Ditan is the Temple of Earth and complements the Temple of Heaven in the south of Beijing. The altar here is square, which represents Earth, while at the Temple of Heaven the altar is round to represent Heaven. The emperor would offer sacrifices to Heaven at the winter solstice and to Earth at the summer solstice.
The alter in Ditan Park has the name FangZeTan which means ‘Square Water Altar’ there is a moat around the altar, hence the reference to water, but it is currently unfilled. My coach Wu Bin who was the coach and leader of the famous 10 year National Champions of China – Beijing Wu Shu team. Li, Lian Jie (Jet Li) was his student. Master Wu in the early 2000’s was coaching out of DiTan Ti Yu Guan. With his permission I now run DiTan Wu Shu Guan in NYC.
A real master has the responsibility to plant the seeds (students) into the earth (Di). His guidance and knowledge is the sun and the rain need to nourish the seeds to properly grow. From the earth, the seeds grow into flowers (females) and trees (males). Once a students has reached a high level, it is his or her responsibility to share their knowledge and experience, and continue what the Master started. Our bodies are our temple and we must preserve it. “Shi” is the term used by buddhists meaning “Master”. “Fu” is part of the word “Fuqin” which means “Father”. Shifu therefore, is both a Master and Father. A true Shi-fu is a committed teacher at all times.