Monday, September 22, 2008

Moy Lin-shin

Moy Lin-shin . was a monk, teacher and Tai Chi instructor who founded The Taoist Tai Chi Society , the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism and the Gei Pang Lok Hup Academy.

Early Life

As a sickly youth Moy was sent to a monastery. There he was trained in the teachings of the Earlier Heaven Wu-chi sect of the Hua Shan School of Taoism and regained his health. Moy reported that he studied the religious and philosophical side of Taoism and that he had acquired knowledge and skills in Chinese martial arts.

Ahead of the of 1949 Moy moved to Hong Kong. There he joined the Yuen Yuen Institute, in Tsuen Wan district in the New Territories, continued his education and became a Taoist monk.

The Yuen Yuen Institute was established in 1950 by monks from Sanyuan Gong in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, which in turn traces its lineage to the Longmen sect of . The Yuen Yuen Institute is dedicated to Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. In 1968, Moy co-founded, together with Taoist Masters Mui Ming-to and Mrs Tang Yuen Mei, the temple for the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism on the grounds of the Yuen Yuen Institute.

In addition to his studies and education in Taoism Moy Lin-shin learned a range of internal martial arts including , , Hsing I Ch'uan, and Taoist Qigong. One of Moy's main teachers in Hong Kong was , an instructor in Lok Hup Ba Fa and other arts, who was in turn a student of Wu Yi Hui. Lok Hup Ba Fa is considered by some of its schools to be a combination of the three arts of Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing I Chuan, and Pa Kua Chang. Moy was taught Lok Hup Ba Fa at the Chin Woo Athletic Association in Shanghai. Moy also trained in Hong Kong with Sun Dit, a fellow student of Leung Jee-peng, who Moy said had developed skills in Hsing I Chuan and Push hands.

Move to Canada

Moy was sent overseas with a mission of spreading the understanding of Taoism and its practices. After some travel, he settled in Montreal, Canada, and in 1970 began teaching a small group of dedicated students. In those early days, Moy taught both the health and martial arts aspects of Tai Chi. Upon moving to one of Toronto's "Chinatowns" a few years later, he changed his focus, emphasising the health giving aspects and no martial applications. Moy's choice was made with the intention of presenting his modified Tai Chi forms only as exercise, rather than as a martial art.

Moy started with a standard Yang style Tai Chi Chuan form, also saying he had mixed in elements of other internal arts, and taught it to condition students to learn Lok Hup Ba Fa later. Moy called this modified form Taoist Tai Chi. Moy emphasized the non-competitive nature of his style of teaching and of the form . A teacher of Taoist Tai Chi is asked to conform to and live by what Moy called, "Eight Heavenly Virtues":

* Sense of Shame
* Honor
* Sacrifice
* Propriety
* worthiness
* Dedication
* Sibling Harmony
* Filial piety.

In accordance with these virtues, Taoist Tai Chi is a form that is taught by volunteers.


To promote his understanding of the Taoist foundations of Tai Chi and to facilitate understanding between eastern and western cultures, Moy helped to set up a number of organizations. Initially he established the Toronto Tai Chi Association, which, after Taoist Tai Chi chapters were formed across Canada, became the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada.

The organizations since his death

Since the death of Moy Lin-shin in 1998 the three organizations he founded have been amalgamated, with the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism as the main organization and the Taoist Tai Chi Society and the Gei Pang Lok Hup Academy as part of the Institute. This brought together the financial and administrative management of the three organizations.

In order to broaden the emphasis on health and vitality the Taoist Tai Chi Health Recovery Centre was established in 1997 near Toronto, at , Ontario. On the same grounds a has been built .


Moy Lin Shin has been criticized for being unqualified and for teaching a version of Tai Chi that is "not generally recognised as an authentic style of Tai Chi" although even critics have admitted that his efforts "did a great deal to introduce thousands to tai chi".

1 comment:

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