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When Christianity came to Ireland, my ancestors blended their indigenous religious beliefs and artwork into the new religion. The circle was added to the cross and the concepts of infinity were interwoven within the Bibles they created.
When Christianity banned Native Americans from practicing their religious beliefs, they either killed the savages or converted them. Native Americans were not given the opportunity to alter or flavor Christianity. Although, they later changed a lot of the Latin verses to English...
When Buddhism migrated into the mountains of Tibet, the local religion was the Bon Religion, which involved sorcery, demons, masks, incantations, and geometrical artwork. This Bon Religion blended with Buddhism to create the Tibetan Buddhism we know today and recognize by its beautiful mandalas and prayers for the dead.
When Buddhism competed with the native Daoist Religion of China, they both borrowed concepts and terms from each other, but remained separate. The Daoist Religion is earthly and nature oriented, much like the Native American Religions. The Daoist quest for immortality led them to discover many health and healing concepts.
When Shaolin Gongfu became recognized as an efficient way to improve health and longevity, the Daoists sought to incorporate many of the Gongfu exercises into their own religion. Many Daoist Temples in China still teach Sword and Qigong exercises as fundamental aspects of their religion. They also sought to improve Shaolin Gongfu by creating several martial arts systems of their own such as Hsing-I, Bagua, and Taijiquan.
Daoist Taiji is the original Taijiquan. The village below the Wudang Monastery, where Taijiquan was created, somehow absorbed this knowledge and passed from father to son this martial arts system until the entire Chen village became famous for its Daoist martial arts.
Yang Taijiquan was derived from Chen Taijiquan which was derived from Daoist Taijiquan. Since people tend to remove what is difficult for the easiest possible success--they removed much of the Daoism from Taijiquan.
Shaolin Chi Mantis Taijiquan has added back much of the Daoism that inspired and enlightened the creation of Taiji. The concepts of earthly energies and cosmic radiation can now be proven scientifically. The magnetic forces that flow through our bodies are the focus of our Taijiquan. We may not make you immortal but we will make you healthier.
Daoism inspires our students to appreciate Nature and be more sensitive to it. The magnetic forces of the earth versus the debilitating effects of power lines. The wondrous changes of the seasons and ability to enhance one's life forces are small samples of the awareness students develop through Daoist philosophies.
With Buddhism developing our minds, and Daoism developing our life energies, and Shaolin Gongfu developing our physical bodies...ah, life is wondrous.