Yan Xiang Wu
Xi Xian, KuangXi province, China was the birthplace of Yan Xiang
Wu. Already a practicing martial artist working with a rare style
of Hung Chuan, he was lucky enough to become a student of Wan
Lai Sheng, one of the so-named "Five Northern Tigers."
Wan was an expert in Six Harmony Boxing ( Liu He Quan) and Naturalness
Boxing (Zi Ran Quan).
As he was
studying with Wan Lai Sheng he heard about the famous "master
who killed a horse with a slap," namely Gu Ru Zhang. He asked
permission from Wan to study with Gu. Wan, a friend of the Shaolin
master, actually wrote a traditional letter of introduction to
Gu. At the time he started with Gu, Yan was already six years
older than the teacher and Gu therefore treated him more as an
equal, especially considering his already extensive training.
As Yan continued his training he concentrated on Shaolin, Cha
(Muslim style), Liu He and Tai Chi. Through hard work he made
great progress in these styles.
Yan Xiang Wu about to
sledge a stone on the head of his teach, Gu Ru Zhang
At the start
of World War 2, in 1939, Yan left from KuanDong and travelled
to Nan Ning in Kuang Xi. Knowing neither farming nor business
he began a martial arts school there. But during the war he had
to close the school so he then became a security guard in an agency.
war Yan moved to KuangZhou in KuangDong province. Here he attracted
many students. From here he moved again to Hong Kong and began
teaching along with his classmate Lung Zi Xiang, another student
of Gu Ru Zhang. Since they both had learned Northern Shaolin together
that was what they decided to teach. Long passed away in 1957
so Yan moved his class to a Hong Kong rooftop and emphasized his
bone setting and herbal practice. His student would practice Shaolin
each morning while Yan practiced Chi Kung including his "Iron
Skull" A humble man Yan contented himself with teaching the
Northern Shaolin of Gu Ru Zhang without even mentioning that this
famous man had been his teacher. At 72 he was still able to perform
in December of 1971 Yan performed Xing Yi in a martial arts demonstration.
So popular was his play that the applause brought him out for
an encore. In this he overexerted himself, was taken to the hospital
and died there. He left many student behind including our teacher
and grandteacher: Kwong Wing Lam.