The Wu Xing (五行), also known as the Five Elements, is a fivefold conceptual scheme that Chinese have used to explain a wide array of phenomena and how the universe transforms from one stage to another. The “Five Elements” are Wood (木 mù), Fire (火 huǒ), Earth (土 tǔ), Metal (金 jīn), and Water (水 shuǐ). The system of Five Elements is used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. It was first documented approximately three thousand years ago. Its philosophy has been employed in many fields, including geomancy or Feng Shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy, and martial arts. It is still popular in the area of Feng Shui, complementary and alternative medicine, and martial arts.
David Wei is a 16th generation lineage holder of Wudang Zhang San Feng Pai, and an instructor of Wudang Daoist (Taoist) wellness arts and traditional Chinese acupressure massage. David learned Shaolin Kung Fu as a youngster. Martial art can be used for self-defense; nevertheless, it can also hurt people. Looking for a way to heal people, he later spent five years and completed 11,000 hours of formal training in internal martial arts, medical Qigong, and mediation at the Wudang Mountain Traditional Taoist Martial Arts Academy. In 2007, he was accepted as a senior disciple of Master Yuan Xiu Gang and has conducted workshops in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Sweden, England, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, and across the U.S. since. David was also trained as a therapist to perform various medical massages including Chinese Tui Na, Thai Wat Pho, Hawaiian Lomilomi, and Japanese Shiatsu.
Wudang has many different Qigong forms and each of them was designed for a special health or spiritual purpose. Some forms are easy and some are incredibly challenging to do. During the 3rd Annual Universal Consciousness Festival, held in Estes Park, Colorado, David performed one Qigong form that is extremely hard to do and some poses are similar to advanced yoga movements requiring high athleticism and flexibility. I am including two of his performance photos here.
I also attended a workshop of Wudang Five Element Qigong hosted by David. According to him, there are various Daoist sects and they may start the cycle of Five Elements from a specific element. For Wudang Zhang San Feng Pai, they start at Metal, then Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. David methodically explained how each element works with each other and how it governs different parts of the body. Fire is for the health of the heart, vascular system, and sternum or the breastplate. Earth is for the health of the spleen, muscles, and diaphragm. Metal is for the health of the lungs, skin, and scapula. Water is for the health of the kidney, bone, and sacrum. Wood is for the health of the liver, tendon, and ribs. The Wudang Five Element Qigong is designed to promote health of the relevant body segments. There are two major phases of the Wudang Five Element Qigong training. The first phase is the warm-up. The second phase is the form itself. Each phase has five major movements corresponding to the elements. This form is relatively easy to learn but not necessary easy to perfect.
At 6’5”, 36-year-old David’s size and stature belies his ability to move. He was able to isolate his hips, waist, or chest and moved each part separately like a belly dancer. He wasn’t just doing it for fun; he was actually using the movement of rotating to stimulate the kidneys, liver, lungs, or heart or to massage the sternum, diaphragm, or sacrum. You can see David perform the Wudang Five Element Qigong below. It looks simple but is difficult to perform correctly. For example, he taught how to do the stomach breathing to push the diaphragm downward to generate an “internal smile”. Unless you are taking a live lesson with him, you would not even notice what goes on inside the body not to mention how to do it properly.