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Chuojiao (??, literally “poking foot”) is a Chinese martial art that comprises many jumps, kicks, and fast fist sequences. The fist and feet work in unison and strike continuously forward, like “falling meteorites”, never giving the opponent a moment to recover. The qinggong portion of this style’s training involves a practitioner jumping against a wall with heavy weights affixed to his/her calves. This style is practiced mainly in central Hebei, northern China, Beijing and Liaoning in North-eastern China.
Chuojiao originated in the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127) and became popular during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368–1911). The source from Wu Binglou, a famous Chuojiao expert and founder of Beijing style, believed Chuojiao comes from the Wen Family Boxing style of the Song dynasty (960–1279).
Chuojiao is attributed to Deng Liang, who is said to have created the style on the basis of the 18 basic feet plays. He developed the basics according to calculations of the Chinese abacus to form a chain of feet plays incorporating 108 tricks. According to legend, he later taught the monk Jow Tong the style, who later passed it on to his pupil General Yue Fei.
Some of the outlaws who appear in the famous novel The Water Margin, such as Wu Song, were experts in this style; this is why Chuojiaoquan was alternately known as the “Water Margin Outlaw style”. It is also known as Yuanyang Tui (???) or “Mandarin Duck Leg.” In The Water Margin’s 28th chapter, entitled “Drunken Wu Song beats Jiang Menshen innkeeper”, it mentions that Wu Song uses the following moves: “step of nephrite ring, leg of mandarin duck”.
Feng Keshen, a general in the failed Taiping Rebellion of the early 19th century, was a Chuojiao Fanziquán master. After the failure of the rebellion, Feng went into seclusion with two other experts Tang Youyi in Hebei Province in Raoyang, where he taught Fanziquán, which emphasizes the hands, to the Wang family and Chuojiao, which emphasizes the feet, to the Duan family. During practice, the families would exchange techniques.
After Master Zhao Canyi, Chuojiao has evolved into many branches such as those below :
Liu Family Chuojiao:Was spread throughout Li County, so much so that a large proportion of the county can practice some aspects of Chuojiao even until today. Liu Guanlan taught third generation Guo Gexi, Liu Songlin, Liu Zhenguo, Li Gepu and Liu Zhenjiang. Liu Family Chuojiao is representative of Lixian Chuojiao or Hebei Chuojiao. Current Representatives include Zhang Shuanglong, Wang Zhiyi, Zhang Xiaowang, Liu Zhenmin, Liu Xuehui and Cui Linsheng.
Duan Family Chuojiao: The Duan brothers taught in Raoyang the following third generation: Liu Laowang, Li Timing, Jia Laokai, Zhang Laoxiao, and others. This style is typically known as Raoyang Chuojiao. Current representatives of Raoyang Chuojiao include Li Jiantao, Song Qingbo, Ma Yongchao, Li Juncai, Li Zhenguo and Li Jiankuan.
Wang Family Chuojiao: Wang Zhanao who studied with his father Wang Zhiguo and Zhao Canyi, taught Zhang Jingtian, Wang Zhongli who then taught others. Additionally he taught Xu Zhaoxiong who then took the style to Dongbei.
Zhao Family Chuojiao: Zhao Yiguan taught in the Gaoyang and Baoding areas including Zhao Zhenben, Zhao Laoxian, Chen Yuanhu, Zhou Yuxiang and others. Noting that this style had consolidated influences in earlier generations via Wang Zhiguo and in latter generations from Raoyang (Li Timing) and Lixian (Liu Zhenjiang). This style was commonly referred to as Gaoyang Chuojiao. Some of the Current representatives of Zhao Family Chuojiao include Zhao Haowei and Wu Chanlong (Nephy Perez)
Wei Family Chuojiao: Wei Changyi taught many including the sharing with Xingyi practitioners, but his main disciple was Wei Zankui who in turn taught the famous Beijing Chuojiaofanzi Wu Binlou. Additionally Wei Laofang taught Chuojiao in Li county and his disciples spread the art in Zhangjiakou and western regions of China such as Gansu province. Some branches are also known as Lixian Chuojiao. Some of the current representatives of Beijing ChuojiaoFanzi include Hong Zhitian and Liu Xuebo. Current Representative of the Wei Laofang school includes Sun Deyu and Kang Yiwu.
Yin Family Chuojiao: Yin Chun Zhang taught his son Yin Ruyan, who in turn taught Yin Xuelang. Yin xuelang had held the skills within the family until late 20th century when he taught Liu Renyi and Zhang Hong, the current masters and propagators of this family’s Chuojiao. This style is also referred to as “Gu Zhizi”.
Later branches derived from the original ones above include:
Zhang Family Chuojiao: Zhang Jing Tian, was a disciple of Master Wang Zhi Guo. He passed his skills to Zhang Heng Qing, nicknamed “Iron Leg Zhang Heng Qing” taught Chuojiao in Yangzhou to Wang Qing Fu, He Yu Shan, Tian Chun and others
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