Yanqingmen (燕青门) is also known as Yanqingquan (燕青拳), Mizongquan (秘踪拳), Mizongyi (迷踪艺), and Yanqingjia (燕青架).
Yanqingquan (Mizongquan), is one of the most famous martial arts of Hebei province. Practiced widely from Cangzhou to Tianjin, it is a very complete and effective martial system with a large variety of techniques and methods. Many legends from Yanqing and Linchong of Shuihuzhuan (Heroes of the Water Margin) novel until the twentieth century with the famous Huo Yuanjia, the style has been propagated and practiced by many.
Yanqingquan (Mizongquan) is agile and has techniques movements that can be changed with ease allowing for its deceptive approach. The rises and falls are clear and the execution is crisp with speed. The waist is essential in the support and power generation with a balance between both soft and hard movements. Both hands and feet are equally used but the legs are given ample space to gain effectiveness.
Although considered rare few have endured through, as the style's methodologies and basic practices are often difficult requiring immense amounts of strength and coordination, it is both beautiful and cunning simultaneously with effectiveness and combat orientated deceptive ability. Dodge, evade, lean, turn and light are some of the key body motions that give Yanqingquan essence.
The origins of Yanqingquan (燕青拳) are both ancient and mysterious. Dating back to the Sui or Tang dynasty. It is also known as Mizuquan, Mizongquan (迷踪拳, 秘踪拳拳), Mizongyi (迷踪艺) or Yanqingjiazi. It is popular throughout China but is mostly practised throughout the Cang County regions of Hebei Province in Northern China.
The exact origins are unknown and legends differ amongst practitioners. Some suggest that it was related to ancient Shaolin Master Jin Naluo, others suggest that Yan Qing and Cheng Zijing had mastered the arts of the Sui period and developed separate arts, Yan Qing called it Yanqingquan and Cheng Zijing called it Mizongquan.
In line with Chuojiao Men and Liuhe Men, it is sometimes also said that disciples of Master Zhou Tong in the Song dynasty taught the art. In Folklore, Zhou Tong's disciples included Lin Chong, Lu Junyi (Yanqing ), Wu Song (Chuojiao) and Yue Fei (Liuhe). Further, the legend states that in the Song dynasty Lu Junyi from Daming county in Hebei province was a great master of martial arts and imparted his skills to a servant named Yan Qing, his sole disciple. After teaching others his students called it Yanqing Quan in his honor, but since they were rebels (Heroes of the Water Margin story) they had called it Secret Boxing (Mizong Quan), further since when escaping there footwork left pursuers lost in their tracks, it was also referred to as Secret Skills (Mizong Yi).
History of Yanqingquan
The development and propagation of Yanqing quan however, can be attributed to Sun Tong (孙通, 1772-1882) who was born in Taian county, Shandong Province. He had loved wushu since very young and studied from various masters. He became a disciple of great master Zhang in Yanzhou county, Shandong province. He studied for over 10 years and progressed so quickly that he was nicknamed “Sun the Iron Leg” as excelled in the kicking methods and legwork. His teacher advised that he seek out masters from around North China and improved his skills tremendously. (some records suggest Shaolin Temple, however its destruction during by Yongzheng emperor in 1732, leads to possibly practioners of Shaolin not necessarily the temple itself). So much so that he became “Sun the versatile Iron Leg”.
He returned after his travels to Master Zhang's home only to discover he had passed away. After expressing his learnings to Zhang Yulan, who wanted to challenge him, and by accident killed her. Deeply depresed by the event he left Shandong and ended up at Yaoguantun village, Cang County, Hebei Province. It is here that he passed on his skills to students, and from then forward the style of Yanqingquan laid its foundational mark on the martial world.
In Cang County Sun Tong's skills were passed on by key disciples (thereafter branches) :
- Cangzhou City Sunzhuangzi - Chen Shan
- Tianjin Jinghai County Sujiayuan - Zhou Changsheng, Lu Tongchui
- Cang County Keniuzhuang - Yu Shi
- Cang county Lilongtunmiao - Zhi Yuan
- Cangzhou Dongguang County Anletunzhuang - Huo Xuwu
- Tianjin Jinghai County Yangcheng Zhuang Village - Tian Yongchun, Wen Lin
Sun Tong’s most senior disciple was Chen Shan, this school became the most popular in all of Hebei province. He taught many great masters and his disciples were famous for their excellent skills. Keeping to the original teachings this school contains the most content and training methods. This school has been propagated all over China including Dongbei (Heilongjiang and Liaoning province), Sichuan and Shandong.
Development of Yanqingquan (Mizongquan) - Key Lineages and Ancestors
The disciples of Sun Tong were responsible for the further development and propagation of the style. Some of the key masters and lineages are highlighted below, the preceding number denotes the generation.
Chen Family Yanqingquan (Cangzhou Yanqing Men)
2. Chen Shan (陈善), also known as Chen Wanshan (陈万善) from Sun Zhuang Village, in Cangzhou was by far the most famous of Sun Tong's disciples. Chen Shan had loved martial arts since a young age and was diligent hard working child. In his youth he liked climbing and acrobatics, whilst also being known as a strong young man in the village. When he heard Master Sun Tong was passing by the village and accepting students, he was eager to seek his guidance. Unfortunately coming from a peasant family, he could only practice with Master Sun when it was not harvest season as he had to help the family with the crops. Sometimes though such difficulties build the best character and after a few years Master Sun noticed the dedication and responsibility of young Chen Shan so imparted all his knowledge over many years to Chen Shan, who was extremely capable with the Qin-na, Dian Xue (Cavity Point Striking) and Bone misplacement skills. After Sun Tong passed away, it was Chen Shan who had the most followers and passed on the great skills of Yanqingquan to the next generation. His key disciples included his son Chen Guangzhi (陈广智), Zhao Mingmao (赵明茂), Zhou Changchun, Li Shi (李实), Lu Zhanao (吕占鳌), Wang Jiwu (王继武), Sun Sijing (孙思敬), Yang Hongbao (杨鸿宝), Yu Changsheng (于长生), Yu Tongbo (于同波) and Yu Wu (于五).
3. Chen Guangzhi (陈广智) was from a wealthy family and dedicated much of his time to business so did not have any sons and passed the skills to his nephew Chen Yushan (陈玉山), the main inheritor, as well as students Jiang Detai (姜德泰) who later continued studying with Chen Yushan, Yang Kunshan (杨昆山) and many others.
4. Yang Kunshan (杨昆山, 1881-1960) was nicknamed as 'fast hands Yang' and was one of the outstanding disciples of Yu Changsheng and Chen Guangzhi. Yang Kunshan also learnt the Qingping Sword from Liu Wenshi (刘文石, disciple of famed Qingping Sword Master Jia Yunpeng). He taught many including the most talented Liu Zhenshan ((刘振山, 1907-1982) also known as 'double broadsword Yang', Yang Liansheng (杨连生), Lu Zhenduo (卢振铎), Guo Yufen (郭玉芬), Guo Jingchun (郭景春), Liu Enhua (刘恩华), Liu Yanzhao (刘延照).
4. Chen Yushan (陈玉山) was one of the most prominent Yanqing Quan masters of his generation, had the largest number of followers and was responsible for the wide spread of Yanqingquan across Cang county. Chen Yushan taught his sons Chen Fengqi, Chen Fengkui (陳風魁1888-1960), Chen Youliang, Chen Fengyi (陳風儀), disciples Liu Junling, Lu Jinsheng, Zhao Tongen, Zhao Jinglan, Zhou Yuxiang, Li Yuanzhi, Li Yuan Qi, Jiang Detai, Jiang Rongqiao and many others.
4. Guo Zhongsan (郭仲三,1886-1973) originally his family originated from Fujian, but they migated to Hebei in the Cangzhou city area. Guo Chongsan studied with Chen Guangzhi. With some friends he moved south in nearby Binzhou, Shandong province and set up a store there. He also taught Yanqingquan to local enthusiasts.
5. Chen Fengqi ( 陈凤岐, 1905-1998) was one of the younger sons of Chen Yushan, renowned for his nimble and quick movements. Chen Fengqi was born into a family with a deep Yanqing quan tradition and he diligently achieved skills expected of him from that. At the age of 13 he had already gained great abilities and his father would take him to meet other martial uncles and masters to develop even further. During those teen years he already took on many challengers (often physically larger) and won the praise of his teachers for his speed and clear techniques being nicknamed Xiao Baiyuan (Little white ape).
In 1931, he easily passed the exams of the Zhongyang National Martial Arts Institute in Nanjing, also later involved in training the army and after being dis-illusioned by the KMT at the time for focusing on internal issues rather than protection against foreign invasions (like Japanese), in consultation with his father he returned to Cangzhou to help with farming and promote martial arts amongst his local community.A martial prodigy he received instructions from many experts such as Tong Zhongyi (Liuhequan), Liu Yuchun (Tongbeiquan), Fu Wanxiang (8 Immortals Boxing) and Li Shunan (Bajiquan/Piguaquan). He enhanced his skills in Shuaijiao (Wrestling/takedowns), Zuibaxian (Drunken 8 Immortals Boxing), Miao Dao (Willow Leaf Saber), Piguaquan and more. In this manner, he did much effort to not only preserve Yanqingquan but supplement it with great methods from other systems.
He became well known and had over a hundred followers from around the country. When the National research council in 1980's sought representatives of traditional Yanqing quan, Chen Fengqi was selected to represent, he also became the vice president of the Cangzhou martial arts association, and obtained many awards in his lifetime culminating in a national award for contributions to martial arts in 1988. Master Chen taught many disciples and was instrumental in the preservation and development of the Chen family Yanqingquan which is one of the most wide spread in Northern China today.
5. Jiang Rongqiao (姜容樵, 1891-1974) was a renowned scholar of martial arts. He started his studies with his uncle Jiang Detai (姜德泰) and directly with his uncle's teacher Chen Yushan (陈玉山) , studying Yanqing Quan. Later he studied with Zhang Zhaodong (张兆东), learning Xingyi Quan, Baguazhang and Taijiquan which were to become his focus. He became blind through an accident at his later age but continued his great contributions by writing books on all facets of martial arts, many are considered classics in their own right.
5. Lu Zhenduo (卢振铎, 1903-1981) since the age of 7 studied with Yang Kunshan, mastering Yanqing Quan and Qingping Sword. He was also skilled Acupuncture for Traumatic injuries. In 1922, at only 19 years of age he started the Zhenwei Martial Arts Society (振威武术社) in Shenyang, where he also won the Lei-tai (free fight/combat often resulting in death or severe injury) in 1923. His lethal palms that often knockout opponents, earned him the nickname ''Iron Palm Lu" and "Lightning hands Lu".
A few years later in 1935 established the society in Shanghai. For a period, he was also a bodyguard for a local warlord Zhang Xueliang. Lu Zhenduo settled in Shanghai and had many students, he was involved throughout his life in the martial arts. After the establishment of the republic of China he taught many students at the Shanghai Sports Stadium, Fuxing Park and was an advisor for many martial arts associations.
In Shanghai he taught many with his earlier (1950's) students including Tong Shimu, Chen Ruishu, Lu Rongqin, Cheng Guosheng, Wang Yuezhen, Hou Yuanqing, Hou Genfu, Yu Fengyi, Pan Tonghai and so on. In the 60's he had even more students such as Song Liankang, Shen weigen, Qianjianmin, Qianruixian, Bao Tieming, Chen Xuanxian, Chen Yijie, Shen Ah Xing, Qiu Zhenjian, Wang Jinzhong, Yong Youcai, Shen Weiyi, Jiang Bing, Wei Zijian, Wei Zikang, Wu Jian, Cheng Rusong, Tang Shenyun, Li Jianzhong, Feng Boming, Wu Chao, Wu Liping, Bei Yijun, Qian Wenjiang, Cao Zhigang. His children eldest son, Lu Junjiang, second son Lu Junhai , daughter Lu Junhua, and adopted son Pu Chongren also inherited his skills, with Lu Junhai (who migrated to UK in 1999) being especially talented.
5. Li Yuanzhi (李元智,1902-1972) studied Yanqing Quan with Chen Yushan, and later also Liuhe Quan with Tong Zhongyi (his father in Law). He later studied Bajiquan with Han Huachen, Ma Yingtu and Zhao Shude in the Zhongyang Guoshu Academy in Nanjing. Li published a text on Bajiquan in 1931. In 1932, he became martial arts instructor for the army university and the national guards. In 1938 he served as the deputy director for the Nanjing Guoshu academy. In 1940 he became the instructor for the National Revolutionary Army. In the 1940's with the support of his teachers (Han & Ma Bajiquan) he developed Ju Quan and in 1949 he followed the Guomingtang (KMT) to Taiwan. In the 1960's whilst in Taiwan he continued held posts within the National Army military research and development team, which were responsible for the development and preparation of combat materials for training (his Ju Quan was adopted by the Taiwanese military from 1966-1976). The hand to hand combat, Chi-na grappling and associated skills of the Taiwan armed forces have much to do with Li Yuanzhi's efforts and legacy. Li was always a very quite, resolute and diligent martial artist focused on true application and scientific considerations. He was not often seen in crowds, enjoying the freedom and tranquility away from public attention. M Li having an education in the most comprehensive systems of Cangzhou, did not entertain empty discussion but focused on the practical cultivating true martial arts talents.
5. Liu Zhenshan (刘镇山 1907-1982) was born into a martial family. He later became a disciple of Yang Kunshan and Li Lichun, as well as others (such as Du Xinwu). He was considered the most senior disciple of Yang Kunshan. Liu became the head of Guoshu academy of the Wan County and taught many students over the course of 15 years. In 1956 he returned to Cang county where he accepted disciples and passed Yanqing Quan. At a martial competition in those days with practitioners across North China of the ten champions, five were from Cangzhou and all five were students of Liu Zhenshan. Although he taught many students his most notable disciples included Hu Changsun, Qi Fangxian and Hu Zhenhai.
5. Guo Yufen (郭玉芬 1910-1996) started practicing Yanqingquan with his father Guo Zhongsan since the age of 12. His father also permitted his son to study with Yang Kunshan for sometime. Not to disappoint his father Yupen studied diligently and gain commendable skill. In those days, Guo's Mianzhang Quan was executed with great perfection and his most notable skills in Yanqingquan's representative weapons such as the Guai (Crutches), Bian (Hard whip), Yuanyang Chan (Moon Knives) and Qingping Sword were all held in great regard. The Double Sabers he learnt from Yang Kunshan were also amazing especially the ground rolling moves which are usually challenging. He continued his fathers legacy and taught in Binzhou, Shandong with many students including his son Guo Baoshen (郭宝申), Zhang Fengyuan (张风员), Chen Anji (陈安记), Sun Zhongcheng (孙忠诚) and many others.
6. Hu Zhenhai (胡振海) born to a martial family (his father was a Taizu Changquan practitioner) he loved martial arts since a young age. He was known as the most knowledgable and senior dsiciple of Liu Zhenshan. He was the one of the treasures of Yanqingquan having studied for most of his life. In 1983, he opened the Mizong Ying Wuguan (Mizong Martial Arts Academy) in Cangzhou which at it's peak had over 1,100 students, many which came from all over China and abroad (Taiwan, Japan, Australia and Europe).
Hu was renowned for his Ying Qigong (Hard Qigong) and knowledge of the various unique weapons of Yanqingquan. Whilst open in his teachings, Hu was a very traditional teacher and ensured to impart the right ethics and principles in addition to the combat skills. Although Hu had many students he was unable to pass the whole Yanqingquan system to any single inheritor.
6. Lu Junhai (卢俊海 1941-) Studied Mizongquan with his father from a young age and held various positions in martial arts academies across China. He also contributed to research by writing a manuscript for a book about Qingping Sword during China's martial arts research project in the 1980s. Many of his fathers students and his own in Shanghai are still guided by Lu Junhai. He currently resides in the UK and leads the Zhenwei Academy there with some excellent students improving their skills day by day.
In Dalian there are few different lines of Yanqing Quan in Dalian area. Since the Sun Yuesheng group was prominent, it is the most widely known.
3. Su Mingyuan (苏明远, 1875-1935) was originally known as Su Diankui (苏殿魁), had been born into a well known martial family. His grandfather was a disciple of Sun Tong and his father an expert as well. He studied with them since a young age, receiving a thorough and comprehensive Mizongquan system in detail. He became a Biaoju (Security Logistics Escort) and participated in the Yihetuan (Boxer Rebellion). After disbanding Su Mingyuan setup a "Mizong Boxing Society" in Yantai, some of his key disciples included Sun Yuesheng, Li Shushan, Li Shufeng, Li Shusheng and Zhou Desheng.
3. Zhang Zhaozhu (张兆珠, 1877-1945) was from Chengguan Village (today known as Qingzhou Vilklage), Qing County, Cangzhou. He was the first Yanqingquan Master to come to Dalian in 1904, after him many others followed. Zhang Zhaozhu was born into on of the villages that is home to Mizongquan/Yanqingquan, so from childhood studied the martial arts, his martial brother during training included Su Mingyuan. Zhang become very skilled, so much so that by the age of 18 he already was capable of working as a Biaoju (Security Logistics Escort). In 1900, he also joined in the Yihe Tuan (Boxer Rebellion) and fought in the Tianjin confrontations, as well is other areas returning home in 1903. After the Japanese bombings in the summer of 1904 he went to Dalian and at first did not consider teaching but in order to teach his son, set up a small class which in time gradually grew. His disciples include his sons, Zhang Hongshuang and Zhang Hongquan as well as Gao Yu, Wang Wenyong, Liu Maosheng, Zhou Jinsheng, Qu Guangjin, Qu Guangyin, Wu Kui, . As Zhang always remained a patriach many of his students fought in the various resistance against Japanese occupation.
3. Sun Yuesheng (孙曰胜) was from Mouping County, Shandong Province. He was disciple of Su Mingyuan (苏明远). During the spring of 1932 he travelled from Yantai to Dalian where he established the Mizong Quan Society. He got ill in 1943 and then decided to reutrn to his old home in Shandong. His most notable students included Zhao Fengting, Li Shushan and Guo Lianglao (郭良劳, 1915-1989).
4. Zhang Hongshuang (张洪双, 1898－1979) was the eldest son of Zhang Zhaozhu and helped popularize Mizongquan in Dalian. Hongshuang spent most of his life working at the Dalian Shipyard factory and during the Japanese occupation he ganged with friends to destroy a Japanese military ship, later forced into custody and severly beaten but lucklily survived and continued his service into the new China aiding to build ships for the progress of his nation. He used to practice in the late nights at the Xigang Temple courtyard. His students include Zhang Baoting, Zhang Baofa, Zhang Baocai, Zhang Baogui, Zhang Baofu and Zhang Baolong.
4. Gao Yuchun (高玉春, 1885-1967) was originally from Gaojia Kouzi town in Cang County, Cangzhou. He was responsible for setting up the Mizong Quan Society. Students included Liu Boyang, Xue Yiheng, Gao Shuanggui, Zhang Xiushan and Liu Keping.
5. Zhao Fengting (赵凤亭, 1906-1963) originally Pingtu county, Shandong Province. At the age of 10, in 1916 he commenced his studies under the tutelage of Sun Yuesheng and was one of his most prominent disciples. In 1930, Zhao accompanied his Master Sun together to Dalian where they esatblished the Mizong Quan Society in 1932. After Master Sun left, it wass Zhao Fengting who was made responsible to continue teaching the Mizong Quan society. A well rounded master, Zhao Fengting was well known for his spear and nicknamed 'Great Spear Zhao'. Some of his notable students included Zhao Ruizhang, Liu Baoyu, Yu Bojun, Zhang Xunde, Wang Peigang, Liu Xisheng, Xu Shouchun, Xu Huatian, Chang Songsheng, Zhang Yunhai, Yan Guangcai and Zhang Baoting.
5. Wang Zihua (王子华, 1898-1961), also known as Wang Sheshi (王射石) came from a challenging childhood and left home alone in 1910 (at only 12 years of age) to Yantai, Shandong where he became a worker. In Yantai he encountered Sun Yuesheng's disciple Li Shushan and became his disciple. He studied with great effort for over 10 years, with sustained diligence he was able to encompass most of Mizongquan system. In 1923 he opened a school to teach students in Yantai. Between 1927-1930 he setup a school and taught Mizongquan in Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai, Russia.
He also taught in Sinuiju, North Korea. In 1930 returning to China he setup schools in Dalian, Qingdao and Dandong (near Korean border), where he married. In the late thirties he participated in numerous wars/resistance activities including teaching some of the armed forces. An official known as Mao asked Wang to come to Dalian to teach. Wang Zihua had a great many students including Liu Dexi, Jia Deren, Zhang Baoting, Zhang Xifu, Dai Benshan, Jiang Huanlong, Zhang Jinshan, Xiao Liang, Wang Hui'en, Du Wenqi, Li Bingwen, Han Yilian, Cao Yongyang, Zhang Pengfei and so forth.
Zhou Family Mizongquan (Huanghua Mizongquan)
2. Zhou Changsheng (周长生) after studying with Sun Tong, taught Mizongquan around the areas of Huanghua City such as Luqiao, Heqiao, Zhangfu Zhuang, and Qing County Ouxin Zhuang and Sujiayuan. His most notable disciples however were his sons Zhou Zongde and Zhou Zongi, whom maintained the style in the Zhou family for generations.
3. Zhou Zongde 周崇德 and Zhou Zongqi 周崇礼
4. Zhou Shiming 周世明 (Zhou Yi) and Zhou Shitai 周世泰(Zhou Tai).
5. Zhou Yitang 周玉堂 , Zhou Yuqing 周玉庆, Zhou Yicheng 周玉庆, Zhou Yuzhen 周玉震, Zhou Yuqin 周玉庆
6. Zhou Fengwu 周凤梧, Zhou Fengchi 周凤池, Zhou Fengjia 周凤甲, Zhou Fengcheng 周凤城, Zhou Fengting 周凤亭, Zhou Feglou 周凤楼 and Zhou Fengjiang 周凤江
7. Zhou Lianjia 周连甲、 Zhou Lianyuan 周连元、Zhou Junshan 周俊山、Lu Bingxun 吕秉逊、Xu Liansheng 徐连升、Zhou Yun'en 周允起、Wang Yuxi 王玉玺、Liu Zimiao 刘滋茂、Yang Fuchen 杨福臣、Yang Jinbang 杨金榜.
Huo Family Mizongyi (Tianjin Jinghai Mizongquan)
2. Huo Xuwu (霍旭武) taught Huo Endi (霍恩第)
3. Huo Endi taught his sons Huo Yuanliao (霍元卿), Huo Yuandong (霍元栋) and Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲).
4. Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲, 1868-1910) was the 4th son of Huo Endi (of 10 Children), born in Jinghai County. Although descendant from a martial family, Huo Yuanjia unfortunately due to his weak complexture (he had asmtha and Jaundice) was not encouraged to study Yanqing Quan by his father. Rather Huo Yuanjia was supposed to focus on academic study. However, due to his interest he observed the teachings of his father and started to practice the family''s Huo Family Mizongquan and later after going to Shanghai was associated with the committee (inclusive of Chen Gongzhe, Chen Tiesheng) that founded/commenced the Jingwumen (Chin Woo Association). Since Huo Yuanjia was alive in his short life he did not have a chance to empass much of his style to students and when he taught he created some composite sets. The revamped style was named Mizongyi and later evolutions Mizong Luohan. Later students studied other Jingwu curriculums (mainly through Zhao Lianhe).
Current Lineages of Yanqing Men Mizong Quan
Due to the size and complexity of Yanqingquan (Mizongquan), much of the methods have been lost through time. Chen Style Yanqing Quan was the largest and highly prominent in Cangzhou, however many Masters were lost during the 1900's through participation in the many conflicts that engulfed China at the time, such as the Sino Japanese War, various warlord rebellions and so forth. Today, the remaining lineages noted below include parts of the overall system. We have spent the last decade to advance our studies of the other styles of Yanqingquan. With the intention to research, develop and preserve as much as possible of the known Yanqing Quan families.
Cangzhou Chen Style Yanqing Quan [Derived from Chen Shan, the most senior disciple of the founder, Sun Tong]
Jinghai County Tian Style[Derived from Tian Yongchun, disciple of the founder, Sun Tong]
Qing County Li Style Mizongquan [Derived from the teachings of Lu Tongchui, named after 7th Generation Li Yuchuan]
Qing Country Da Xu Zhuang Mizongquan [Derived from the Teachings of Zhou Changsheng, named after the prominent village in Qing county that practice the style]
Huanghua Country Zhou Style Mizongquan [Derived from the Teachings of Zhou Changsheng, disciple of the founder, Sun Tong]
Huanghua County Gao Style Mizongquan [Derived from the teachings of Liu Style, who taught Gao Xilin whom passed down to his descendants]
Huanghua Country Yu Style Mizongquan [Derived from the Teachings of Yu Shi, disciple of the founder, Sun Tong]
Shanghai Lu Style Mizong Quan [Derived from Chen Shan, named after the 5th Generation Lu Zhenduo who brought the style to Shanghai]
Outline of Taiping Yanqingquan
Taiping Yanqingquan is of the Chen Family Yanqing quan descendant from Grandmasters Chen Fengqi, Liu Zhenshan, Hu Zhenhai, Zhao Shoushan and Lu Zhenduo. In recent years we have also undertaken studies with other Mizongquan experts including Liang Jincheng, Zhao Hongqing and Gao Enyi in Qing County and Huanghua. The practice of Yanqingquan is a fairly involved process. It is categorically of the Northern Long fist based range of styles and as a result requires good physical coordination and strength couple with internal development. Most branches of Yanqingquan all have their most representative methods that are often resultant from the training approach. Traditionally students would have to master the basic movements and spend almost three years in the practice of Yanqing Jiazi. In Yanqingquan it is commonly expressed that one should have " Skill, Strength, Guts and Skill". This means that one first starts with obtaining strength and conditioning, then followed by courage and wisdom of combat and then the skills which are techniques and methods. Yanqingquan emphasizes light and agile techniques. Every movement has its specific requirements, they must be coherent, flexible and natural. Although strength is not used, it is filled everywhere with power. Harmonization of the hard and soft into true power is the higher levels of the skill.
These should be mutually combined and cannot be separated thereafter. Yanqin Jiazi represents the concept that when practicing slow one obtains the Gong/Strength or skill, yet when practicing fast then the techniques and methods are practiced. To ensure that only the worthy are taught there are three not taught rules. Do not teach those who study but do not practice, do not teach those that do not practice with passion and dedication and do not teach those that do not value their ancestors. In fact this also prevents injury because Yanqingquan is a really tough and arduous martial art, so that if you do not practice diligently you would also increase the risk of injury. It takes years of dedicated skill but once achieved the methods of Yanqingquan are amazingly effective indeed.
Stances, Body and Footwork
Nowadays, training is commenced by the practice of footwork to which there are over 50 different or fundaental footwork methods such as Jin, Tui, Tiao, shan, teng, nuo, chen, jing, fa, xu etc......, all essential to the practice of Yanqingquan. Simultaneously many of the basic body motions, hands, arms and kicks are practiced. In terms of Structure practioners would commence by ensuring Xingzheng (Straight Structure), Ti Song (Relaxed Body), Tou Ding (Head upright), Chen Jian (Shoulders Sunken), and more. Yanqing quan has a saying " Release Hands moving like a wild cyclone, stand as calm as Mount. Tai" which means that although there is a lot of speed the stability and structure must be maintained (i.e. not sloppy).
Basic Strikes and Kicks
In terms of Some of the basic strikes these include both hard and soft approaches with such movements as Chong (straight Punch), Beng (Ramming Punch), Pi (Chop), Za (Hammer), Tui (Push), Cha (Pierce) and in kicking methods such as Deng (Side or Press kicks), Tan (Springing kicks), Ti (Taping kicks), and more. Yanqingquan releases hands like cotton, but resembles iron when it makes contact with the opponent. With hand/leg work it is to understand the static gates and the various attacking and defensiveactions. With the Body work, it is about angles distance and timing development of which many exercises are conducted with a partner. Stepping methods are then combined with the hands and body into small sequences of drills which are referred to as Lianda or lianshou (interlinked methods). During this time the training of JIazi (Framwork Form) is ongoing which develops good strength, coordination and technique.
After obtaining a grasp of the basics then some of the key theories of Yanqingquan are introduced from both an individual and combat practice perspective. Yanqingquan takes the waist as the central co-ordinator and therefore the waist almost always will be guiding the body and plays a dominant role in the execution of its techniques. Here are also developed the concepts of opposing yin yang hands, passing steps, close adhering. Yanqingquan emphasises 8 principles, 36 keys and 72 mechanisms of combat as a foundation. The effectiveness of the 36 keys are such that there is a saying that with the mastery of the 36 keys then all can be conquered. As an example something as simple as yin and yang hands becomes methods of playing with the left and right or ups and downs or retreats and entries and even in terms of power applied (soft and hard), and then leads on to passing of an attack to the passing of a defense to the counter and to the indefensible.
So training would evolve into hundreds of techniques or interpretation of single techniques. This seemingly simple complexity becomes the key to Yanqingquan and for each of the keys/principles is extrapolated yet again. In addition to technique based training there is also the development various skills from the famous iron kicks of Yanqingquan to the external conditioning (Ying Gong) methods and the internal cultivation which are acquired through the practice of Jiazi Quan and essential conditioning methods. Yanqingquan develops weapons from the human body that are as lethal as the are deceptive. What must also be developed is the continuity of movement and attack. Yanqingquan does not practice single blow mentality (although it can), rather it it develops coordination amongst the limbs and body, thus movements are interlinked and connected in harmony together.
The Key combat methods are summarized by the 16 word formula of Bao (embrace), Kao(close in), Nian (adhere) , Ao (bend), Ti (lift), juan (roll), Tan (spring), Mu (catch),Na (take), Ling (lead), Tuo (prop up), Jie (intercept), Shuai (throw), Ji (press), Lan (block) and Hua (cross). To develop these in addition to individual and partner practice, there are also many methods with apparatus that are used. Yanqingquan (Mizongquan) is characterised by a lot of training in singular methods and large amount of partner based drills, exercises and combat practices.
Empty Hand Sets
Yanqingquan is one of the largest system of martial arts in China, it is very complete with a huge range of different strategies, techniques and combat methods. There are over 200 forms and each in many case consist of a large number of techniques. As an example the foundation set of Yanqing Jiazi consists of more than 240 postures and can take between 15 to 30 minutes to complete its practice. Additionally to many of the sets there are many roads or parts. Our Lianshou Quan consists of eight (8) sequences (about 60 combination techniques/methods within each sequence), Mizongquan contains six (6) sequences and so forth. The sets are organized by specific skills and combat strategies that they invoke. Each is actually a universe of methods on to itself, therefore just mastering one there is already great skill to be obtained. Yanqing Quan requires substantial stamina as the forms are the longest within the martial arts world with the level of speed and intensity required. Thus, there are methods that have been lost throughout history.
Empty hand Combat Sets
There are also over 30 combined weapons/empty hand combat sets of practice.