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The Li Family Arts

Of Daoqiquan

At Orchard Kung Fu we train students in the Li Family Arts of Dao Qi Quan.


The Li family maintained a thriving business as famous professional caravan guards for over 400 years. They put their own lives and the lives of their children on the line regularly; if something did not work consistently, for every student, they eliminated it from their training.


Each art they assimilated into their family art of Daoqiquan was altered to conform to the principles of the Four Virtues, the Five Circles and the Six Stances. Redundant material and flowery techniques were carefully sifted away.

Daoqiquan - Martial Way of Vitality

Daoqiquan, which Dr. Orchard prefers to translate as “The Martial Way of Vitality,” is a closed-family educational system that encompasses several distinct martial arts, several self-care health and vitality methods, an integrated living philosophy, and methods of massage and herbalism. 

LAMA ZURDWANG (1530-1620)

Dao, Ji-Ren

Dao, Long-Ren

Zŭshī 祖師Daoqiquan


Li family legend states that the founder (Zŭshī 祖師) of Daoqiquan was born in Tibet, the Land of the Snows, in 1530 AD. This young monk, Zurdwang, in the mid-1500’s, learned Tibetan methods of martial arts called Snake Boxing and Blue Heron Boxing from his teachers at a lamasery in Qamdo, Tibet in preparation for a spiritual quest that was to take him far to the east. Qamdo is on the eastern edge of the Himalayan plateau at an elevation greater than 3,000 m. The young man, around 1560 AD, set off on a pilgrimage to test and grow his understanding of himself and the world, perhaps hoping to pierce the illusion of reality. He had many trials and adventures and studied at many Daoist and Buddhist sites throughout China, the Middle Kingdom, over the next few decades.


Lama Zurdwang studied at many centers of knowledge throughout central China. He became a scholar of the Five Excellences (painting, poetry, martial arts, philosophy, medicine) and spent much time at various temples, both Buddhist and Daoist. At an unknown Daoist temple, he took the name Dao, Ji-Ren and sought to synthesize a cohesive art based on the knowledge he had gathered about health concerning longevity, healing, herbalism, and inner vitality, about philosophy, and about martial arts, merging his knowledge from Tibet with that he was studying in China. A true Renaissance Man of the Orient, Lama Zurdwang wished to discover what a person needed to do to achieve perfect unity of the mind, body, and spirit.


During a five year period as a solitary mountain recluse, with only his jian (double-edged straight sword), herbs, and the elements for company, Lama Zurdwang took the Daoist name Dao, Long-Ren and developed deep mystical understanding and unparalleled skill with the jian. This simple life was his inspiration for formulating the foundations of his Inner Vitality and Health concepts. He felt that if one held to the Four Virtues of Honesty, Humility, Patience and Sincerity, one would stop creating tension in one’s own life, be able to release built-up tension, and live in harmony with one’s self, nature and society. With this method of internal cultivation, one could become free of ambition over others and of attachment to worldly goods, and wisdom, health and internal strength would arise naturally.


He then travelled to mystical Emei Mountain where he found harmony between Daoists and Buddhists. The highest of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains, Emei Shan, or “Delicate Eyebrow Mountain,” sits at the western edge of the Sichuan Basin, just 1250 km from Qamdo. It is the site of the first Buddhist temple built in China but has a longer history of Daoist influence. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), most of the Daoist Temples were eventually converted to Buddhist Temples. Around 1585, deep in the study of the Yijing, the Classic of Change, Lama Zurdwang, dreamed of a powerful dragon flowing around the taijitu (circularly entwined, mutually penetrating, black and white yin-yang symbol) chasing its tail. This vision enlightened him to the essence of human movement. Five circles came from his study of the jian and six stances shifted the body to create power through motion. Adding the Four Virtues, Lama Zurdwang’s complete art was realized. He called it Wu Guan Liu Bu Neigong Quan, or Five Circles Six Stances Internal Skill Boxing.


Instead of returning to Tibet, Lama Zurdwang finally settled in rugged mountainous village of Dawu /Daofu, Sichuan, just over 700 km from his home in Qamdo. He became the teacher-in-residence to the Li clan and passed his art to them. Over the years, the Li family became highly regarded caravan guards (baobiao) with the precious knowledge bequeathed to them by the Lama Zurdwang, aka Dao, Ji-Ren, aka Dao, Long-Ren, Zŭshī (Founder of) Daoqiquan.


The Martial Styles of Daoqiquan
  • Tibetan Blue Heron Boxing

  • Tibetan Coiling Snake Boxing

  • Ziran Xingyiquan

  • Liu Taijiquan

  • Jiulong Baguazhang

  • Traditional Chinese Weapons

Health & Vitality Methods of Daoqiquan
  • Master Li’s Seven Signs of Good Health

  • Quiet Sitting

  • Dao Yin

  • Standing Meditation (Zhan Zhuang)

  • Spring Rain Qigong

  • Flying Dragon Qigong

  • Nine Healing Circles Qigong

  • Dragon of Wind and Water Qigong

  • Five Elements Qigong

Spiritual Cultivation Methods
  • Xin Fu Dao

  • Four Virtues

  • Eight Principles of Complete Acceptance

  • Golden Vigour Qigong

  • Spirit Sword Qigong


The Li Jia ("clan," or "family") martial traditions were first laid down in the village of Daofu, Sichuan Province, China in the year 1580 A.D. by a man called Lama Zurdwang. Lama Zurdwang was a seeker from Tibet who left his home on a pilgrimage.


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