Dayou Books
Dayou Kung Fu, thoughts for October, 2016

These are my opinions on Chinese culture and history. My writings and research within are intended to give the reader insights and enrich their knowledge of Chinese culture and specifically Chinese Wushu. I apologize in advance if I have offended anyone Please leave any feedback you. PLEASE, forgive my slipshod editing as Godaddy is a very hard program to work with. Thank you. 

  During the mid Qing Dynasty, a master came from the shadows, one who was taught by the one and only Ji Jike, the Creator of Xin Yi Quan. Who was Cao Jiwu?
The smartest maDn alive is probably an exaggeration, but GM Cao Jiwu sure was up there as one of the smartest men who ever lived. Born in 1662 Master Cai not only was a Master in Xing Yi quan, but was also a decorated soldier who won the favor of the emperor , living in a very turbulent ,violent time, in Chinese history. Cao Jiwu had a disciple named Dai Longbang who had previously been a taijiquan master. He trained his two sons, who introduced him to a farmer named Li Luoneng (Li Lao Nan). Li Luoneng studied for ten years and took xingyi back to his home province of Hebei, thus creating the Hebei style of Xingyi-quan.

  In the Hebei province, xingyi-quan absorbed some of the local techniques of another boxing system, Baguazhang,soon to become simply the “Hebei style”, much to the liking of how grappling techniques were incorporated the Shanxi style of Xingyi quan. Two stories exist of how this occurred. The more colorful one is that GM Dong Haichuan, the founder of Baguazhang, fought Li Luoneng's top student, Guo Yunshen, for three days, with neither being able to win. Impressed with each others techniques, they began cross-training their students in the two arts. More probable is the story that many masters of both systems lived in this province, and many became friends,especially Bagua's Cheng Tinghua and xingyi's Li Cunyi. From these friendships, cross-training occurred and the Hebei style developed.

Let's get back to Cao Jiwu. Master Cao was also sir-named “Riwei” and was indeed a very intelligent man; one who was placed as number one,testing in the highest military examinations,and given the degree of “Jinshi” , by the emperor himself. He was a third degree imperial bodyguard ,and was allowed to enter the Forbidden City. Now, Cao Jiwu's feats may seem undoubtedly genius, however, what he achieved was something that no man had ever achieved before. Ahead of his time, Master Cao, studied under the great master Ji Jike or Ji Longfeng if you prefer. After studying Xingyiquan for twelve years, he perfected and refined his Xingyi so much that there was no one of his equal at that time. He had learned everything from Jike and was soon to graciously pass it on to his new disciple Dai Longbeng, or Erlei(a courtesy name given to him at birth. Another grand student of Ji Jike was Ma Xueli. Early Mural of the Dai clan in QIng Dynasty

  Due to unfortunate circumstances, Master Cai died of hypothermia at age 36, while leading troops to dam up the flooding of the Han river, though there is other less credible documents stating Master Cai lived to be a ripe old age.
Recently, there is much debate as to Dai Longbeng's true teacher of XingYi Quan or that he even studied Xingyi at all! During this time, Xingyi was still actually named Six Harmonies Xin Yi quan. More on this topic later.

 Dai Longbeng was a very eager student and studied under master Riwei for ten long years until he himself was regarded as a superb martial artist, mastering the art of Xingyi. Born in 1713,we have young boy who fantasized of being a great martial artist someday and feverishly trained in Chang Quan style of fist he had learned from his father. Upon meeting his teacher, Master Cao Jiwu, he trained intensely, night and day and I'm sure many of you can relate to his story. Dai followed his father across China to help him run his business when he was fifteen,and this is where he met his teacher; Cao Jiwu, studying the Six harmonies XinYi boxing.

Recently, many researchers suggest Dai Longbeng was taught by a master named “Niu Xixian, this was reported post Qing Dynasty. The style this master taught was simply called “Mind boxing” or Yi quan,and this again goes back to Yue Fei being the creator of Xingyi quan; which I personally disagree with.

The Text,”Introduction to Xingyi quan Boxing Manual”,was written by Master Dai,however there is no actual proof that he did write this book. Today, people are claiming the author of the text stated was not written by Dai,but a forgery created during the Republican era. Many assume because Henan Xingyi quan, and Shanxi style Xingyi have similarities, Dai's true teacher was someone who studied along side Ma Xueli and his style of Xingyi. My personal research of Jin Yunting, the compiler of “The Xingyi Boxing Manual” leads me to believe in his interpretation of the lineages of Xingyi quan.

Whatever your beliefs of the art, we can all agree Ji Jike was deadly with a spear AND is no doubt the creator of Xin Yi quan. His legacy leaves behind an art that has survived longer than any other internal martial art. If we are to believe Dai Longbeng was indeed the one true writer of the boxing manual of Xin Yi quan, then we are to also believe he was the first. Many will say Yue Fei was the creator of Xin Yi quan,but how is this possible? They didn't even have pens to write with nor any other means to write anything Seriously, Yue Fei was and still is a hero to the Chinese people,but being the creator of the said art is far-fetched. my belief, if not for any other reason than the fact that Yue Fei was a warrior, spending most of his time fighting on the battle field,leaving little time for writing and training wushu, he was not the creator of Xin Yi quan

The Taiping Rebellion

It is true sometimes that truth is stranger than fiction and the bloodshed that was created by the Taiping Rebellion surpasses any war in Chinese history.
How did one man created such chaos, bloodshed, giving false hope to so many Chinese, create one of the bloodiest wars China has ever seen?

In the coarse of 15 years, it is estimated that some 25 million lives were lost during the brutal war called the “Taiping Rebellion”. In 1850 Hong Xiuquan, an egotistical tyrant who fancied himself the Son of god and the younger Brother of Jesus Christ himself, started a bloodbath, that would prove to be the most maniacal war China has ever witnessed.

During the mid 1800's,China's problems were overwhelmingly severe. Droughts,famines and floods and this was, in part because the Qing Government public works refused to help stop these very disasters. The military was defeated by the west, and anti-Manchurian feelings were strong; this caused much unrest and a vacuum for an uprising. South China was the last to yield to the Qing military,and the first to be exposed to western influences. This was the largest uprising the county of China had ever seen.

The Taiping rebellion came from the south,exploding out towards the poor in rural areas, scooping them up in their christian beliefs that every one was equal. The Qing dynasty was blind to the social and economic unrest,the moral decay the country was turning into. The rebellion was set off as the Cantonese speaking people and the local tribes fought in bloody feuds for land and prosperity. Many tribes joined up with the new “Heavenly sect” ,caused by the Qing government taking sides with the rural farmers.
There was once a time when the Manchu people were expert warriors on horseback,but due to lethargy and learning from the very people they conquered,became heft and lazy. The emperor himself was living in the Summer Palace,living the life , while Hong mounted his attack and built his army. Song's army,the mix between Christianity and communism were coming for their satisfaction.

The Taiping rebellion occupied some 17 provinces, calling on first the impoverished peasants of the Southwestern Xingu province. First off, let's begin with the fact that the Taiping rebellion broke out so swiftly and spontaneously it did not need the revolutionary groundwork so many other wars began with. Once the sect broke out of imperial hands it marched north, and swept up thousands of peasants along the way. Out of work miners, farmers,and criminal gangs folded into this great army. By 1853, the Taiping rebels numbered half a million strong. The Taiping captured the city of Nanjing that year,and massacred its entire Manchu population. They held this as their base for 11 years until the war ended. The Government officials began persecuting this new Christian sect,know to the peasants as the “Heavenly Army.”

Hong Xiuquan:

  The war broke out when the Qing's “Green Army” fought back for the town of Jintian.
Hong's brother named the new “army” the “God worshipers society” and in January proclaimed his new dynasty with himself at the helm. He not only proclaimed to be the new emperor, but called himself the “Heavenly king of the “heavenly Kingdom of great peach.” This man, this thief in the night told of how he had a vision of sitting atop the clouds and seeing a bearded man,who told him to go down to earth and do away with the demons of the Qing Dynasty. Hong had read numerous texts on christian philosophy and considered himself a scholar of Christian testament. He dream pt up in his mind the whipping and, beating of the Confucius followers,and Confucian himself pleading for mercy. Hong had a vision of the country as a modern industrial powerhouse,unlike the Manchus and their old traditional ways. Hong was nothing more than a wannabe scholar.

The Taiping rebellion captured the Qing Capital of Beijing and in 1860 the Taiping forces defeated the Imperial forces,eliminating the Qing forces; opening way for the invasion of southern Zhejing province. As the army grew in Size, Hong's Minister of state was murdered along with thousands of his own followers, for so-called “breach of Trust. They say Hong grew paranoid during this time accusing those closest to him of being traitors,during the Qing Dynasty rule. The Taiping s underestimated the power of the Qing dynasty,and its Green army and their determination. Little known fact was the British, who were so heavenly dependent on the Chinese market, they could not bear to lose to the rebels. Eventually,the Americans backed the British supplying them with arms,gunships and military officers to the Manchu government and tipped the scale in favor of the Qing. Needless to say, the Heavenly Kingdom fell soon after. Hong soon Died in 1864 and the Taiping held Nanjing fell,leaving the rebellion pushed back into the highlands of Fuji-an.

Please find more facts about the Taiping war on the works cited list below. This war was,even by today's standards,one of the bloodiest and longest lasting wars the world has even witnessed. Remember, millions died during this time. True, not all died as casualties of war,but as you research further you can just imagine a halbred bearing down on the rebels heads as the Qing emperor finally got off his ass and organized his massive army,crushing Hong's outgunned rebels.

Works Cited and further Reading.

Yun Ting, Guiqing Ling. The Xingyi Boxing Manual. 2015

Smith,Damon. Xingyi Bear Eagle. 2004
The Hsing Yi Journal Compilation. 2014

Tang C.S. The Mysterious power of Xingyi-quan. 2013

Cunyi,Li Classical Xingyi-quan Vol 1 (lianhuan Quan) 2003

Smith,Richard. The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese culture.

Seeger,Elizabeth. The Pageant of Chinese History. 1934.

Bloodworth,Dennis. The Chinese Looking Glass. 1966.


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