Impressions from the workshop Wudang Pai

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Master Ismet Himmet

After a long period of waiting, finally Master Ismet Himmet arrived in Bucharest to hold the workshop on “The 10 Ancient Principles from Wudang Pai”, workshop which took place in the weekend of 22 and 23 September. We were all very curious to meet Master Ismet Himmet, a teacher with a very long experience in martial arts practice and, especially, in the styles taught in the Wudang Mountains from China.

Ismet Himmet has been doing martial arts for more than 27 years. He practiced many styles, such as: Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Kickboxing, Wing Tsun, Shaolin Gongfu. Eleven years ago, though he was prepared to teach martial arts, he has decided to travel to China in order to restart his training as a student. Thus, in the past eleven years, he lived and learned in monasteries, schools and academies, from well-known martial art teachers. Ismet Himmet is the first foreigner who had the initiative to open a martial arts academy in the Wudang Mountains from China, for the systematic training of martial arts principles.

Our first impressions about him were unexpected: he is a very friendly and modest person (it took us some time to convince him to let us pick him up from the airport), but, in return, he is very generous with the informations and technics he teaches.

The academy he opened in China reflects his wish to bring back to life and to spread the martial and spiritual practices from the Wudang Mountains, which he considers very precious. “The Wudang Principles are a great chance for every martial artist to understand the essence behind his style, because essentially they are all the same”, he states.

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Though the time has been very short, during the workshop in Bucharest, master Ismet taught us one martial arts sequence, a Qigong exercise, several martial arts applications and he even made us an introduction to the philosophical and spiritual principles which are the foundation of his practice. We have immediately recognized the circular movements, sometimes very slow and relaxed and sometimes very fast and explosive, which are specific to the Wudang style.

He gave us a lot of informations during the workshop, but Ismet also spent a lot of time with us even outside the workshop session and he answered very patiently our questions and curiosities.

arte martiale karateHe told us a lot of things about his practice and about his academy in Wudang; we found out that the training schedule is very intense: during the four daily training classes, his students learn martial arts and Taijiquan sequences, Qigong exercises and meditation technics, and also fighting applications; though the training program is very intense, his students are getting more and more numerous. About his personal life, Ismet is also very generous with the informations: he told us about how he wanted to go to China and practice martial arts since he was very little, about how he got to live in Wudang, about his teachers, about the difficulties he faced (in Wudang there is no heating in winter) and about his life in Wudangshan.

One of the most interesting explanations he gave us was the one about the concept of destiny. He was just telling us that in the taoist tradition (Taoism is a spiritual practice from China) the belief in destiny is very strong; thus, it is believed that you cannot move a single finger if this is not destined to happen to you. Somebody asked him then how it is possible for us to be free if everything is already decided for us. His explanation was unexpected: we perceive ourselves as being different from our destiny, as if us and our destiny we are two different things; in the Taoist tradition there is the belief that everything is, in fact, one thing, that all things are in fact deeply bonded on a certain level, so this means that we are not different from our destiny, that what is destined for us to happen is what we need to experience, so our destiny’s decision is also our own choice.

The discussions with Master Ismet Himmet remembered us a lot of memories from the Wudang Mountains, a place where many of us travelled in order to improve their martial arts practice. We’ve remembered together about the technics we have learned there, about the temples from Wudang, about the teachers we have met there, about the good places to eat, and a lot of others things.

arte martiale wushu wudangWe are very happy that among the cities from Europe where Master Ismet Himmet held workshops, this year there was also Bucharest. Before he left, Master Ismet told us that he felt good with our group and that next year he will come back with pleasure in Bucharest. We also hope to learn as soon as possible in his Academy in China or in the school that his students opened in Berlin.