Revelations from the Mao Shan Mountains
By Thomas Richard Joiner, 2011 ©
Published in martialforce.com
By most estimates, a major turning point in the evolution of Chinese internal martial arts like Hsing Yi Chuan, Ba Gua and Chi Kung occurred more than 5,000 years ago as the sun slowly rose above the frigid Mao Shan Mountains in Northern China. According to historians that is when secret Taoist Esoteric Practices were first recorded by the Shang Ching Sect in the text titled Huang Ting Ching.
More commonly referred to by it’s English translation Yellow Court Canon, the centuries old Taoist scriptures which were primarily written by the ancient Chinese religion’s founder Lao Tzu, had among its contents the keys for deciphering secrets to little known practices such as: Chi Kung (respiratory work) Nei Kung (internal work) and Shen Kung (spiritual work).The ancient manuscript also contained treatises describing the use of Polestar Magic (the use of astrological and astronomical techniques based on the North Star), Heliotherapy (treatment of disease using sunlight) and Sexual Alchemy (the practice of sexual conservation and the transmutation of sexual energy). Along with the afore mentioned quasi-mystical practices, the ancient document also contained detailed instructions for preparing herbal prescriptions associated with the little known occult procedures.
Not only did the writing of Huang Ting Ching create the first opportunity for the uninitiated to gain access to information about therapeutic methods and internal practices that previously had been hidden, it also spawned the growth of Taoism as a popular religion. Over the next five millennia the religious practices that were first divulged in Yellow Court Canon would have a profound influence on every aspect of Asian culture. If I had to single out a particular segment of Eastern culture where its influence is most heavily felt, I would have to say without question that it is in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine and the martial arts.
In the aftermath of the historical text’s publication, the principles theories and practices set forth in Yellow Court Canon would inspire some of the most notable figures in Chinese martial arts. Among these legendary personages is the celebrated teacher Chang San Feng, who after adopting an ascetic lifestyle that inspired him to take up residence in the now famous Wu Tang Mountains, developed the art of Tai Chi based on trigrams and hexagrams from the Chinese classic I-Ching, more familiarly known as The Book of Changes.
Although they often suffer in terms of popularity when compared to Japanese arts like Karate, Ju Jitsu and some of the external styles that focus more on developing combat proficiency, the influence of Chinese internal martial arts can be seen in all of the Asian combat systems.
The fundamental concepts of these so-called soft/ internal styles which are exemplified by arts such as The Grand Ultimate Fist aka Tai Chi Chuan, and the illustrious art of Chi Kung, not coincidentally, are an outgrowth of the practices and governing principles that were first disclosed in Huang Ting Ching on that bitter cold morning high in the mountains of Northern China nearly fifty centuries ago.
Thomas Richard Joiner, Shihan
Chinese Goju Martial Arts
Thomas Richard Joiner, author of the Warrior as Healer, Blending Botany and Budo, Chinese Herbal Medicine Made Easy, Martial Esoterica and Kung Fu Medicine is a Shihan, sixth degree black belt Chinese Goju Martial Arts and has received certification in Tien Tao Chi Kung, as well as being a graduate of the Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine New York City. He has conducted advanced study in traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture) as well as Chinese Herbology under Dr. Lai Fu Chai at the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland, CA and continued study in Chinese Herbology at the Institute of Chinese Herbology in Berkeley, CA. Thomas’s martial arts education includes training in Wing Chun Gung Fu with Sifu Ralph Rodriquez, Sifu Lee Moy Shan and the late Grandmaster Moy Yat. In addition he has studied Taoist Esoteric Yoga Micro-cosmic orbit meditation, Iron shirt Chi Kung and Seminal Ovarian Kung Fu with Mantak Chia, as well as training in Chinese Goju Martial Arts under Grandmaster/Shidoshi Ron Van Clief.
Sensei Joiner’s books provide extensive insights into the centuries-old practice of incorporating herbs into your martial arts training as well as making available prescriptions for many of the legendary and most highly regarded formulas used in Asian Martial Arts for treating injuries as well as enhancing one’s training.
Sensei Joiner has been a practicing Chinese Herbalist for nearly two decades, and is the founder of an online mail order company Treasures From the Sea of Chi which specializes in traditional Chinese herbal formulas used in martial arts training. If you would like more information on ancient herbal practices in the martial arts, Sensei Joiner can be reached at his company email: firstname.lastname@example.org.