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Wang Xiangzhai

Wang Xiangzhai

Chinese martial artist
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Chinese martial artist
Countries China
Occupations Martial artist
Gender male
Birth 26 November 1885 (Hebei, People's Republic of China)
Death 12 July 1963 (Tianjin, People's Republic of China)
The details

Wang Xiangzhai (simplified Chinese: 王芗斋; traditional Chinese: 王薌齋; pinyin: Wáng Xiāngzhāi; November 26, 1885 - July 12, 1963), also known as Nibao, Zhenghe and Yuseng, was a Chinese xingyiquan master, responsible for founding the martial art of Yiquan.


Wang Xiangzhai was born in Hebei province, China. As he was a very weak child, his parents decided to send him to the famous Xingyiquan master Guo Yunshen to improve his health.

The Wang family had always had connections with the Guo family, horse breeders in the average. Master Guo Yunshen taught him zhanzhuang gong (post standing postures) that the young Xiangzhai had to keep standing for hours.

During his young adult life, Wang Xiangzhai became a soldier in Beijing and at the age of 33, he went all around China, studying martial arts with many famous masters including monk Heng Lin, Xinyiquan master Xie Tiefu, southern white crane style masters Fang Yizhuang and Jin Shaofeng, Liuhebafa master Wu Yi Hui, etc. Learning from his experience and honoring the truly skilled, Wang made a public statement in 1928:

我在國內參學万余里,拜見拳家逾千人,堪稱通家者僅有兩個半人,即湖南解鐵夫,福建方恰庄与上海吳翼翬耳。 I have traveled across the country in research, engaging over a thousand people in martial combat, there have been only 2.5 people I could not defeat, namely Hunan's Xie Tie Fu, Fujian's Fang Yi Zhuang and Shanghai's Wu Yi Hui.

After 7 years of research and study, Wang established himself in Beijing and penetrated the circle of famous masters in this city as well as in Tianjin and Shanghai. At this period of his life he was reunited with his friend and classmate from schooldays, the respected Liuhebafa Chuan master Wu Yi Hui, and also became friends with the Baguazhang master Zhang Zhaodong.

He started to teach many influential martial artists including Hong Lianshun, Zhao Dao Xin, the Han brothers (Han Xing Qiao and Han Xing Yuan), Yao Zongxun, Zhang Entong, Wang Shujin (who studied Zhan Zhuang for one year), and others.

He first named his teaching Yiquan, in reference to the Xingyiquan and Xin Yi quan styles. Later, in the 1940s, one of his disciples who was a journalist publicly called it Da Cheng Chuan, which means "great achievement boxing". It is still known by both these names today.

He received the visit of many Japanese experts during the war. One, Kenichi Sawai was assumed to be his student and created his own school in Japan calling his martial art Taikiken. Sawaii was however solely instructed by Wang's successor Yao Zongxun, and not directly by Wang himself.

At the end of his life he performed research into the healing aspect of Zhan Zhuang and worked with different hospitals.

He died in 1963 in Tianjin, from a disease.

He was one of the first Chinese teachers to publicly teach the practice of Zhan Zhuang, or 'standing like a tree' methods.

In silence there must be movement, and in motion, there must be silence.
A small movement is better than a big,
no movement is better than a small
silence is all the movement's mother.
In Movement you should be like a dragon or a tiger.
In non Movement you should be like a Buddha.

--Wang Xiangzhai

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