Yan Xiang Wu (1887 - 1971)



Grand teacher
Yan Xiang Wu

Chi 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. .

FAfter the 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 tumbling routines.

However, 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.

 

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