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Thread: Zhang Sanfeng Tai Chi Chuan bid as China Intangible Cultural Heritage

  1. #1
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    Zhang Sanfeng Tai Chi Chuan bid as China Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Tai chi schools question mythical hero on cultural heritage list
    Staff Reporter
    2014-08-18
    15:08 (GMT+8)


    Actors promote a TV series based on the life of legendary martial arts hero Zhang Sanfeng in Beijing on Nov. 18, 2013. (Photo/CNS)

    An attempt to include a style of tai chi supposedly founded by a legendary Chinese Taoist priest on the China Intangible Cultural Heritage list has sparked a furore among the proponents of the other schools of the internal Chinese martial art, reports the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily.

    Zhang Sanfeng is a Chinese cultural hero who has been the subject of many folktales and myths. Legend has it that he was indifferent to fame and wealth, and after declining an official position he traveled around China to live the life of an ascetic.

    Much of the written material about him is mythical, contradictory, or otherwise suspect. For example, he is believed to have been born in either 960, 1247, or in 1279, and there are claims that he lived for 200 years, was seven feet tall and had whiskers shaped like spears. Some writings credit him with the development of tai chi chuan (taijiquan), though many others are dubious of Zhang's connections to the internal martial arts style and question whether he even existed at all.

    Accordingly, it came as a shock to tai chi quan practitioners that "Zhang Sanfeng Tai Chi Chuan" was included as one of the 298 nominations for the fourth batch of the China Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The nomination was made along with two other schools of tai chi chuan, Wu and Li, and if passed would be included in the list's "traditional sports, entertainment and acrobatics" category.

    Since the nominations were published on the official website of China's Ministry of Cultural on July 16, followers of the rival Chen-style tai chi chuan have been calling press conferences to publicly question Zhang Sanfeng's inclusion. One Chen-style tai chi chuan elder who spoke to the media on Aug. 11 called the nomination a "farce."

    Chen-style and Yang-style tai chi chuan are already part of the China Intangible Cultural Heritage list after having been nominated years ago as part of the first batch. Tai chi practitioners note that Wu-style and Li-style tai chi chuan can at least be verified historically through records and documentation, but in the case of Zhang Sanfeng it is all conjecture.

    Some reports have suggested that the attempt to include Zhang Sanfeng on the China Intangible Cultural Heritage list can be attributed to the city of Shaowu in east China's Zhejiang province, which has tried to turn itself into a tourist attraction through alleged links to the legendary character. State-owned media outlets have already made filmed two documentaries about the life of Zhang Sanfeng in Shaowu in 2009 and 2012, and last September held a traditional martial arts contest in the city to promote tai chi chuan.

    A staff member of at China Intangible Cultural Heritage told the Southern Metropolis Daily that it has received comments on the Zhang Sanfeng nomination and that all materials submitted will form part of the adjudication process.
    There is some discussion of Shaolin Kung Fu's bid to become a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage on our UNESCO-and-the-politics-of-culture thread. Of course, UNESCO ICH is much more prestigious than a China ICH as it is international. In fact, the China ICH echoes UNESCO's program, which was a result in part from Shaolin's campaign for recognition there.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    Already posted...

    ...on the WC forum, but not cut&pasted for posterity, as I will do here now. It's more about the China Intangible Cultural Heritage submissions.

    Chinese kung fu masters battle over inheritance of Yip Man's Wing Chun legacy
    PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 3:22pm
    UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 4:18pm
    Patrick Boehler
    patrick.boehler@scmp.com
    and Vicky Feng


    Ip Man's son, Ip Chun, leading a revival of the martial art, teaches students wing chun during a class at a studio in Nullah Road, Kowloon. Photo: ****son Lee

    A controversy has erupted in Chinese martial arts circles over who will be chosen as the officially sanctioned inheritor of the legacy of Wing Chun-style kung fu.

    Nine martial arts groups from Guangdong province have signed a letter contesting a suggestion by the provincial department of culture to list Ip Chun, the son of kung fu legend Yip Man, as an official standard bearer of the martial art.

    The 90-year-old Hong Kong-resident has to this day continued to give lessons in his fathers’ teachings.

    Chinese provinces have been creating lists of “intangible culture heritage representative inheritors” ranging from practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to opera singers and mooncake bakers.

    This year’s list for Guangdong province was released for public consultation earlier this month until Monday.

    Ip was among the 113 people included in the document. The two other Wing Chun representatives are Kuok Wai-jarm and Leung Wai-wing from Foshan.

    Ip’s father Yip Man was the teacher of actor and Hong Kong kung fu legend Bruce Lee.

    Two recent biographical blockbuster movies rediscovered the master’s story and introduced it to a global audience.

    Though born into a rich family in Foshan, Guangdong in 1893, Ip later endured poverty and repression in the warlorlds' period and Japanese occupation until he immigrated to the then-British colony of Hong Kong, where he popularised his style of Wing Chun kung fu until his death in 1972.

    Two days after a public review period ended, a leading Guandong newspaper said nine martial arts groups opposed the province’s selection of Ip and two other men as representatives of Wing Chun.

    The choice was “completely inconsistent with history and the reality of the situation” the opponents wrote, according to their letter seen by the Southern Metropolis Daily.

    Ip had lived in Hong Kong for too many years and had not contributed to the development of Wing Chun in its hometown Foshan, the report said.

    The groups named in the report on Wednesday could not be reached for comment.

    A spokesman for the Guangdong provincial martial arts association also declined to comment.

    A member of the Martial Arts Association in Guangzhou’s Conghua district, which signed the letter opposing Ip’s selection, said the Wing Chun style of kung fu dated back to imperial times and had by now developed into different styles.

    He said he opposed the selection of Ip and the two other nominees, saying they could not represent Wing Chun in its entirety.

    Ho Kay, chairman of Wing Chun Ip Chun Academy and a student of Ip for three decades, rejected the accusation that Ip had not contributed to Wing Chun in Foshan. He said Ip’s students had built an Ip Man museum on the outskirts of Foshan and have been teaching summer classes in the city for years.

    An expert commission will study Ip’s nomination and objections raised by the nine kung fu groups, a staffer at the Guangdong Province Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Centre said.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  3. #3
    There are 3 bids here. Only one is valid.

    1 Zhang San Feng is a legendary figure with too many folk tales.

    2 Tai Ji philosophy or world view.

    3 boxing methods.

    Tai Ji is used to explain change from cosmos to boxing methods.

    Only Tai Ji is cultural heritage worthy.

    Me think.


  4. #4
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    rejecto

    I wonder who made it from the martial arts

    Legendary Zhang Sanfeng left off China's tai chi heritage list
    Staff Reporter
    2014-12-07
    09:15 (GMT+8)


    A statue of Zhang Sanfeng in Wuhan, Hubei province. (File photo/CFP)

    Zhang Sanfeng tai chi, a style of tai chi supposedly founded by the legendary Chinese Daoist priest of the same name, was not included in the fourth list of China's Intangible Cultural Heritage published by the State Council on Wednesday, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

    The reason that the style was not included is widely considered to be due to the debate surrounding whether or not Zhang was a real person and his vague connections with the martial art. Authorities said its judgment was not affected by other tai chi schools that have publicly criticized the style.

    The Zhang style was the only one of the five tai chi schools nominated not to be included in the fourth list. China's Ministry of Culture said the list focuses on heritage that epitomize traditional Chinese values, agricultural civilization and people's daily life. A total of 1,372 items of cultural heritage have been included on the four China Intangible Cultural Heritage lists, according to the state newswire Xinhua.

    The nomination of the tai chi style in August caused controversy. Shaowu, a city in eastern China's Zhejiang province that nominated the style, has tried to turn itself into a tourist attraction through alleged links to the legendary character.

    Chen Zhenglei, a descendant of the founder of Chen-style tai chi which is already honored in the China Intangible Cultural Heritage list along with Yang-style, blasted the nomination of Zhang style tai chi since the legendary figure's existence has not been verified. The founders of Wu style and Li style nominated along with Zhang's are well documented in recent history.

    The figure is well known because of martial art novelist Jin Yong who describes Zhang as a great tai chi master who created his school based on internal martial arts.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  5. #5
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    Slightly OT

    Hmm, this is the only thread that has 'Sanfeng' in the title? How disappointing.

    This article amused me because it adds the article 'the' to 'the Neijia'. I'm an editor so such things amuse me.

    Zhang Sanfeng: The Founder of Wudang Martial Arts


    The well-known Chinese martial arts originate from the Buddhist and Taoist cultivation methods. (Image: ) The well-known Chinese martial arts originate from the Buddhist and Taoist cultivation methods. (Image: )
    VISION TIMES
    3 hours ago

    The well-known Chinese martial arts originate from the Buddhist and Taoist cultivation methods. They can mainly be classified into two sects: Shaolin Damo and Wudang Zhang Sanfeng, which are popular in south and north China respectively.

    The internal martial arts of the Wudang Sect, known as The Nejia, were founded by Zhang Sanfeng. Wudang stresses internal strength, with an emphasis on using softness to conquer strength, and calmness over hastiness. This is consistent with the philosophy of Taoism — quietness, softness, weakness, detachment, and inaction. Its comprehensive methods include Tai-Chi Chuan (“fist”) and Wuxing Chuan (“five elements”), among many others.

    Zhang Sanfeng visited the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province during his early pursuit of the Tao. He was proficient in the essence of Shaolin martial arts, and some Tao cultivation methods of the Song and Yuan dynasties.


    Zhang Sanfeng visited the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province during his early pursuit of the Tao. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

    After attaining the Tao, he merged the internal cultivation methods, such as the qi-leading and breathing methods, into his martial arts. He transformed the traditional, external martial arts into internal styles that aim for health improvement and Tao cultivation, rather than self-defence or fighting — as one’s realm of cultivation was raised, one’s martial arts skills would improve correspondingly.

    In the early Ming Dynasty, Zhang Sanfeng, together with his disciples, moved to the northwest of Hubei’s Wudang Mountains and built the Yuzhen Temple and the Huixian Hall. There were five old trees in front of the temple, and he often rested under the shade of the trees. But it was said: “The beasts do not bite him and the hawks stop snatching at him.” When going hiking in the mountains, he moved nimbly, as if flying. He also surprised people by often sleeping in the snow in winter.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  6. #6
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    hey now...

    I didn't say that SKM. That was the reporter from www.wantchinatimes.com. They way you clipped that quote makes it look like it's attributed to me. Not that it matters that much (I get misquoted constantly) but just for the record. Don't kill the messenger.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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