Fosun Investment Philosophy

On Mounting the Wudang Mountain

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Last week, after practicing Tai Chi for eight years, I finally had the opportunity to visit the Wudang Mountain during my business trip to the region. I paid homage to the Golden Summit and Purple Cloud Monastery in hope of finding a short cut in this sacred environment to increase my inner Tai Chi power by additional decade.

 

For those who know me and Jack well must be aware that we shook hands on the deal of holding a Tai Chi contest. That is to find a secret place to learn from each other by “Tai Chi Kongfu” in the witness of our friends. Like all contests, there will be only one winner coming out of the room. The scale of the contest I have in mind should eclipse the famous “Battle on Mount Hua“ (the ultimate Kungfu battle in martial arts fictions). By the way, tickets are required to attend the contest. I am quite confident that we can make a fortune out of ticketing.

 

But several days ago, Jack wrote an essay, saying that “the biggest fun about Tai Chi is not the battle itself, but the epiphany derived from the battle”. Well, judging from what he said, the contest we talked about would take forever to be initiated. Even if we had it, Jack would use Tai Chi movements to show me his philosophical thinking instead.

 

To be honest, Jack was indeed one of the reasons nudged me to learn Tai Chi. Back then, he was so passionate about it that I would like to try by myself. I asked him to recommend an instructor for me and thus began my journey with “Yi Taichi”. “Yi Taichi” emphasizes the perfect precision of every movement in a smooth manner to open up meridians and achieve internal harmony. I practiced for a while, indeed making headways but also getting a remote feeling that this subset was different from the one Jack was practicing.

 

 

It turns out that Jack didn’t recommend the best instructor he had in mind. He might think it would be a reckless waste for me, a mediocre pupil with no root of wisdom, to have the best instructor. On the other hand, he has always believed that his instructor is the best and most orthodox. Unlike now, back then he was still quite indulged in the fun of winning contests by means of Tai Chi.

 

Eight years has passed since I began to learn Tai Chi and Jack has been mentored by several masters. Once I jokingly said that I was practicing the Tai Chi through body movements while he was busy talking about practicing Tai Chi. But I soon modified the wording: he was busy practicing Tai Chi in his mind. Actually this fits Jack’s style—Master Feng Qingyang is his model. Master Feng never follows any predefined set of postures or movements but achieves more elegant and natural success. How could one expect Master Feng to practice Kungfu in a regular way?

 

In fact, there are two approaches to practice Tai Chi. One is through body and another through mind. Jack is extremely perceptive. Though he spends less time in practicing movements, he is able to grasp and internalize the moves thoroughly. This is what I mean by “perceptive”. A better way to explain the two different ways of Tai Chi practice is through two concepts: “epiphany” and “gradual enlightenment”. Jack must have been doing a lot of spiritual and philosophical meditation during his previous life. Therefore his way of understanding the universe is through epiphany, not constant practice. But for others with no root of wisdom, including me, we have to practice, to push forward day by day, that is, “gradual enlightenment”. This life may be too short to finish the enlightenment journey, but it doesn’t matter because it can be continued in the next life even though it may look pretty stiff at the very beginning.

 

Recently I have another discovery. After opening up meridians, I no longer have to pay as much attention on the precision of movements as before. This is like acquiring knowledge—we learn through practicing, not memorizing every single detail in the textbook. Precise movement is a method to open up the possibility for the body to experience the philosophy of Tai Chi and the mind to comprehend the subtleness. The inner body-mind balance is thus achieved through movements, representing the unity of spirit and body. The whole cycle is natural, spontaneous and positive. “Yi Taichi” now tends to be more open, and stresses more on the harmony between internal and external harmony.

 

But what matters the most here is still perseverance. It’s a commonsense that exercising is good for health. But will you spend twenty minutes everyday to immerse yourself in Tai Chi? Or will you live your daily life in a way intended by the philosophy of Tai Chi?

 

My visit to Wudang Mountain didn’t increase my inner power greatly. And I certainly had no intention to challenge Tai Chi masters there. Nevertheless, I did find myself climb faster and more swiftly than others. It reminds me of the words of Master Zhang Sanfeng—who created Tai Chi after his mastery of Internal Kungfu—that “Tai Chi enables a long and enriched life and is not merely an art of attack and defense”.