Opening Dao: a documentary film on Taoism and martial arts

• October 12, 2010 • Comments (69)

Opening Dao - Cover - a Film by Gennaro Ambrosino

Opening Dao

Produced and directed by filmmaker and founder of Life Arts Media Gennaro Ambrosino, Opening Dao is a short documentary film on Taoism and martial arts, filmed in China in 2009. Scholars, top martial artists and monks explain the principles of the way, a treasure of wisdom that survived thousands of years. The film highlights the interconnectedness between the philosophy and the natural world and how its principles manifest in certain martial arts and meditative arts.

The film contains exclusive interviews with Prof. Chad Hansen and Prof. Chris Fraser from the University of Hong Kong, Dr Wang Daoke from Wudang Taoist Association, Master Yuan Xiu Gang (Wudang Gong Fu Academy) and martial arts performances from Master Heng Wei (Tang Long Kung Fu), Master Yongxing Guan and the students of the Wudang Taoist Kung Fu Academy in Wudang Shan, China.

The documentary also features a master narrative of the Dao De Ching by Edward Petherbridge, former leading actor of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

“Opening Dao” – An interview with filmmaker Gennaro Ambrosino

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Category: Consciousness, Film Library, Films

Gennaro Ambrosino

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Gennaro Ambrosino is the founder of Life Arts Media, multimedia artist and filmmaker. He has a background in interaction design, multimedia and advertisement and a profound interest for self-knowledge, mystical traditions and esoteric teachings, which for almost 15 years led him to explore, study and practice some of the main conscious teachings kept alive through millennia, among which, Western Alchemy, Neo-Platonism and Renaissance Hermeticism, Anthroposophy, Gurdjieff's 4th Way, Shamanism and for the last decade his interests, studies and practices have been focused on Taoism, Qigong and Martial Arts. Life Arts Media has been a long time vision, first as a means to dedicate his skills to what he’s passionate about and considers meaningful. In 2009 he travelled to China (among other countries) to work on ‘Opening Dao’ (a short documentary film on Taoist philosophy and its link to certain martial arts), which was published, together with the launch of Life Arts Media, in 2010. He’s originally from Cuma (Cumae), near Neaples in Italy, where, according to the myth, one of the most known oracles of the ancient world used to reside, the 'Sibilla Cumana' (Cumaen Sibyl) and it’s also the town where ancient Greeks first landed, characterizing the region for a rich archaeological and cultural heritage which blends Latin and Greek history and mythologies. For his work for Life Arts Media and for his personal path, he had the chance to travel through Asia and South America, meeting, studying from, interviewing and filming shamans, monks and academic scholars as well as many authors and social and environmental activists in London, where he has been living for the last 13 years. He had the fortune to be able to follow his thirst for knowledge and at the same time share the fruits of his work and research through LAM. He’s a firm believer of the potential of new and alternative media and the power of everyday people who become the content creators and the news-makers, and that the possibilities we have today, with internet and social media, can be the arena where technology (when used wisely) meets spiritual and social evolution.

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Comments (69)

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  1. Steven Wong says:

    Based on what i learned on Mt.Wudang, i think tai chi is a kind of thing that you can change your mind with your body movement. anyways Good Job

    • Shafiq says:

      There is a tradition of thousands of years, carrying the secret of breathe control called ‘pranayam'(meaning the practice of life) in the yoga. I believe that the chi is an advanced technique of the same. The way we learn to deal with this materialistic world is the reason for the growing chaos all around us. To find peace all around, we must have to find peace in ourselves first.
      The documentary was filmed very thoughtfully, and with artistic skills. People behind the scenes did a real good job. Filming, Editing, and Sounding are highly appreciated.

    • Nikola Nevenov says:

      Steven Wong what time you spent on Mt.Wudang?I’m looking for a person who knows the lineage of the martial art schools…mainly the internal cultivation ones…?Does the masters at Mt.Wudang would have such an info?

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alexander Brill and K Whelan-Enns, Michael Burke. Michael Burke said: A documentary film on Taoism and martial arts http://www.lifeartsmedia.com/opening-dao-taoism-martial-arts-documentary […]

  3. majc says:

    Nicely done! Very well put together and sweet camera work especially – you got skills. 😀

    I think there are philosophical subtleties to Lao Tzu which the Prof’s, in their eagerness, may have let slip through the cracks. Or maybe that’s on purpose, who knows?

    Either way, as a 20 minute minidoc, this is awesome.

  4. this post is very usefull thx!

  5. Ron Tedwater says:

    Really nice post,thank you

  6. Cleta Kanoa says:

    Audio began playing when I opened up this webpage, so annoying

  7. Mario says:

    Thank You For Spreading This

    Find Life Balancing Issues On My Side
    http://iameverywhere.posterous.com

  8. Taoism and Spontaneity, and your Physical Health…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  9. Lishi says:

    Really beautiful little video that shares useful wisdom from the philosophy, arts and science of Daoism. I’ve tweeted this and shared on facebook and http://www.lishi.org so more people can watch and enjoy.
    Thank you

  10. […] … is a short documentary film on Taoism and martial arts filmed in China in 2009. Scholars, top martial artists and monks explain the principles of the way, a treasure of wisdom that survived thousands of years. The film highlights the interconnectedness between the philosophy and the natural world and how its principles manifest in certain martial arts and meditative arts > http://www.lifeartsmedia.com […]

  11. Chris says:

    thank you, what a lovely film

  12. Thank You. Good Job. I shared on Facebook and mentioned the link in my newsletter. Helpfull to see my Masters while I’m not in the mountains.

  13. David Orman says:

    My life prior to Taoism was good. Now I would describe it as exceptional, purposeful and filled with joy. I attribute this to working with and applying Taoism to my life. Taoism now is my life.

  14. […] “We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel, and it is where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends. We turn clay to make a vessel, and it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends. We pierce doors and windows to make a house, and it is on these spaces, where there is nothing, that the usefulness of the house depends, therefore, just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognise the usefulness of what is not…” – Opening Dao (lifeartsmedia, 2010) – […]

  15. […] Opening Dao is a short documentary film on Taoism and martial arts filmed in China in 2009. Scholars, top martial artists and monks explain the principles of the way, a treasure of wisdom that survived thousands of years. The film highlights the interconnectedness between the philosophy and the natural world and how its principles manifest in certain martial arts and meditative arts. […]

  16. Valter Sui says:

    Thank you, really inspiring stuff.

  17. Abraham says:

    This is a well presented documentary in which a very short of time span you expose the concept of the Tao. No more “logic” that to start appreciating what is void, in fact the voidness is what really give the “use” of most of the things that we possess…

  18. amuletos says:

    love your style I will subscribe for your feed please keep posting!

  19. He who knows he has enough is rich. -Lao-tzu

  20. Edwin says:

    Well the information is very basic, and the martial arts ? Some of the people represented have some internal harmony, and many others are just cable of doing flowing movement for the camera’s. There is a distinct Wu Shu flavour in many of the movements, which is never a good sign. For where Wu shu exist the influence of government adminstration is never far behind. It is often the case in Taoism the superficial publicly available, and the authentic is hidden. It is amazing to still see some western academics are making the mistake of reducing Taoism to a philosopy, where in fact is it a religion. Certainly doing this makes it easier to reconcile Taoism with Christanity. If you find some of the more enlighten Christan mystics you find, that saying the same sorts things as the central tenets of Taoism. Remember reading Taoist texts does not make you and expert, only a tangible practice will give you a deeper understanding.

    • Taoist Practitioner says:

      For Edwin:

      Presenting your strong view point with broken, non-sensical phrases like,

      ‘If you find some of the more enlighten Christan mystics you find, that saying the same sorts things as the central tenets of Taoism’

      makes your opinion lose all credibility.

      It’s a nice video with a good general explanation of what Dao represents by experts from both East and West – I would improve your written english and be a bit more humble if you genuinely want to reach people with your views.

      Also, just because something looks outwardly authentic doesn’t mean that it can’t be exactly that underneath.

  21. […] Opening Dao is a great little documentary short focused on Taoism and the martial […]

  22. Wow!thak you for clarifying Martial Aerts and Taosim it realy is an eye opener

  23. Dempsey says:

    I would name your blog the dreamland! While Santa knocks at our door just once per year, you blog is open the whole year – wow!

  24. […] filmmaker Gennaro Ambrosino, it would be ‘Inspired’.  I first saw Ambrosino’s short film “Opening Dao” and was immediately interested in him, and his story.  Fortunately for me, the wonderful people […]

  25. gregory says:

    the mind that can be spoken is not the mind. lol

  26. JK says:

    Nicely done. Clear illustrations/interpretations of the Tao “in a nutshell”.

  27. 5ko says:

    Thanks a lot to the authors and all that helped doing this movie. Great job, please do more, a lot more like this movie. I am sure millions of people will be extremelly happy seeing them.

    Thanks !!!

  28. Hand to hand combat says:

    Thanks for providing this great documentary online. Everyone interested in Daoism should watch it for inspiration, it’s both informative and beautifully shot.

  29. jair diniz says:

    Muito obrigado pelo trabalho disponibilizado.

    bons tranbalhos

  30. Bill says:

    Please can anyone tell me the style & name of the form being performed at 13:00?

    Its very beautiful 🙂

    Thankyou.

  31. neverask says:

    A truely nice documentary! Very inspiring and motivational. Where I can get the music from 6:37 (and it repeats at 12:17) or buy it? I like it very much ^^

    Dao is everything and nothing at now and never.

  32. Pietro says:

    Non esiste una versione in Italiano, il regista penso sia italiano, no?
    Grazie.

    • lifeartsmedia lifeartsmedia says:

      Si, ma purtroppo non esiste una versione in Italiano al momento. Se ne avro’ la possibilita’ produrro’ una versione con sottotitoli in Italiano o sarebbe ideale se qualche volontario lo volesse fare. Grazie per l’interesse.

      • mcromano says:

        Ciao! Mi chiamo Mariacristina Romano e sono studentessa di traduzione e interpretazione Italiana e Inglese. Se vuole, io lo potrei tradurre , per ringraziarla di averlo fatto accessibile a tutti noi.

        Il mio email e mcromano@ymail.com.

        Mi e piaciuto tantissimo, veramente. Adesso capisco quello che mi dice sempre il mio sah boo nin: “Stai calma. Tu adesso sei fuoco, sei energia, devi essere aqua dentro, devi essere calma”. Studiero il Dao per poter capire di piu…
        Belissimo film!

  33. Rick Spears says:

    I was first introduced to Taoism by a short ( 3 season ) TV series 40 years ago. Most watched for the fighting, this 'Grasshopper' found the Philosophy. 🙂

  34. Hiu M. Chan says:

    Very well made film, thank you for sharing this.

  35. Very interesting and elucidating. Thank you for sharing this!

  36. Thank you, a wonderful documentary that helps a lot to have an inspiring "taste" of the Way…

  37. Rex Boaden says:

    Beautifully made film, and very informative; thank you for sharing. Near the end, at about 23:00, the hawk (?) in the evening sky behind the Taiji practitioner is a priceless happening…

  38. Tom Branchetti says:

    What was the name of the TV series?

  39. Fabrício Tenório says:

    There are subtitles for this video avaiable?

  40. Erik Wikstrom says:

    I'm sure he's talking about Kung Fu, starring David Carradine. Interestingly, the idea for the show was originally Bruce Lee's, but the studio execs didn't think America was yet ready for an Asian leading man. The inclusion of lots of taoist philosophy was fully intentional. I wish it was on Netflix, as I'd love my kids to see it.

  41. Marchosiae says:

    Great work!
    If you provide the english transcription I can translate it to portuguese for you (im not sure if I can do a good work from audio).

  42. gabrielle Choo says:

    I FEEL so Good while watching this !!!!!!
    I hope it will touch all people and move them to tap into their inner Dao !!!!!!

  43. Michael DeMolina says:

    A beautifulfully made short film that expresses Tao in each frame. Interviews with both academics and Taoist Masters, and explanations of the fundamental precepts of this ancient philosophy. I often say that anyone interested in learning Qigong & Tai Chi, will eventually need to familiarize themselves with Tao. And those who wish to be Taoists in the modern age would do well to study Nature and Science. This film serves as an excellent bridge toward this understanding.

  44. […] Ching by Edward Petherbridge, former leading actor of the Royal Shakespeare Company.Quote from the Life Arts Media […]

  45. That was the best explaination of the unexplainable that iv seen

  46. josh says:

    this movie got destroyed by the americans speaking in it.
    Seems to me there is a american “teacher” on every cyberstreet corner on the web.

  47. gabrielle Choo says:

    LOVE this !

  48. […] Watch the full movie here http://www.lifeartsmedia.com/opening-… […]

  49. […] You can watch the complete Short Film Documentary “Opening Dao” online here. […]

  50. […] You can watch the complete Film Documentary “Opening Dao” online here. […]

  51. I enjoyed that. I'm a little surprise Lao Tzi's three treasures weren't mentioned. I'm always curious to hear other peoples interpretations.

  52. Mark Ayson says:

    Shen, Chi, & Jing?

  53. Simplicity, compassion and patience

  54. Paul Dean says:

    thank you for the film, it explained a lot for me

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