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,
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.
The Scene: The DANCING ASSASSIN
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.
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.
stone rubbing of Xing Yu defending Liu Bang
The Scene: The "LADY FOUR"
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.
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).