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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wikipedia on Wang Xiangzhai

   Wang Xiangzhai was born in Hebei province, China. As he was a very weak child, his parents decided to send him to the famous Xingyiquan master Guo Yunshen to improve his health. The Wang family had always had connections with the Guo family, horse breeders in the average. Master Guo Yunshen taught him zhanzhuang gong (post standing postures) that the young Xiangzhai had to keep standing for hours.

   During his young adult life, Wang Xiangzhai became a soldier in Beijing and at the age of 33, he went all around China, studying martial arts with many famous masters including monk Heng Lin, Xinyiquan master Xie Tiefu, southern white crane style masters Fang Yizhuang and Jin Shaofeng, Liuhebafa master Wu Yi Hui, etc. Learning from his experience and honoring the truly skilled, Wang made a public statement in 1928:

I have traveled across the country in research, engaging over a thousand people in martial combat, there have been only 2.5 people I could not defeat, namely Hunan's Xie Tie Fu, Fujian's Fang Yi Zhuang and Shanghai's Wu Yi Hui.

   After 7 years of research and study, Wang established himself in Beijing and penetrated the circle of famous masters in this city as well as in Tianjin and Shanghai. At this period of his life he met the respected Liuhebafa Chuan master Wu Yi Hui and also became friends with the Baguazhang master Zhang zhaodong.
   He started to teach many influential martial artists including Hong Lianshun, Zhao Daoxin, the Han brothers (xingqiao and xingyuan), Yao Zongxun, Wang Shujin (who studied Zhan zhuang for one year), and others.
   He first named his teaching Yiquan, in reference to the Xingyiquan and Xinyiquan styles. Later, in the 1940's, one of his disciples who was a journalist publicly called it Dachengquan, which means "great achievement boxing". It is still known by both these names today.
   He received the visit of many Japanese experts during the war. One, Kenichi Sawai became his student and created his own school in Japan calling his martial art Taikiken. Sawaii was primarily instructed by Wang's successor Yao Zongxun.
   At the end of his life he performed research into the healing aspect of Zhan zhuang and worked with different hospitals. He was one of the first Chinese teachers to publicly teach the practice of Zhan zhuang, or 'standing like a tree' methods.