Kung Fu Fit
For an Army
In the summer of 1989, one week after arriving
in Taiwan, I met who was to become my future
Shifu, Shi Zhengzhong. He invited me to join the
class at Confucius temple. At Confucius Temple
both locals, Chinese travelers from far away and
students came to show their respect to education
and to Confucius, the man who started the
culture and respect of learning and education in
The students lined up and bowed to Shifu
before spreading out across the courtyard to
begin the class.
A senior student led us through stretches before
we moved up and down the courtyard going through
Once our legs were tired out from
kicks we had to stand in eight different
postures squatting low to the ground.
That is me squatting on the
After standing in the eight horse
stances ba shi it was time for forms. We trained
the movements of a form called Chu Ji Quan-Basic
Nationalist Army Trains Chu Ji Quan
Many years later I was to find out that
this form was used by the Chinese Nationalist military
to train soldiers before World War Two. Following are
pictures of soldiers in formation training the first
four moves of the form called Chu Ji Quan.
||Soldiers line up in formation before
practicing their empty hand drills. This posture
is called 'bao zhou-hug the waist.'
It is the
last chance to take a deep breath before
starting the attack and defense sequence.
The 1st technique of the
form 'Ji Fu!-attack the abdomen'
The 2nd technique of the form
is also called 'ji fu.'
|Third technique of the form 'tuo zhang
- supporting palm' so named because
you catch the opponent's wrist and push it up.
'Dan gua shou- single
Two Person Chu Ji Quan
After training solo forms, Shifu called
out a teenage girl, Fang-Fang, and a guy, Xu-Zhi. They
ran to the front of the class and stood at attention
facing each other about two feet apart. The girl
suddenly stepped forward with her right foot and aimed a
right punch to the boy's nose as she said, 'Ji Tou
Below I have Elena represent Fang-Fang's
attack and Phil represents the moves Xu-Zhi made. Notice
that Phil is performing the first four moves of the
He simultaneously blocks high with his
left and punches low with his right while shouting 'Ji
fu-abdomen attack.' (1st picture)
She retreats with her right foot as her
right hand redirects his punch, just barely avoiding
being hit. As her body moves backward her left hand
swings around to chop the right side of his neck and
shouts, 'lou kan-leaking chop.' (on the
He raises up his right hand to block (the right
picture) and steps forward to strike, which she
blocks (the left picture).
She shifts her weight forward while thrusting her
fingers into his throat and shouts 'cha hou-stab
the throat!' (the left).
He leans back and then rushes his right hand forward
to grasp her wrist 'tuo zhang- supporting palm'.
Her left hand breaks his grip (the left). Her
right hand chops his neck 'kan xiang -chop neck.'
He pulls his hand back to protect his neck 'dan
guan shou -single hanging hand.' From here
he continues with a kick to the groin for a
total of 12 advancing moves. Then he does the
retreating side as she changes to the advancing
Twelve advances and twelve retreats put
together make the form Chu Ji Quan.
During that first class Shifu (and a translator)
explained to me that this two person sequence that I had
just watched matched the solo form that I was learning.
That was the first time I had ever trained a solo form
that was also trained as a two man form.
||Shouting out the names of the
target as we perform each technique was the
characteristic of my shifu's shifu Wang Zhuezhen.
During my first year in Taiwan I had the honor
and privilege to attend class with him. Shown
here performing in America at 80 years old
Army pictures from Battle of China available from Synergy