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Huo Yuanjia
Master Huo Yuan-jia 1/3 - Page 4
Author(s) : Yves Gendron
Date : 7/11/2004
Type(s) : Information
 Intext Links  
Lexic :
Shaolin Temple
Wong Fei-hong
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Jingwu Men schools

When Master Huo died, he was immediately deified by his disciples. He was irreplaceable as a master but his prestige and ideal could still be useful after his death. Deprived of its leader, the school suffered some financial and administrative problems, as well as some hesitation. However, after moving out and a more dynamic new administration, the Jingwu Men had a fresh start under Master Huo's best disciples such as Liu Zheng-sheng, Zhao Lianhe and Master Huo's own son, Huo Dongge. As soon as 1918, the Jingwu school had already opened several branches in at least half a dozen of cities across China such as Wuhan, Guangzhou and Foshan. In 1919, when the association celebrated its tenth anniversary, it had the immense honour to receive from the great revolutionary Sun Yat-sen a big commemorative tablet on which was written: ‘Gave great importance to the values promoted by martial arts'.

After the fall of the Qin dynasty and the setting up of the Republic, China went through a prolonged period of troubles, instability, foreign invasions and civil war which greatly disturbed the institutional development of martial arts schools. Yet, it didn't prevent the Jingwu from having during the 1940s more than 42 open branches. The communists' coming to power did turn out as a hard blow since they wished to run themselves the teaching and practice of martial arts in China, the Communist Party obliged all the masters and schools in China to subdue to a strict control by the State. Nevertheless, at that time, the Jingwu had since long opened branches in South-East Asia , Malaysia , Singapore and Hong Kong notably and the Jingwu association, by following the Chinese diaspora, was able to extend itself all over the world especially in the USA and Europe . The 80s and 90s were the decades when the numerous Jingwu schools throughout the world tried to get organised into a unified international movement.


An enduring teaching

When Master Huo opened his school, not only did he wish to teach his own familial style, the Mi-zong, but he also tried to incorporate the techniques borrowed from other styles so as to give the most global and complete martial teaching possible. During the years, his disciples carried on in this direction and added plenty of other techniques. At one point, the Jingwu taught more than 247 kinds of exercises both bare-fisted and with weapons. Then, the best ones were selected to create the Jingwu series of ten forms. Though trying to promote the traditional martial arts, the Jingwu didn't reject the modern or western approaches and that's how from the late 20s, the association extended its curriculum to disciplines such as wrestling, western boxing, weight lifting, body building, swimming and even chess. In almost a century of existence, the Jingwu formed numerous famous masters and several masters also came to teach there. Even if a number of contrary circumstances (Master Huo's death, the civil war, the communists' taking of control) have prevented the Jingwu to reach the national recognition originally expected by its founder and its numerous sponsors, the association nevertheless enjoyed quite a good degree of development and international influence.

Despite their limited number, the films and TV series on Master Huo and his disciples contributed towards the popularisation of the Jingwu among the Chinese even if unfortunately they also idealized the questionable myth of his death by Japanese poisoners.

Recently, a new tomb was built for Master Huo in Tianjin , as well as a museum, a few martial arts rooms and his former residence have become tourist attractions. Thus, like the Shaolin Temple, and Foshan Wong Fei-hong and Leung Jan's figure native city, respectively distinguished figures of Hung-gar, and Wing Chung Tianjin has become a place of pilgrimage for martial arts enthusiasts commemorating Master Huo Yuanjin's life, work and memory.
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