This trek takes place at the peak of Asheville's highest mountain, with a 20-minute hike to a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is here that we will explore the world of tai ji quan, also spelled "Tai Chi Chuan", an ancient Daoist martial art created deep in the mountains of Hubei, China hundred of years ago.
This practice involves very slow practiced movements which instigate the dilation of certain qi channels in the body, strengthening the rooting with Earth, and yolking the spirit into every aspect of the body -- what the Daoists call integrating yin and yang. This adventure is for those who have never practiced before, as well as those who are familiar with taiji, but would like to learn a unique form.
This form is open to everyone, and can be adapted for any skill level. Regular practice of taijiquan strengthens the lower body, consolidating qi at the core, so as to be able to dispatch large amounts of power in the extremities. Benefits of practice include regulation and strengthening of all organs in the body, improved memory, longer life, slower aging, and a greater sense of well-being. Those who practice for a very long time and with diligence experience that the body becomes quite light, so as to be able to jump long distances, the spirit light is awakened, so as to be able to communicate with the spiritual world, and some have even found immortality.
The form we will practice is called Wudange San Feng Lineage Taijiquan 28. This is Wudang, because it originated in the Wudang Mountians of Hubei, China. San Feng Lineage is for Zhang San Feng, the legendary Daoist Immortal and creator of Taijiquan, who is said to have lived for over 200 years, spending the final chapters of his life in Wudang.
The San Feng Lineage is currently overseen by Grandmaster Zhong Yun Long, who is in the 14th generation of the sect. I studied this form with Master Yun Xiang Tseng (Master Chen), who is also a 14th generation San Feng Lineage Priest, and who also happens to be Master Zhong's brother.
For this trek, please plan to pack your lunch, as we will not be anywhere near a restaurant or grocery store. Wear loose-fitting clothes that do not restrict your range of motion, but dress warmly in case the temperatures are cool in the morning -- layers are ideal as it can get cool in the mountains. Wear shoes that give good stability, like tennis shoes.
We will meet at the Craggy Gardens visitor center listed on the map below at 9 AM and from there make our way into the woods. We will take lunch at 12 PM and resume practice at 1 PM. We will conclude at 5 PM.