so amazingly beneficial and effective in termes of restoring good health, developing incredible amonunts of internal force and mental clarity, improving the combat efficiency and setting the spirit free for spiritual cultivation?

        Many thanks in advance for answering our questions!
        "From formless to form, from form to formless"

        26.08.17-28.08.17: Qi Gong Festival with 6 courses in Bern:
        Qiflow-Triple Stretch Method-12 Sinewmetamorphisis-Bone Marrow Cleansing-Zen Mind in Qi Gong



        • #5
          Sifu has noted that Zhang San Feng was probably the greatest martial artist ever. My questions are as follow:

          - If Zhang San Feng were alive today, what would Sifu wish to learn from him?

          - With the tremendous development in Sifu's teaching methods and the numerous innovations in training and skill development Sifu has made in the past decades, how does Sifu think Zhang San Feng would view the "Legacy of Zhang San Feng" course Sifu will be teaching in terms of content, teaching method and potential achievement for the participants?

          - Zhang San Feng is celebrated as the "inventor" of Taijiquan. Probably based on his previous Shaolin training, Zhang San Feng developed this complete system which, I believe, covers all aspects from health to internal force, from martial skills to spiritual cultivation, etc. Can Sifu please share his thoughts as to why others later found it necessary to develop other Taijiquan styles from this already compact, complete and highly efficient system?
          Sifu Andrew Barnett
          Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland -

          Flowing Health GmbH (Facebook:
          Healing Sessions with Sifu Andrew Barnett - in Switzerland and internationally
          Heilbehandlungen mit Sifu Andrew Barnett - in der Schweiz und International


          • #6
            In preparing the course material for other courses such as: The Legacy of Wong Fei Hung, The 8 Drunken Immortals, Choe Family Wing Chun and Bagua Zhang, too name a few, Sifu made some important discoveries about those arts.

            In preparing for the Legacy of Zhang San Feng what new or distilled discoveries about Taijiquan has Sifu discovered or have been revealed?

            Sifu mentioned that the Legacy of Zhang San Feng course will bring a greater depth and understanding of the teachings of Taijiquan, as they were originally practiced by this great master. What can someone expect from this course that has already learnt incredible Taijiquan skills from you?
            Tim Franklin

            A story of finding Courage and Wisdom

   Classes and Courses for Shaolin Kung Fu, Taijiquan and Qigong in Bognor Regis, Chichester, West Sussex

            Fully Alive on Facebook Energy Flow for Health and Happiness

            UK Summer Camp Qigong, Taijiquan, Shaolin Kung Fu, Spiritual Cultivation with Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit



            • #7
              Thank you :-)

              Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

              Another beautiful opportunity for receiving Sifu's wisdom. :-)

              Thank you Sifu for always bringing out the best that is in us and for showing us the path through your living example.

              Thank you Siheng Barry for starting another amazing Questions and Answers Serie.

              Doing some research in Sifu's website he mentions that "before Zhang San Feng, kungfu in its physical form, chi kung and meditation were practiced separately. Zhang San Feng was a martial art genius. In his training he integrated physical kungfu, chi kung and meditation into one unity, bringing kungfu development to an unprecedented height. The result was what we now call Wudang Taijiquan".

              The way Zhang San Feng integrated these 3 aspects into one unity seems very similar to the way we train in Shaolin Wahnam as we train form, energy and mind at the very start and in all our practices.

              Dear Sifu,

              Did Shaolin Kungfu Masters integrated these 3 aspects into one unity once Zhang San Feng developed Wudang Taijiquan or they kept training them separately?

              Did Sigung Ho or any of your Sifus have these 3 aspects integrated into one unity or merging them came later through your own progress and development and as a result of an Aha experience like for example practicing Taijiquan?

              Might this be the reason why we are so cost effective?

              With Love, Care and Shaolin Salute,

              Last edited by sancrica; 13 March 2015, 06:13 PM. Reason: spelling :-)


              • #8
                I do not wish to add a question myself, I only want to "vote up" what I thought were extremely good questions from Andrew Siheng and Tim Siheng.


                • #9
                  Thank you for the great start to the questions.

                  Here is the first of the interview videos with Sifu about this amazing man, art and course.

                  Profile at Capio Nightingale Hospital London Click here
                  Chi Kung & Tai Chi Chuan in the UK Fully Alive
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                  UK Summer Camp 2017 Click here for details


                  • #10
                    Just a reminder that early bird discount for this course ends on 31st March.

                    Best wishes,

                    Profile at Capio Nightingale Hospital London Click here
                    Chi Kung & Tai Chi Chuan in the UK Fully Alive
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                    UK Summer Camp 2017 Click here for details


                    • #11
                      I have just had confirmation from Sifu that he is happy to take questions from 10 people on this thread. So that gives four more of you an opportunity.

                      Let's just say that again ... an opportunity to get your question about a treatise and legacy ... written and created by the person considered to be the greatest martial artist ... and the first man to combine the training of Chi Kung, Kung Fu and meditation in a single art ... answered by a living treasure

                      And then, of course, get a chance to have that legacy passed on directly later in the year

                      With metta,

                      Profile at Capio Nightingale Hospital London Click here
                      Chi Kung & Tai Chi Chuan in the UK Fully Alive
                      Fully Alive on Facebook Fully Alive
                      UK Summer Camp 2017 Click here for details


                      • #12
                        Thank you Barry, I am looking forward to Sifu's response to the questions raised so far but I must admit I am surprized we have not had others' since the last. However I will offer one more to fill in some space and for posterity.

                        Zhang San Feng is the originator of Taijiquan however he had one disciple named Wang Chung-yueh who wrote one of the important treatises on Taijiquan. Wang Chung-yueh also had two disciples named Chiang Fa and Chen Chou-tung. Apparently these two disciples of Wang Chung-yueh had a dispute and formed their own schools of taijiquan. Chiang Fa is alleged to have formed the Northern School which gave birth to the Chen, Yang and Wu styles. Chen Chou-tung is alleged to have created the Southern (nanpai) School of Taijiquan. The southern school linage was continued by Chen Sung-chi, Wang Chen-nan and Kan Feng-chih and this linage came to an end just before the year 1800.
                        Sifu I know you have read many books on gong-fu and many classics which has allowed you to have access to knowledge that many non-Chinese do not; and you have graced us with this knowledge on the threads that you post in on the site and which will hopefully enable you to answer the following questions

                        Question 1a)
                        Sifu do you know if the story about the founding of the Nanpai or Southern Taijiquan school is true or merely an apocrypha? if true, what was the dispute between the two disciples; and is there anything that was trained in this Nanpai style that the Northern styles did not inherit. Was the style Zhang San Feng invented closer to Northern or Southern Taijiquan?

                        1b) I have heard the terms Heaven (yang), Earth (yin) and Cosmic (?) energies mentioned a lot in taijiquan philosophies based on the classics but not a lot is expounded on these terms. What is the relationship between Taijiquan Internal Power and Heaven, Earth and Cosmic energies? How does one utilize these energies from a beginner stage where he/she needs to be healthy and then all the way to the final spiritual stage that Zhang San Feng reached?
                        Last edited by jp571; 20 March 2015, 02:03 AM.


                        • #13
                          A bonus from Sifu's latest Q&A

                          Some sources say that Zhang San Feng was the founder of Taijiquan, and some sources say that it was Chen Wang Ting. Which one is correct?
                          — Tan, Malaysia


                          Both sources are correct, or both are wrong, depending on one's perspective! The following brief historical background will provide an answer.

                          It is technically incorrect to call Zhang San Feng or Chen Wang Ting the founder of Taijiquan, because no one person found the art as the art was evolved from earlier practices. The Chinese term, "first patriarch", is more appropriate. Both Zhang San Feng and Chen Wang Ting are regarded by different people as the First Patriarch of Taijiquan.

                          There was no Taijiuan during the time of Zhang San Feng, so technically he could not be called the founder or first patriarch. The art that Zhang San Feng practiced was called Shaolin Kungfu.

                          To differentiate the Shaolin Kungfu that Zhang San Feng and a few of his disciples practiced on the Wudang Mountain from the Shaolin Kungfu that Shaolin monks practiced at the Shaolin Monastery in Henan, the former was called Wudang Shaolin and the later Henan Shaolin. Later on, Wudang Shaolin Kungfu was shortened to just Wudang Kungfu.

                          It should be noted that the Wudang Kungfu of Zhang San Feng was different from the Wudang Kungfu of Foong Tou Tuck, another Taoist priest who retreated to the Wudang Mountain for cultivation, but six centuries after Zhang San Feng. While Zhang San Feng graduated from the northern Shaolin Monastery in Henan, Foong Tou Tuck escaped from the southern Shaolin Monastery in Quanzhow, Fujian when it was burnt by the Qing army.

                          Initially the kungfu practices by Foong Tou Tuck was also called Wudang Shaolin Kungfu, but later shortened to Wudang Kungfu too. The Wudang Kungfu of Zhang San Feng is soft and flowing, characterized by the open palm, the Wudnag Kungfu of Foong Tuo Tuck is hard and consolidated, characterized by the phoenix-eye fist.

                          Zhang San Feng was the genius who combined physical kungfu with zhi kung and meditation, integrating the three in one, for which we are very grateful as we also practice the three in one in Shaolin Wahnam. Thus, Zhang San Feng is honored as the First Patriarch of the internal arts, for which there is no dispute, unlike the dispute over Taijiquan.
                          Wudang Kungfu of Zhang San Feng was first taught exclusively to selected disciples, but fuur centuries later it was taught also exclusively in the Chen Family Village in the Province of Henan not far from the northern Shaolin Monastery. Here, Chen Wang Ting, a retired Ming general who refused to work for the succeeding Qing empire, employed yin-yang philosophy, which explained the existence of the Cosmos, or Taiji in Chinese, to describe Wudang Kungfu. Eventually this Wudang Kungfu was called Taijiquan, which means Cosmos Kungfu.

                          Most practitioners of Chen Style Taijiquan, understandably, regard Chen Wang Ting as the First Patriarch of Taijiquan. Most other Taijiquan practitioners, including us in Shaolin Wahnam, regard Zhang San Feng as the First Patriarch.

                          In China today by far the most widely practiced style of Taijiquan is Chen Style Taijiquan, albeit without its internal force and combat application. In the world as a whole the most widely practiced style of Taijiquan is Yang Style Taijiquan, also without its internal force and combat application, except in a few rare schools like ours.

                          Yang Lu Chan, initially a wealthy man who gave up his wealth and worked as a servant in the Chen Family Village so as to learn its Taijiquan, is regarded as the First Patriarch of Yang Style Taijiquan. It is worthy of note that what Yang Lu Chan practiced and taught was Chen Style Taijiquan. Yang Style Taijiquan was modified from Chen Style Taijiquan by his grandson, Yang Deng Fu, and later spread to the world by his disciple, Cheng Man Ching.
                          With metta,

                          Profile at Capio Nightingale Hospital London Click here
                          Chi Kung & Tai Chi Chuan in the UK Fully Alive
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                          UK Summer Camp 2017 Click here for details


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by barrys View Post
                            A bonus from Sifu's latest Q&A

                            With metta,

                            Thank you Sifu and Thank you Barrys, there are some facts in the above answer that I was unaware of. I can't wait until Sifu educates more on this great Q&A series


                            • #15
                              Dear Sisook, thanks for yet another golden opportunity.

                              Dear Sigung, thank you again in advance for sharing your extensive knowledge and insight in this exciting topic area.

                              I read your explanation of the Treatise at

                              I am fascinated by the concepts of "achieving yin-yang harmony in all aspects" and also on the significance of "intention" in the practice and the art.

                              My question is this:

                              From the above explanation it appears to me that intention may be set at different levels of abstraction and in differing situations where the intent is either well known or totally new. In the first, a focused mind and gentle intention may be on a specific pattern, or on performing a complete set, or an even greater scope such as reaching a specific level of development as a martial artist? In the second situation a gentle intention may be either on performing a pattern that is well practiced and known, or on a goal or undertaking that is completely new to the student.

                              Please could Sigung provide further advice and guidance for setting intention in the context of the Shaolin arts and also in our daily lives?

                              Thank you so much.
                              With love and Shaolin salute /o

                              "Your purpose in life is to find your purpose & give your whole heart and soul to it." - Buddha

                              Gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.