The legend of Daoqiquan as told Master Li. Longdao, Dr. John Painter’s teacher weaves a story about a wandering Tibetan monk, Lama, Zurdwang (1530 -1620) from Quamdo Tibet. Lama Zurdwang was a student of the five excellencies: painting, poetry, martial arts, philosophy and medicine during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD).
The story goes that Lama Zurdwang left his native Tibet in search of knowledge about Chinese martial arts, Daoism and Chinese Buddhist practices. His journey, which lasted some thirty years, took him from his monastery near Quamdo Tibet into China through Sichuan Province and into central China and back again into the Sichuan area.
During his trek, Lama Zurdwang searched out knowledge of longevity and internal health development and the three essences of man: mental, physical and spiritual. On his travels through China, Zurdwang is reputed to have stopped at many Daoist and Buddhist monasteries; He examined the methods of healing, herbology and the external and internal styles of Chinese martial arts as practiced by the monks he met.
During his stay in a Daoist monastery he took the name Dao, Ji-Ren and began to compile and develop his own personal art. He wished to devise a complete system that would be a martial art and a lifestyle. A system that could be practiced by an individual for perfect all-around development of mind, body and spirit.
Into his system he would incorporate his studies of the Daoist philosophy, herbology and martial techniques, coupled with his own skill from Tibet and the principles of Chinese martial art or boxing as they existed at this time. In his weapons study he was especially fond of the double edge sword and developed a series of meditations using the sword to draw down the heavenly Qi.
The Four Virtues
From the honest simplistic life style of the Daoists he formulated his theory of the Si-De (four virtues): Honesty, Humility, Patience and Sincerity. Zurdwang held that someone who attempted to keep these Si-De in their body, their mind and their spirit would be open and receptive to the universal energy, and therefore able to use the Qi of the universe for their own ends.
The four virtues would free man from his attachments to material desires and the need to triumph over others. To do this he reasoned would make a man not only healthy and powerful, but would serve to make him very wise. The four virtues served as the cornerstone upon which his method of self-cultivation and martial art was established.
A Wandering Daoist Arrives at Emei Mountain
Having formulated the basis of his system Zurdwang left the monastery and traveled into the wilderness, where he lived alone as a Daoist recluse for five years. During this time he meditated, practiced and developed the aspects of his art. Living on herbs, roots and nuts, with his only companion his double-edged long sword he soon reached a high stage of internal energy and his knowledge and abilities in the internal use of his martial art was bordering on the magical.
Zurdwang who had now taken the Daoist religious name of Dao, Long-Ren (man of the dragon way) finally set out to return to Tibet, probably to share with his fellow lamas the wonders that he had discovered. For some unknown reason, his journey was interrupted in Sichuan Province where he came in contact with Daoist and Buddhist monks living and working in harmony on the mysterious Emei Mountain.
Dao, Long-Ren stayed in the Emei mountain temples perfecting his sword methods and studying the Yijing until 1585 when during a dream he saw a great dragon with it’s tail wrapped around a symbol for the Ying and Yang. The dragon enlightened him to a method of distilling all he had learned into eleven techniques. From this knowledge combined with his concept of Si-De he created what he called the 5 method six step mind energy power boxing.
His new method was comprised of a distilled essence of physical movements and philosophy, the five circles, were methods used in the Emei San Daoist long sword, the six stances were ways of shifting the body to generate power in motion. The four virtues were the cornerstone of his philosophy. He or the Li family, history is not clear at this point, later changed the name to Daoqiquan (Tao Ch’i Ch’Ã¼an), Wisdom way to internal power through boxing.
Leaving the mountain monastery a series of events lead Master Zurdwang to become engaged as a tutor to the Li family in the village of Daofu. The children of the family named him Scholar of Tibet. In this manner the arts of Daoqiquan developed by Master Zurdwang AKA Dao, Long-Ren passed into the hands of the Li clan of Sichuan Province, China and over the years the family using the basis of Master Zurdwang’s art became known as highly reputable Baobiao (Bodyguards) in the Sichuan area.
Each patriarch of the clan learned the original methods of Master Zurdwang’s Zhandouli Quan (combat effective fist arts) combining them with other styles and combat methods that proved useful. Over the years the Li family developed their own styles of Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang based on the traditional practices but firmly rooted in Zurdwang’s original boxing principles. Collectively their arts came to be known as Daoqiquan.
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