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In loving memory An Woestenborghs

An Woestenborghs (1955 - 2019)

Master of Taoist Arts

Master An Woestenborghs was a physical education teacher for many years at several schools in Belgium before she became the head and assistant professor of China Arts College in Antwerp. She started studying Yang Style Taijiquan (Zheng Manqing tradition) in 1980 with teachers in Belgium and Holland. After meeting Dan KJ Vercammen in 1987, she switched to Dong and Yue Styles Taijiquan and began learning Qigong, Taoist Internal Alchemy, Taoist Medicine, and Internal Martial Arts (Shidaxing, Xingyiquan, and Baguazhang). She also took a deep interest in Chinese Culture and Chinese Philosophy and studied these subjects, as well as Classical Chinese, with Dr. Vercammen. From 1988 onwards she assisted Dan Vercammen in organising and teaching Chinese Martial Arts and Qigong in Holland and Belgium. In 1990 the two of them founded the Belgian Taoist Association, the first of its kind in the West, and ran Taoist Alchemical Studies Center TASC. From the early 1990s she accompanied Dr. Vercammen to China to do anthropological fieldwork and study (e.g. with Master Li Ziming of Baguazhang fame), and she worked with him as his fieldwork assistant. Taoist Alchemist Dr. Fu Qinglong advised that she would become a representative of the Southern Tradition of Taoist Alchemy (tradition name: Zhirou), a heavy task, that she performed brilliantly until her premature demise. In Belgium she did the organizational and financial work for TASC and later China Arts College, of which she became the head. She was also responsible for the publishing of the works of Dr. Vercammen, learning the old Chinese method of bookbinding so that the books could be published in that way. She was also a very talented photographer under her artistic Chinese name, Wu An (, and left a vast amount of photographs and documentary material, which is archived and stored at TASC. On several occasions her photographs were exhibited in Belgium and France and some of her work can be found in private collections in Europe. As a tribute to her, Dan Vercammen and Angela Verkade keep organizing photo exhibitions of her work. For several years she also held the position of director of the Antwerp Cultural Council. In the last year of her life, when she was forced to concentrate on fighting cancer and the consequences of treatments going wrong, she continued to stimulate and motivate her students and friends. After passing on, she became an ancestor of our tradition and she is remembered as such in an ancestral portrait that is hanging in our practicing hall.

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