Zhen Wu Martial Arts Training Camp, Prague 2012


We are closing in on the event of the year! Clear your schedule, fix your vacation, quit your job! Bring your partner (to the romantic capitol of the WORLD), take the kids, dogs, the whole family and all your friends, and join us for two weeks of intensive training, sightseeing and GOODTIMES in Prague,  July 16-29th 2012. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity, you don’t have to go to China we’re bringing the mountain to you!

Zhen Wu is dedicated to presenting the true traditional martial arts. Wether you train for fighting skills or self defense, for health or body development or for the beauty of the artform itself, the training at our summer camp will cover the entire specter of traditional gongfu training methods and philosophy, taught by some of the very top Masters from China. This year our program features the styles of Liu He Zi Ran Men and Shuai Jiao (please scroll below for articles on these styles and the teachers featured at the camp), in addition to Taijiquan, Yiquan, Qigong, meditation and traditional weapons training.

And of course, we will also be featuring TONGBEIQUAN, taught by the head teacher of Zhen Wu, from Beijing, Master Zhang Xinbin:

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Liu He Zi Ran Men at Zhen Wu Prague Camp 2012


Liu He Men 六合门

Wan Lai Sheng

Liu He Men (Six Harmonies Boxing) is a very famous system of boxing in China. It’s one of the older styles and has had considerable influence on the development of various boxing systems throughout history. The concept of Six Harmonies/Coordinations is common to many styles and critical to understanding the methods of power development in Chinese Martial Arts. The basic idea refers to the Nei Wai San He (internal and external 3 harmonies) that combine into one coordinated effort which is then Liu He (Six Harmonies). The internal harmonies are Xin (heart), Yi (intention) and Qi, and the external are Hands and feet, elbows and knees, shoulders and hips coordinate and move together as one unit. The system consists of basic strength and flexibility training, and the study of several barehand and weapon form sets. Eventually leading into sparring practice and combat training

Liu He Men is considered an ancient form of boxing and there are many legends and stories about its  creation. Some claim it derived from ancient moslem methods, some attribute it to the legendary Yue Fei, most commonly it’s considered a school of Shaolin boxing of the Yue family branch.

Zi Ran Men 自然门

Zi Ran Men (Natural Boxing) is a rare style of Northern Chinese boxing with roots in ancient Daoist philosophy. The style has no set forms but emphasizes physical training, qigong, meditation and a free and spontaneous style of fighting. Movements are swift and unpredictable, the mind is free from thought or hesitation, and power manifests effortlessly.

Du Xin Wu

Zi Ran Men was founded by a dwarf called Xu. According to legend Dwarf Xu was raised by monkeys and learned his skills having to fend for himself in the wild. Dwarf Xu passed his skills to Du Xin Wu who went on to become a legendary figure in Chinese martial arts, known for his fighting skills and extraordinary abilities. He was also famously the bodyguard of Sun Yat Sen.

Du Xin Wu passed the system to his eldest son and to Wan Lai Sheng. Wan Lai Sheng was one of the most prominent masters of 20th century Chinese boxing. Renowned for his fighting skills and combative exploits, he travelled widely to engage with other martial artists across China. He was part of the infamous 1928 open combat competition  at the Central National Martial Arts Institute in Nanjing, that was halted due to the fierceness of the fighting and numerous serious injuries, and crowned a champion. Together with four other outstanding martial artists from this event he travelled south to Guangzhou and established a martial arts institute there, an event that came to be known as “The Five Tigers Head South”. Wan Lai Sheng was also a scholar famous for his knowledge of Daoist philosophy and Chinese medicine, and his many books and writings had a tremendous influence on Chinese martial arts culture.

Liu He Zi Ran Men 六合自然门

Wan Lai Sheng

Liu He Men was the style that Wan Lai Sheng practiced before he learned Zi Ran Men, and he continued its development as his knowledge of martial arts deepened. Eventually he buildt a core curriculum of Liu He Men forms that he thought was most effective for developing skills as a martial artist, and synthesized the two boxing systems into a clear, progressive and complete fighting art, Liu He Zi Ran Men 六合自然门. Wan Lai Sheng saw his Liu He Men curriculum as the basic foundation for the study of all martial arts. He said,”All Gongfu requires understanding of the Six Harmonies (Liu He). Without understanding it your Gongfu will not be solid.”

Liu He Zi Ran Men is currently being taught at Zhen Wu Antwerpen by senior disciple of Grandmaster Wan Lai Sheng, Master Li Jian Long. Master Li will also be teaching Liu He Zi Ran Men as well as Taiji, Qigong and weapons at the Zhen Wu International Martial Arts Training Camp 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Master Li Jian Long

Master Li Jian Long is a former member and coach of the Fujian Wushu Team. He was selected as the premier athlete from Fujian province in the 1976-77 All China Wushu Competitions. From 1977, he served as the as Director of the Fuzhou Physical Education Institute in addition to coaching the professional Wushu team from Fujian. In 1978, he became one of the first certified judges for the Chinese national sport of Wushu. Skilled in both open hand forms and weapons combat, he served as fight choreographer for the martial arts film, Journey Back to the Tiger’s Lair (Wo Hu Xun Jie).

As a traditional Kung Fu master, Li Jian Long is a senior disciple of legendary Liu He Zi Ran Men Grandmaster Wan Lai Sheng. Liu He Men (Six Harmony style) is a branch of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu known for its fluid, effective fighting techniques and its thorough integration of internal and external energy. Master Li has co-authored a seminal book on the use of Chinese martial arts in basic self-defense entitled, Fang Shen Shu. He was also featured in Guardian of the Gates of Wei Tuo, a documentary on Wan Lai Sheng’s life and teachings.

Master Li with his wife and Grandmaster Wan Lai Sheng

Uniquely skilled in both traditional and contemporary Chinese martial arts, Master Li believes in proliferation of the art form through highly scientific Wushu training methods. He offers instruction in barehanded and weapons forms (spear, straightsword, broadsword, staff, three-section staff, cudgel, whipchain, double hook swords, double broadsword) as well as the internal arts of Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

Please see our website for more information about the summer training camp www.zhenwucamp.com

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Shuai Jiao, Chinese Wrestling at Zhen Wu Prague Camp 2012

Shuai Jiao (摔跤) is an ancient form of Chinese wrestling, and the oldest form of systemized martial arts practised in China.

Wrestling in the Song Dynasty

The original term used was Jiao Di (角抵, horn butting) and refers to an ancient sport in which the contestants wore horned headgear and attempted to butt their opponents while employing a primitive form of grappling. Legend states that it was used by the Yellow Emperors army to gore the soldiers of Chi You’s rebel army in 2679 BC. Another term, Jiao Li (角力) is referenced in the „Classics of Rites“ from the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC). This form of wrestling also incorporated striking and joint locks, and was practised by soldiers along with other military arts such as archery and strategy. Eventually Chinese wrestling developed into a refined martial art and sport with codified rules, and competitions were held in public as well as court entertainment for the Emperor. Shuai Jiao in its modern form developed mainly from the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), which is considered the golden age for Chinese wrestling.

Qing Dynasty, Shan Pu Ying, the Emperors elite wrestlers.

The development of Shuai Jiao was not limited to military or sports. All styles of Chinese martial arts or Gongfu employ wrestling to varying extent. Ti, da, shuai, na, or kicking, striking, wrestling and (arrest/joint) locking are the basic components of all Chinese fighting arts, and skills in wrestling are integral to any complete martial arts system.

This year we offer a unique opportunity for anyone interested in Shuai Jiao by bringing one of Chinas most accomplished and experienced teachers, Master Yu Shaoyi, to teach at the Zhen Wu International Martial Arts Training Camp, from July 16th in Prague, Czech Republic.

Master Yu Shaoyi is one of the highest ranking masters of Shuai Jiao (Chinese wrestling), he is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Beijing People’s Martial Arts Association and also Chief Instructor of the Beijing Shuaijiao team. Born in the year 1955, he started his martial arts training in 1970, learning the art of Chinese/Mongolian wrestling, Shuai Jiao, from renowned wrestling expert master Wang Ruiying. From 1973 onwards, he also learned the styles of Xingyi and Bagua from Master Sun Ruxian. In 1975, he became the disciple of Tongbei master Zhang Guizeng, from whom he learned the art of Muslim Baiyuan Tongbei. Apart from the above-mentioned styles, master Yu has also trained extensively in Sanda (Chinese boxing). As a member of the Beijing Shuaijiao team, Master Yu has participated in many martial arts contests throughout his career and has won numerous awards. He was two-times regional Shuaijiao champion of Beijing for the period of 1981- 1982. In 1999 Master Yu received two Awards for Outstanding Performance at the Taizhou International Martial Arts Competition. He is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Beijing People’s Martial Arts Association, and also Chief Instructor of the Shuaijiao team.

Having mastered the battle-hardened techniques and old-school training methods of traditional Shuaijiao, Master Yu is now one of the highest ranking Shuaijiao experts in Beijing . He is famous for his excellent fighting skills and also widely respected for his knowledge of the shuaijiao system and its traditions.

Make sure you don’t miss out on this great chance to train authentic, traditional Chinese martial arts with Master Yu and our other Master teachers at the Zhen Wu International Martial Arts Training Camp, 16th-29th July in beautiful Prague, Czech Republic! Please check our website for more information www.zhenwucamp.com

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Brief history of Tongbeiquan

Tongbeiquan is a traditional martial art from northern China. Tongbeiquan has a very long history and it’s impossible to know for certain exactly who the founder is or at what time it was created. The legendary origins of the style date back over 2000 years to the Warring States period of China (475-221 BCE).

There are written records from Song Dynasty (960-1279) boxing literature that refer to Han Tong as one of the 18 ancient masters, and an expert of Tongbeiquan. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) scholar Huang Zongxi writes in his Essay of Southern Thunderbolts that Tongbeiquan was the best of all schools of boxing. Later his son Huang Baijia mentions Tongbeiquan and describes it as Changquan or long range boxing in the biography of his teacher Wang Zhengnan.

Some schools claim Chen Tuan (871-989) as the founder of the system. Chen Tuan was a legendary Daoist scholar who made important contributions to the development of Daoist philosophy and practice. He created the Taiji diagram that we use today, as well as qigong methods such as 12 sitting exercises and Shuigong Fa (sleeping qigong). He is said to have practiced boxing on Mount Hua Shan and to have been able to sleep for 100 days straight.

It’s important to note that originally the term Tongbei also referred to a way of training the body and a method of generating power as well as the specific martial art system. The word Tongbei in Chinese consists of two characters, Tong 通, which means to connect or “pass through”, and Bei 背, which is the back. Sometimes the character Bi 臂 is used instead meaning arm, and has the idea of connecting the arms through the back and shoulders. This kind of concept exists in other martial arts as well and is prominent for example in Chaquan or Taijiquan, although the refined body method of Tongbeiquan today is very specific and unique to the system. Also historically terms like Tongbi or Changquan were used to describe boxing in general making it difficult to ascertain exactly when the specific style we now know as Tongbeiquan developed.

Most Tongbei groups attribute the creation and original development of the style to a Daoist master by the name of Bei Shikou (also known as Yisan, Daoist name Dong Ling Zi), with the nickname Baiyuan (White Ape). This story is based on a popular folktale of Yuan Gong, a martial arts master of the spring and autumn era (around 500 BCE), who challenged a female swordsmaster named Yue Nu belonging to the Mo Jiao, or mysterious sect, and lost the fight. After his defeat Yuan Gong went off to live in seclusion in the forest wilderness. The story goes that through the years he developed long white hair and beard and when people saw him they started referring to him as Baiyuan Laoren (White Ape Old Man). In some versions of the story Yuan Gong is actually transformed into a white haired gibbon before fleeing into the forest. In this version he is believed to be an immortal ape who teaches his skill in secret. Today most schools of traditional Tongbeiquan include Baiyuan Laoren (Bei Shikou) in their lineage as founder of the system.

Although Tongbeiquan has a long history and has been famous since Ming Dynasty times, we don’t know much about its development or important figures until the early 1800’s. It was taught by Lu Yunqing, a Daoist master from Shandong province who had two disciples, Qi Xin and Shi Hongsheng. From then on Tongbeiquan split into two main groups, Qi family style and Shi family style (there are some different theories on how and when this split happened, in any case it’s clear, and most agree the two styles share a common root).

Qi Xin taught Tongbeiquan in his hometown in Gu An county in Hebei, together with his family boxing of Liu He Quan and spear methods. Later his son Qi Taichang made significant changes to the style (some say he also learned from his gongfu uncle Shi Hongsheng) and Qi family Tongbei separated into two distinct variations referred to as Lao Qi Pai (Old Qi Family Style) and Shao Qi Pai (Young Qi Family Style).

Shi Hongsheng was the first person to teach Tongbeiquan in Beijing. He reached a high level but was very conservative and for years he kept his skills close to himself and did not teach any students. Eventually he opened his door a little and took some disciples to inherit his art. The first was Zhang Wencheng. Only him and Ma Xiaohe is said to have passed on the complete system. Ma Xiaohe passed Tongbeiquan to Niu Jie (Ox Street) area in Beijing where many of the Hui people or Chinese muslims lived. This became the center for Shi style Tongbei in Beijing. The Hui people kept Tongbeiquan in high regard and guarded it closely. In Niu Jie area, Shuai Jiao (Chinese wrestling) was also very popular, and eventually this lead to many throwing and grappling skills becoming incorporated into Tongbeiquan curriculum.

Teachers of Tongbeiquan has throughout history been notoriously close kept and reluctant to pass on their knowledge. Many famous masters never taught in public or even in private and left no successors. Even when they did teach, students would have to demonstrate that they were diligent and clever enough to grasp the art, and they had to prove good morals and personality. Advanced methods would only be passed to a few students. Even though Tongbeiquan was famous as a very effective martial art, this kept the style from becoming widespread, it also ensured that the system was not watered down, but remained pure and the high level skills were retained and developed in depth.

From the turn of 20th century some Qi style masters started to teach publically, as a result the style became very popular and gained a large following. As Qi family Tongbei spread more forms were created and several subsystems developed. Today the large majority of Tongbei practitioners belong to Qi family or its branches.

Shi family groups kept to the traditional ways and remained conservative and closed in their transmission of the art.  As a result they became known as Heiquan teachers. The meaning of Heiquan is twofold. One is that they practice in hidden, in a dark area where no one can see, the second is the techniques are too vicious in real fighting and cannot be taught openly.

From these two main branches Tongbeiquan was spread and eventually many sub branches and groups developed. Today there are many styles of Tongbei such as Wuxing, Wuyuan, Hongdong, Liangyi, Shaolin Tongbei, Pigua Tongbei etc. They all trace back to Shi family or Qi family.

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Zhen Wu Gongfu

Welcome to the new blog of Zhen Wu Gongfu! We are an international network of schools promoting authentic, traditional Chinese Martial Arts. You can find Zhen Wu in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Czech Republic and China. Zhen Wu was originally founded by Michael Martello 2002, today Master Zhang Xinbin is the head teacher and oversees the organization. Zhen Wu offers a variety of traditional styles and methods taught by professional instructors, but more important is the emphasis on practical understanding and an evolving tradition. In the words of Mike Martello “It’s not a style that I teach, it’s a method”. Focus is on proper body structure and alignement, power generation and functional movement. The goal is a healthy and strong body and mind as well as fighting skills. Mindful practice and longevity is key. Gongfu is more then a hobby, it’s a habit enforced by daily training. Gongfu is about living, train or die.

On this blog you can find information about our schools and teachers, as well as news and updates about seminars, events and our training camps. We will also be posting general useful or interesting information/videos/articles about the history, development, methods and famous teachers or practitioners of the traditional Chinese martial arts, and martial arts in general. This is our great passion and I hope you will join us and make Zhen Wu and this blog a place where we can learn and build strong together! We will update regularly so make sure you check back often and any feedback, suggestions or questions are more then welcome. You can contact us on info@zhenwu.cz

Please check some of our other websites and affiliates for more information:







And our summer training camp in Prague this year!


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