Still another version of the story reports that Fu confronted the mob and requested to speak to the group's leader. Fu challenged their leader to pick 20 men who were skilled in martial arts and he would fight them all. Amused by this bold youth, the head bandit accepted Fu's challenge and agreed to withdraw his men if Fu won the fight. Twenty bandits were chosen and the fight began. The author of this story has Fu "dashing like a tiger and darting like a hornet" among his opponents. Fu used "Hurricane Palm" to knock down multiple opponents with a single blow and his footwork was so skillful that not one of his twenty opponents could lay a hand on him. The leader of the bandits was so impressed that he called a halt to the fight and withdrew his men.
What truly happened between Fu and the bandits is anyone's guess. Everyone likes to add flavor to the story. However, it is probably safe to say that Fu fought a group of bandits that threatened his hometown and defeated them. His hometown was grateful and his name became well known because of the incident.
In 1911, Fu Chen-Sung became a caravan guard (body guard) in Shantung and Henan at the request of the Kai Kung Hsin Shan Protection Service. However, the security service ceased operation after the Hsing Hai Revolution (Revolution of 1911) and Fu began to travel about the cities of Fu Chou and Cheng Chou, as well as Shan Si Province and other areas of China. While traveling, Fu Chen-Sung taught martial arts and
continued to research and study his art with other martial artists. It is said that during this period of time Fu met a Wu Tang T'ai Chi teacher, Sung Wei-I in Liao Ning Province who was famous for his "lightning palm" and "rocket fist." He taught his skills to Fu and subsequently the "lighting palm" and "rocket fist" appeared in some of Fu's forms.
In 1913, Fu was hired by the Revolutionary Army as a martial arts instructor, but only kept this job for a few years. In 1916, Fu began to travel through the North East region of China teaching martial arts for a living and earnestly searching for martial artists to learn from. Even after Fu Chen-Sung became very famous, he never stopped searching for other martial artists to mutually share martial arts knowledge. He always continued to research his art and improve his skill.
One martial artist that Fu met and shared ideas with was General Li Jing-Lin. Li, who was from Hebei, was extremely skilled with a sword and thus was nicknamed "Magic Sword" Li. He was continually looking for skilled martial artist to help him research martial arts and would invite them to come to his mansion to discuss the arts and practice. There were frequent demonstrations, discussions, and matches. Li Jing-Lin had heard of Fu Chen-Sung's spear skill and invited Fu to come teach spear tactics to his troops.
At the time Fu met General Li, Li's kung fu advisor was the well known spear expert Li Shu-Wen, nicknamed "God Spear" Li. It is said that "God Spear" Li was able to kill a fly on a window pane with a thrust of his spear, without breaking the window glass. Li and Fu Chen-Sung had the opportunity to spar during a martial arts demonstration. Li used his famous spear and Fu used his "four faced" Pa Kua spear. The match ended in a draw. Later Fu became a drill instructor for General Li Jing-Lin's Army troops and frequently took part in Li's national martial arts competitions and demonstrations.
Fu emphasized Pa Kua footwork... there was no way to describe the speed of his movements."
In May 1928, Fu Cheng-Sung took part in a national martial arts demonstration held in Beijing. The government held several of these events in 1928 to help select instructors for the Central Martial Arts Academy in Nanjing as well as provincial level schools. As a result of his demonstration Fu was chosen, along with Sun Lu-T'ang, Yang Ch'eng-Fu and other famous martial artists, to teach at the Central Martial Arts Academy in Nanjing. Fu was placed in charge of the Pa Kua Chang training at the school.
While at the Nanjing school, Fu had the opportunity to research martial arts with many of the country's other top practitioners. Sun Lu-T'ang and Fu often shared information on Hsing-I, Pa Kua, and T'ai Chi. Fu offered helpful suggestions to Sun when Sun was developing the Sun Style T'ai Chi form. Fu's own T'ai Chi style, which he created later, was heavily influenced by the Yang and Sun styles. This influence was no doubt formed through his friendship and sharing of martial arts knowledge with both Sun Lu-T'ang and Yang Ch'eng-Fu.
Later, at General Li Jing-Lin's insistence, the Central Academy sent Fu south to teach at the Kuang Hsi and Kuang Tung provincial school. This school, which was located in Kuang Chou (Canton), was called the Liang Kuang Kuo Shu Kuan (The Two Kuang's Martial Arts School). Fu became the school's director. The Central Martial Arts Academy had sent four other instructors to Southern China with Fu to teach the Northern styles to the Southerners. The Southerners, being proud of their own styles, continually challenged the Northern martial artists, but could not defeat them. Out of respect for their skill, the Southerners nicknamed the Northern martial artists the "Five Northern Tigers." Although the names of the "five tigers" will sometimes vary depending on the source (many people like to claim that their teacher or teacher's teacher was one of the famous "five tigers"), the five martial artists that the Central Academy sent South were probably Fu Chen-Sung, Ku Ju-Chang, Wang Shao-Chou, Wan Lai-Sheng, and Li Hsien-Wu. Fu Chen-Sung was the only one who stayed in Canton.
In addition to teaching at the Liang Kuang Kuo Shu Kuan, Fu also taught at the Ching Wu Association School in Canton. The Ching Wu Association was originated in Shanghai by Mi Tsung Ch'uan instructor Huo Yuan-Chia. Huo started the Association shortly after the formation of the Republic in order to spread martial arts among the youth. He hired teachers from all over the country to teach and opened up branch schools. The Ching Wu Association formed what was probably the first open martial arts school in China which taught a complete martial arts curriculum. Fu taught at the branch school in Canton. Due to Fu Chen-Sung's influence at both the Ching Wu Association and the Liang Kuang Kuo Shu Kuan, T'ai Chi and Pa Kua Chang began to spread in Southern China like "shoots of bamboo after a spring rain."
On one occasion, when Fu was in the middle of teaching a class in Canton, a stranger walked into class and approached him. Upon seeing the man, Fu realized from the man's physique that he had practiced martial arts for a long time. He also noticed from the man's fierce demeanor that he was looking for trouble. Fu asked him what he was interested in studying. The stranger replied that he wanted to study the spear and asked Fu where his spear style originated. Fu replied that his spear was from Tung Hai-Ch'uan's Pa Kua Chang system. He also informed the man that this style of martial arts was systematic in its teaching. A new student must learn bare hand methods prior to learning any weapons. The stranger replied that he too was skilled at Pa Kua spear and that he wished to compare spear techniques by testing Fu's skills. Fu replied, "Oh, you would like to have a contest. Since you are of this mind, let's give it a try."
The stranger who challenged Fu was named Hsieh Lung, a teacher in Kuang Tung who was a student (and relative) of the well known spear instructor Hsieh Ta-Chao. His style of Pa Kua spear is known as the Tsou or Hsieh family spear which originated in the Wu Tai mountain region by a monk named Lo Mao-Hsin. Lo's two most talented students were Tsou Yu-Sheng and Hsieh Ta-Chao. These two practitioners taught their spear methods to members of their families and thus the technique became known as the Chou and Hsieh family Pa Kua spear method.
When one performs a fa ching movement, the body ripples, twists and turns so that the force travels from the feet through every joint in the entire body before it is expressed in the hands.
When Fu accepted Hsieh Lung's challenge, Hsieh called in his students who had been waiting outside. They brought Hsieh his spear. Fu could see that the spear shaft, which was made of rough wood, had been worn very smooth through extensive practice. Fu approached Hsieh with his own spear and the match began.
Hsieh attacked first, his spear being thrust forward towards Fu's chest. Fu easily knocked the spear aside and dissipated its force using the "strange crab turns its body" posture. Fu immediately returned a strike, poking at Hsieh's right flank. Because Fu's block and strike were so fast, Hsieh was caught off guard and retreated, retracting the shaft of his spear hoping to intercept Fu's thrust. At this point, Fu realized that this was not an even match and thus withdrew his spear before it met its target and changed his posture for another strike. As Hsieh's spear was coming down to intercept Fu's original attack to his flank, Fu had withdrawn and struck three times - two towards the eyes and once towards the throat. Fu was now simply toying with his opponent. Hsieh was startled at this blur of attacks and stumbled back, raising his spear to intercept Fu's attacks towards his face. Rotating the tip of his spear, Fu knocked Hsieh's spear out of his hands. Hsieh admitted defeat.
In October of 1938, during the war with Japan, the Provincial Martial Arts Academy and the Ching Wu Association Schools were closed down (parts of the Ching Wu School were relocated to Macau and Hong Kong). Fu stayed in Canton and became the assistant director of the Northern Canton Martial Arts Academy and the martial arts instructor for the "People's Anti-Japanese Athletic Group." In 1945, after the war with Japan was over, Fu began to teach in various schools in Canton. He was also chairman of the Canton T'ai Chi Friendship Association. It was during this time period that he gathered together his years of experience and created Fu Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan. He based this system on the principles of T'ai Chi, but within the form he also combined various strengths from other systems, taking their essence and synthesizing them in a coherent manner. He also developed Fu Style T'ai Chi sword.
Fu Chen-Sung in Pa Kua's Monkey Posture
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