The Origin of AnanDao

AnanDao is based on the ancient traditions of Yoga and Daoism.  In the following, you will learn more about the various origins which have contributed to the AnanDao system.

Yoga

Yoga is an Indian philosophy, an exercising system and a path to self-awareness.  The word “Yoga” originates from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” and means “to unify, bond together or join”. Yoga is therefore union, entity, association or integration.  It is the unity of all the different parts of us, the unity of body, mind and soul, but also the unity of man and nature and ultimately the integration of the individual with universal consciousness, the Supreme Being and divinity.

The union with the Self is the highest goal in Yoga and is referred to in Vedic philosophies as Samadhi (release) or Moksha (enlightenment).

Anyone who has attained Samadhi, will recognise his true self and free himself from suffering and death.  This “self” is “Sat-Cid-Ananda”, which can be translated as “eternal – omniscient – blissful”.   According to Yoga philosophy, everything in the world is energy.  This energy is unity and is to be found in all things and creatures, it merely changes its form.

The basic principles of Yoga originate from the ancient Indian scriptures:  the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita.  They were summarized by Patanjeli.  His works consist of 194 sutras (teachings) and form the basis of modern Yoga.  Originally Yoga was a purely spiritual means, its goal above all the search for liberation though meditation.

Over time, various Yoga systems have evolved as the positive effects of physical exercise were recognized, and they continue to develop.

Modern civilisation with its demands is always searching for a combination of workout and relaxation.  Meanwhile, there are numerous Yoga paths – some systems are based more on the asanas (positions), pranayama (breathing techniques), a proper diet and moral-ethic rules.  Other Yoga paths like Bhakti Yoga focus on spiritual activities such as meditation, mantra chanting, prayer and ceremonies.

Physical exercise is the key to profound experience on a more physical, energising and emotional level.  Your body becomes powerful yet relaxed, while negative impressions are transformed into positive emotions such as joy and love.  Your mind is at peace.

Meditation is an important element of every Yoga system.  It calms the mind, helps us to control it and allows us insight into our true nature.  Without meditation, there can be no release.   The focus of Yoga is the control over our restless, wandering and evaluative mind.  Whoever can control their mind will be master of his/her own life.  According to the principle of karma (cause and effect), every action produces a reaction.  If we can control our mind, we control our thoughts and actions, thereby attaining the ability to shape our own reality.

The mahatma Patanjeli defined Yoga in one short sentence: “Yogas Chitas Vriti Niroda”- “Yoga is the calming of the thought process”.

The Dao

Daoism is a Chinese philosophical doctrine, which forms not only the basis of internal martial arts but also traditional Chinese medicine.  The core of the word Daoism is the term Dao.  Originally, the word Dao meant “path” or “life journey”, however there are numerous translations such as “method”, “principle”, “the true way”.  According to Laozi, the term Dao takes on the meaning of a universally underlying principle which permeates everything.  It is the supreme reality and the ultimate mystery, the primordial unity, the cosmic law and the absolute.

The ultimate goal of the Daoists is to experience Dao for themselves.  To discover Dao in nature and its manifestation in everyday events.   In the process, Daoists achieve a deeper understanding of the metamorphoses of nature and lead a life in harmony with nature.

The Daoist doctrine was developed by observing nature.  Daoists recognised that nature can encounter rough force with softness and smoothness, with gentleness and compliancy.

The Daoist should therefore become soft and flexible – both physically and mentally, thus developing inner harmony.  Then body and mind will grow healthy and strong, you live longer and have more time to experience Dao.

From the Dao, the primordial unity WuJi, were born two forces:  Yin and Yang.  These symbolise two opposite poles, which cannot exist without each other and always form an entity. All existing things can be categorised into Yin or Yang according to their characteristics.

For example, day (Yang) and night (Yin), the cycle of the seasons or the different stages of life.  The knowledge of Yin and Yang also forms the basis for diagnosis and therapy in traditional Chinese medicine.

It was from Yin and Yang that „the ten thousand things „evolved, in other words the cosmos and the natural order of things in our everyday lives.

Dao itself cannot be attributed to one omnipotent being, but is the origin and unification of opposites, meaning, ultimately, that it is undefinable.

Philosophically, one could describe Dao as beyond definition, as it is the reason for being, the transcendental source and therefore embodies everything, even the opposite:  being and not-being.

Wudang

In 2004, Ralf and Noa Peekel discovered a magical place in China: the holy mountains of Wudang, where Zhang San Feng developed the internal martial arts Qi Gong and Tai Chi, and Zhen Wu, a prince, became an immortal warrior.  Today, Wudang is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a centre for martial art and Daoist philosophy.  This became Ralf and Noa’s spiritual home and source of inspiration.

The Wudang Mountains are one of the most important centres of Daoist culture in China.  Also known as the Tai He Mountains, they are situated near the town of Shi Yan in the Hubei province.  The highest mountain and simultaneously the highest temple is Jin Ding.

As the largest Daoist complex, Wudang has been built over several centuries.  The first temples at Wudang were constructed during the Tang dynasty (618-907).  At that time, Daoism was a state religion in China, as was Buddhism and Confucianism.

The Daoist movement in Wudang began with just a few followers who would meet on the mountain to conduct their prayers close to nature.

According to the myth, the legendary Daoist priest Zhang San Feng attained immortality in the Wudang mountains. He developed the concepts of the internal martial arts and, specifically, the 13 positions of Tai Ji Quan (also known as Tai Chi Chuan).

Zhang San Feng was inspired in the Wudang Mountains as he witnessed a bird attacking a snake.

This inspired his martial arts and he began to create the Daoist 13th Tai Ji Quan form.  The 13 Tai Ji Quan positions form the basis of the Wudang internal martial arts.

Wudang’s internal Kung Fu is based on the rules of infinity (Yi Wu Ji), the highest principle and the two opposites (Tai Ji).

Our Master Yuan Xiu Gang is a 15th generation Daoist priest of the Wudang San Feng Lineage, traceable back to Zhang San Feng personally.

At the age of seven, Master Yuan began his basic training in Wushu.  He was instructed in the Shaolin Temple and in 1991 went to the Wudang Mountains to become a pupil of the Grand Master Zhong Yun Long.

Upon being accredited as 15th generation, he received permission from his Master Zhong Yun Long to found his own school, the „Wudang Daoist Traditional Internal Kung Fu Academy”, with the mission to extend the scope of the Daoist teaching and its effects.

In 2012, Ralf was officially accredited into the 16th Generation Zhang San Feng Pai Lineage with the name Pi Mao Zi Xu, one of the first western pupils.