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Philosophical Foundations

The Canon Method of Mindfulness Martial Art Practice

Here is the history and foundations of mindfulness practice as handed down through Daoist, Confucian, and Buddhist teaching. Individually, or in concert, these systems shaped modern mindfulness practice.

Daoist, Confucian, and Dharma principles are the moral character of mindfulness. I encourage you to look beyond the physical forms to develop a deeper understanding of the internal martial arts.

You can follow the Lesson Plan or revisit these lessons as you explore a martial style. This is your practice. Presenting these lessons through the web allows you to develop your own rhythm of practice without artificial limits or structure.

Canon Emblem for the Canon Method of Internal Martial Arts Practice

Lesson Plan

Monument of great astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, Torun, Poland


The internal martial arts we study in the Earth Dragon Canon Method take their name from the Daoist cosmology attributed to Fu Xi. Cosmology is an account or theory of the origin of the Universe, and, by extension, humanity’s place in it. Cosmologies often borrow from one another, creating new cosmologies by applying the scientific discoveries of the day. Some cosmologies develop into religious beliefs; others develop through the le…

Origins of the Eight Trigrams

In the beginning there was nothing but a formless chaos. Out of this chaos, there was born an egg. When the egg split the heavy yolk sank to become the Earth, while the light egg white rose to become the Heavens. That the Universe is made of two forces, a heavy yin aspect and a lighter yang aspect whose separation and interaction are constantly creating all aspects of the Universe, is the foundation of Daoism. This line of thought d…
acupuncture needles on antique Chinese coin

Qi and The Five Elements

The Yellow Emperor (2497 – 2398 BCE) is the legendary inventor of Chinese medicine. In his classic work the Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon) various principles, such as yin and yang, qi, and the wuxing, compose the Universe. The work was one of the first medical treatise to stress the integration of both spiritual and physical treatments as a holistic approach to medical treatment.
The Three Vinegar Tasters of Chinese Philosophy

The Vinegar Tasters: Buddha, Confucius, and Laozi

If Laozi (Lao Tzu), the old sage usually associated with Daoism existed, he lived during the Golden Age of Philosophers. The book attributed to him is the Dao De Jing (The Way and Its Virtue) and represents the ideal man living agreeably with nature. Laozi was probably a librarian in the Zhou dynasty Hall of Records. Realizing the dynasty was failing, Laozi headed off to retire in the wild west. At the western border of the kingdom,…
The Trigrams of the Bagua in Heavenly Cycle.

Origin of Baguazhang

Dong Haichuan’s Baguazhang There is little doubt that Dong Haichuan (1797 – 1882) created and formalized the martial art of baguazhang. When discussing the creation of a formalized martial art, identifying the actual events that contributed to its development is difficult. Fanciful stories cast the art as the creation of a legendary figure, or as the secret teachings of a reclusive master. In the case of Dong Haichuan, he was both l…
The Daoist Temple at Wudang Mountain

The Making of Legends

The Legends Zhang Sanfeng Zhang Sanfeng (1247 – 1370) is a legendary figure of Daoism, and the mythical creator of taijiquan. Some stories about Zhang Sanfeng place him as early as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907 – 960 CE) when China was undergoing a period of disunion. Others place him in the Song dynasty (960 – 1279 CE) which saw many achievements in science, philosophy, and arts, including the first use of printin…