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Zhang San Feng

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Zhang Sanfeng (張三丰 pinyin zhang1 san1 feng1), Chang San-feng in Wade-Giles, is a semi-mythical Taoist master dating from either the late Song dynasty or the Yuan dynasty. His name was 張君寶 before he became a Taoist.

Much of the written material about him is mythical, contradictory, or otherwise suspect. For instance, he is reported to have been born in AD 960, AD 1247, and again in AD 1279. He is described as being seven-feet tall, with the bones of a crane and the posture of a pine tree, having whiskers shaped like a spear, and being able to cover 1000 Li in a day.

Legend reports Zhang Sanfeng as having originated the concepts of Nei chia or soft internal martial arts, specifically Tai Chi Chuan.

More reputable sources record two chinese emperors sending missions to Zhang Sanfeng to ask for his advice, although neither mission is reported to have found him.

Owing to his mythical appearance, his name frequently appeared in Chinese novels and films of swordsmen as a master of martial arts.

Note: It is a common mistake to write 張三丰 as 張三豐. "丰" is also a traditional Chinese character and the confusion is partially due to that the People's Republic of China use it as the simplified form of "豐".

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