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.
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!
Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles (b. 1967) - Lineage (Generational) Inheritor of the Ch'an Dao Hakka Gongfu System.