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K'an Lu
 Life and death: they are one, at core entwined.
    Who understands himself from his own strain
 presses himself into a drop of wine
    and throws himself into the purest flame.
                                          ~Rainer Maria Rilk
History of Taoism
Taoist Beliefs and Practice
Taoist Quotes and Additional Philosophy
  Tai Chi Ch'uan
Sect Top of Page
             A Chinese Taoist sect, these Ecstatics combine martial arts, meditations and sexual congrex in order to focus their Chi energies into creative force. In contrast with many Akashic Brothers, the K'an Lu forsake asceticism in favor of stimulation. Unlike the average Cultist ("unenlightened barbarians"), the Ecstatics discipline their unions, combine meditation, breath control and ejaculation denial with arcane postures. These techniques distill personal Chi into Tass, which is said to taste like the sweetest honey. Other more intuitive Ecstatics admire the beauty of the K'an Lu style but dismiss it as "too slow" and "no fun at all." The power such discipline channels, however, would shock skeptics. These mysticks are among the greatest Masters of Time, Prime and Mind Arts, and many are astonishingly long-lived; Marianna has three K'an Lu Masters on the Counsel at Balador (Khan Si, Chou Lin Hi, and Iniko Tajiburo), and calls them "...the most sensual lovers I know."

            To enter the K'an Lu, one has first to find them; after the Beijing crackdown of the late 1980's, this is difficult. The Masters have moved their temples into secret gardens and mountain retreats, where they school their followers (mortal and Mage alike) in Taoist alchemy and secret styles of Tai Chi Ch'uan. Although most are vegetarians, they favor spicy foods and are not above an occasional taste of meat. To join the sect one must meditate under a fountain for 7 days and 7 nights, then undergo rigorous training and instruction. Only when the mentor is satisfied of the initiates' discipline is he or she schooled in the sexual postures of the Emerald Pillow, and from there, to the magickal arts. (Traditions Gathered 2 CoX Section pg 36)

      "We believe in the formless and eternal Tao, and we recognize all  personified deities as being mere human constructs. We reject hatred, intolerance, and unnecessary violence, and embrace harmony, love and
      learning, as we are taught by Nature. We place our trust and our lives in the Tao, that we may live in peace and balance with the Universe, both in this mortal life and beyond."
                                                                                              -Lao Tse 9
Taoism Top of Page
History of Taoism 
            Tao (pronounced "Dow") can be roughly translated into English as path, or the way. It "refers to a power which envelopes, surrounds and flows through all things, living and non-living. The Tao regulates natural processes and nourishes balance in the
Universe. It embodies the harmony of opposites (i.e. there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.)" 9

            The founder of Taoism was Lao-Tse (604-531 BCE), a contemporary of Confucius. (Alternate spellings: Lao Tze, Lao Tsu). He was searching for a way that would avoid
the constant feudal warfare and other conflicts that disrupted life during his lifetime. The result was his book: Tao-te-Ching

            Taoism started as a combination of psychology and philosophy but evolved into a religion in 440 CE when it was adopted as a state religion. At that time Lao-Tse became popularly venerated as a deity. Taoism, along with Buddhism and Confucianism, became the three great religions of China. With the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty in 1911, state support for Taoism ended. Much of the Taoist heritage was destroyed during the next period of warlordism. After the Communist victory in 1949, religious freedom was severely restricted. "The new government put monks to manual labor, confiscated temples, and plundered treasured. Several million monks were reduced to fewer than 50,000" by 1960. 11 During the cultural revolution in China from 1966 to 1976, much of the remaining Taoist heritage was destroyed. Some religious tolerance has been restored under Deng Xiao-ping from 1982 to the present time.

            Taoism currently has about 20 million followers, and is primarily centered in Taiwan. About 30,000 Taoists live in North America; 1,720 in Canada (1991 census). Taoism has had a significant impact on North American culture in areas of
"acupuncture, herbalism, holistic medicine, medication and martial arts..."

Taoist Beliefs and Practices 

            Tao is the first-cause of the universe. It is a force that flows through all life.

              The goal of everyone is to become one with the Tao.

              The concepts of a personified deity is foreign to Taoism, as is the concept of the creation of the universe. Thus, they do not pray as Christians do; there is  no God to hear the prayers or to act upon them. They seek answers to life's problems through inner meditation and outer observation.

              Time is cyclical, not linear as in Western thinking.

               Yin (dark side) is the breath that formed the earth. Yang (light side) is the breath that formed the heavens. They symbolize pairs of opposites which are seen throughout the universe, such as good and evil, light and dark, male and female. Intervention by human civilization upsets the balances of Yin and Yang. The symbol of Taoism,(the Yin Yang we all know), represents Yin and Yang  in balance.

                  "The Tao surrounds everyone and therefore everyone must listen to find enlightenment."

                  Five main organs and orifices of the body correspond to the five parts of the sky: water, fire, wood, metal and earth.

                  Each person must nurture the Ch'i (air, breath or in the case of Mage the inner  Quintessence and ability to work magicks) that has been given to them.

                  Development of virtue is one's chief task. The Three Jewels to be sought are compassion, moderation and humility. (In the case of the K'an Lu {which is a sect of Taoism, moderation would likely be replaced with self control. they believe, as all Ecstatics do in breaking through boundaries through sensation and the experience of it. They do it in a somewhat different way than most other Ecstatics. They practice disciplined excersises of self-control. {though all Ecstatics should in theory have a great deal of self control}

                  Taoists follow the art of "wu wei", which is to achieve action through minimal action. "It is the practice of going against the stream not by struggling against it and thrashing about, but by standing still and letting the stream do all the work. Thus the sage knows that relative to the river, he still moves against the current. To the outside world the sage appears to take no action -  but in fact he takes action long before others ever foresee the need for

            One should plan in advance and consider carefully each action before making it.

            A Taoists is kind to other individuals, largely because such an action tends to be reciprocated.

            Taoists believe that "people are compassionate by nature...left to their own devices [they] will show this compassion without expecting a reward."

Tai Chi and Taoism
            There is a long history involvement by Taoists in various exercise and movement techniques. 5,6 Tai chi in particular works on all parts of the body. It "stimulates the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress and gently tones muscles without strain. It also enhances digestion, elimination of wastes and the circulation of blood. Moreover, tai chi's rhythmic movements massage the internal organs and improve their functionality." Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that
illness is caused by blockages or lack of balance in the body's "chi" (intrinsic energy). Tai Chi is believed to balance this energy flow.

(This information is courtesy of the  Society for Religious Toleration )

Taoist Quotes and Additional Philosophy

     Look, it cannot be seen - it is beyond form.
     Listen, it cannot be heard - it is beyond sound.
     Grasp, it cannot be held - it is intangible.
     These three are indefinable, they are one.

     From above it is not bright;
     From below it is not dark:
     Unbroken thread beyond description.
     It returns to nothingness.
     Form of the formless,
     Image of the imageless,
     It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.

     Stand before it - there is no beginning.
     Follow it and there is no end.
     Stay with the Tao, Move with the present.

     Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.

                         Lao Tzu has Yin Xi appear to the Barbarian as the Buddha.

            Lao Tsu taught that all straining, all striving are not only vain but counterproductive. One should endeavor to do nothing (wu-wei). But what does this mean? It means not to literally do nothing, but to discern and follow the natural forces -- to follow and shape the flow of events and not to pit oneself against the natural order of things. First and foremost to be spontaneous in ones actions.

            In this sense the Taoist doctrine of wu-wei can be understood as a way of mastering circumstances by understanding their nature or principal, and then shaping ones actions in accordance with these. This understanding has also infused the approach to movement as it is developed in Tai Chi Chuan.

            Understanding this, Taoist philosophy followed a very interesting circle. On the one hand the Taoists, rejected the Confucian attempts to regulate life and society and counseled instead to turn away from it to a solitary contemplation of nature. On the other hand they believed that by doing so one could ultimately harness the powers of the universe. By 'doing nothing' one could 'accomplish everything.' Lao Tzu writes:

     The Tao abides in non-action,
     Yet nothing is left undone.
     If kings and lords observed this,
     The ten thousand things would develop naturally.
     If they still desired to act,
     They would return to the simplicity of formless substance.
     Without form there is no desire.
     Without desire there is tranquillity.
     In this way all things would be at peace.

            In this way Taoist philosophy reached out to council rulers and advise them of how to govern their domains. Thus Taoism, in a peculiar and roundabout way, became a political philosophy. The formulation follows these lines:
            The Taoist sage has no ambitions, therefore he can never fail. He who never fails always succeeds. And he who always succeeds is all- powerful.

            From a solitary contemplation of nature, far removed from the affairs of men, can emerge a philosophy that has, both in a critical as well a constructive sense -- a direct and practical political message. Lao Tzu writes:

     Why are people starving?
     Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
     Therefore the people are starving.

     Why are the people rebellious?
     Because the rulers interfere too much.
     Therefore they are rebellious.

     Why do people think so little of death?
     Because the rulers demand too much of life.
     Therefore the people take life lightly.

     Having to live on, one knows better than to value life too much.

 Internet Source on Taoist Philosophy

Tai Chi Ch'uan Top of Page

             T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Grand Ultimate Fist) is a style of Chinese martial arts dating back 150-200 years in it's current form.  It's origins, however, go much further back, well into the 13th century, and possibly even older.  There are several styles of T'ai Chi in existence, usually named after the family that created that particular form.  The style we teach is the Wu Family Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan, which was created by the Wu family in the 19th century.  It is currently only 2nd, generation from the Wu
family, meaning that just two generations ago, it was still being taught by the Wu family itself.  It is a particularly good form for gaining both the health and martial benefits of T'ai Chi Ch'uan practice.

            T'ai Chi practice is done very slowly, with fluid, continuous motions.  Sometimes, it is even referred to as "moving meditation".  T'ai Chi is renowned for both its martial and health benefits.  It has been shown to help in recovery from muscle injuries, lowering blood pressure, and boosting the immune system. This form will also help develop ch'i ("internal energy", "life-force", etc.), as well as improving the general health and well-being of the practitioner.

            Although many people teach it purely as a way of health, T'ai Chi Ch'uan is actually a very effective system of self-defense, and was designed to be that way from the very beginning.  The health and combat aspects compliment each other, much like the concept of yin and yang.

        Ideally, T'ai Chi Ch'uan is practiced in conjunction with Ch'i Kung (see below).

Ch'i Kung

            Ch'i Kung is an ancient method of breathing and movement that develops ch'i and provides many health benefits.  Ch'i Kung practice is very old, dating back approximately 2000 years.  It combines elements of Tibetan meditation methods, Indian meditation and yogic traditions, and concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  The practice is slow and fluid, with a strong emphasis on the practitioner's breathing and mental state.  It is used to improve one's health, as well as to prepare the mind and body for other practices (usually T'ai Chi Ch'uan).


        Teaching is done in the traditional manner, and therefore focuses primarily on the practice of forms (katas).  Forms are pre-arranged patterns designed by various masters in order to teach specific concepts.  There are literally hundreds of forms in the system that will continue to challenge and grow with the student.


        Self-defense techniques supplement the forms training, and include the practice of hapkido and waza.  These will help the student develop improved reactions, timing, and sensitivity to their

Sparring (Kumite)

        Sparring practice begins after the student has learned all of their basics.  Sparring will develop better control and timing, as well as teaching the student the strategies of fighting.

The Ranking System

        In Pyong Hwa Do, there are eleven ranks leading up to the rank of Shodan (1st degree Black Belt).  Usually, students test individually when their instructor determines that they are ready.

Rank Name
Belt Color
solid white
solid Yellow
solid blue
2nd Green
solid green
1st Green
green with black stripe
2nd Brown
solid brown
1st Brown
brown with black stripe
2nd Red
solid red
1st Red
red with black stripe
JuniorGrade Black
half black and half red

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