Sifu Scott Jensen’s primary teacher is Grandmaster Wong Jackman from whom he inherited North Shaolin, Tai Chi Chuan, and Xing Yi Quan. Sifu Jensen is Grandmaster Wong Jackman’s lineage heir and the only student with whom Wong Jackman took a formal master disciple portrait. Wong Jackman was the top student and lineage heir of Yim Sheung Mo who inherited from Gu Ru Zhang the famous Iron Palm Master who revealed and taught Northern Shaolin to the public for the first time.
Sifu Jensen is one of a few rare teachers in North America that dedicated his life to learning and researching classic lineages of Chinese martial arts. Sifu Jensen continued to study and learn from multiple teachers and styles to complete his knowledge and skills. Sifu Jensen’s upbringing and education in history and philosophy gave him an appreciation for systematically seeking original, authoritative sources and going directly to them. This meant studying with many teachers in many styles to understand their strengths and weaknesses and searching for and finding high level experts who had inherited the old unique systems with real Kung Fu skill. After connecting with these great teachers Sifu Jensen engaged in systematic and relentless training to absorb and master their arts. Running martial arts schools and teaching and training all day long, every day, with countless partners made this possible. Kung Fu means becoming a skillful person with hard work over a long time. Eating Bitter means enduring both hard training and being humbled by more skillful people.
Grandmaster Wong Jackman – An Extraordinary Gentleman and Teacher
Grandmaster Wong’s postures were very deep and very long. His kicks were very high and precise. He moved with amazing grace and smoothness. His movements exhibited a crispness and sharpness derived from extreme precision and awareness. In push hands, he easily and subtly off balanced and pushed people twice his weight. Doing Xing Yi Two Man forms with him you felt his arms and bones were like iron pipes. Everyone was glad that Grandmaster didn’t strike harder. His advice on self defense was always tailored to the individual that asked and practical. Although he enjoyed it when his students won tournaments he expected a humble attitude and never encouraged any displays of ego. Although he was not a talkative man, (that is an understatement) when he answered questions, the answers were truthful, direct, and valuable.
There are few teachers with Grandmaster Wong Jackman’s depth of skill, or breadth of knowledge, anywhere. He trained in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu from a very young age and mastered the art fully. Becoming one of a handful of true Shaolin Kung Fu masters produced during the 20th century. Grandmaster Wong Jackman has been one of a very few pioneering Chinese teachers to openly share real Kung Fu with the American Public. There are many famous teachers who studied with him for either brief periods or many years. They include some of the most well known martial artists in the USA.
Grandmaster Wong Jackman never accepted mean people, or people with gangster connections. Otherwise, everyone was welcome to train with him. He taught everyone the same. He was very generous. He treated everyone with kindness. He rarely criticized others. If you asked him whether another master was skillful, he would either reply his opinion was not important, or rarely, that they had practiced for many years.
Grandmaster Wong Jackman is a private person who keeps his opinions and plans to himself. Most of the things written and said about him are not true. If he was displeased with someone he simply stopped talking with them.
The only time in 25 years of attending his classes that I saw him address the class as a whole was the last day, before he retired, December 28th, 2006. At that time Grandmaster Wong told everyone to remember what he had taught them, to practice, to think about the applications and to share their knowledge and not to keep it for themselves. In the spirit of those words I humbly offer this website and my classes for your benefit.
Grandmaster Wong Jackman’s students include world Champion fighters, National Champions, and many sincere students who pursued the arts for their own growth and self transformation. Grandmaster Wong Jackman always came to class and rarely missed class in over 40 years of teaching. The times he was absent were on announced vacations. In 40 years he never missed class due to illness and claims never to have been sick. None of his students have ever seen him exhibit any symptoms of illness.
To my knowledge, Grandmaster Wong Jackman only raised the tuition of his class only once from $40 to $50 a month. I have only ever seen one poster or advertisement about his class and that was posted by his students before 1980. He viewed it as karma who found his class and did not seek out students. He had an attitude of complete indifference whether people came or not. It was up to the student to grasp what he generously offered. I never once heard him boast. Wong Jackman refused all offers of magazine articles and publicity and there were many. The one exception is the article Wong Jackman allowed Michael Dorgan to write about his fight with Bruce Lee. Wong Jackman never published books, or made movies, or attempted to profit from his arts in any way.
At Grandmaster Wong’s class each student practiced as they saw fit, and he taught each student individually. He did not run group exercises or direct his students to do anything. It was up to the student to show initiative and work hard. Sifu Wong did not award any ranks, or certificates.
Grandmaster Wong Jackman taught everyone regardless of race or creed from the first days he opened his pioneering school in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Peter Ralston – Founder of the Cheng Hsin (True Heart Essence) School of Tai Chi
Master Peter Ralston created his own school of Tai Chi based on the Tai Chi Chuan he learned form Grandmaster Wong Jackman, William C. C. Chen, with the inclusion of some Aikido, Judo, and Ba Gua Zhang. Ralston specializes in the application of Tai Chi Chuan in Pushing Hands, Boxing, and San Shou. Ralston was famous for winning the 1978 Kung Fu World Championships in Taipei Taiwan. Ralston was the first westerner to win this prestigious full contact fighting tournament. Ralston also dived deep into philosophy and the psychology of combat as a way to study and understand different states of mind in a framework of meditation and ontology. Ralston learned classical Chinese martial arts and also studied eclectically with many different styles, but in the end created his own advanced synthesis called the Cheng Hsin School. Ralston founded his school in Oakland, Ca after having deep experiences in meditation and then winning the World Championships in Taiwan.
Peter Ralston taught Wong Jackman’s curriculum, with the Tai Chi short form of 64 movements form like William Chen added in, and created his own vast system of Pushing Hands including take downs and throws.
Ralston taught Wong Jackman’s Xing Yi Quan system but emphasized the Five Elements, Sparring Forms, Footwork Drills and lots of sparring. Ralston’s Xing Yi Quan classes were practical self defense and full contact fighting oriented. Every single class included all three elements of Five Elements Practice, a few forms, footwork drills, and then sparring drills and sparring form and lots of sparring at the end of class. Ralston tapped his experience fighting in tournaments and matches in the United States and in winning the World Kung Fu Tournament in Taipei to hone his students skills.
Yang Zhen Duo – Grandmaster Yang Family Tai Chi
Yang Zhen Duo was the direct family heir in a father to son transmission of Yang Family Tai Chi from the founder Yang “The Invincible” Lu Chan . Yang Zhen Duo’s great grandfather and grandfather were among the most revered and feared fighters in China in their generations. Yang Zhen Duo’s life was filled with the incredible traumas of the birth of Communist China and his life did not take such a path of extraordinary combat mastery. However, Yang Zhen Duo did continue his family tradition and taught the Tai Chi Long Form codified by his famous father Yang Zhen Fu. Grandmaster Yang Zhen Duo was the Grandmaster of the Yang Family Style of Tai Chi in the sense of being the acknowledged head and top teacher leading the style. Learning the Yang Style Long Form from Yang Zhen Duo gave Sifu Jensen a second original source to study the heart and essence of Tai Chi. Yang Zhen Duo was also one of the rare people who could answer difficult questions of Tai Chi lore and theory for Sifu Jensen.
Chen Yun Qing – Taiwanese Grandmaster of Tai Chi 99 System, Tai Chi Sword, and Classical Weapons
Chen Yun Ching is the seventh son of Chen Pan Ling. Chen Yun Ching’s late father, Chen Pan Ling, was one the most famous, and well regarded, marital artists in Taiwan. Robert Smith, who wrote many early books about the martial arts masters he met throughout Asia regarded Chen Pan Ling as the most knowledgeable expert in Taiwan on the internal martial arts of Tai Chi Chuan, Xing Yi Quan, and Ba Gua Zhang. Chen Pan Ling was highly placed in Chiang Kai Shek’s government and assisted the Republican governments cause both on Taiwan, and back on the mainland, before the Republicans fled to Taiwan.
Chen Pan Ling was a leader, and supporter, of the famous Central Guoshu Institute. The Central Guoshu Institute was similar to the Chin Woo association, but Republican government supported.
There he organized the creation of new forms with help of the top martial artists in the China. These were designed to preserve all the essential techniques of each weapon, and ensure that none were lost. Phots were taken and books and wall posters were created. However, they are all lost now. Chen Yun Ching was his fathers seventh son, and he was his best student. Chen Pan Ling’s weapons forms taught by Chen Yun Ching originated at the Central Guoshu institute and show an exceptional variety of techniques embodying a complete classical repertoire for each weapon. Personally, I find these forms are wonderful, and among my favorites. Each is a real treasure.
Chen Pan Ling is also regarded as the creator, or lead contributor to the creation, of the Tai Chi 99 form. The Tai Chi 99 Form combines important movements from each of main styles of Tai Chi. It is quite beautiful, and more varied than the normal Yang Family Long Form. This form is popular, and practiced widely in Taiwan. It is also a main event at the semi annual World Tai Chi Chuan Tournament held in Taipei.
Chen Xiao Wang – Grandmaster of Chen Style Tai Chi Quan
Chen Xiao Wang is considered to be either the Grandmaster of Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan, or one of a handful of the top Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan experts in the world. Certainly, Chen Xiao Wang has some magnificent Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan. During the 1990s Chen Xiao Wang taught at my school in El Cerrito twice. I had a large facility, and many of his students arrived from all over. It was a lot of fun.
Chan Su Chin, or “Silk Reeling Exercises”
The first time he taught Chan Su Chin, or “Silk Reeling Exercises”, in detail. These Qigong like exercises, are the foundation body mechanic building exercises of Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan. They help you to develop the proper sequencing of body movement, correct structure, and practice linking your breath to your movements. The Chan Su Chin are designed to develop your striking and throwing power, or fajing. They also condition your tendons and joints so you will not be injured when you use full power.
Grandmaster Liu Wan Fu – National Treasure – Xign Yi Quan Inheritor
Grandmaster Liu Wan Fu was an extraordinary martial artist who lived in Tianjin China. He was the late Grandmaster of the Lan Shou Quan System. As a child growing up, Liu Wan Fu learned Lan Shou and Qigong from his grandfather, the previous Grandmaster of the Lan Shou Quan style of Kung Fu. Later, he sought out the best instructors in Tianjin, in the most popular fighting arts, and learned their systems. This way Grandmaster Liu also fully mastered the arts of Xing Yi Quan, Dragon Style Ba Gua Zhang, and Tai Ji Quan, and was expert in Ba Ji and Tong Bei. Liu Wan Fu is officially listed in the top 100 martial artists in the 20th century in China and was a walking encyclopedia of the best old school Kung Fu.
Liu Wan Fu’s skills with weapons, in particular the spear and sabers, were incredibly impressive. Liu Wan Fu’s Spear forms were from another generation of technique and retained the complex footwork and angles that are now often omitted or lost. Liu Wan Fu taught seven amazing, historically significant spear forms and created a magnificent spear form of his own. Liu Wan Fu was selected to create the original spear forms of modern Communist Chinese Wushu. Likewise both his single and paired saber techniques were fantastic.
From Liu Wan Fu’s Xing Yi Quan lineage Sifu Jensen preserves the awesome 77 and 99 move Great Linking Forms and specific versions of Liu Wan Fu’s 12 Animals.
Sifu Liu was a man who loved martial arts and he must have enjoyed learning these systems immensely. However, his primary motivation to learn so many other arts was to learn the techniques of his probable opponents. Then he could figure out how to counter them with his Lan Shou Quan. Counter them he did.
Liu Wan Fu had reputation for winning many challenge matches; many with other well-known boxers. He combined, aggressive entering skills, very powerful punching, adroit stepping, and incredible iron body. He could take full power blows to his entire body including his throat and groin without discomfort. Being impervious to his opponents blows and using the immensely powerful strikes of Lan Shou and Xing Yi Quan must have made him a feared opponent.
Liu Wan Fu’s Lan Shou Quan was incredibly clean, powerful, and crisp. Liu Wan Fu was big man by Chinese Standards and his body even in his seventies was highly conditioned. Throughout all of his techniques Liu Wan Fu maintain impeccable posture and body mechanics. Liu’s power was loose, fluid, and fast. Watching his Lan Shou Quan was an education in coordination, synergy, and tactical application. Liu Wan Fu learned his Lan Shou Quan, and all of his other arts, from the crème of the crop of the last generation of deadly professional kung fu fighters.
Advocating real, no holds barred, fights as the only way to master martial arts Liu Wan Fu showed his intensity and practically in coaching. Liu Wan Fu winning the 1956 All China Heavy Weight Full Contact fighting Championship showed his prowess.
Liang Ke Quan – Xing Yi Quan and Ba Gua Zhang Master and Veteran Nationalist Officer
Liang Ke Quan was an officer in Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist army. When the Nationalist army was weakened by defending China from the Japanese, Mao’s Communist army started to win. Liang Ke Quan’s unit was surrounded and captured. The communists put them in a prison camp, and began starving them, and demanding confessions. Every day, Liang wrote a letter detailing the crimes he had personally seen Mao, and Mao’s army commit. Not exactly the confession the party officials were looking for!
The camp commander came to Liang, and said he had been intercepting the letters every day, and not turning them in to the party officials. The commander stated that if the party officials read them they would just kill Liang. Liang said he could see in the commanders eyes that he knew Liang was telling the truth. Since they were all starving to death any way, why not tell the truth to the end? He then asked the commander, if he had any human feeling left, to at least feed them. After a few days, the men were taken to the rice fields to work. The fields were flooded with very rich river water that was full of shrimp and eels. The men ate these raw in the fields and survived. (Liang never passed up shrimp or prawns on the dinner table!!)
The trees he liked to hit were the biggest he could find. Often so large it took two people to reach around them! When he visited us here, after hitting normal large trees and without explanation we took him to see the giant Redwoods in Marin County, CA at Muir Woods. He didn’t know where we going. As soon as he saw the redwoods he started laughing and waving his hands. It was great! He knew we had him and he couldn’t shake these trees. He loved to see them and walked deep into the forest admiring the awesome trees. When he left I gave him Redwood seeds to take home to Beijing. Perhaps they still grow there.
Liang Ke Quan also loved to write wonderful brush Calligraphy and gave gifts to many of his students that reflected his impressions of them.
For my school, he wrote a magnificent Jing, Qi, Shen (Essence, Energy, Spirit) Calligraphy. The transformation of Jing into Qi, and Qi into Shen, is the essence of martial arts. This is to remind the students that what we are gathered for is not learning to hurt others but to become better, stronger, and wiser people.
Liang Ke Quan could carry a tune. For a man with very few teeth left, he could belt out a rousing song, and loved to sing. Especially when he had an audience! A favorite was the Yueh Fei Anthem. (Yueh Fei was the founder of Xing Yi and a national hero).
Liang Ke Quan woke up very early every morning without fail, and practiced his Xing Yi and Ba Gua. His movements were very, very soft. Looking at them you would think they were nothing at all. How could that be powerful? It’s not really a martial art is it? His movements were softer than almost anyone’s Tai Ji Quan. Then he would hit trees and they would tremble in Fear! When he reached out, you moved back, and it was irresistible.
Liang Ke Quan was a scholar warrior of the old school who truly embodied the Tao.
From Liang Ke Quan we inherited a remarkable and complex system containing 35 variations of the 5 Elements, and the one variation each of the 12 Animals.
Later, Liang was sent to a regular prison. He spent 15 years as a prisoner and became the manager of the prison store. After 15 years he was still an unrepentant Commie hater. The Communists came, and said he could leave the prison, but, there was no housing assignment, and no job assignment. Basically, he could leave, but he would be a homeless beggar. Or he could stay at the prison, and continue to manage the store, and he would be able to come, and go, if he choose. He stayed at the prison for another 15 years before finally leaving.
While in prison, he was able to practice his Xing Yi and Ba Gua. When he was allowed to leave, he traveled and met many other Xing Yi Masters and Ba Gua Zhang masters. Liang Ke Quan combined a never give up pit bull fighters instincts, with a friendly charisma. He really did study, and discuss, Xing Yi Quan with many other masters. As a result, he had a vast knowledge of Xing Yi Quan. He taught many variations of the 5 Elements, and Awesome Animals.
Liang Ke Quan’s Special Skills
His most famous was tree shaking. Liang Ke Quan could hit trees with his shoulder, and shake them so you could feel the impact go through the tree, into the roots, and see the leaves dance.
Mike Bingo Master Gunnery Sargent – Xing Yi Quan Master and Green Beret Leader
Master Mike Bingo was a truly extraordinary martial artist. One of the finest I have ever seen or met. Authentic Xing Yi Quan, his movements just cracked and snapped with power. I saw him do breaking demonstrations you just could not believe. Two Inch thick boards and plywood, breast plates. Truly professional martial arts skills perfected to keep him alive on a modern battle field. His application was both precise and fierce. Master Mike Bingo was awarded the Legion of Merit, one of the highest awards in the US military typically only awarded to generals, colonels, flag officers, and captains, an exceptional award indicating the depth of his contribution to US Special Forces. In particular this not only for the extraordinary missions he completed but also his contribution to building the skills and ethos of the United States Green Berets. Master Mike Bingo once demonstrated all of his Xing Yi Quan Five Elements with a back pack filled with 80 pounds of random rocks. Explosive full power Xing Yi Quan with a huge bag of rocks. Then Master Mike Bingo does them all again with a rifle with a bayonet attached! Then he demonstrated how each element could be used to disarm someone with a rifle and end up with you holding their rifle. Master Mike Bingo also taught an extremely practical system of throws.
Zhang Hua Sen – Liang Zhen Pu Ba Gua Zhang Master
Zhang Hua Sen was a disciple of Li Zi Ming, the President of the Ba Gua Zhang Association. Li Zi Ming was a disciple of Liang Zhen Pu, and inherited the system.
Zhang Hua Sen was one of the most amazing martial artists I have met. Equal to Wong Jackman, and Liu Wan Fu, in his athleticism. In his 70s, when I studied with him, he still had his flexibility, and legs, even though he was chubby. He could easily, and lightly touch his forehead with either toe. Or kick across his body to touch his other ear or kick over his shoulder. He could easily do huge diving rolls on a hardwood floor that were completely silent and then roll all over the place in a full lotus or some other silliness.
Zhang Hua Sen had this amazing sense of humor and could make jokes with his gestures and facial expressions as well as tell long, intricate stories with a trick ending. Zhang was precise and demanding. His explanations were clear and hands on. Zhang expected your all out best effort and humble attitude. He did not tolerate fools at all. However, he was patient with hard working beginners. Zhang Hua Sen also relived the pressure with jokes, smiles, and encouragement because he knew some things were either difficult, or impossible for almost everyone! Really everyone just loved him and his lessons. His jovial personality was infectious.
Zhang Hua Sen grew up under conditions of hardship it is hard for us to imagine. Zhang’s family was poor during a period hardship and war, in China. There was no work, or jobs. Social services did not exist. Food was scare, even if you had money. His father took work in Japan as a laborer to avoid starvation. At this time, being a Chinese laborer, working in Japan, was the lowest of the low. Zhang’s mother was thus abandoned on the streets of Beijing with two small boys. Zhang’s mother was then forced to sell his younger brother for a large bag of rice. When the rice was exhausted, she managed to find work in a wealthy household cleaning. But, she was forbidden to bring Zhang. Zhang’s mother was then forced to abandoned him on the streets, or she would have starved to death too.
Zhang, still a child, was homeless, and alone on the streets of Beijing. An old woman took pity on him, and took him to a Beijing Opera company. At that time, when a child joined the Opera company the parents signed a waiver that said, if the child died during training, the company would not be held liable.
Tough life for the kid was ahead. When he didn’t make mistakes during practice, he got feed. If he made mistakes he was punished, and missed the next meal. To say the training was severe is simply not enough. Zhang endured torturous foundation training, and developed magnificent skills, rising to the pinnacle of fame in the world of Beijing Opera.
Zhang Hua Sen became one of Beijing Opera’s greatest performers. Zhang Hua Sen starred in the most difficult role of all: The Monkey King. The Monkey King role must be were Zhang’s playful sense of humor came from. Without a doubt, it is also where his mad rolling, leaping, and kicking skills came from. As the Monkey King Zhang would perform ridiculously hard stunts and fights scenes, flawlessly, in regular performances.
One of the best Opera fight scenes occurs in Heaven. After the Monkey King has eaten the Queen of Heaven’s Peaches of Immortality, and Drunken Lao Tzu’s Elixir of Invulnerability, he turned into a real problem! Before, he was already full of magical skills, and tricks, and carried an amazing magic staff. Then, he became immortal, and invulnerable! Plus, the Monkey King was really mad at everybody in heaven for a perceived insult. A huge fight breaks out between the entire Host of Heaven, and the Monkey King. The Monkey King is surrounded on all sides by the armies of Heaven. The entire Opera troop is on stage at once, dressed as the armies, and princes, of Heaven. They all throw spears at the Monkey King, played by Zhang Hua Sen. Zhang would nimbly kick the spears over his head into the arms of the warriors on the other side. Who would immediately throw them back, creating a nearly continuous barrage of spears, with Zhang kicking madly in the center.
Truly, one the greatest martial artists I have seen. You would never suspect the shocking skill, and athleticism that lay hidden under his plump, jiggly belly, and huge, happy face.
Zhang Kai – Grandmaster of San Huang Pao Chui – Three Kingdoms Cannon Fist
Zhang Kai is a walking encyclopedia of classical Kung Fu. Zhang Kai specializes in weapons and has inherited a vast collection of ancient weapons routines. I would be surprised if he weren’t one a only handful of people alive to know how to use certain “lost” weapons. Zhang Kai’s specialty, without a doubt, is the long spear. Zhang Kai is not a large person, yet, he is able to wield a 20 foot spear with a two kilo head. Honestly, to hold the spear by the end, and simply lift the tip off the floor takes real Kung Fu. To perform an entire routine with it is just amazing. I wish I had pictures of him wielding his spear.
The first time I met Zhang Kai we went to his house and had tea. With a little urging he produced two pieces of a 20 foot long spear, with 4 pound tip, that he screwed together. Standing in his bedroom, with the spear extending through the dining room, and the tip in kitchen he explained using the rolling power of the Tan Tien (lower belly) to power the spear and using the spear to build the power of your Tan Tien. As he rolled the spear up and down his belly the tip rolled, flexed, and snapped with power. An incredibly demonstration of old school Kung Fu. Not destroying the kitchen was a good display of control!
San Huang Pao Chui Grandmaster Zhang Kai lived in an old hutong, or traditional neighborhood of small brick houses with tiled roofs, tight alleys, and private courtyards. His small house had a private yard filled with the largest assortment of weapons you have ever seen, and especially his beloved long spears.
To get his long spears to the street he had convinced his neighbors to cut notches in the brick corners of their house to allow the long spears to pass! Grandmaster Zhang Kai had an awesome long Great Spear form designed to develop the striking and throwing power of San Huang Pao Chui.
During the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution martial arts were considered to be part of the old culture that should be purged. Martial arts experts throughout China were persecuted and humiliated. Practice was punishable by death. Grandmaster Zhang Kai’s wife also practiced Pao Chui in her youth. She feared for her husbands life and begged him not to practice. Zhang Kai did not want to forget his art and see it perish. He knew the cultural revolution could last many years. So, every night afterwork Zhang Kai rode his bicycle for over an hour to a cemetery on the outskirts of Beijing and went to the very center to practice his Kung Fu. Chinese cemeteries, especially older ones that are not maintained, can be incredibly spooky places with ruined graves, creepy noises, and zombies. Chinese traditionally worshipped their ancestors, and they are quite terrified of ghosts. This was great place to be left alone to practice unobserved. Any exposed remains would certainly have provided fruitful subjects of meditation. Returning home, he would complain the boss made him work 4 extra hours without pay. This way Zhang Kai retained his mastery of the magnificent ancient art of San Huang Pao Chui, survived the cultural revolution, and saved his marriage.
I first studied San Huang Pao Chui with Zhang Kai in 1994, and then, continued to return to learn from him in the 1990s.
Head Instructor Su at Ching Wu Association – Shanghai – Finding Lost Track Art of the Hero, Hou Yuan Jia, Founder of the Ching Wu Association
In 1996 the Ching Wu Association Headquarters was about to be reborn. Its old building had been knocked down and they had been relocated to a temporary location while the new and current huge facility was built. In a fortuitous moment synchronicity achieved after a lot of earnest searching Sifu Jensen found this temporary location and met and studied the Lost Track Art of Huo Yuan Jia form the current head Instructor Su. Head Instructor Su was a tiny, but extremely intense, martial artist with a broad mastery of southern Kung Fu. Su also was one of the only people left alive to know the Lost Track Art of Huo Yuan Jia, the founder of the Chin Wu Association. Huo was a powerful fighter with a massive physique and a unique heroic story. Huo, with the help of prominent members of the business community, created a new type of martial school that would teach in a modern fashion without vows of secrecy and obedience. They also taught women and taught many styles with different teachers in the same building. The goal of the Ching Wu association was to preserve the traditional Chinese martial arts as a way to strengthen the health of the Chinese people and to preserve the cultural legacy of thee lineage arts that were rapidly dying out with form the combined impact of modern firearms and railroads destroying the bodyguards and goods escort services that employed martial artists. Huo did not inherit his families Lost Track Boxing and instead created his own form. Huo created a single long form with all of his favorite fighting movements and repeating many moves on both sides of the body. Huo’s form does include moves he stole from other martial artists. Huo’s Lost Track Art is a powerful, fun form to practice with solid moves well suited to larger person. It is also a historically significant and rare form that Sifu Jensen is one of the only people left to have inherited it.
Old Eight Palms
Gao Ba Gua Zhang also practices the Lao Ba Zhang or “Old Eight Palms” form. The movements do not resemble those of Liang Zhen Pu Ba Gua Zhang. In the Gao system this form has excellent body conditioning and joint flexibility for escaping grappling and throwing techniques with a counterattack.
Post Heaven Palms
Gao Ba Gua Zhang has a fantastic set of 64 lines called the “Post Heaven Palms”. These are usually practiced a line changing sides of the body to maintain balance and develop ambidexterity. of one of two linked strikes with a clever entry and throw finish. The Post Heaven Palms almost all lead with a flanking step to the opponents side.
Complimenting the 64 Post Heaven Palms are a series of sparring drills preformed with a partner. Each of the 64 Post Heaven palms has a simple “single step” form, a double step form where your partner counterattacks after your defense, and finally a “triple step form” containing three techniques each. These are lively progressive drills that have a strong element of stand up grappling, lever footwork, and
Gao Ba Gua Zhang Family Heirs in Tianjin
Gao Ba Gua Zhang comes to us from Tianjin, China’s third largest city and the closest port to Beijing the capital. Large cities and nation capitols often have as serious crime element. Yet it is major ports that are notorious for having the biggest criminal elements. This meant there was plenty of work for skilled bodyguards and security in Tianjin. Gao Ba Gua Zhang was created and led by Gao I Sheng, Xing Yi Quan was led by Li Cun Yi, and the Lan Shou Quan was led by the Four Big Brothers. These were the major martial styles, schools, and escort companies operating in Tianjin.
Strong Tradition Continues
Gao I Sheng’s family has maintained their style. In the 1990’s I met and trained with them in Tianjin and helped to host them visiting the United States. All of these gentlemen were strong, skillful martial artists who knew exactly how to use their Ba Gua Zhang. The Gao Style of Ba Gua Zhang like the other branches that have maintained their coherency have a large system of forms, partner drills, body conditioning Qigong exercises and weapons. In the West we do not see such complete systems of Ba Gua Zhang. This style was designed by professionals who depended on it for their lives on a regular basis.
Pre Heaven Palms and Circle Walking
Gao Ba Gua Zhang employs the circle walking method as a Qigong and body strengthening method with moving steps. Most of the classical combat oriented Chinese martial arts employ a stance training exercise for new students. In Shaolin they use the Horse Stance, in Tai Chi the Post Standing Method ( a high narrow horse stance), in Xing Yi Quan students practice the Three Treasure Stance. Holding your arms up without moving and your legs deeply bent in any position becomes extremely tiring quickly. In Ba Gua Zhang they practice stationary standing in limited amounts and devote most of their time to the walking practice that teaches flanking steps and quick turns.
transition from motionlessness to full speed that Xing Yi Quan is famous for. Li accomplished this without the slightest trace of foreshadowing or winding up. Li was already internally integrated and coiled before he moved and released each strike.
Short Power of Xing Yi Quan
Li Gui Chang also had unbelievable short power. Once he demonstrated this on his largest student, much larger and heavier than Li and most westerners. Beginning with his fist resting on his student’s body, without the slightest bit of visible coiling or warning, Li used his Beng Quan or Crushing Fist to knock this large student flying landing flat on his back taking a hard fall. Until you personally see grandmasters like Li Gui Chang actually perform it is hard to appreciate the level of skill acquired by masters of their generation and what is possible with sufficient practice.
Shanxi Style of Xing Yi Quan
Grandmaster Li Gui Chang was a leader in Shanxi style of Xing Yi Quan from Shanxi province. Shanxi Xing Yi is considered to be the orthodox or Original Style of Xing Yi Quan. Hubei style of Xing Yi is considered to be more recent and an evolution of the Shanxi style. The primary difference between the two styles is that in Shanxi Style the weight is held 50/50 or evenly between the feet in the Three Treasures Stance. In Hubei Style Xing Yi Quan body weight is shifted to the rear foot the weight distribution is 70% percent rear foot and 30% front foot. Both styles use the 5 Elements, 12 Animals, Linking Forms, Sparring Forms.
People from Hubei province tend to be larger than those from Shanxi where it is much hotter. Hubei style is better suited to larger individuals and Shanxi style is better suited to smaller people. In Shanxi Xing Yi Quan they say, “A man can kill even a large horse if he strikes the throat.”. In Shanxi style, the Metal or Splitting Fist, that is actually a palm strike to head in Hubei Style, is a strike with edge of the hand to the throat.
Li Gui Chang – Shanxi Style Xing Yi Quan Grandmaster
Li Gui Chang was one of the classical combat oriented grandmasters I met in the 1990s who had true old school Kung Fu learned from the masters of the Republican Era before World War 2. This generation of martial artists Li grew up amongst, like Liu Wan Fu and Zhang Hua Sen, were professional body guards and goods escorts who fought regularly and depended on their martial skills for survival. I only met a few members of this generation of marital artists. Almost all of them passed away at elderly ages in the 1990s. Their skill sets and amazing body transformation and body method was far beyond normal martial artists I encountered in the West. Only Grandmaster Wong Jackman, my principal Sifu, in San Francisco, met this same standard.
Li Gui Chang was quite elderly when I met him. Looking like a thin bird you thought he would fall over at mere touch. Li Gui Chang normally wore a huge overcoat, large black rim glasses that tilted to the side and dragged a walking cane along living a line in the dust as he walked. At first glance you would never suspect he had true Gong Fu.
Healing Power of Xing Yi Quan
Li had survived Tuberculosis and his chest and spine were shrunken as a result. However, when stood to his Beloved Xing Yi Quan, he amazingly, almost miraculously completely straightened and erect his spine. This was a direct result of years of practice of the subtle body mechanics, Qi Gong of Xing Yi Quan, and Three Treasures Stance practice. As a severe whiplash survivor, I found Li Gui Chang’s ability to heal and erect his spine inspirational.
Sudden Explosiveness of Xing Yi Quan
Grandmaster Li Gui Chang despite appearing to be almost completely tendon and bone, with no muscle left, was able to issue power in all of his strikes with astonishing speed showing the instantaneous
Traditional Method of Learning
All of Li Gui Chang’s Students like himself learned Xing Yi Quan traditionally. This meant the first year the only thing they learned and practiced was the Three Treasure Stance that they would practice switching sides for three hours each class. The second year the student learned the five Element Fists without the following step and practiced them for three hours every day. In the Third year students learned the Following Step and added it to their Five Elements Practicing again for three hours everyday. At this point the teacher would have had enough time to observe and test the moral character of the student and would decide whether they were ready the rest of the art. If so, in the next two years they would learn all 12 Animals, all Liknig Forms, all sparring forms and all weapons forms. Then their training would be complete. In essence they spent three years on foundation training building strong bodies and minds and then with that in place learned everything else easily and rapidly. The body transformation caused by one year of standing practice should not be under estimated. With another two years training only five strikes and attacking footwork of the following step the students had built cars with powerful engines. Learning the 12 Animals teaches strategies to apply the power and the partner forms train the skills in using the techniques on opponents and counter the opponents attacks.