Wushu Kung Fu- Taolu, Weapons, San Shou. The hardest training in the world.

Wushu (catch-all name for all Chinese martial arts)Kung Fu is generally misunderstood, often to the point that it gets a lot of ignorant statements from many traditional stylist in Chinese Martial Arts. It is one of the hardest and most physically demanding training in the world next to fight training, and it respectfully honors “Tradition”. The Jibengong “basics” alone are very tough. The range of motion gained from the flexibility training, the stamina and endurance training from the jibengong and Taolu (forms) is second to none.

My time spent with wushu was primarily with Coaches: Weiqi He, and Zhou Jianhua both from Shanghai and taught in Richmond Va. Later after moving to Northern Virginia: Coach Lu Xiaolin (Omei Wushu, Chengdu China) and Coach Li Ying (Chinese Martial Arts Institute, Beijing wushu team) in Fairfax Va. In all I spend the years of 1992-2004 deeply studying the forms and grinding in the Jibengong, Taolu, and San Shou (free fighting). I renewed my interest in Wushu in 2011 after 7 years of doing MMA study. I returned to United States Wushu Academy with Coach Pei and also study with Nick Masi to work on San Shou, Shuai Chiao, and Yang Taijiquan. Started testing with Yang family (member since 2004) in 2013.

Weiqi teaching basics (Jibengong)-

Some of the forms I had to learn were Changquan (Long fist or Long Boxing) modern variations of classical Shaolin, Chaquan, and Huaquan Long fist styles. These were called compulsories so that everyone world wide would have the same ‘templates” to work with for competition forms. Later on you could create your own “optional” forms based on difficult moves.

Some of the earlier Wushu Long fist Forms we had to do:
Wu bu Quan
Tan Tuei
Long fist form “32 San duan”
5th Dan Long boxing form
Old compulsory long fist or 6th Dan form*International routine.
Old compulsory straight sword*International routine.

Modern Taijiquan and internal forms we had to learn:
24 form
40 yang form
56 chen form
32 straight sword
42 compulsory (Yang chen, Wu, and Sun)*International routine.
42 compulsory sword (Yang chen, Wu, and Sun)*International routine.
48 form (Yang chen, Wu, and Sun)
Baguazhang compulsory
16 taiji spear

Books from that Era:

School testing:
From the years spent at Omei Wushu we did many of those forms and a lot more. Basic braodsword, staff, and other weapon compulsories and other forms: Classical Cha Quan, Xingyiquan, Baguazhang Deer hook knife, etc.

I tested 11 times at Omei and stopped at level 3 Black Sash:

Newer compulsories circa 2001: By the time of video taping these forms here, I was just about near the end of my wushu career at age 30, so my body was changing and focus became more interested in San shou rather than forms.
Taolu- empty hand: Long boxing

Taolu short weapon: straight sword

Taolu long weapon spear:

San shou

Full contact

Competitions from that Era: Forms, weapons, and push hands. While I never made the U.S. National team (tried out 42 taijiquan, 42 taiji sword, and Wushu spear in 2001) nor ever made it to Grandchampion of a wushu or taiji event, I did travel to many different competitions Internationally and Nationally. I fought in both local and national competitions in san shou and Lei Tai.
Taste of China:



United States Koushu Association:


Shanghai Invitational 1994 and 1996:


United States Wushu Kung Fu Association:Baltimore, Florida, and Virginia.


United States Wushu Union: Pennsylvania.

Chin Woo and Taiji Legacy:



Other awards/trophies:
U.S. Capitol Classics 2008, International Martial arts Championships 2004.

Traditional Ranking and Certifications from Yongnian Taijiquan Association, Yang Family Taijiquan Association, Master Cai Hong Xian.


What is my next wushu ambitions?

-Continue the testing and ranking process with Yang Family Association.
-Start Duan testing with International Wushu Federation.
-Start taking Judging courses in Wushu, become more active in competitions as a judge.
-Begin ranking with North American San Shou Dao Association.
-Complete my Masters of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) degree.

In conclusion:
Starting from the Cheng Man Ching branch of Yang Taijiquan (Traditional), it is safe say after having done all the hard work that Modern Wushu training has to offer, it is very scientific and draws upon the traditional. From my experience starting in Richmond Va. my first Wushu teachers introduced be to many Traditional Masters seminars with: Ben Lo, Fu Zhong Wen, Fu Sheng Yuan, James Fu, Park Bok Nam (Baguazhang), Liang Shou Yu, Cai Hong xian (Shaolin Qin-na). Northern Virginia teachers into me to Traditional seminars with Chen Xiao Wong, Chen Zhenlie, Zhu Tian Cai, Yang Jun, Chris Pei (Yang Zhenjie and Yang Zhenduo), Willy Lin (Tian Shan Pai), Dr. Weng (Shuai Chiao), Beijing wushu team members: Jiang Ban Jun and Li Jing. All these great teachers I have trained with at one time or another down the road to discovering “Kung fu”.

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Tui shou, Da shou, San shou, and Sparring: May-June 2014

Here are some of my more recent videos I have done. Being busy with day job, TCM school, and now baby Bryson, I wanted to collect some thoughts on these videos with Brian Allen on his visit down here. We got to get some training time on video.
Tui Shou: pushing hands, sensing hands.

First we went over Tui Shou or “pushing hands” in a friendly non-compliant way, we started with a traditional opening and the formal tui shou pattern used in Yang family style. (not cheng man ching style). we agreed on using moving steps as restricted step is not practical in real-world situations. My objective was to be non-compliant, Brian would work on his recent seminar lessons with Sifu Mark Rasmus and try to neutralize, uproot, etc. 2 videos here.

second video:

Da Shou striking hands of Yang Taijiquan.

Da shou or striking hands is the mother to Tui Shou. It is a no-nonsense striking training used in Yang Family Taiji brought to us through Yang Shouzhong. He was first son of Yang Chen fu. Second son Yang Zhenjie also taught these. Since testing vs. other schools, da shou is less friendly, tui shou was created to make a friendlier way to test people. Here I am showing Brian some of the patterns for the first time. He didn’t do bad, it is just very new info to him. You will see some similarities to other martial arts from southern china like Wing Chun, JKD, or even Kali. more on Da Shou in Chinese martial arts.

For actual fighting, these methods are used fast and quickly, no standing and sticking around. Partner wise/training wise, it is trained in a compliant way, it trains attack and defense, with countering. It can become a fun game.

San Shou: starting with training the hands. Fundamental Boxing.

Teaching Brian first level of San shou: hand techniques. We teach boxing for this and teach it “slow and exact”. he will have to do the following for a few months before I show him the next level of basics. It becomes very internal doing it very slowly with awareness and becomes non-dualistic in regards to thinking boxing as a “external’ arts. we want our boxing to be (internal+ external+ qi power)this equates to = real impact power.

3 month Beginning Boxing basics for San Shou Assignment: 2 hour workout.
*get a mini timer and do each to 3 min. rounds, 1 minute rest:
1. 3 rounds step-jab forward, jab step back.
2. 3 rounds Cross- no stepping.
3. 3 rounds Lead hook- no stepping.
4. 3 rounds Body shots- no stepping.
5. 3 rounds Upper cut- level changing, no stepping.
6. 3 rounds: 5 element stepping (left, right, back, forward variations), one step, 2-step, 3-step variations.
7. 3 rounds Box stepping. clockwise and counter-clock wise variations.
8. 3 rounds spot stepping drill.

After doing this for 3 months. Then I will add more stepping and punch combination drill for Basics level 2 for next 3 months. After basics level 2 test. You will then be instructed on what to do in shadow boxing, focus mitt, and bag sets (heavy and speed bags). Slow and steady progression, but train the hell out of your basics so you have good form for sparring.

Get a friend to hold a focus mitt as well. You are only as good as basics, so drill them deeply.
Goal in a few months time: get the basic punches down with good concentration and mechanics, each about 10,000 times. Proper structural integrity with crisp speed and power.
Boxing club workout

Boxing with a golden gloves boxer who has been training since 10 years old. This is more toward the end of our workout with consisted of running, jump rope rounds, shadow boxing rounds, heavy bag rounds, focus mitt rounds, glove work, lastly sparring. It is very hot in the room and I was pretty exhausted. I hope to get more sparring footage soon.

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Xianhao Cheng: Philadelphia PA area teacher.

This article was originally written in late 1998.

Xianhao Cheng

It is interesting to know that among the many practitioners of Taijiquan (Grand Ultimate boxing) Gong Fu (skill gained through time and hard effort) that have come to America from Mainland China, none have impressed me as much as Xianhao. Interested in the American practitioners, Xianhao is determined to help bring a higher understanding of the art to better clarify the meaning of the Taiji principles into our physical culture. As a Doctor of Oceanography at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, (now in Philadelphia PA) Xianhao actively pursuits his scientific responsibilities while, maintaining his passion inherited from his Taiji masters. Quality of teaching is preferred to quantity of students at this present time, giving Xianhao the ability to discern closely what is needed to improve the students’ needs for correct practice.

Born in 1955 in Hangzhou, mainland China, he began martial arts at the age of 20. His first teacher was Song Geng Yu. Song Geng Yu was a member of the first Zhejiang Wushu Team, after the cultural revolution. Xianhao learned from him the Shaolin Chang Chuan or long-fist.

Four years later, he began to study Taiji in the parks of Hangzhou surrounded by many practitioners and teachers of the art. There he became interested in the oldest style of Taiji, Chen Style, and the push-hands method, Tui Shou. From this base he was able to meet with the real Taiji people who were non-public about their Tui Shou. Being interested in deepening his skills, Xianhao was initiated by some of the rarest teachers available at the time.

There are many Taiji players in the parks of mainland China, but only a handful really have a passion for the higher level skills. He really doesn’t associate with the public level of teaching, but finds great interest in the “underground” practitioners, who rarely let themselves be known. He mentions these people do not want to be bothered and will never be seen in the parks.
He learned many forms, among them: a 13 wudang taiji postures , Wudang sword style, and Taiji stick. He has had the opportunity to have meet teachers who trace back to Yang Jian Hao and Yang Shao Hao. This is a smaller circle, Taijiquan. Again I’d like to mention that these Taiji people prefer to be anonymous, rather than having their names published.

It was through Master Zhu Liang Fang, a fifth generation practitioner of Yang’s Taijiquan, a disciple of Jiang Yu Kueng that Xianhao’s Taiji began to flourish. Jiang Yu Kueng (fourth generation) was quite fortunate to have been a part of Yang Chen Fu’s teaching in Nan Jin Chinese Central Martial arts Academy in 1930-34. Jiang Yu Kueng was given inner student teachings. Thus becoming famous in China for his abilities fighting placing in competition for his Lao shir (respectable master) Yang Chen Fu. He graduating from the academy, where the students were very eminent in martial arts. Most of them ended up becoming famous martial arts instructors in China.

Zhu Liang Feng with Jiang Yu Kueng

It is through this master that the foundation of Xianhao’s background was laid. With this base he was able to meet the non-public Tui Shou masters. Among his valued possession he keeps an original picture of Yang Chen Fu, given to him from his master, and an original copy of Yang Chen Fu’s book, The Art of Tai Chi Chuan.

The long form that Xianhao demonstrates is very alive and successfully unifies every teaching into his movements. Unlike the stiff and dead movements executed, it is very circular, organic, rounded, low, soft, and flexible. As he moves, his internal energy, or jing, is always calmly aware, while remaining hidden, much like a cat ready to pounce. I have studied with many Taiji masters in the past few years, who are licensed by the Chinese government. Their specialties include compulsory routines for competition. They teach in methods that require the student to fulfill the standards of that particular routine and the rules for competition. The flavor and appeal of competition forms is much different.

Xianhao’s routine’s combines different points of attention based on push hands and combat knowledge, containing coiling, pulsating spirals far from the robotic compulsory movements. His movements show the variety of circles inherent in the Yang, Chen and Wu styles as if giving reverence for the families of Taiji. His form is full of Yang knowledge, chi, and it blends with Tao, in his own special way much like how we each write our name, uniquely. His genuine display can never be truly mimicked because it’s at a level of true understanding of the function.

This is an excellent example for us to humble ourselves to be willing to progress ever upward, the true meaning of gong fu. He has gone to great lengths and extreme depth in his research of chin-na (grappling), combat applications, push hands, and throwing techniques, or shuai jiao. Living Gong Fu is exemplified in the way Xianhao carries himself to his students in an open and compassionate way.

Links to teachings from Xianhao:
Translation of health functions of Taijiquan
Article on Peng Jing
Hangzhou version of Ba Duan Jin
Empty and full in Taijiquan
Yang Taijiquan applications
Taiji straight sword basics
Saber long form

Xianhao’s teaching style is not based on talk, but practice. It is emphasized that it’s up to the student whether they want to learn. A real gong fu is developed when there is a close and friendly relationship with sifu, a long term relationship is valued because it is relaxed and most suitable for learning. The seriousness of lessons received are worthy of informally establishing a sense of humbleness in the heart and mind towards Xianhao, his teacher, and the respected lineage. Becoming a close student will enable the student in modern times to gain the knowledge of the meridians of acupuncture, pressure points through massage, and herbal remedies to help the “good,” while the martial art dispel the “bad pathogens.” Xianhao is truly a teacher who can train you to calm oneself mentally and physically allowing the Taijiquan to function consistently and harmoniously with the will.

The Teachings-
Motto of Yongnian: Diligence, Perseverance, Respect, Sincerity.
Xianhao has a well-developed program covering all the essentials for progress.

The eight posture warm-ups Xianhao teaches was created by Yang Chen Fu for people as a gymnastic-like sport using taiji motions, calisthenics which are a little demanding yet strengthening.

Taiji Qigong is then introduced to allow the student to hone into chi feeling and then cultivate it further.
The next step is the 40 form compulsory of the Yang style.
40 yang

Advanced students then continue onto the 54 sword form ,then graduate up to the Long form.
Yang Straight Sword

Xianhao is one of the few masters in America that teaches the Yang style spear form and the long Yang broadsword form learned from his sifu in Hangzhou.

Eventually Push Hands drills are slowly introduced beginning with single, double hand techniques, fixed step, moving step, then fa jing lessons.
Push hands

Essential points of attention for push hands mentioned by Xianhao:
1. Don’t give up 30%
2. Be soft and Flexible
3. Empty, sink. turn
4. Apply jing to wrist and turn
5. Soft to hard, hard to soft, soft to emptiness interchangeably.

The three Jings:
Chang Jing - described as a long, silent and gentle energy. When applied the opponent is unaware, they’re off balanced. This energy is not designed to hurt people.
Duan Jing – a sudden and whip-like energy, it is relaxed and can hurt the opponent.
Ling Jing – cold energy, it is a hurting type of energy that is not easily noticed. It is sudden, shocking, and penetrates deep into the internal organs.

After the student grasps the previous concepts the introduction to Traditional Straight sword and the 108 Long form are taught, as well as other supplementary forms and Da Lu.

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SCM: Sa Sang Constitutional Medicine of Korea

Originated with Lee Che-ma in 1894

Classifies all humans into 4 types of constitution and presents custom made treatments and medication according to different constitution of an individual.

Taeyang- large lungs, small liver.
Taeum- weak lungs, large liver.
Soyang- strong digestion, weak urogenital.
Soum- weak digestion, large urogental.




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