Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Guo YunShen and his Xingyiquan

Below is an extract from an article that appears at Hsing-I Martial Arts Institute, operated by Sifu Mike Patterson, one of the senior teachers of Xingyiquan in the US today. The full article may be read here. Please pay Mr. Patterson's website a visit.

"The Tiger Fist"
According to Master Wang Shu-Jin, one day Kuo Yun-Shen was sparring with a master of another style. In the course of the fight he was too forceful in his use of Peng Chuan; his opponent began to spit blood, and died. Because of this, Kuo was sent to prison.

After three years he was finally released. One of the top students of the Master he had killed came and declared his intention to avenge his teacher's death, inviting Kuo to compete with him. People knew that for the three years he had been in prison, Kuo had been manacled hand and foot, unable to move with much freedom, and so unable to fully practice his art. All thought that his health was probably weakened, and his vehemence doubtless dimi nished from its former state. His opponent was undoubtedly taking advantage of all this to get his revenge.

As soon as they crossed arms, however, Kuo struck violently with both fists, and his opponent was actually thrown back some fifteen to twenty feet and collapsed. It was very obvious that everybody was mistaken in their belief. During the time that he w as in prison, even though Kuo Yun-Shen did not have complete freedom of movement, he thought incessantly about his fighting style; although his hands were chained, borrowing from Hu Hsing Hsing-I's Tiger Form) he was able to come up with a new hand style. Morning and night he developed and practiced his "Tiger Striking Hand".

There exists yet another version of this same story, told in A Biographical Sketch of Master Kuo.
Kuo Yun-Shen was appointed as warden of Shen County. When he went to take over his post, the county magistrate presented him with money and gifts in recognition of his achievements. Because of this he drew the ill-will of the local bandits, who took every opportunity to make trouble for him.

One day, Kuo found himself face-to-face with a sword-brandishing brigand. He easily took the sword from him, and using it to return the attack hacked him to death. The penalty for killing a man was very severe, and Kuo found himself facing this penalty . But the county magistrate was fond of Kuo and so lightened his sentence to only three years imprisonment.

When the day for his release arrived, Magistrate Ch'ien asked, "Have you lost your kung-fu?" Kuo Yun-Shen declared "Absolutely not." His glance happened to fall on the courtyard wall. He struck it with his "Tiger Fist", and with just this one blow, the wall collapsed in a thunderous roar. For the three years that he was in prison, even though manacled, he found a way to practice, and created his "Tiger Fist". For this reason, his fame shines even today.


Paul said...

The Chinese version of Guo punched a guy dead was that he ambushed and killed a well-known local head bully (the bully was naturally protected by his gang of junior bullies, the only way to kill him was by ambush, though I wonder why the master didn't bring a sharp edge, at least for self protection) who did a lot of bad things (that's why Guo got his light sentence). It is interesting to note that this version is in Chinese language wiki but not in the English version of wiki....well, killing a head bully in feudal China was considered an honorable thing to do for a martial artist in Chinese mentality (the "dirty" act of ambush being forgiven). On the other hand, harming a fellow martial artist in open/fair gentleman-to-gentleman fight (as in the present day KO [irrespective of level of harm] in MMA) is an act of socially acceptable brutality in the mind of contemporary martial artists.

Needless to say, what actually happened is quite irrelevant - for all intents and purposes...:):)

Rick Matz said...

As long as it makes a good story.

Cardinal999 said...

The legend sells books and newspapers. Facts bore people. In summary the chained Guo developed the a specialized quarter step beng strike that became his signature move.