The Truth about Wudang History

China has experienced an unbelievable amount of change in the last 50 years. During that time, the Wudang marital arts have faced persecution, experienced a renaissance, and begun to spread internationally. Understanding these changes, is an important part of understanding the Wudang martial arts.

Cultural Revolution 1966-1976

From 1966 to 1976, China’s underwent a time of political and social chaos called the Cultural Revolution. Chairman Mao called upon young people to purge the nation of the “Four Olds” meaning old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas. Temples were among the first places targeted. Temples were smashed and Daoists were forced to leave their mountains and forbidden to accept disciples or share their knowledge.  Wudang survived the Cultural Revolution with less damage than other sacred sites for several reasons:

1) Earlier, during China’s Civil War, a Communist leader named He Long (贺龙) suffered a great defeat and fled to Wudang Mountain. A Daoist named Xu Ben Shan (徐本善) saw that the wounded were cared for. Xu Ben Shan and He Long were both martial artists and shared their skills with each other. Because of its connection to a Communist leader Wudang Mountain was targeted less than other religious sites.

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