Master Zhong Yunlong is a 14th generation legitimate inheritor of Wudang Sanfeng Pai (pai equates to sect), an orthodox Wudang Internal Kung Fu successor of two great Wudang Taoist masters and senior priests: Guo Gaoyi and Zhu Chengde.
When Wudang Taoism first opened to the outside world, Master Zhong Yunlong was sent by the Wudang Taoist Association, to unearth Wudang martial arts which were then only being practiced outside the temple.
The Wudang Taoist Association established the first Wudang Taoist Martial Arts Team and Master Zhong was the foremost member of the team.
In 1989, Master Zhong replaced the senior Taoist priest Guo Gaoyi as the “Wudang Taoist Association Martial Arts Chief Coach”. At the same time, he was appointed as the principal and chief coach of the Wudang Taoist Kung Fu School by the Wudang Taoist Association. This was the first time Wudang Kung Fu was formally shown in public.
About Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong
“I was born in the year of the dragon in Huangxi City, Hubei. Many of my elders loved kung fu and that left a great impression on me. Although my father was a scholar who did not learn kung fu, my granduncle both inspired me and taught me a little. In the old countryside, fights often arose between clans, so everyone studied the martial arts. It was a required skill. So in the countryside where I was born, everyone loved kung fu and it was mandatory to study it. This was my inspiration, the city where I was raised. Everybody there loves kung fu, and for whatever reason everyone knew kung fu back then. That’s why I fell in love with kung fu too.”
“In 1978, when I was 13 years old, I began to formally study kung fu under a master named Tang Yun Yue in Jiangxi Rechang. Before that, I was exposed here and there, but I didn’t really learn a great deal. Under my first master, I studied Yue family boxing and Yang family boxing. That’s Yue as in the famous Song General Yue Fei, and Yang kung fu, not Yang Taiji. This Yang was another general from the Song Dynasty. According to legend, all the men in the family were generals that died in battle, so the women of the family had to become generals to defend the country against the Jin invasion. Anyway, I studied with that master for about six years, and then at 18, I went to Shaolin Temple to study for about six months.”
“At 19, I came to Wudang to study formally. Mostly, I studied under masters Guo Gaoyi and Zhu Chende. Wang Kuangde also taught me a lot. At that time, Wudang was not as open as it is today. Not everybody could go there to study. They had rigid restrictions on who could be accepted as students. Then, in 1984, the Wudang Taoist Association was founded and that began to open things up. Before that, only the older Taoist priests lived in the temples. Due to China’s turbulent recent history, there was a missing generation. All the masters from the last generation are very old. I am the part of the younger generation of priests to come in. It was the first time they recruited new blood for the Wudang Association and I was among the first recruits.”
“In winter of 1985, the Wudang masters asked me to go down the mountain and spend three years to search for lost Wudang masters and schools. I first studied under Gansu Chen Ye and inherited Wudang Bashenmen (8 Immortal Gate.) In spring of 1986, I traveled to Lao Mountain in Shandong and studied Xuanmen Wuxue (dark gate martial study.) That autumn, I went to Zhongnan Mountain in Shaanxi to study Huan Yen Dan Ba (Taoist alchemy) under Gansu Li Yue. I continued my studies on Zhongnan Mountain through the spring of 1987, inheriting Wudang Xingyimen and Baguamen. Then in June I was ordered to return for the first Wudang open tournament.”
Wudang in the Last Two Decades
“Back then, the living standard was very hard. The old masters were very strict. They only taught me in secret at night, so no one would see it during the day. There were no kung fu schools up there. The only people who could learn Wudang kung fu were formal priests. Wudang had very exacting rules about who you could teach and who you could learn from.”
“But after 1988, these rules were loosened. Mr. Qiao Shi, a speaker of the Chinese Congress, visited Wudang and inspired the priests to open the door and spread Wudang martial arts to the world. So we changed the rules and started to teach outside. My old master and I performed for him during that visit. Mr. Qiao Shi saw that it was a great and mystical art. That’s why he said we needed to promote it. Of course, before he had visited, Wudang had already begun to open the door a little. In the old days, Wudang kung fu was not even shown to outsiders, but after the Wudang Taoist Association was formally established, we held two internal martial arts exhibitions in 1985 and 1986. In 1987 we held our first annual lei tai (sparring ring) open tournament. After that I headed northeast continued my research, but I returned in autumn of 1988, and then competed in the National Farmers Athletic Events. In 1988 we began to teach outsiders, and the following year the first Wudang Taoist Martial Arts School was opened. That was the first time we had a school in the mountains teaching outsiders. Now we call it the Wudang Taoist Martial Arts Institute. I also accepted the duty of chief instructor for the Wudang Taoist Association from Guo Gaoyi then.”
“When we first opened the school, we were only allowed to have 40 students a year. That’s all we could take and only Chinese students studied seriously then. Foreigners only came for a very short stays. By 1989, more foreigners came to study, but they all came for too short of a time to really learn. Even today, most come and learn a little Taijiquan or a little nourishing qigong. Those 40 students I referred to before stayed all year round to study. It was in 1989 that the association appointed me and Guo Gaoyi to be in charge of the Institute. So from 1989 to 2000, we limited the student body, but after 2000, we’ve opened up to even more.”
“This is the only martial arts school on the mountain that is authorized by the Wudang Taoist Association where you can formally learn Taoist kung fu. Of course, there are eight or nine private schools at the bottom of the mountain where they teach standardized forms. China has a lot of standard competition forms. These schools are actually bigger than the Institute since they are doing it commercially with a great deal of advertising. We at the Taoist Martial Art Institute never advertise. And these days, we do accept foreigners. Several have studied over a year now, but more stay for three month sessions. Most only stay for a week or two.”
“There are about 120 priests and 40 nuns currently registered with the Association. In order to be recognized, you must be registered. This certifies that you have met the requirements and passed the examinations. There is a Taoist college connected with Purple Cloud Temple (Wudang’s primary temple). The priests and nuns study martial arts, as well as the other aspects of Taoist culture like music, painting, calligraphy and astronomy. The excellence of some of the Wudang musicians has been recognized by the Wuhan Conservatory of Music.
“From 1995 to 2000, I was in charge of reception for the Wudang Taoist Association as well as the administrator for Purple Cloud Temple, but later I wanted to focus only on the development of Wudang martial arts, so I became president of the Wudang Taoist Martial Arts Institute. I am the 14th generation of the Zhang San Feng branch of Wudang, bearing the Taoist name Qing Wei. Now, there are no more 13 generation masters alive in my lineage. We only have 14, 15 and 16 generation now.”
“Over the last two decades, I’ve participated in many national and international martial arts exchanges, competitions and championships. And I’ve had to answer a lot of challenges, both nationally and internationally. Since master Guo and Zhu have both passed on, I’ve gone on to represent Wudang martial arts in Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States as well as greeted Chinese politicians like Jiang Zemin, Qiao Shi and Li Reihuan. In 2001, we formed our demonstration group. Then we went to represent Wudang at the Qimenpai Wulin Dahui (seven gate systems martial family gathering – Wudang, Shaolin, Emei Mountain, Hua Mountain, Kunlun Mountain, Kongdong and Tibetan.) This was held in Nanjing and organized with the cooperative efforts of Wudang and Shaolin. In 2002, I went to America and Macao. This year I went to Taiwan, which made the newspapers as I was being tested for SARS entering the country.”
Source: Kung Fu Magazine – the first english interview
The Wudang School
Address: Shiyan City, Hubei Wudang Special Administrative Region Mitutoyo Hall
OUR ACADEMY SPECIALIZES IN TEACHING:
- Taoist culture
- Training of future coaches in Wudang Kungfu
- Nourishing life practices
It is not a place for sightseeing and entertainment, but for cultivating stillness of mind and developing a deeper understanding of Taoism. As such, the environment is simple and supportive of a reclusive lifestyle, secluded from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Our academy is not a hotel, but rather a place for study and personal enrichment.
The Sanfeng Academy is situated at the foot of the Wudang Mountains, surrounded on three sides by mountains. It is well situated with good natural energy. The environment is quiet and beautiful, with a temperate climate. On one hand, It is well-located and easy to access; on the other hand, it’s separate from town, is surrounded by tangerine groves and has clean air and abundant quiet. All in all, it’s a a blessed place for Martial Arts and Nourishing Life practitioners and ascetics to develop and practice their skills. The location is both convenient for daily life and favorable for practice.