the SPRING AND AUTUMN of WUSHU
excerpted from Professor Kang Ge-Wu's history

(With his rich knowledge and practice as well as many scientific achievements, Mr. Kang GeWu is well-known in present day Wushu cirlces. Some articles have praised him as "the one who has brought about a turning point in BaGua Zhang research work", and "the first in China to have engaged in theoretical and historical research on Wushu". Kang GeWu is indeed an important figure in the preservation of authentic Wushu culture. )

 

1101 to 1125

Towards the end of the Northern Sung Dynasty, Martial Arts had become the main content of various performances, and it had many stylized routines. Dong Jing Meng Hua Lu records that Emperor Hui Zong watched the performances on stage in Bao Jin Building, in the city of Kaifeng.
The repetoire included fights such as sparring of Qiang (Spear) and Shield, conjuring such as Qi Sheng Dao (Chi Kung); comical plays such as a quarreling couple fighting each other with cudgels, circus plays such as fighting with Qiang (Spear) on horseback, etc.

In that period people set up temporary performance grounds. In the years of Da Guan of Chong Ning (1102 to 1110) the most common displays in Kaifeng included: sparring with Qiang (Spear) and cudgel (Staff); sparring with Qiang (Spear) and Shield; Xiang Pu (open hand sparring) and other Wushu performances.

Notes: Kaifeng, once the capitol of China, is famous as the outpost of the Jewish population of China, resident there over 1000 years. Even 1000 years ago the kind of "cinema fighting", sparring and other mixtures of entertainment and Wushu were already quite popular right along with circus stunts. The fact that "ancient" techniques date this far back doesn't make them authentic.

 

Time: 206 B.C.E.
The Scene: The DANCING ASSASSIN

Liu Bang destroyed the Chin Dynasty and went to HongMen to meet with Xing Yu. At the banquet Xing Zhuang said, "We have no entertainers in the army. May I perform a sword dance?" And Xing Zhuang drew his sword and began dancing. He intended to strike Liu Bang. Xing Yu followed suit, shielding with his body so that Xing Zhuang could not strike Liu Bang." (From the Records of the Historian). At that time wearing swords became the fashion. On the one hand the sword could be used in sword dancing. On the other hand it could be a defense weapon. Later, wearing a sword became part of ritual. The Book of Chin records, "The ettiqute of Han Dynasty stipulated that the Emperor and all officials wore swords. Later they word swords only when they went to court.

Publisher's Comment: So popular did the sword become that Confucius is said to have worn one despite not knowing how to use it. He said it made him feel like a gentleman. One of China's most famous and beloved poets, generally known as Li Po, was an accomplished Swordsman and his great colleague, Tu Fu, wrote a few pieces about the art of swordplay. Women entertainers were so excellent at the sword that they actually inspired movements for combat. For many centuries this weapon that balances beauty and skill has been a favorite of the China people in general and Kung Fu practitioners particularly.


Ancient stone rubbing of Xing Yu defending Liu Bang

Time: 1214
The Scene: The "LADY FOUR"

 

Yang Miao Zhen, a female folk Wu Yi (Martial Arts) specialist, led people to rebel against the Jin in Wei Lu of ShanDong. Yang, called "Lady Four", was skilled in shooting from horseback and practicing Spear. She once said, "I have twenty years of experience in Spear practice and am unmatched anywhere in the world with my Li Hua Qiang (Pear Blossom Spear)." Qi Ji Guang of the Ming Dynasty said, "The practicing methods and techniques originating in Yang Shi and Li Hua Spear techniques have been learned by people all over the country." In contemporary times those who created routines of Liu He Qiang (Six Harmony Spear) and Da Li Hua Qiang (Great Pear Blossom Spear) have given Yang's name as the inventor.

1680
The 19th Year of Kang Xi : Qing Dynasty

Ji Ji Ke (1620 to 1680), initiator of Xin Yi Quan, died. His techniques took Qiang (spear) theory as Quan (boxing) theory. Xin Yi Quan has 12 forms, emphasizing the harmony between mind and will, will and breathing, breathing and strength, hands and feet, elbows and knees, and shoulders and hips. The complete name is Xin Yi Liu He Quan (mind and concept six-harmony Xin Yi)
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