China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

There are hun­dreds of branches of to­day. Some are named af­ter found­ing fig­ures while oth­ers fea­ture move­ments rem­i­nis­cent of those by crea­tures such as dragons, mon­keys or snakes.

In 2006, be­came rec­og­nized as an in­tan­gi­ble na­tional cul­tural her­itage and Wenx­ian county was named as the birth­place of the mar­tial art. There are now more than 30 mar­tial art schools in Wenx­ian that train thou­sands of peo­ple. In ad­di­tion, masters from Wenx­ian have also opened up their own stu­dios, gyms and clubs abroad to spread the knowl­edge.

Here are the most prom­i­nent styles of to­day:

This vari­a­tion was cre­ated by Chen Wangt­ing (1580-1660), from Chen­ji­agou of Wenx­ian county, He­nan prov­ince. Chen was a re­tired mil­i­tary com­man­der who had com­bined his mil­i­tary ex­pe­ri­ence with tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine the­ory about hu­man en­ergy flow to cre­ate a 108-move Long Fist ( rou­tine. Chen is also the cre­ator of the push hands ( ex­er­cise, where two peo­ple prac­tice at­tack, re­sis­tance, yield and re­di­rect­ion of power through de­cep­tively sim­ple move­ments of the limbs.

This style of was es­tab­lished by Yang Lu-chan (1799-1872). When he was young, Yang would peek through the bro­ken wall of Chen’s home to se­cretly study the mar­tial art. A nat­u­ral tal­ent, the man later went on to beat Chen’s dis­ci­ples af­ter years of train­ing and went to Bei­jing to teach the mar­tial art to the im­pe­rial fam­ily and the brigade units at the For­bid­den City.

Founded by Wu Yux­i­ang (1812-1880), this branch was es­tab­lished thanks to his nephew Li I-yu, who au­thored sev­eral books on the mar­tial art and passed on the style to the younger gen­er­a­tions of stu­dents.

There is an­other Wu style of that was named af­ter a dif­fer­ent in­di­vid­ual, Wu Quanyou (1834-1902), who was an out­stand­ing stu­dent among those trained by Yang Luchan. When Wu re­tired from the army, he set up a school in Bei­jing which later be­came fa­mous for its teach­ings on “neu­tral­iz­ing hard en­ergy”, or dis­solv­ing the strength of an at­tack.

Li’s books on had also led Sun Lu-tang (1890-1933) to cre­ate his own form. Sun was an ac­com­plished scholar on Con­fu­cius and Tao­ism and had many pub­lished works. He taught to the pub­lic from 1914 to 1928 and was a fac­ulty mem­ber of the Bei­jing Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search In­sti­tute.

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