|The Challenge of Master Cui
|April 2012 will be a month that I remember for the rest
of my life. For a brief time, just over one week, I
spent every morning training with Shifu Zhou Zhendong.
He shared his kung fu with me as well as stories passed
to him from his master Zhang Kaitang.
One morning after practice Master Zhou, Will,
my English kung fu brother, and I walked to his
house for breakfast, tea and conversation.
|We ate a
traditional Chinese breakfast of 'oil sticks'
and spicy noodles with cucumbers while Shifu
poured tea for us all.
Will and I asked
Shifu about the old days of training with his
Shifu, Master Zhang Kaitang and his Shifu, the
famous master of Taiji Mantis,
Master Cui Shoushan. This story happened
directly to Master Cui himself.
Master Zhou Zhendong demonstrates a technique on
Marriage in China
In the old days of China marriage was often
arranged through proxies called mei ren. These
mei ren were the go-between for the parents of the
bride and groom. They were responsible for finding a suitable couple.
The Mei ren of Cui Shoushan's daughter was named Xu Fengqi.
Master Xu The Longfist Boxer
Xu Fengqi trained in Chang Quan Boxing, a style of
martial art characterized by long large movements.
He didn't believe that Cui's
Mantis Boxing was effective and wanted to test his skills.
|Though we weren't there and
couldn't see the action first hand, we do know
that Master Cui applied the technique called
yin yang die zhang. The story of
Master Cui using the technique 'yin yang
folding palm' tells us some important
details about the encounter. This is how Master
Cui applied 'yin yang folding palm'.
Their right arms collided, Master Cui's left
hand immediately lifted Xu Fengqi's right arm
and that is when Master Cui's right hand
collided with Xu Fengqi's ribs. The strike landed on
the side of Master Xu's rib cage with such a heavy force
that it broke several of his ribs.
What happened next we can only imagine. Based
on other stories that I have heard of Master Cui
helping those he hit, I can only guess that
Master Cui took care of Xu Fengqi and they
developed a student-teacher relationship because
Xu then performed the bai shi ceremony
making him one of Master Cui's
Master Zhou applies the back hand to a
Master Zhou lifts
the attackers arm with his left and drops his
right palm to the chest.
Master Xu Challenges Everybody
Life in China was hard to take In the early 80's. At
that time Xu Fengqi was about 85 years old and was
living in the government provided public housing,
with 'house' being a euphemism for a large room full
of people sleeping. There was a park in Yantai were
Master Zhou, as well as many other kung fu masters
were teaching kung fu. He came to Master Zhou at
this park one morning seeking help with procuring students
so that he could make some money.
|To show his skill, Master Xu demonstrated the first road of
the Praying Mantis form Luanjie.
Master Zhou told Will and I, with a hint of
proud surprise in his voice, that Master Xu did an excellent performance
of the first section of the form and then
Master Zhou exhorted Xu to rest.
Besides our Shifu Zhou being one of the
teachers in the park, there was also the
great master of Seven Star Praying Mantis Lin Huatang, a disciple
of the famous master of Seven Star Mantis master Lin Jingshan.
After Xu Fengqi's short performance Xu
called out to these other masters in the
park, including that Seven Star Master Lin,
Zhoulei, Master Zhou's daughter,
demonstrates the move from Luanjie called
is Master Cui's Wu Dang Fist-Zhe shi Cui Pengnian
(Cui Shoushan) di Wu Dang Quan.'
Your kung fu is nothing but flowery fists and
embroidered kicks!- Ni men dou shi hua quan
I challenge you to free fight!-Ni men lai lu yi lu.'
point of the story, Master Zhou stood up from the
dining table and demonstrated the traditional free
fighting movements and postures that Master Xu had
done. He put on a face both tough and challenging,
the one that Xu Fengqi must have used that day. I
think Will and I must have opened our mouths' in
amazement at this point, to hear of an 85 year old
man challenging the excellent fighters of the Seven
Star Mantis school. Master Zhou returned his smiling
face and poured more tea.
Lu quan is the mantis word for free fighting.
Master Xu must have been a man full of courage to
challenge the other fighters to cross hands with him at
85 years old.
Soon after Master Xu Fenqi left our place of
physical existance, leaving behind his example of
life long dedication to Master Cui Shoushan