The Zhang Sanfeng Conundrum: Taijiquan as Enlightenment Theater—by Scott Park Phillips
Journal of Daoist Studies, vol 12 (Paperback, 258 Pages)
The Journal of Daoist Studies (JDS) is an annual publication dedicated to the scholarly exploration of Daoism in all its different dimensions. Vol. 12 Contents:
Shen Ming-Chang—Laozi and Community Policing;
Tang Man-To—Ji Kang’s Theory of Music;
Livia Kohn—Armored Gods: Generals, Guardians, Killers, and Protectors;
William T. Sanders—Echoes of Esoteric Buddhism in Manuals of Internal Alchemy;
Scott Park Phillips—The Zhang Sanfeng Conundrum: Taijiquan as Enlightenment Theater;
LiChien Hung—Ritual Healing in Taiwan; Herve Louchouarn—Daoist Medicine: Human Nature and Physiology;
Denise Meyer—The Taiji Path to Non-Duality; Helene Bloch— From Daoist Asceticism to Longevity Market? “Nourishing Life” on Mount Qingcheng;
Ron Catabia—Blue Mountain: A 20th-Century Korean Daoist Master; Mateus Oliva Da Costa—Daoism in Latin America; David Jeffrey—Zhuangzi in the Classroom: A Teacher Diary Study;
Peter Deadman— The Black Pearl and the White Pearl;
Monk Yun Rou—The Mad Monk Manifesto: A Daoist Cry for a Paradigm Shift
I presented the first version of this essay at the 9th International Daoist Studies Conference in Boston in 2014. It was a huge hit, and immediately selected for publication. It was going to be part of a collection called Daoism and Warfare, but after several revisions the editor took ill and it never came to be. Meanwhile I produced a short performance variation of the original paper at the 1st International Martial Arts Studies Conference in Cardiff in 2015. At the same time I produced my famous (now almost 15 thousand views!) video Cracking the Code, which covered some of my early discoveries. Then as I was completing my book Possible Origins, in 2016, a whole bunch of new material fell in my lap. Most notably I realized two things:
General Qi Jiguang was a 20 year disciple of the Sage Lin Zhao’en, who studied directly with the Immortal Zhang Sanfeng. Since General Qi Jiguang is widely cited as an original source of Taijiquan, that upends most scholarship on pre-20th Century Taijiquan—which has wrongly claimed there is no connect to the Immortal Zhang Sanfeng.
Zhang Sanfeng was a character in a play during the same period (early Wanli). The play (Xiyangji) features Zhang Sanfeng fighting 24 palace guards using the same movements named by Qi Jiguang and identified with Taijiquan. This (along with other strong evidence) proves that theater was an important source of Taijiquan’s mysterious slow motion martial prowess.
Anyway, that’s just a taste of what went into the new essay. Very Exciting! Please grab a copy while they are HOT!