Philippe Gagnon

You will find here a brief summary of my 45+ years of experience in the practice of taichi and other internal arts.

I studied with Master Moy Lin-shin and many of his advanced students for 23 years, from the age of 18 in 1975, until 1998 (the year of his passing). Between 1975 and 1983, I went in all directions. Aside from enthusiastically training with friends and following Master Moy, I also had the opportunity to explore different schools of taichi. Thus, I received teachings from respected masters of the Wu and Yang styles, in Canada (notably, Master Lee Man-Charn) and in Taiwan (Master Sun Shao Jyu). After meeting with the Daoist priest Mui Ming-To, then living in Hong Kong, I was also introduced to the syncretic teachings (Buddhist, Daoist and Confucian) and meditative practices of Master Moy's spiritual tradition.

Philippe demonstrates liuhebafa in 1983.

After completing undergraduate programs in Canada, including East Asian studies and law, I lived in China (Wuhan, Hong Kong) between 1983 and 1989, obtained a Master's degree in law, started a family and began practicing as a lawyer. During this period, I had the pleasure of meeting many masters and practitioners of various taichi styles. However, I continued to train with Master Moy during trips to Canada and his visits to Hong Kong. At that time, Master Moy introduced me to one of his own teachers, Master Sun Dit (Sun Zhi), with whom I studied in particular the second half of the liuhebafa sequence (Lokhup - the art of 6 harmonies and 8 methods).  

Masters Sun Dit and Moy Lin-Shin with students and friends at Fung Loy Kok Temple in Hong Kong. Philippe is in the background on the left.

Seniors class in Tsuen wan, with Yeung S.W. 

Maitre Sun Dit a Xingyi routine at the Yuen Yuen Institute, Hong Kong.
© photos by the author, c. 1986-9

In 1982 and 1984, I had the good fortune to train in Taiwan with Master Sun Shao Jyu, who is shown below performing a sword routine in front of the in front of the National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, in Taipei. A former military man, Master Sun practised classical Yang style taichi, in all its forms, and mastered the art of push-hands. He taught many related routines performed with the sword (sancaijian, wujijian, qimenjian, etc.), the sabre and even the fan.

© photos by the author,  1984

Returning to Montreal in late 1989, I joined the group of leading instructors at Master Moy's original school, and he also invited me to act as legal counsel. For a few years, I also served as the chairman of the Fung Loy Kok Taoist Institute, which I helped to restructure at the request of the master. During these years, I also accompanied Master Moy, or was sent by him, to international workshops in the United States and Europe.

The death of Master Moy in 1998 was followed by a period of intense transition. Many people gradually left the original school and I followed suit in 2008. So I have no connection with what happened to the school afterwards. Ten years after Master Moy's death, and a good deal of soul searching, I understood that I had to do something else, more effective, to help maintain his legacy. It was for me the beginning of a new journey.

I first withdrew for a while as I set out to synthesise my knowledge. I began to explore the internal arts with many of Master Moy's former students. A broader understanding began to emerge that now allows me to bridge the (apparent) gap between the master's very unique teachings and the traditional discourse. Since then, I have sought out other groups and instructors, to share the art and provide support when I can. I have also researched the theories and evolution of taichi, and taken the opportunity to consult with academic experts during stays in Asia and Europe. I also became interested in the practice of mindfulness linked to Zen Buddhism and in particular the teachings of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. I continue to explore the deep connections between this practice and the internal arts such as taichi. Finally, in 2013, I slowly returned to teaching in Montreal, in order to continue to share the benefits of taichi and the internal arts as transmitted by Master Moy and to support the efforts of many instructors and organizations.

© Philippe Gagnon, 2019

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