Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

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Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby meversbergii on Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:49 am

Hello, new here. I am not a CMA practitioner, though I do have martial arts experience under my belt and I do peruse CMA writings as an amateur academic and roleplay gamer. Xingyiquan has become a recent interest of mine because of these things.

I recently read several books that sent me down this path. It started with Dennis Rovere's publication on Huang Bo Nien's "Xingyi Fist and Weapon Instruction"; an interesting book, as it was a nexus between military combatives and more traditional martial arts. Both of these are interesting to me, so I naturally grabbed a copy as soon as I was aware of it. It lead me to another Xingyiquan book, a very slim volume called The Xingyi Boxing Manual: Hebei Style's Five Principles and Seven Words. A reccommendation from an acquaintance brought me to Brian Kennedy's "Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey", which in turn lead me to "Yin Yuzhang's Baguazhang".

I've only begun to peruse the latter recently. Kennedy's book implied that this Baguazhang's sabre section (which if memory serves he described as being for the miaodao, when it clearly depicts a dadao) was written towards the Chinese Army in some capacity, which is why I bought a copy. In addition to Rovere's work, I also have experience with Jin En-Zhong's "Practical Big Sabre Techniques", translated a few years back into English by Jack Chen. All this leaves me with a few questions that someone here might know the answer to.

1) Is Yin Yuzhang's sabre teachings - the dadao teachings - actually written towards the army? I know several units deployed this weapon during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and it would not surprise me if Jin En-Zong wasn't the only author targeting them.

2) What about his Bagua section? I'd expect that if Section B is written towards the army, so would Section A be, but it could be two different books compiled together.

3) Is Rovere's work - Xingyi Fist and Weapon Instruction - held in any esteem? Or is it so obscure as to not have a yes or no attached to it?

4) Other than the Xingyi system written for the Central Military Academy at Nanjing and Jin En-Zhong's manual written towards the Da Dao Dui of the 29th Army, what else do we have written towards troops of the time? I would expect many of them having their own background in martial arts, but the various organizations of the military obviously saw value in a standardized curriculum.

This is a niche within a niche, but after perusing a few posts on here that turned up while trying to Google away my questions, I figured this might not be a terrible place to start asking.

Thanks!

M.
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby D_Glenn on Sun Apr 19, 2015 9:59 am

This article by Brian Kennedy might answer your first question (I think): http://chinesemartialstudies.com/2013/0 ... ican-army/

The Army Dadao was actually just a farming tool, that was commonly known and manufactured in mass quantity, normally used to cut bundled wheat or other various uses on the farm.

There's an RSF member here who practices the Yin Yuzhang form.
Image


But here's a picture of a Traditional Baguazhang Dadao: Image
~ From [scroll down to 3rd post] http://wuxiasociety.freeforums.net/thre ... rts-museum

And the traditional sabre has several different forms of it's own.


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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby yeniseri on Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:50 am

Dadao use was a functional one as many units lacked basic weaponry (I,e. guns, or they were in limited use, inability to get them for said use, etc) so development had to be within the template. Therefore, xingyi provided that teaching and structural methodology of use. Bajiqian also provided a template for CQB (hand to hand) combat
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby lazyboxer on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:04 am

Here's the link to a thread Brian started prior to publishing his book:
http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/topic/12249-double-handed-sabre/
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby D_Glenn on Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:04 am

meversbergii wrote:2) What about his Bagua section? I'd expect that if Section B is written towards the army, so would Section A be, but it could be two different books compiled together.

That would be 八卦掌簡編 "Baguazhang compendium" by 尹玉章
So. Yes.
But the Bagua book was not intended for military. And, if memory serves me correctly, Yin Yuzhang's saber book was intended more for self defense and practicing with a readily available weapon/ tool, as true traditional cold weapons were outlawed in 1911.

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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby tianshanwarrior on Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:31 am

Hello meversbergii,

My two cents, based on what little understanding

1) Is Yin Yuzhang's sabre teachings - the dadao teachings - actually written towards the army? I know several units deployed this weapon during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and it would not surprise me if Jin En-Zong wasn't the only author targeting them.

There are a few books that claim in one way or the other that their material was for military use. Some might have been implemented these methods, but it is hard to say. If you look at Yin Yuzhang’s and Jin En-Zhong’s books the techniques illustrated are almost exclusively done with a two handed grip. However, the surviving da dao units footage from that period show the soldiers performing their routines using one handed grip. The 29th Army was made out of troops that were originally parte of Feng Yuxiang’s North West Army. Feng is credited as the one who sponsored the creation of such units under the guidance of the Ma brothers (Yingtu and Fengtu). The Ma were experts in Piguazhang,Bajiquan etc. Eagle Claw expert, Lau Fat Man published a book to teach the use of Da Dao to mentioned just a few examples. Muslim units that joined the communist in the western provinces were also adept to the Da Dao.

2) What about his Bagua section? I'd expect that if Section B is written towards the army, so would Section A be, but it could be two different books compiled together.

Bagua and Bajiquan were taught to imperial bodyguards during the Qing dynasty, but I have not seen sources mentioning if this was also for the army in general. During the warlord period Ma Liang created a curriculum for, at least on paper, the armed forces, published in 4 volumes and titled Xin Wushu (New Wushu). It included Shuai Jiao, boxing (the volume only shows couple routines but no applications), sword (Jian) and staff (Gun). A western account of such training is found in J. Svinth’ website titled “Strenuous Athletics in China, including Pre-Japanese Jiu-Jutsu”

3) Is Rovere's work - Xingyi Fist and Weapon Instruction - held in any esteem? Or is it so obscure as to not have a yes or no attached to it?

I know and trained with Mr. Rovere (mostly military Sanda) and I can attest on his credentials and skill. Of all the XIngyi books out there, Mr. Rovere’s is the only one that actually illustrates the methods taught at the Military Academy at Nanjing with a very practical and no-non sense approach. You might also want to read his article in the Journal of Chinese Martial Studies, titled “Esoteric Writings in Xingyi as an Aid to Practice”

4) Other than the Xingyi system written for the Central Military Academy at Nanjing and Jin En-Zhong's manual written towards the Da Dao Dui of the 29th Army, what else do we have written towards troops of the time? I would expect many of them having their own background in martial arts, but the various organizations of the military obviously saw value in a standardized curriculum.

Lian Bu Quan was a method taught to Chinese commandos and militias during the war (Mr. Rovere’s second teacher was a combat instructor for these units). There are two version of the routine, the one taught at the Central National Arts Academy (Zhongyang Guoshu Guan) can be found in Smith’s book on Xingyiquan. The military version is quite different and it was designed to be a quick and easy way to learn how to fight for both men and women. Every move in the form has a practical application and can be used for both armed and unarmed fighting thanks to what Mr. Rovere’s calls the “uniform theory of training”. A nice article to read is “Lien Bu Ch'uan: The Chinese Commando Method” and his DVD on this is very interesting as well. Other examples of traditional martial arts taught during the war can be Tam Tui for troops in Beijing, Qing Nian Quan (Youth Fist) to some recruits in what seems to be Chengtu, Sichuan in the 1930s (there is a video in Human Weapon chapter on Kung Fu), Hung Ga teacher Lam Sai Wing is said to have taught to southern troops/militias, Li Yaochen is said to have created and taught infantry soldiers a Da Dao method. Tim’s Cartmell translation titled “Chin Na Fa: Traditional Chinese Submission Grappling” illustrates methods for police forces. All of the above shows that even though there were attempts to standardize training it was not always the case. Perhaps due to the fact that China was not an unified nation, the specific task of the units participating in the war effort e.g. regular infantry vs. commandos vs. police etc.
Hope this helps,

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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby meversbergii on Fri May 29, 2015 10:18 pm

Well, this is embarrassing; life seems to have gotten away and I'm just now getting around to responding. So, my takeaway is this:

1) The bagua material I referenced was not intended for the military, but rather towards civilians as a self-defense material. I recall from the book "Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals" that the Republican period had a real boom of these, so it definitely makes sense.

2) Other official military styles exist - at least one, under the name Lian Bu Quan. If I want more information, I should be looking in this book: http://amzn.com/1556434553 There are likely other arts within the same context as well.

3) Chin Na Fa was taught to cops, and this is a book on it: http://amzn.com/1583941851

4) Rovere's book is probably on point.

It's a shame Rovere only demonstrated the Bayonet in his DVD; it would be nice to see it all in motion.

I'll see if I can follow up these leads and see if that takes me anywhere interesting. Cheers!

M.
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby kenneth fish on Sat May 30, 2015 1:40 pm

Sorry to micturate on anyone's parade, but there was really no organized use of CMA in the Chinese military (if we are referring to the Kuo Min Chun/Guomin Jun or Nationalist Chinese Army). There were very likely units that practiced this or that because of the presence of a teacher or the preference of a particular leader, but the military did not teach CMA as such. Infantry training did include knife, saber, and bayonet drills, as well as extensive hand to hand drills, but this was also true of the Western armies. Bear in mind that the KMT military training was patterned on the Prussian and Japanese models (and the latter was essentially based on Prussian and British models). Regarding Feng Yuxiang and the other warlords - their warlord armies did not become integrated with the national army until fairly late, and training was an uneven and ragtag affair. Yes, local divisions may have hired a teacher (or teachers may have presented themselves in hopes of gaining employment) but that is a far cry from an institutional use of CMA.

As for the old chestnut about Imperial bodyguards learning Bagua - really, there is no evidence for that. What evidence exists points towards members of the Manchu family and their friends learning CMA as a personal interest.
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby Overlord on Sun May 31, 2015 1:30 am

Hi Ken,

The special force in Taiwan do use Baji for military.
It is not for public and soldiers are to sign a disclosure contract.

In China from my knowledge, certain school do influence the combat arts in military.

That is all I can say.
-saber-

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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby kenneth fish on Sun May 31, 2015 11:22 am

Overlord:

I did my service at Yangmei. My adopted father was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Taiwan. I am very familiar with the training in Taiwan. Two of my civilian teachers were also instructors at the 警備總部 (the National Security and Intelligence Service of Taiwan). The Baji training there is not secret (it has even been shown on Taiwan TV) - nor is it taken as seriously as you imply. It is simply the legacy of one group of teachers who taught there. There were other teachers and other martial arts taught to the intelligence forces as well - Zhong Fusheng, the Eagle Claw master, was considered one of the best. Shuaijiao and qinna were also taught. However, the audience for this training was (and is) mostly internal security and police - not the special forces of which there are several - the most well trained and well regarded of which are the Taiwan equivalent of the Seals (the waren 蛙人)。 These were the guys who would swim from Jinmen to the mainland, and whose work included insertion and recovery of covert operatives. Their training mirrors the American special operations groups, with an emphasis on weapons primarily and close quarters combat a close second. Baji is not a part of their training.

My point was with regard to the OP - early 20th century Chinese Military Martial Arts. As I stated, there really was no institutional focus or encouragement of CMA in the Chinese military of that period, and certainly not of any particular style.
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby C.J.W. on Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:44 am

The Baji that presidential bodyguards in Taiwan learn is from Liu Yunqiao's lineage, and no different from the materials that are openly taught to civilians at Wutan -- the martial arts organization founded by Liu that focuses on spreading his Baji and Pigua -- in terms of forms. A family friend of mine was a presidential bodyguard in the early 90s and later became a CQC and arresting techniques instructor at the national police academy. I've learned some Baji from him, and also compared notes with my cousin, who practiced Wutan's "civilian Baji" for 4 years in college as the president of the school's CMA club. The only major difference between the two that I am aware of is the bodyguards are taught more practical "one-step" applications and are required to perform conditioning (i.e. running, weight training) and basic power training drills. And since most of the guards nowadays are just men from various military and law enforcement agencies with athletic backgrounds and less than a year of formal Baji training, they are not exactly the lethal Kung-fu experts that outsiders often imagine them to be. (There are some exceptions, of course.)
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby GrahamB on Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:08 am

meversbergii wrote:Hello, new here. I am not a CMA practitioner, though I do have martial arts experience under my belt and I do peruse CMA writings as an amateur academic and roleplay gamer. Xingyiquan has become a recent interest of mine because of these things.

I recently read several books that sent me down this path. It started with Dennis Rovere's publication on Huang Bo Nien's "Xingyi Fist and Weapon Instruction"; an interesting book, as it was a nexus between military combatives and more traditional martial arts. Both of these are interesting to me, so I naturally grabbed a copy as soon as I was aware of it. It lead me to another Xingyiquan book, a very slim volume called The Xingyi Boxing Manual: Hebei Style's Five Principles and Seven Words. A reccommendation from an acquaintance brought me to Brian Kennedy's "Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey", which in turn lead me to "Yin Yuzhang's Baguazhang".

I've only begun to peruse the latter recently. Kennedy's book implied that this Baguazhang's sabre section (which if memory serves he described as being for the miaodao, when it clearly depicts a dadao) was written towards the Chinese Army in some capacity, which is why I bought a copy. In addition to Rovere's work, I also have experience with Jin En-Zhong's "Practical Big Sabre Techniques", translated a few years back into English by Jack Chen. All this leaves me with a few questions that someone here might know the answer to.

1) Is Yin Yuzhang's sabre teachings - the dadao teachings - actually written towards the army? I know several units deployed this weapon during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and it would not surprise me if Jin En-Zong wasn't the only author targeting them.

2) What about his Bagua section? I'd expect that if Section B is written towards the army, so would Section A be, but it could be two different books compiled together.

3) Is Rovere's work - Xingyi Fist and Weapon Instruction - held in any esteem? Or is it so obscure as to not have a yes or no attached to it?

4) Other than the Xingyi system written for the Central Military Academy at Nanjing and Jin En-Zhong's manual written towards the Da Dao Dui of the 29th Army, what else do we have written towards troops of the time? I would expect many of them having their own background in martial arts, but the various organizations of the military obviously saw value in a standardized curriculum.

This is a niche within a niche, but after perusing a few posts on here that turned up while trying to Google away my questions, I figured this might not be a terrible place to start asking.

Thanks!

M.


You might find this article, and website helpful:

http://chinesemartialstudies.com/2012/11/26/693/
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby TeaSerpent on Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:00 pm

Image

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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby Steve James on Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:59 pm

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=15&v=SvnY5Kehu5E[/youtube]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... vnY5Kehu5E
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Re: Early 20th Century Chinese Military Martial Arts

Postby wayne hansen on Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:04 pm

I understood that Ba Tang that is taught through the TST and other lineages was taught to the military
At least those doing national service learnt the set
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