History of Hsing I

Yue Fei, (1103-1141), a native of T'sang-Yin in Hunan. As a youth he divided his time between practicing martial arts and reading Sun Wu's Art of War. He studied from the famous martial artist Chou Tung, who could draw a bow of three hundred catties. In the early days of the Tartar conflict, he raised a troop of five hundred horsemen, and defeated a force of more than one hundred thousand under Wu-shu (chieftain), the heir apparent of the tartars. He then served as lieutenant under Chang Chun, and for his services in inducing a formidable leader of brigands to submit to Imperial authority, Yue was raised to the rank of general.

Ji Long Feng, (also known as (Ji Ji Ke), of Shanxi province born during the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1628). After sitting for the imperial examination, he passed with such great marks that he became an official in Shanxi, but because of the corruption he encountered, he was eventually forced out of office. After leaving office, he decided to travel throughout China. It was in Xian, at the temple honoring Yue Fei, he noticed a crack in the figure of the general. Within the opening he found books on Yue Fei's Hsing I. He later mastered the skills laid out in Yue's books.

Cao Ji Wu, succeeded Ji Long Feng, himself a winner of the military examination of 1693 of the Kang Shing Period of the Ching Dynasty. He become the brigade general at Jing Yuan in Shanxi Province when the two met. After his retirement, he accepted as his pupil Dai Lung Bang, nicknamed "Two Donkey Dai" because of his great strength. During which time he referred to this art form as "Liu He Hsing I Chuan".

Wong Yen Chai (Wang Xiangzhai), (1885-1963) was born in Weilin Village in Hebei Province. He first learned from Guo Yun Shen. Because of Wang's talents, Guo passed on all of his skills to him, laying the foundation for his career in the martial art world. In 1907, he engaged on an extensive journey throughout China. After several years, he settled in Beijing, serving as an instructor in one of Yuan Shi Kai's military units.

In 1918, he continued his journey, in the hope of engaging the top martial artists in order to seek out the best. During his travel of central and eastern China, he engaged in combat with nearly a thousand opponents.

After years of practice he created the "will" boxing known as I Chuan, characterized by concentration and naturalness instead of the one-side emphasis on physical exercises. In 1940, some of Wong's friends suggested that he change the name into "dacheng" meaning a combination of many schools. During his lifetime he received an endless number of challenges from his homeland as well as abroad, such as a world boxing champion from Hungary, top level Japanese judoists and swordsmen. He, however, easily defeated them. He once proclaimed that there were only three people in all of China whom he could not defeat. The first was Hunan's Dai Tit Fu, known as the number 1 boxer south of the Yangtze River, whom he would became his student and great friend. The second was a White Crane disciple from Fukien, whom he tied with, and finally Shanghai's Wu Yik Fan to whom he instructed his own top student, Han Hsing-Ch'iao, to learn Wu's art form of Liu Ho Ba Fa.

In 1947, Wong set up an academy at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing. Three years later, the communist government put him in charge of the All-China Sports Federation.

The Five Elements of Hsing I Chuan (photos)