Crippled boxing, Fists of the drunken eight immortals, disabled single arm boxing, chopsticks and bowl weaponry are but some of the obscure yet interesting methods of Hung Fut Pai. With a history of over 200 years this fascinating derivative of Southern Hung boxing has developed into a unique and formidable combat system.
Hung Kuen - The root of Southern Lingnan Boxing
Hong Xiguan (洪熙官, est. 1743-1806) whom is recognized as the founder of Hong Quan (Hung Kuen) had many disciples during his time in Guangdong under the efforts of the Tian Di Hui (Heaven and Earth Society). One of his students included Li Zukuan (李祖寬, c. Lei Cho Foon) whose father had been prosecuted by the Qing government, was to become a capable Master and the founder of Hung Fut Pai.
Li Zukuan, practiced diligently under Hong Xiguan and mastered key boxing methods as well as becoming involved in rebellious activities which were to become an issue many years later after Hong Xiguan's departure. After being charged for crimes, the Qing government sought his capture and in a duel Li Zukuan killed an official. To escape it is said he fled to Bapai Shan where he become a monk at the Qinghua Temple (it was common in those days for many rebels to become monks as it requires the lost of identity, which makes it difficult to trace down for officials), his buddhist name was Shi Yunmi (释云弥, c. Sek Wunnai). It is at the temple that he practiced his skills further and developed a method that he called the Fa Xiang Zhuang Zhang Gong, which was a specialised form of Iron Palm training. As a result, the style became known as Hung Kuen Fut Jeung (Hung Boxing, Buddha Palms) which was simplified as "Hung Fut Pai".
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom - Hung Fut Pai rises
Only when the Taiping Tianguo (Taiping Heavenly Kingdom) rising occured (during 1850-1864) originating in the southern areas (Guangxi followed by Guangdong and onwards north), did Shi Yunmi descended the mountain and sought disciples worthy to study to join the anti Qing activities continuing his efforts from earlier times. At his advanced age he took on a few (many to be killed in confrontations with the Qing armies) of which the most recognized was Huang Yongji (黃永基 c. Wong Wengkei), whom became his resident disciple on Jinshan Temple mastering the Hung Fut system. A commemorative generation couplet "Shan Yi Ba Sheng Cheng Bao Hua Yong Ying" was then written by Huang Yongji in honour of his teacher and a small housing for remains was named Shanshan Tang.
After the passing of monk Shi Yunmi, his disciple Huang Yongji opened a school in Foshan (c. Futsan) naming it Yiyi Tang (怡怡堂). His key disciple was said to have come about after an accident between government officials and a young man, Li Tongkuan (李同宽, c. Lei Tongfoon) who later after over ten years of dedicated training became the third generation master of Hung Fut, having established the Baba Tang (拔拔堂) where he taught in Gaoyao county, Guangdong Province. Li Tongkuan is also credited with having developed the 8 Drunken Immortals techniques of Hung Fut.
The fourth generation was to be a young Daoist priest named He Daodan (何道旦 c. Ho Doudan) who after many years of study with Lo Tongkuan, developed a set of fourteen elbows which further developed the Hung Fut system. Originally only Daoists in the temple (of the Shengsheng Tang) were taught but to ensure the survival of the style (as priests are concerned with religious practices primarily) the style had to be taught to alayman. It was the fifth generation Wu Tong (吳通, c. Ng Tong) who used to work around the temple on general duties that was to become the inheritor of the system from He Daodan. Orignally just observing the practices of the daoists, he was later called upon by He Daodan and later formally taught the complete system. Wu Tong was nicknamed Bai Mou Tong (White Hair Tong) due to his hair. At the request of his teacher, Wu Tong descended the temple and started the Chengcheng Tang in Foshan (c.Futsan), Guangdong province.
White haired devil - Hung Chiu Sing
Hung Fut started with great beginnings being involved in rebellious activities of the Tiandi Hui (Heaven and Earth Society) and of the Taiping Tianguo (Heavenly Kingdom of Greater Peace), but later became more obscure. It was not until the sixth generation under the most famous master of the style Hong Zhaocheng (c. Hung Chiusing) that the style was to prosper and develop.
Hong Zhaocheng (洪照成, c. Hung Chiusing 1865-1944) as a boy used to peak into the teachings of Wu Tong, trying to learn the techniques and then practicing independently. Upon observing, the Master Wu Tong decided to take the young boy a student and after many years was to become the most important inheritor of the style. Hong Zhaocheng also received advanced lessons by recommendation of hist teacher from other masters including Luo Yuan. (It should be noted that there are some historians that believe Hung Chiusing had studied Hung Kuen, Cai Kuen and Lei Kuen as the basis of developing Hung Fut).
During his advanced years as a result of his white hair like his teacher was nicknamed "Bai Mou Zhao" and as a result of injury had developed one of the most unique methods of Hung Fut called the Si Da Can Quan (4 Great Crippled Fists). In approximately 1925, Master Hong moved to Hong Kong with his family and with the assistance of his sons (especially Hong Yaozong) he promoted the style across Hong Kong, bringing Hung Fut to the world.
Master Hong taught many students and some of the most well known were his sons Hong Shanbao, Hong Yinshu and Hong Yaozong, as well as disciples Hong Yusheng, Li Wen, Hung Huiting, Hung Liting, Hung Liangui, Liu Gengzhi, Wang Liantao, Ye Xianghang, Zhou Guo, Hu Zhalun, Cai Shan, Mai Qiu, Hong Peifa, Liang Rici, Tan Xi, Hu Shaonan, Deng Zhuohua, Deng Rudong, Ceng Jinghai, Li Saisheng, Xiao Jiu, Hong Qiangsheng and many others.
Features and Characteristics
Hung Fut maintains the practice of relatively wide and low stances, ensuring like Hung Kuen great stability and balance from which to generate solid power. In practice one of the obvious features the prominence of the left hand from which most dual sided techniques start with left but are equally balanced throughout in practice (one of my earlier teachers also had learnt Hung Fut a little and maintained this practice throughout his teaching - the idea was if your left hand (given a right handed person) could do it then it would be easier for the more co-ordinated right hand to figure it out). In combat often it is often left side leading, this was thought to enhance the roles of the left as the lead test and blocking side with the accurate right awaiting behind. The 14 Bridges : Whilst Hung Kuen is well known for it's 12 bridges, Hung Fut also has similar concepts in 14 bridges - these are Biao (Dart), Gou (Hook), Ding (Stabilize), Shi, Chen (Sink), Fen (divide), Jin (Solid), Ding (Set), Cun (Inch), Gang (Hard), Rou (Soft), Po (Press Force), Zhi (Control), Qiang (Strong). The hand techniques like those of the south are many and varied with a good amount of striking, trapping and locking/grappling.
There are many sets of practice in Hung Fut both of its own line (like some very unique Single Arm, Crippled and Drunken boxing methods) and of those borrowed from similar styles. The most representative incude the following:
Since Hung Fut had some interchanges and influences from other Guangdong martial arts in its later periods, there are many methods that have been adopted and created by masters throughout the generations into the curriculum. These vary from branch to branch.
The most important weapon is the Staff of which there are 10 different sets of practice, the unique aspect is the left handed lead.The Mad Devil Staff (瘋魔棍) is in particular held in high regard and is considered the most important weapons set in the system. Hung Fut has in some lines over 20 different types of weapons, including the usual TCMA ones but also some more rare/exotic types of weapons practice include:
Pi Gua Quan (Hacking and Hanging Fists), is also known as Gua Quan, Pi Gua Zhang, Mo Mian Quan and Po Gua Quan is said to date back to the Ming Dynasty. In the Ming dynasty General Qi Jiguang's (1528-1587) "Jixiao Xinshu" written approximately in 1560 AD state "Pi Gua Heng Quan ri qi Kuai Ye" (Pi Gua horizontal Fist, is also very fast). It is likely that this same reference is to Piguaquan. The Pi there referred to wearing of armour, whilst Gua and Heng are techniques/concepts. Since then the art was mainly found in the Qing dynasty and has evolved into two key branches.
Cangzhou Nanpi County - Pigua Quan
In Nanpi County, just south west of Cangzhou, a legendary Master named Guo Dafa taught Piguaquan. Originally known as Guo Qinfa, due to his large and tall stature, he was later known as Guo Dafa (Da meaning Big). Guo Dafa was from the Dalongzhuang village in Nanpi County. As a result of his formidable skills, early in his life Guo Dafa had become a bodyguard to the imperial court and is said to have impressed the emperors so much that he was asked to teach some martial arts to the imperial family. During his later years he retired back to his hometown and passed his skills to his son Guo Changrong and grandson Guo Xiuting as well as members of the Zhao family in Zanzhuang (village). This was kept within Zhao family members until the 3rd generation, Zhao Shikui who then taught Guo Changsheng (1896-1967). The key sets from Nanpi were Pigua Kuaitao (Pigua fast set), Guaquan (Hanging fist) and Paochui (Cannon Strikes).
Cangzhou Yanshan County - Pigua Quan
In Yanshan County, just south east of Cangzhou, in the Xiazhuozhuang (village) of Yanshan, a Master named Zuo Baomei (1753-1818) who was said to have studied with a wanderer surnamed Han (no firstnames given) the skills was the key inheritor of Piguaquan. Zuo Baomei was both a skilled martial artist but also of high ethics, thus people respectfully referred to him as "Zuo Ba Ye" (8th Elder Zuo). Zuo Baomei passed on the skills to Pan Wenxue (also named Shikui) who taught civil and military lectures in college. Two were very outstanding students, Li Yunbiao and Xiao Hecheng and as a result, Pan Wenxue taught them Piguaquan. Both were outstanding and Xiao Hecheng was so great at his footwork and dodging manoeuvres that he was nicknamed "Flying Body Xiao". Xiao Hecheng in his later years taught Huang Lin biao, Wang Zhengyi and Yu Baolin. Huang Lin biao taught the two famous Ma brothers - Ma Fengtu (1886-1973) and Ma Yingtu (1889-1956). They key sets from Yanshan were Pigua Mantao (Pigua slow set) and Qinglongquan (Green Dragon Fist).
Nanjing National Martial Arts Association
|Guo Changsheng||Ma Yingtu|
In Since both Guo Changsheng and Ma Yingtu, were given coaching positions in 1928 at the Nanjing National Martial Arts Association the mutually exchanged from each other the various aspects of the different Piguaquan. Thus their lines brought the two evolutions (5 sets) back together. They researched and furher improved the system including the addition of two weapon sets/methods - Pigua Dao (Pigua broadsword) and Fengmo Gun (Crazy Devil Staff).
When both left the Nanjing assocation they taught Piguaquan in their respective places. Guo Changsheng taught in the Cangzhou regions and Ma Yingtu taught in the North West (Gansu province).
Dissemination of Pigua Quan
In Cangzhou, the contents consisted of Pigua Kuaitao (Pigua fast set), Pigua Mantao (Pigua slow set), Qinglongquan (Green Dragon Fist), Guaquan (Hanging fist) and Paochui (Cannon Strikes).
In Gansu, the contents consisted of Pigua (also known as Mo Mian Quan), Qing Long (Green Dragon), Fei Hu (Flying Tiger) and Tai Shu (highly refined).
Since both Guo Changsheng and Ma Yingtu had studied other martial arts, each added aspects and features from those arts into their teachings. As an example in Guo Changsheng in Cangzhou would teach his Tong Bi Quan methods, whilst Ma Yingtu in Gansu had his 12 Large sequences and 10 roads of Ma family Tantui. However, in general the Piguaquan contain similar features.
Ma Yingtu along with his elder brother taught their children Ma Yingda, Ma Xianda, Ma Lingda and Ma Mingda as well as disciples Wang Tianpeng, Luo Wenyuan and Ma Chengzhi. Exchange with Ma Yingtu's Bajiquan teacher Li Shuwen, introduced a set into that line of Bajiquan.
Guo Changsheng taught his disciples Cao Yanhai, Guo Jianwei, Gao Yuqing, Niu Senghua and his two children Guo Ruilin and Guo Ruixiang.
Features and Characteristics
It is said that Piguaquan was designed to be able to fight with full armoured gear, therefore the movements are wide and open and include large body angles and adjustments to account for the interference such armoury could produce. However in that same way it has developed specialised ways of applying power and its strikes often in full swing can be both fast and deadly effective.
There are many exercises to ensure that the back, waist, arms, shoulder, etc.. are conditioned properly to move freely and execute the power required. This include stretches and swinging motions, which inevitably are sometimes techniques in Piguaquan which is why sometimes it is said that exercise and combat are complementary in Piguaquan. There is a focus on the waist generating power and then the chest, back support the Tuntu (spitting and swallowing power) and Kai He (opening and closing) as well as the ability to fold arms that are then propelled into linked techniques. The joints and limbs must be both flexible and relaxed only then will power be developed.
Since stepping is of importance the two main methods of Zhan Zhuan Bu (Turning Steps) and Lian Huan Bu (Continuous Steps) are focused on which are later combined with basic techniques such as Yuan Di Chuan Shou (Earth Originating Thrusting Hands), Lianhuan Bu Pi Lou Shou (Continuous Step Chopping pass over hands), Dan Pi Shou (Single Chopping Hands) and Pi Zhang (Chopping Palms) as examples. The 18 character key for motions of Piguaquan include gun (rolling), Le (hold back), pi (hacking), Gua (hanging), Zhan (Chop), Xie (remove), Jian (scissor), Cai (pluck), Lue (Plunder), Bin (reject), Shen (Stretch out), Shou (Retract in), Mo (Rub), Tan (explore), Dan (Spring out), Za (Smash Hammer), Lei (beat), Meng (Ferociously).
Wudang martial arts on Wudang Mountain today are actually a compilation of remnant bits and pieces from around China. One of the boxing methods considered pure and representative of the Wudang System is known as Taiyi Wuxingquan.
Taiyi Wuxing Quan
Taiyi Wuxing Quan (太乙五行拳) or in its full name "Wudang Taiyi Qin Pu 23 Postures" (武当太乙擒扑二十三势) or Liangyi Quan (两仪拳), this set of Wudang Practice was practiced and popularized by Aisin Gioro Pu Xuan (Jin Zitao), who studied at Zi Xiao Gong (Purple Palace) and was taught by Daoist Priest Li Helin (李合林, 16th Generation of Wudang Long Men Division, disciple of Xu Benshan). It is also said that the set was created by 8th Generation Wudang Long Men Master Zhang Shouxing (张守性) in the Ming dynasty during the Hongzi years (1487-1505). He is said to have based the style on the integration of Hua Tuo's Five Animal Frolics and traditional Taoist DaoYin exercises. Whilst good for health cultivation it is also a specialized method of combat. Taiyi Wuxing quan emphasizes the neutralization of power, using leverage and balance towards incoming force, applies grappling and vital point cavity striking together to overcome opponents.
Aisin Gioro Pu Xuan (Jin Zitao, 金子弢)
Jin Zitao was born on the 26th July, 1906 in Beijing (Xuanwu Gate) to the Royal Manchurian family. He was six months younger than Pu Yi (Better known as the Last Emperor) and a year older than Pu Jie. His mother was from the Mongolian Noble family and one of the Royal concubines. Jin Zitao would see his father only once or twice a month. In 1910, he was allowed into the palace of the Empress Dowager where he resided for more than three years as the study companion to Pu Yi. He returned to his mother side in 1914 (9 years old).
Unfortunately his character was not stern to function as a imperial official and after gaining a post he found it very challenging. He resigned from his post and was rejected by his wife, with constant conflict and left in 1916. He travelled with his mother and carer across Tianjin, Shanghai, Yueyang, Lanzhou and Hangzhou visiting relatives along the way. His mother and carer then passed away. In 1924 he got married but soon after he was cheated in business suffering economic setbacks, whilst his wife died giving childbirth. After such a tragic and depressed life, he wanted to become a monk or hermit and in 1929 ended up on Wudang Mountain. He studied boxing and learnt more about Daoism. Afterwards, he continued practicing daily his Taiyi Wuxing Quan. In 1938 he converted to Daoism. After the founding of New China, he was hired as a technical assistant to the Shanghai Yue Opera, also imparting martial skills as well.
Taiyi Wuxingquan returns to Wudang
Jin Zitao is said to have learnt the Wudang Taiyi Wuxing Boxing during his short stay (~ 7 months) at Wudang in 1929 under the guidance of Li Heling (1898 - ). It was not until 1980 that the world would see the demonstration of this unique boxing method at the National Wushu viewing, emulating and communicating Congress in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province. Prior to that occasion many had heard of Wudang boxing but few actually had seen it. Jin Zitao became more well known as a result afterwards. In the 1980's Jin Zitao travelled to Wudang for a few weeks each time to teach the local (wider Danjiangkou/Shiyan area) martial artists there, of which Zhao Jianying and Yang Qunli, who became well known inheritors of the Skill and in many cases cared for the training of the group whilst Jin Zitao was away. The group consisted predominantly of Coaches from Hubei Province. Jin Zitao also taught students in his hometown (Huzhou, Zhejiang Province) which included local enthusiasts such as Fei Shengxiang and some from more distant areas such as Shanghai. In addition to Zhao Jianying and Yang Qunli, there were other martial artists that had learnt the method. In many cases whilst Jin Zitao was not at Wudang, Zhao Jianying and Yang Qunli would take care of the groups with intensive sessions when Jin Zitao visited. Fei Shengxiang was a student of Jin Zitao in Zhejiang who studied many martial arts and was a part of the Zhejiang Provincial Wushu Team.
M. Zhao Jianying (1929-2011) was an important contributor to Wudang martial arts. She was key proponent of Taiyi Wuxingquan and taught very many followers during her lifetime. M. Zhao as a child suffered severe illness. One day a soldier noticed her bad health and offered to teach her martial arts to strengthen her body. She studied Hong Quan and got her body back to health. In 1980 at the National Wushu gathering, she met Jin Zitao and became his student acquiring full knowledge of Taiyi Wuxingquan and its associated exercises/methods. She also learnt Bagua and Xingyi from Sha Guozheng and Lu Zijian, in addition to various weapons sets such as Taiji Sword and 8 Immortals Sword. Her son, Tan Xianping is also a well regarded practitioner today.
Taiyi Wuxingquan has been adopted by the majority of the Wudang Schools. and is one of the most representative of Traditional Wudang methods. I still recall my few weeks in Danjiang Kou in 2003, when I first studied this little boxing method. In 2014 on another of my Wudang journeys, my colleagues were studying the Taiyiwuxing method with Yuan Xiugang and it reminded me of its simple beauty, so thought to write this short overview.
Details of the Taiyi Wuxingquan
The key set consists 23 postures/methods (25 including start and ending), with about 81 movements. There are small delicate circles worked throughout at compact, slow and precise manner.
Primordial first Qi; Activate the rotation of the Universe (Qian Kun) (opening) | 混元一氣，旋轉乾坤
1. White Ape Comes out of its Cave; Two Peaks Bow to the Sun | 白猿出洞，雙峰拜日
2. Rein in at the Top; Lift the Cloud Under the Sea | 懸崖勒馬，海底頂雲
3. Dragon in Confusion; the Thunder Chops the Mountain | 蛟龍溟蒙，雷劈山洪
4. Rhinoceros Looks at the Moon; Turn Around to support Heaven | 犀牛望月，轉身托天
5. Green Lion Embraces the Ball; Springs from Nian Ting | 青獅抱球，閃耀金庭
6. Leopard Raises its head; Surprising the whole World | 豹子含美，仰頸驚林
7. Roc Spreads its Wings; All the Beasts are Panic Stricken | 大鵬展翅，群獸震驚
8. Spotted Deer Picks the Herbal Medicine and Lowers its Head To Drink in the Stream | 花鹿采芝，俯飲清泉
9. Yellow Serpent at the water’s Mouth Provokes the Great Beasts | 黃蟒含津，戲引眾猛
10. Capers Rolls About; Waves Rushes to the Heaven | 鯉魚打挺，波浪滔
11. Hawk Searches for the Mountain and Catches the Chickens | 雄鷹探山，雙擒雞群
12. Immortal cranes Flying in the Air and Dancing through wind and clouds | 仙鶴騰空，飛舞風雲
13. Golden Monkey Steals the Fruit ; Alchemy Overturns the Fire | 金猴竊丹，爐火皆平
14. Whale and Crocodile Reach the Moon; The Sea is Calm | 鯨鱷探月，波平浪靜
15. Black Bear Turns its Palm and Surprises the Whole Forest | 黑熊反掌，威震森林
16. Slip out of a Predicament like a Cicada Sleuthing its Skin; Drunkard Lays in the Pond | 金蟾脫殼，醉臥瑤池
17. Magpie Perches on the Branch and Stands on the Moss | 喜鵲登枝，寒立梅蔭
18. Dragon Returns to the Sea; Keep Calm in the Inner World | 蒼龍入海，意守心寧
19. Wild Horse Shakes its Main and its Fear Character Increases | 野馬抖鬃，烈性飛騰
20. Mysterious Monkey Returns to the Cave and Keeps calm | 神猿入洞，性歸心田
21. Colorful Phoenix is in the Air and all the Birds Sing | 彩鳳淩空，百鳥齊鳴
22. Crouching Tiger lies on the Sacrifice Platform On Guard | 伏虎靈台，永守黃庭
23. Embrace the origin (hold the Jin Dan) focused, Real Qi is expressed| 抱元守一，正氣共存
Combine the Stationary and Motion; Reverse the Universe (Qian Kun) (closing) | 動靜結合，反轉乾坤
The Five Elements (Wuxing) of Taiyi Wuxing Quan
Within Wuxing Quan, the five elements are emphasized such that:
From White Ape exits cave until Rein the Top belongs to Metal (Jin) ; From Dragon in confusion until Roc spreads its wings belongs to Water (Shui); From Spotted Deer Picks the Herbal Medicine until Eagles flying in the air and dancing belongs to Wood (Mu); From Immortal cranes Flying in the Air until Black Bear Turns its Palm belongs to Fire (Huo); From Cicada losing skin until Dragon returns to the sea belongs to Earth (Tu)
Further the Five elements are applied to the basic directions such as forward, backward, left, right and centre which in turn relate to stepping techniques such as entering, exiting, veer left, veer right and maintain the centre. The organ relationships of the Five elements are also applicable (Spleen, Heart, Lungs, Liver and Kidneys).
Combat Strategy of Taiyi Wuxing Quan
In stillness the foundation is sourced, It is softness which is they key shape, Spirit is held and the Intention is steadfast ; In Stillness so movement originates, It is softness that overcomes hardness, Focused on Intention not focused on muscular strength ; In movement still seek stillness/calmness, Within calmness seek movement, place emphasis on Intention not on the shape ; Intention, Qi, Jin (power) and Shape. Heart and the breath pursue each other mutually, Apply transformation/neutralizing Power rather than hard resistance ; Right position is a matter of extreme precision within a few inches, Movement would emphasize grappling/locking and sealing of the breath.
Special points on Practicing Taiyi Wuxing Quan
The body should sink into place, the frame should be compact and tight; Waist follows the hips in turning, shoulders and hips are mutually matched; Both hands rounded in embrace, feet move in arched (curved) lines; Gentling twining cotton, move in circular motions with softness; Move like a snake, soft like silk reeling.
Cultivating Health through Taiyi Wuxing Quan
Breath is natural, whole body relaxed and loose. Heart is calm whilst the mind is aware. Spirit is risen and actively alert; Internal and External combine, part by part they are interlinked. Apply the Yin and Yang cycles of movements, the body method remains in central equilibrium ; If intention arrives, Qi will arrive, Qi moves with the intention. As everything combines the spirit shall be nurtured ; Mysterious eight channels are activated through the whole body. Taiyi Wuxing its most important aspect is on Health Cultivation.
It could be said that since GM Jin Zitao stayed at Wudang for only 7 months, the Taiyi Wuxing Quan might be considered basic. With so many followers and practitioners today, many which are more modern in interpretation one may overlook the beauty of Taiyi Wuxing Quan. However, the secrets of the method lie in understanding the principles, applying them in practice and researching the combat and health nourishing benefits in details. Then just like GM Jin Zitao one may grasp the beauty of Taiyi Wuxing Quan which would allow its sole practice for a lifetime.
The Green Dragon Sword is one of the legacies that Wang Ziping (1881-1973) left to the world. Wang Ziping was from Changzhou, Cang County, Hebei Province. He was an expert of many styles such as Yang Style Cha Quan, Hua Quan, Pao Quan, Bajiquan and Taijiquan. He was well respected in the Martial arts community and when the Nanjing National Martial Arts Institute was established he became the head of a division at the Institute.
Green Dragon Sword was created by Wang Ziping after he compiled an accumulation of skills throughout his life, he analyzed not only traditional sword methods but also the features of other swordsmanship such as Japanese Kenjutsu and European Fencing. Green Dragon sword consists of three sets/routines each with there own specific emphasis and techniques. These are "战, Standing", "行, Walking" and " 龙, Dragon".
Wang Ziping taught many students in addition to his inheritor/daughter Wang Jurong.
In Shanghai, Zhou Yongfu an expert of Yuanyang Men, Hao Family Mantis Boxing, Xingyi, Shaolin, Taiji and Xingyi became well acquainted with Wang Ziping who thought highly of his skills to the degree that the Twin Swords were taught by Zhou Yongfu to his daughter Wang Jurong. Zhou was able to exchange and learn skills from Wang Ziping as well. Zhou Yongfu gained recognition as a 9th Duan wushu expert and his disciple, Gao Xingliang (pictured above) also inherited the Qinglong (Green Dragon) Sword.
Most modern students of wushu are familiar with a little set of movements called Wubu Quan (5 Step Boxing) or even Chang Quan (Long Fist) but few realize much of its roots are in Cha Quan. Many have heard of the well known Tantui (especially of the Jingwu (Chin Woo) variant) yet few realize its origins in Jiaomen (Religious branch – referring to Chinese Moslem martial arts). Most know China for the ‘han’ Chinese culture yet fewer are aware there are many different cultures across China and throughout history many shifts of populations and migration influenced the development of culture including martial arts. Cha Quan is one of the best known Jiaomen or Moslem Chinese Martial arts (this includes Liuhe Quan, Baji Quan, Qi Shi Quan and Xin Yi Liu He Quan amongst many others) and herein we will introduce a little about its history.
Regarding the origin just like most ancient or older martial arts systems this always becomes a challenge due to the lack of written records and the subtle changes made generations after another. Importantly unlike some totally unrealistic stories of mysterious temples and magical monks. Cha Quan’s legends are based on warriors and this helps make it seem more reasonable. One thing to also realize however is that like most other martial arts Cha Quan did not stand still so what was and what is are likely evolved somewhat.
Cha Quan is said to have commenced during the reign of the Ming Di in the Han dynasty, when a warrior from today’s Xinjiang province called Zhamir (查密尔) sometimes romanized as Xianyi (尚义) helped the imperial armies defeat babarian invaders across the northern plains. He was also joined by his colleagues Hua Zhongzhi and Wu Dianzhang. The two methods which were Jiazi and Shenfashi later became known by the post-humous respect of the original transcenders as Cha Quan and Hua Quan, at times these were considered as one style called Chahua Men.
The An Lushan Rebellion
The An Lushan Rebellion (755-763), also known as the An-shi period of chaos/disturbances (安史之乱), was caused by General An Lushan whose parents were unkown, was raised by a Songdian (Ancient Iranian civilization within the province of Achaemenid empire in today’s Central Asia) father and a Tijue (from the Northern ancient Turk tribes) mother. General An Lushan became a favored officer by the Emperor Xuanzong who had given An Lushan control of the garrisons in the Northern areas of Pinglu, Fanyang (near today’s Beijing) and Hedong areas. At the end of 755, General An Lushan revolted against the Tang and captured Luoyang (the Eastern capital at the time). Further expansions followed as they proceeded to take over Changán overcoming the impregnable Tang troops in the Tongguan mountain passes. When An Lushan entered Changán, the Emperor Xuanzong, his court and household fled to Sichuan. Changán was captured by An Lushan in 756.
In 756, Li Heng (son of Tang Emperor Xuanzong) declared himself as the Emperor whist residing in Lingzhou. He organized generals Guo Ziyi and Li Guanbi to deal with the An Lushan rebels. The generals given the loss of troops and manpower after the battles with the rebels throughout the land, decided after much debate to seek help from the Turkish Tujue tribes (the Huihe, also known as Uyghur Khaganate that resided in Mongolia during the time and the ancestors of modern Uyghurs. Over 22,000 Arab mercenaries were sent by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mansur to join the Tang troops. Military training for the troops combined the methods of the Arab mercenaries with the elite fighters of the Tang that remained. Together the Tang and Tujue troops were successful in re-capturing Changán and Luoyang in 757 most of these mercenaries at least those that survived stayed in China after the war.
It is said that a batallion had headed Eastward from the capital in Chang’an and many had died in conflicts and insurgencies throughout Hebei province. There were three men known as Cha Xiangyi (查尚义), Hua Zhongfeng (滑宗岐) and Wu Dianzhang (武殿璋) that successfully escaped and sought hiding in Guan County. As they were badly injured locals took care of the warriors and aided their wounds. Hua Zhongfeng had incurred the greatest injuries and remained in the village whilst Cha Xiangyi and Wu Dianzhang returned to battle. After recovery Hua Zhongfeng taught the locals military techniques and this was the beginning of Cha Quan.
Cha Xiangyi and Hua Zhongfeng both taught the locals from Guan County and each had their specialties. Hua Zhongfeng’s movements were large and open, which were called Jiazi Quan (Framework Boxing), also known as Dajia Quan (Large Frame Boxing)). Cha Xiangyi taught more compact and faster methods thus referred to as the Xiaojia Quan (Small Frame Boxing), also known as Shen Fa Shi (Body Methods Techniques. They both passed on skills to locals and in their honour later the boxing became Cha Quan (after Zhamir) and Hua Quan (after Hua Zhongfeng), sometimes when together also called Chahua Men (The School of Cha and Hua).
The Three main Schools of Cha Quan
Since the reign of Qianlong (Qing Dynasty, 1736-1795) Cha Quan had become divided into three key schools. This is due three Masters whom each enhanced the style with their experience and skills. Zhang Qiwei from Zhangyin village, Guan county is the founder of the Zhang Style Cha Quan. Yang Hongxiu from the southern part of Guan County, is the founder of Yang Style Cha Quan. Li Enju from Jining County, is the founder of Li Style Cha Quan.
Zhang Style is relatively compact, fast and agile. Yang Style has long extensions, smooth transitions and is more aesthetically pleasing. Li Style is continuous, rough and powerful it is the more fierceful of all the styles but also the least known.
Wu Jia Quan, or Wu (巫) Family Boxing is one of the most famous martial arts from Hubei and Hunan Province in South China. During the Qian Long emperor's reign (1736-1795) of the Qing Dynasty, a Master Wu Bida (巫必达) who was from Liangcheng in Fujian province after acquiring knowledge of martial arts developed his new approach and system that emphasized compact or small frame of movements and techniques where the power is not evident from the exterior and the practice interlinks in a continual fashion, without any specific pausing. The movements are not acrobatic and the emphasis is on the hands or upper limbs to execute.
Wu Bida (巫必达, 1751~1812), also known as Wu Youneng, nicknamed Wu Hei, was from the Liancheng area of Fujian province and had later settled in Hubei and Hunan Province. He had studied martial since a young age with the Fujian Taizu Quan Fa Master Ming Ru. Later when in his teens he travelled to neighbouring Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces including gaining the friendship of many martial artists. It is said that his interaction with the Wudang Neijiaquan styles added elements of a softer approach into his martial arts which he later developed into his own boxing method that he propagated in Hunan Province when he settled there. The style became known after his family name as "Wu Family Boxing".
The style was practiced amongst villagers of the Xiangtan and neighbouring counties and the origins were not understood until the 1970's when a 7th generation descendant Master Peng Jianjia told of a story. It was that at the time whilst crossing a river an accident had occured and Wu Bida had broken a leg saving a father and his young son. On the same river crossing five others were looking at Wu Bida and tempted to try and steal from him thinking that as his leg was injured it would be an easy task. The result as told by the Father and son was that Wu Bida raised his hands and with an unbelievable skill killed one of the assailants immediately, another was struck with an elbow and knee lying unconcious and the third push into the river. The remaining two managed to run away. From this ocassion Wu Bida became renowned that even as crippled legged master this did not inhibit the passing of the great martial skills and the essenced of Wu Jia Quan was taught to many villagers to protect their families. When he resided in the home of Li Dakui, in Zhuzhou, Hubei province - he taught Li Dakui and some disciples including the brothers Feng Nanshan and Feng Lianshan who were from Xiangtan in Hunan province. There the style was practiced and passed on until the 7th generation today which most descend from either the Li or Feng families.
Features and Characteristics
Wu Jiaquan is characterised by close quarters combat, short striking, continuouity of technique and specialises in calmness to overcome adversity, using gentleness to defeat hardness which are similar concepts to the Wudang or Taijiquan styles in theory. However resulting from the southern boxing basis that Wu Bida had, the style actually has unique features and approaches where there are bridge methods in addition to those of adhering and power borrowing common to the Neijiaquan styles. Therefore the techniques of Wujiaquan share much in common with southern boxing systems (although their execution is highly differentiated by the softer/internal principles).
Some of the hand methods include - Pan Quan (Pulling Fist), Guan Yang Quan (Piercing Sun Fist), Shuang Fei Zhang (Double Flying Palms), Pao Quan (Cannon Fist), Zhi Ca Zhang (Straight Rubbing Palm), Ta He Zhang (Collapsing Palms), Lie ma Lian Zhu Shou (Stringed Hands) and Lei Jiao Zhou (Angled Elbow) as examples. Wu Jia Quan is often refered to as " Qi Quan, Liu Zhou, Shi Er Zhang" (7 Fists, 6 Elbows, 12 Palms).
Wu Jia Quan heavily emphasises the 6 elbows. These so called 6 elbows are : Zhuang Zhou (Bump Elbow), Yao Zhou (Shake the Elbow), Bian Zhou (Flat Elbow), Lei Zhou (Grinding Elbow), Ge Zhou (Placed Elbow) and Dun Zhou (Moving Elbow). Essentially Zhuang Zhou is a linear elbow, Yao Zhou is on the Horizontal plane, Bian Zhou is with a hollowed in body elbow in the horiziontal plane, Lei Zhou is an upward elbow on the vertical plan, Ge Zhou (also known as Gai Zhou) is a downward elbow on the vertical plane and finalling Dun Zhou (also known as Jiao Zhou) is used in extreme close quarters which is angled and also co-ordinates with the shoulder and hands to function.
In terms of the stances and footwork, a unique aspect is the very upright posture of the style which includes Meihua Bu (Plum Blossom Stance) as the the fundamental, as well as Zi You Zhuang (Free Stance) and San Cha Bu (3 Fork Stance). Since Wu Jia Quan emphasises close quarter combat, most of its power generating methods emphasise inch power, but the neutralizing aspects of the style also call for a such transformational power. The combination in balance are often referred to as the changes of Yin Yang powers in the style.
The forms of Wu Jia Quan include the following:
Weapons practiced include :