The funny thing is that component movements of the Islamic martial art of 'Chaquan' looks identical to our 'Hakka' Longfist Style - even down to the applications - but Longfist is generic and certainly not rare! It comprises hundreds (or thousands) of Northern Styles and is common-place (it has even penetrated a number of Southern Styles). We all approach these movements from our different lineage perspectives - but all traditions use the 'external', 'Internal' and 'Integrated' aspects of ancient Chinese science.
My research suggests that the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) instigated a country-wide martial culture - probably through a specially constructed manual comprised of illustrations and basic directions. As the Qin Emperor expanded the model of the Qin State (originally situated in Northwest China) across the whole of the conquered territories of what is today considered 'China' (which excluded at the time the swamp-infested area of what is now Fujian province) - this 'unity' of culture spread over a massive geographical area and converted every village into a military barracks - and ordered that every local man, women and child became a 'soldier' serving the Qin State whilst having to train in a standardised martial art (both 'armed' and 'unarmed').
This makes Longfist over two-thousand years old - and pre-existing the arrival of Muslims in China by about 1,200 years! The Arab merchants constructed their Chaquan version of Longfist from what they saw around them in the areas of China they had settled within (possibly acquired from the families of the Chinese women they married). Of course, this specialised Longfist was then taught to non-Muslim Chinese people (for various reasons) over-time - so that today Chaquan is practiced by millions of ethnic Han people - as well as Hui Chinese-Muslims. Hakka gongfu is typically 'Confucian' with Buddhist and Daoist overtones. There are theories, however, that suggest the 'Qin' and 'Han' Dynasties may have been 'Hakka' - that is founded by displaced peoples who originally lived on the edges of geographical Northern China (before migrating Southward) and which had developed cultures that mixed 'Han' and 'non-Han' (Barbarian) cultural elements together.
This history is disputed, but certainly DNA studies have linked (modern) Hakka women living within South China with (Evenk) women living today in Siberia. Certainly, our Spear Forms were originally practiced (in-part) whilst riding a Steppe pony and gripping and steering the animal with the legs - whilst keeping the hands free to wield the spear from one side to the other without striking the animal's head. Later, when ponies were nolonger available - the 'Horse Stance' was developed to take their place in training. The 'Horse Stance' used to prepare the practitioner by building the lower-body strength for riding a Steppe pony through 'holding' the stance for long periods of time. Today, most practitioners use this method for strength-building - but have no knowledge of the historical development behind its structure.
I read the following short extract in a book entitled 'When China Ruled the Seas - The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne (1405-1433)' By Louise Levathes (OUP), 1994, Pages 173-174 - which explains the difference in policy between two emperors with one applying expansion and sharing with no thought to the cost - with the other emperor closing China off from the outside world! In all of this, and following the settlement of the 36 Fujian families to 'Liuqiu' - the 'King' of 'Ryukyu' is mentioned:
'At first the changes were hardly perceptible. Emissaries continued their missions to China's shores. But in 1436, when Nanjing officials repeatedly appealed to the court for more craftsman, their request was summarily denied. Concerned about the burden on the people, Zhu Zhanji's successor halted construction in shipyards and urged frugal economic practices. In 1437, after paying tribute, the King of Ryukyu Island (south of Japan) asked the emperor for new court costumes, which had been given to his envoys since the beginning of the dynasty. The ones he had, he said, had "become old." And who knew when he would be able to return to China? The seas were now "dangerous and difficult." The emperor, however, declined to grant the King's request. The following year, the Siamese mission to the court was robbed of its cargo of pearls, gold, and jade by two dishonest officials in Guangdong. Through no fault of his own, the Siamese ambassador arrived in court without tribute. Such behaviour from local officials would have been impossible to imagine in the Yongle reign. That same year, the emperor sent a message to the King of Java saying that the "envoy" he had sent was wild and drunk and had caused the deaths of several people, including himself. "You should be more careful," the emperor commanded, "in choosing envoys in the future."'
I have copy-typed this for your records. Indeed, the author worked at the time for National Geographic (c. 1990) and had carried-out a great deal of her research in China - using Chinese language sources. (I believe the John Hopkins Center for Chinese and American Studies at Nanjing University in Jiangsu province, is very popular and respected amongst Chinese people). Interestingly, and rather disappointedly, this is the only 'Ryukyu' reference in her entire book!
Before Japan annexed the Ryukyu Islands in 1879, this region was considered a Tributary State of China at least since the early Ming Dynasty – with extensive cultural connections for hundreds of years prior to this. Exactly when China made contact with Ryukyu is a matter of academic debate and interpretation, as there is written evidence that suggests the earliest interaction occurred during the Latter (Eastern) Han Dynasty (25-220 CE) - where it is recorded as a place named ' Yi Zhou' (后于) in a text entitled the 'Later (Eastern) Han Dynasty Book - Biography of Dongyi' (后汉书‧东夷列传)' as later penned by 'Chen Shou' (陈寿). During the 'Eastern Wu' (229-280 CE) period of the 'Three Kingdoms' era (220-280 CE) - the same name of 'Yi Zhou' ('Barbarian Continent') is used again and recorded in the text entitled 'Three Kingdoms Annals: Book of Wu - Biography of Sun Quan' (三国志·吴书·孙权传). In fact, during the middle to late Sui Dynasty (6th century CE), emperor ‘Yang’ (炀) sent out envoys in search of new lands – and this is when China rediscovered and established regular diplomatic and economic contact with the island nation now termed ‘Ryukyu’ (琉球 - Liu Qiu) which seems to mean something like 'Flowing Jade' or 'Flowing Sphere', etc. Quite often, the Ryukyu Authorities could not regularly send tribute to the government of China – and China could not enforce the tribute due to the treacherous seas! Although there was a general cultural exchange between the two countries for hundreds of years – this exchange was intermittent and difficult to maintain. The General historical background information is as follows:
The above extract is a modern Chinese language encyclopaedia entry regarding the history of Okinawa which translates as follows:
‘In 1392, the Ming Dynasty emperor named ‘Taizu’ (太祖) understood the difficulties faced by the envoys of the Ryukyu region of China, particularly involving the safe navigating of the often-treacherous sea route between Ryukyu and China! To remedy this the emperor Taizi granted a ‘special status’ to thirty-six carefully chosen ethnic Chinese families from Fujian province (with different surnames) who were skilled in the arts of shipbuilding, navigation and deplomacy. The objective of this was to open and maintain permanent and efficient sea routes between the Ryukyu Islands and the seaports along the coast of Fujian province. This improvement would establish trade and help the people in both geographical locations to flourish whilst exchanging cultural information. The 36 families were chosen from those clans who were well-educated and who could read and write. The people had to have a history of good health and possess a general knowledge of medicine. The families had to also know how to build a strong sailing boat and navigate the seas in all kinds of weather. Furthermore, these families had to possess a pioneering spirit, and be willing to help others when in need! They were not only good boatmen but could also act as interpreters and preside over other tributary-related affairs. After these people settle in Ryukyu they became exemplary citizens! Indeed, these 36 families performed their intended task of developing a ‘bridge’ with regards to sea trade between the two countries – with the settlers representing the Ming Dynasty of China in Ryukyu for many generations! These families became responsible for the collecting and transportation of tribute sent by the Ryukyu Authorities to the Imperial Court of China. Not only this, but the families grew considerably until today and their numbers comprise a substantial percentage of the Ryukyu population. These Chinese settlers have assisted the native Okinawan population and have transmitted the Chinese language, religion, philosophy, history and martial arts, etc. They have retained their Chinese identity whilst integrating with the indigenous Okinawan population.’
The 36 surnames of the Fujian family clans that were chosen by Ming Dynasty Imperial Degree (in 1392) to resettle in Ryukyu (Okinawa) are as follows: Shen (慎), Liang (梁), Zheng (郑), Jin (金), Cai (蔡), Mao (毛), Chen (陈), Lin (林), Ceng (曾), Gao (高), Wu (吴), Li (李), Ruan (阮), Shen (沈), Wei (魏), Tian (田), Wang (王), Ma (马), Qian (钱), Weng (翁), Mu (穆), Han (韩), Zong (宗), Kun (昆), Yin (尹), Cha (查), Wu (伍), Xiang (向), Wu (武), Ji (吉), Ying (英), Tao (陶), Wu (邬), Yu (俞), Song (宋) and Zhou (周) - although the ancient lists also include the further surnames of ‘Ceng’ (曾) and ‘Sun’ (孙) - making 38 in total. As a community they lived in a settlement known as ‘Tang Dou’ (唐朵) or ‘Chinese Surname’. This place was also known as ‘Tang Ying’ (唐营) or ‘Chinese Encampment’ - in later times – and under Japanese influence, this place became known as ‘Kume’ (久米 - Jiu Mi) Village. (This seems to be a complete name change with the new name meaning ‘Long-Term Rice-Growing').
Added to this text is this note:
The first name on the above list is ‘慎’ (Shen). Later, a famous descendent of this Fujian clan in Ryukyu (Okinawa) was one ‘Shen Shanxi’ (慎善熙) - known in the Japanese language as ‘Higaonna Kanryo’ - a famous practitioner of Karate-Do!
Translator’s Note: Reading through historical texts on the Chinese language internet (Baidu) - I came across the following true story apparently recorded in a journal or diary written by the British imperialist living within Fujian province at the time - John Charles Oswald (1856-1900) - who was responsible for running a tea house and horse-racing track! The photographs were found in the journal entry but it is not clear whether he took them or if they were taken for him. This episode – essentially a legal case – took place in 1895, and although cameras were known, there numbers were few in China. Such devices would have been considered a very rare and specialised piece of technology. However, the photographs themselves are of a very good quality considering the time they were taken. I suspect the pictures were more or less ‘posed’ for and that the ‘criminals’ had to participate in sessions despite all being sentenced to death and scheduled to be killed on the day of the photographing! The Emperor of China tried to keep out all foreigners, but they managed to penetrate the border guards, they were directed to Fujian province, which was full of robust and loyal Chinese people who knew how to ‘control’ and ‘limit’ the activities of these visitors. These English and American visitors ended-up in exactly this place, despite their dominating and oppressive attitudes and behaviours. People from Fujian province often travelled to the Island of Okinawa – an ancient Chinese settlement – and it is their Chinese martial arts which eventually evolved into ‘Karate-Do’ - now considered a ‘Japanese’ art. In these photographs we see the grinding poverty of the ordinary Chinese people, and can see that two men entrusted by the Authorities to carry-out executions – despite being relatively well-dressed – nevertheless, lack any semblance of shoes or socks! From their stance-work it is obvious that traditional Chinese martial arts were brutally effective in practice rather than ‘flowery’ or ‘elaborate’ in theory. ACW (4.6.2021)
Chinese prisoners who killed foreigners in the late Qing Dynasty - were forced to the execution-ground after a simple interrogation (with no legal defence). Four suspects in the ‘Gutian Religious Case’ include Du Zhuyi (杜朱衣), Zheng Huai (郑淮), Liu Xiangxing (刘祥兴) and Zhang Ch (张赤). In the early morning of August 1st, 1895, more than one-hundred members of the "Piety Association" (斋会 - Zhai Hui) situatin in Gutian County, Fujian Province - attacked Mount Hua - where British and American missionaries lived, resulting in the deaths of eleven British missionaries and other female Christian assistants. Many other people were injured. This incident became known as the "Gutian Religious Case" in the history books. This is one of the two largest religious-orientated single cases that happened during the late Qing Dynasty – with the other being the "Tianjin Religious Case" which happened in 1870. Western missionaries aggressively penetrated and took-over large parts of China and used brutality to force Chinese people to ‘convert’ to a religious they neither wanted nor understood. Every so often, this foreign aggression and brutality was met with ‘resistance’ primarily from the embittered peasant community – which generally paid dearly for its loyalty and bravery.
The suspects in the "Gutian Religious Case" were arrested by the Qing government. This group of photographs was found in a recently discovered album left by the Englishman John Charles Oswald (1856-1900), which recorded key scenes relating to the trial of the suspects. Oswald once ran a tea and horse racing business in Fuzhou, and it is not certain that these photographs were taken by him personally. After the "Zhaihui" congregation killed people, they robbed the missionary's residence and set fire to it.
The scene after the looting of the British and American missionaries' residence was very bloody. In the late Qing Dynasty, missionaries went deep into China to preach, and there were often conflicts between the church and the local people. The involvement of missionaries in the opium trade, forced land leases, and illegal act of shielding the faithful aroused the anger of the local people. The Gutian "Zhaihui" and the church have had long-standing grievances, with both encroaching upon the other’s territory. The church employed all kinds of illegal methods but continuously got away with their crimes – which included rape of Chinese women and girls. If the Chinese Authorities dared to act against this foreign criminality, then the foreign governments would often send in their armed forces and make matters far worse. When the ‘Piety Associations’ fought-back – they were invariably ‘blamed’ when caught and issued with the severest of punishments demanded by the church missionaries – who enjoyed watching the spectacle of scared men kneeling to be ‘beheaded’!
After the incident, foreigners in China reacted strongly. The British and American envoys in Beijing protested to the Qing Court and sent warships to intimidate along the coast of Fujian. The "New York Tribune" of the United States even clamoured to put China "under the gun" and subject it to "the most severe sanctions."
Du Zhuyi - one of the main criminals in the case - was kept in a cage. In his early years, he repeatedly failed the exams, and then he despaired of his career and joined the "Zhaihui". Because he couldn't understand the arbitrary behaviour of foreigners, he rebelled against their corruption. The "Zhaihui" is mostly comprised of the poor people at the bottom of society, and a small number of frustrated intellectuals and small businessmen.
The British who died were buried in Fuzhou. On August 5th, Emperor Guangxu decreed, "The case is serious. The generals (Bian Baoquan, Governor of Fujian and Zhejiang Province, General Qingyu of Fuzhou) should send troops to severely deal with the perpetrators and be punished in accordance with the law; The church residence was properly protected by the stern magistrates, and there was no need to do anything else," which shows the attitude of the pro-Western Qing Court.
Chinese, British, and American personnel involved in the investigation and trial of the case. On August 13th, an investigation team composed of British and American diplomats, military officers, and missionaries went to Gutian to investigate the incident and participate in the Qing government’s trial of the arrested suspects. Under their pressure, the Qing government offered high rewards and arrested hundreds of people. Among them, a large number of innocent people were implicated for being allegedly reported by others.
The scene before the execution. In order to quell the adverse effects caused by the case as soon as possible, the Qing government adopted a method of rapid arrest and rapid trial. The procedure was very simple, and the participants in the confirmed cases were immediately sentenced. By October 18th, the trial was completed in just over two months, and 92 people were finally determined to be guilty, of which 26 were sentenced to death, 17 were enlisted in the military, 5 were imprisoned for life, 27 were imprisoned for 10 years, and 5 were imprisoned for 5 years. 5 people to hold the stone pier for 3 years, 5 people hold the stone pier for 6 months, and 2 people hold the stone pier for 2 months.
The executioners who carried-out the death penalties. During the trial of the case, the British and American authorities did not claim compensation, but only demanded that the perpetrators be punished. This is a rare case in modern history that caused heavy losses without financial compensation. Reference materials: Liu Guoping, "Research on Gutian Religious Cases in 1895", Yang Guanghui, "Public Opinion and Modern Religious Cases".
Original Chinese Language Source Article:
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.