Yiquan - history outline

Yiquan is a relatively new system, developed in 20th century. But it has roots in xingyiquan (hsing-i ch'uan) - one of traditional internal systems of kung-fu (wushu). Yiquan's founder Wang Xiangzhai (1885-1963) was one of the greatest masters of Chinese martial arts in 20th century. In childhood he learned xingyiquan from famous Guo Yunshen. Travelling all over China he was meeting masters of various styles of kung-fu (wushu), comparing his skills with them and exchanging experiences. Apart from xingyiquan/xinyiquan he was especially inspired by baguazhang (pakua chang), taijiquan (t'ai chi ch'uan) and baihequan (pak hok kuen). His and his students contact with representatives of western boxing also influenced further developments of yiquan.

Wang Xiangzhai

After years of training and achieving great experience, in middle 1920s he came upon conclusion that xingyiquan was often taught in wrong way, causing students concentrating too much on superficial form, instead on the essence of the art. He postulated going back to the roots, to the original simplicity of the system. He changed the name xingyiquan, to yiquan (one of names of the art which were used previously), removing the part 'xing' (form). Yi means mind, idea, intention, will, quan - fist (fighting art). The name of this art indicates that the main stress is put on mental activity during training and not on mimicking movement patterns. Wang Xiangzhai and his students proved efficiency ot this method through numerous challenges.

In next years Wang Xiangzhai kept improving and developing his system. Due to impact of western culture and science, traditional concepts were reinterpreted and methods modified. This work was continued by Wang Xiangzhai's successor - Yao Zongxun (1917-1985).

Yao Zongxun

Presently one of the greatest experts of yiquan is Yao Chengguang, Yao Zongxun's son. He is a president of Beijing Yiquan Research Association and director of Zongxun Wuguan yiquan school in Beijing. Our Yiquan Academy is benefiting from master Yao Chengguang's support and teachings.
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