Chuo Jiao Boxing

CHUO JIAO (Foot Poking, pronounced CH-WOE JI-OW) Kung Fu: This style is said to be one of the oldest forms of boxing practiced in Northern China. It is known for its clever footwork and kicking and follows the adage of “Northern Feet, Southern Hands”.

info_chuojiaobk1Chuo (Poke) Jiao (Foot or Feet) Boxing originated in the Sung Dynasty (960-1279) when it was called “Xia Quan” (Knight Boxing) or “Ti Quan” (Kick Boxing). It became popular in the Ming and Ch’ing Dynasties over the next six hundred plus years. One legend says a man named Deng Liang created the style according to combinatorics developed from the abacus starting with 18 basic foot actions and making 108 variations. From Deng it passed to Zhou Tong who taught it to folk hero and real life solider Yuen Fei. As with many Kung Fu styles, Yuen Fei’s name is so prestigious people soon venerated him as having created the style. Another claim to fame is that a number of fighters in the world-famous novel Outlaws of the Marsh (Water Margin) are Chuo jiao practitioners: also binding the name Water Margin Outlaw Boxing to it.

Shi Da Kai, a leader of the huge TaiPing rebellion (1851-1864) – a national rebellion that actually took over and held parts of China and involved more people than the American Civil War – was known for his scholastic and martial interests (Wen/Wu). He taught his crack troops, the famous Shi Battalion, to perform Chuo Jiao’s Mandarin Duck kicks which they actually used against Imperial troops in battle.

Another military commander from the TaiPing heavenly Kingdom Rebellion, Zhao Can-Yi, also practiced Chuo jiao. After the TaiPing army failed to conquer the city of TianJin, Zhao hid out at RaoYang in HeBei and taught Chuo Jiao to Duan Yong-He and Duan Yong-Qing and Yen Ching Fan Zi to Want Zhan-Ao and Wang Lao-Zi. The two groups cross-taught each other and developed the now widely known combination: Chuo Jiao Fan Zi.

As it spread different sub-systems developed. The NorthEast ChuoJiao falls into two branches: Wen (scholarly) and Wu (martial). The Beijing Chuo Jiao doesn’t have this division. It is simply known as Chuo Jiao Fan Zi.

There is a Hao style of Chuo Jiao in ShenYang named after the creator Hao Ming-Jiu. This art is based on hardness but with quick and tricky changes. It takes as its core a set of nine twin leg actions. These routines require cooperation between the two feet. There is another style called Nine Routine and Eighteen Falls Chuo Jiao like that shown in the old Kung Fu movie “All Men are Brothers” with David Chiang in the sixties.

The scholarly Chuo Jiao (created as was often encouraged during the Ching Dynasty) was developed by a boxer named Hu Feng San who traveled 500 miles to learn Chuo Jiao from the Duan brothers. After years of study he developed the Hu style Chuo Jiao with small stances and fast movement. It encompasses some of the following formsÉ

info_chuojiao112 Move Boxing
18 Move Boxing
Flying Swallow Boxing
Arm Boxing
Turning Ring Boxing
Jade Ring Boxing
Six Method Boxing
Two-Eight Boxing
Two Eight Foot Maneuvers
Shaolin Boxing
16 Move Boxing
24 Move Boxing
32 Move Boxing
Soft Tumbling Boxing
One Legged 80 Move Boxing
One Handed 81 Move Boxing
And more

Weapons from various Chuo Jiao instructors are, partially,
Back-touching-ground sword
Five-Tiger Twelve Forms of spear
Continuous Procession of Kwan-sword
Qingyun Straight Sword
Yin-yang Rapid Stick
Tiger-end Hook Blades

These all encompass the distinctive leg actions of Chuo Jiao which include:Heel kicking, Entangling, Stomping, Pointing, Juggling, Treading and Grinding. All this not to mention Chuo Jiao’s famous and distinctive back kick which flips the toe rearward while arching the back. Hands and feet alternate rapidly and the distinctive stance of much of Chuo Jiao resembling Xing Yi allows from quick and un-telegraphed leg actions.

info_chuojiaobkNowadays many people practice the Wen/Wu combination of Chuo Jiao with strengths from both parents. Among modern practitioners is Liu Xue Bo from HeBei Province in China who plays Chuo Jiao Fan Zi Boxing. He learned from Lee Yong He. Master Liu appeared in “China’s Living Treasures” Volume 5 and the memorable Martial Arts Of China Vol 1. No. 9 1990. Besides being a president of a well known Chuo Jiao research society in China he has spent much time trying to record and revive lost Kung Fu styles.

Other names to research:
Niu Liang Chen taught Ping Ke Shan (1811)

Our online sources:
Chuo Jiao Style VCDs
Chuo Jiao Books (Simplified Chinese)
Chuo Jiao Book of Wu Bin Lou’s teaching
Large Hardbound volume in Traditional Chinese