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The Cangzhou Mizong school of wushu

The Cangzhou Mizong school of wushu

The origin and development of Cangzhou Mizong wushu (迷踪拳)
The name of the wushu routine, Mizong Punches, suggests “the labyrinth of the punches tracks” with its prevalence originated in Cangzhou, China. The founder, Master Sun Tong, lived back in the Qing dynasty, was born in Tai’an city, Shandong province, a coastal province in the East China region. He received his wushu trainings from great masters since he was young and he advanced his trainings and mastery of Shaolin Mizong Punches at the Shaolin Monastery for another 10 plus years. In pursuit of erudition in wushu, young Master Sun travelled around China and grasped every opportunity to pick up techniques and teachings from other schools of wushu. Therefore the Cangzhou Mizong Punches he founded does not only exhibit its Shaolin authentic inheritance in terms of physical sturdiness, but also demonstrates the essence of psychological self-cultivation and virtuous disposition developed in the long history of Chinese culture.

Along his tour around China, he taught Mizong Punches to the villagers of Datuan village and Xiao Nanhe village in Cangzhou city then. The great grandfather of the Chinese patriotic hero, Master Huo Yuan Jia, lived in Xiao Nanhe village and was the pupil of Master Sun. Cangzhou Mizong school of wushu started to spread across China from here.

The 2 authentic wushu routines of Cangzhou Mizong school, Tiejiao Luohan Punches (Arhat with Iron Fist and Kicks) and Tipao Fencing (Fencing with Suits of Armour), are handed down exclusively to the successor of Mizong school. In early 20th Century, being a successor of the school, Master Yip Yu Ting brought them to Hong Kong when he migrated from north to south, i.e. from Cangzhou, via Shanghai, Canton and eventually settled down in Hong Kong in mid-1940. Master Yip taught Ma Chi Kin in person in the later part of 1950s, and in turn, Ma Chi Kin passed over Tiejiao Luohan Punches to Hung Yun Yuen, being another contemporary pupil of Master Yip Yu Ting (late 1950s to early 1960s). It ends up that both Ma Chi Kin and Hung Yun Yuen join hands and teach the orthodox Cangzhou Mizong wushu routines in Hong Kong in the 21st Century.

The development of the Cangzhou Mizong wushu in Hong Kong
Master Yip Yu Ting was born in the county Cang located in Cangzhou of Heibei. He loved Wushu since he was small and learnt Mizong Punches from his uncle Yip Xi Zhen. He was assiduous and practiced every day. When he was 24, he was appointed as one of the bodyguards to escort merchant caravans under the name the North West Victory Security Escort and earned his reputation for his wushu competence. He was brought in to the Beijing Inner City Troop by General Wang Huai Qing as the head instructor, and later followed General Wang to the Capital Defense Forces and trained the military troops for 10 years. He remained in his position for another 3 years after Zhang Xue Liang took over the Capital Defense Forces. Afterwards he was recruited by yet another warlord, Zhang Chung Cheong of Shandong province and stayed there for 2 years. When he turned 40, he left the troops and advanced his skills in Shaolin Punches at Shanghai Chin Woo Athletic Federation, learning from Master Zhao Lian He. During the Sino-Japanese war, Master Yip Yu Ting was invited to the South China Athletic Association in Hong Kong to teach Martial Arts classes. Before his death in 1962, Master Yip devoted the rest of his life in teaching Mizong Punches and Shaolin Punches and thereafter preserved the Cangzhou Mizong school of wushu in Hong Kong.

The historical and cultural significance of Cangzhou Mizong wushu
Some sayings mentioned that the history of Mizong wushu could be traced back to more than 1,400 years ago in ancient China. Chinese wushu is an intangible cultural heritage embodied with Chinese values and traditions developed over its long history, which is very representative of the ethnicity development. Every set of Chinese wushu routine is a physical expression of an extracted set of belief and disposition, the more the practitioner is trained in his wushu skills, the more he internalised the embodied values. Reciprocally, the more the practitioner develops his knowledge and virtue, the more virtuoso he demonstrates in his wushu skills. This interactive mode of mind-body cultivation differentiates Chinese wushu from other similar sports and martial arts activities.

Master Huo Yuan Jia, who was highly regarded as a Chinese patriotic hero, made Cangzhou Mizong Punches a well-known wushu, having using it to defeat Japanese wrestlers that came to challenge Chinese kung fu masters at a time when the Chinese sovereignty was under erosion. In his quest to perfect Mizong Punches, Master Huo incorporated techniques he learnt from other masters to his family’s Mizong Punches. With all efforts, he embodied patriotism bundling with determination in teaching and spreading around the Mizong wushu.

According to historical documentation, Master Huo Yuan Jia founded the Chin Woo Physical Training Center in 1909 (also named China Chin Woo Physical Training Association in 1910) as an educational institution open to the public for learning Mizong Punches. After the death of Master Huo in September 1910, Huo’s partners Mr Lu Wei Chang, Chen Gong Zhe and Yao Chan Bo co-founded China Chin Woo Athletic Federation, which was called by a different name, Shanghai Chin Woo Athletic Federation, since 1916. In 1919, Sun Wen (Sun Yat Sen) wrote a preface for Chin Woo’s publication in support of the Federation to promote the spirit of getting strong both physically and mentally. The main theme of Sun’s preface “The will to get strong” has been inscribed on a tablet hanging in the Federation. As written by Pan Mau Rong in the learning guide to Master Yip Yu Ting’s Shaolin Mizong Arhat Punches, Master Yip Yu Ting advanced his wushu training in this Federation in Shanghai echoing the footprint of the late Master Huo Yuan Jia when Master Yip himself was in his forties at the time.

Invited by Hong Kong Chin Woo Athletic Association, three pupils of Master Yip Yu Ting, Ma Chi Kin, Hung Yun Yuen, and Hung Yun Heng, attended a Hong Kong newspaper interview on 20th September 2010. During the interview being conducted by the media, Hung Yun Yuen and Ma Chi Kin demonstrated the authentic wushu routines of Cangzhou Mizong school, Tiejiao Luohan Punches (Arhat with Iron Fist and Kicks) and Tipao Fencing (Fencing with Suits of Armour), that were handed down exclusively to them. Coincidentally, 2010 was the 100th anniversary of Shanghai Chin Woo Athletic Association.

With Hong Kong’s return to China by 1997, it is now an opportune moment to raise and promote the awareness of our own culture among the younger generations. While Chinese wushu is a representative cultural heritage and its core value is to build up physical fitness and morality, we believe wushu has the power to enrich lives and to motivate people to progress and achieve. In the face of growing globalization, we see promoting wushu as our mission to safeguard the Chinese cultural heritage against oblivion and as a way to encourage cultural diversity that allows mutual respect for other ways of life.

Extract from the script by Ma Chi Kin and Hung Yun Yuen on 28th September 2010

Hung Yun Yuen was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by World Organization of Wushu Kung Fu Masters

(Image1) Hung Yun Yuen and Ma Chi Kin demonstrated the authentic wushu routines of Cangzhou Mizong school, Tiejiao Luohan Punches (Arhat with Iron Fist and Kicks) and Tipao Fencing (Fencing with Suits of Armour).

(Image 2) The pupils of Master Yip Yu Ting, Hung Yun Yuen (on the left), Ma Chi Kin (in the middle) and Hung Yun Heng (on the right)

(Image 3) Mizong wushu performance at Fa Hui Park

(Image 4) Mizong wushu performance at Lei Yue Mun

Contributed by Hung Yun Yuen 

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