Thursday, April 28, 2011
KUNG FU BAD ASS - SHA GUO-ZHEN
Translated by Marcus Brinkman O.M.D.
Born in 1904 in eastern Shantung province, China, Sha became an enthusiastic devotee of Chinese boxing arts. Even at a young age he had studied a variety of Shaolin arts that encompass both empty hand fighting arts and weaponry. His early studies of Liuhe Chiang (Six Harmony Spear) formed Sha's continued love for spear practice throughout his life. In Bagua, Sha’s ability in spear and sword were equaled only to the famed Li Ziming.
In 1920, Sha began learning Baguazhang from Wang Chechen. Wang was a student of Dung Haichuan’s student Wang Lide. From Wang he learned Lion style Bagua which was patterned after a lion roaring, clawing, stalking his prey, and opening its massive mouth to devour its capture. Wang Chechen also taught Sha a sword art that Wang Lide learned from Dung. This sword art was named Baxian Jian (8 immortal Sword) and was supposedly taught to Dung by a Daoist monk who learned a circular boxing style near the Wudang mountainous region. In addition to Sword, Sha taught numerous weapons contained in Bagua and Xingyi arsenals.
From 1933-39, Sha moved to Tianjin where he continued to teach, research and study Bagua. He had made friends with practitioners in the Cheng Tinghua branch in that city and acquired deep knowledge of Bagua in these styles. Sha often took the train to Beijing during those years and learned many of Sun Lutang’s Bagua and Xingyi methods. He learned many Xingyi spear routines taught to him by a senior student of Sun who ran a body guard company service for dignitaries. In later years he only taught the Bagua and Xingyi he learned in Tianjin and Beijing if specifically requested, preferring to teach the Lion style method from Wang.
In 1926 or 27, Sha became a disciple of the renowned master of Bagua, Xingyi and Taiji, Jiang Rongjiao (1890-1971) Sha specialized in these areas and additionally
learned Mitsung (Micung) boxing and weaponry. He continued to deepen his studies with Jiang for decades, often traveling hundreds of miles to meet his teacher every few months. Jiang was also trained by the most famous swordsman of China, during the last century, Li Qing-lin. Jiang helped to widely disseminate Cheng Tinghua style Bagua, as well as Bagua spear and sword arts. Sha often spoke about Jiang as a father figure and master-scholar whom he patterned the majority of his Bagua and Xingyi .