Muslim Chinese Martial Arts

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Wang zi ping famous grandmaster of Cha Quan

Muslim development and participation at the highest level of Chinese Wushu has a long history. Many of its roots lies in the Qing Dynasty persecution of muslims. The Hui chinese muslims started and adapted many of the styles of wushu such as Ba Ji Quan, Pi Gua Zhang, Liu He Quan.. etc. There where specific areas that where know to be centeres of Muslim wushan, such as Cang County in Hebei Province. These traditional chinese martial arts where very distinct from the turkic chinese muslim styles practied in Xinjiang.

The Chinese Muslim practioners where so adept at their martial arts, and there styles such as Pu Yi and Ba Ji Quan, where so renowned, that they formed the backbone of the bodyguards of the Chinese Emperors. Most where students of Li Shu Wen. Such as Huo Diange bodyguard to Pu Yi (the last emperor of China), Li Chen Wu bodyguard to Mao Tsedong and Liu Yunqiao secret agent for the Kuomintang and instructor of the bodyguards of Chiang Kai Shek. As a result Ba Ji Quan became known as the 'Bodyguard' style [1]


Ba ji quan

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Muslim Martial Arts

Muslim Wushu

Ba Ji QuanPi Gua QuanTanTuiLiu He QuanTong bei Quan

Muslim Wushu Masters

Wang zi pingMa MentaYang Wan LuChamirChang Yuchun Hu DahaiMu yingLan YuWu ZhongZhang Shao FuMa XiandaChang tung sheng


Bajiquan (eight extreme fists) was first recorded as being practiced by Wu Zhong a chinese Muslim from the Mong Village in Cang County in Hebei Province during the early Qing Dynasty

According to tradition Wu was taught the style by a Taoist priest Lai, and his disciple Pi. They may well have been anti Qing revolutionaries disguised as wandering priests. Wu spent much of his later life in prison for anti Qing activities, which would seem to support this idea.

It is believed that at this time Bajiquan and Piguazhang (chop-hanging palm) were taught together, or may even have been one style. However, after Wu Zhong’s death, his eldest daughter Wu Rong married a man in Lou Tang village, Cang county. For some reason she only taught Pigua, and in the Mong village they only taught Baji.

A few generations later the teaching of the arts was recombined by Li Shu Wen (1864 CE (1280 AH) -1934 CE (1352 AH)). Nicknamed "God of Spear" for his outstanding ability with the spear, Li Shu Wen learned Bajiquan from Jin Dian Sheng in Mong village, and piguazhang from Huang Si Hai in Lou Tong village. Li had many famous students, including Hue Dian Ge, his first disciple, who was bodyguard to Fu Yi , the last Emperor.

Li’s last closed door disciple was Grandmaster Liu Yun Qiao 1909 CE (1326 AH) - 1992 CE (1412 AH)), who he taught for ten years before his death. Grandmaster Liu was already proficient in long fist and Mizongquan (lost track fist).

The bodyguards of Sun Yat Sen, Chiang Kai Shek and Mao Tsedong were all students of grandmaster Liu. The most famous of grandmaster Liu’s disciples in the west is master Adam Hsu.

Bajiquan is an internal system, more closely related to taijiquan than shaolin. It is a compact and devastating system, featuring much stamping and weight changing , as well as it’s own special method of generating power.


Muslim master of Ba Ji Zhang Shao Fu

Pi Gua Zhang - chopping and hanging fist,

The history and origin of a kung fu style is generally attributed to one person or one location. For baji and pigua, the original founder can generally be attributed to Wu Zhong, a Chinese Muslim from Mong Village, Cang County, Hebei Province. Wu has initially learned the two styles from two Daoist monks Lai and Pi in 1727. Wu then taught his style to his daugther Wu Rong. She is considered to be the second-generation master of this style. She married and taught her martial art to her husband. Her husband and her taught their style as two separate systems: baji and pigua. They only taught pigua quan to her students in the Luo Tong village and the Ba Ji Quan style was taught only at Mong village.

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Tantui (spring leg) Martial arts was developed by a Hui Muslim named Chamir (sincised as Cha Shang Mir) form Xinjiang during the Ming Dynasty [1]

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Part of a Category:Islam in China of articles on


Islam in China

Islamic Architecture in China

Chinese Mosques and Muslim Architects

Major figures

Zheng HeHaji NoorMa BufangPu Shougeng Jamal ud-Din

Muslim People in China

HuiSalarUygursKazakhsKirgiz TartarsAryan TajkisUzbeksDongxiang

Muslim Wushu Masters

Wang Zi PingMa MentaYang Wan LuChamirChang Yuchun Hu DahaiMu yingLan YuWu ZhongZhang Shao Fu

Islamic Dyansties in China

Sultanate of Xeng Hong
Yunnan SultanateFive Ma
Sultanate of KweichowXinjiang Sultanate

Islamic Cities/Regions in China


History of Islam in China

Ming DynastyYuan DynastyQing DynastyTang DynastyModern HistoryTimeline of Islam in China

Cha Kungfu is a Muslim technique from Northern Shaolin also named after a Muslim Kung Fu master - Chamir. Another Muslim master was Cheong Ho, an admiral of the Ming Dynasty[2]


Xinyi Liuhe Quan (literally - Fist of Mind, Intention and Six Harmonies) is a martial art that has developed in Henan Province among Chinese Hui Muslim nationality. It is considered one of the most powerful and fighting-oriented styles among other Chinese Martial Arts, and for a long time it has been known for its effectiveness in fighting, while very few actually knew the practice methods of the style. Xinyi Liuhe Quan, along with Cha Quan and Qi Shi Quan (Boxing of Seven Postures), have been considered "Jiao Men Quan" ("religious - e.g. Muslim - boxing") meant to protect followers of Islam in China. For more than two centuries the style had been kept secret and transmitted only to very few Muslim practitioners. Only at the beginning of this century first native Chinese (Han nationality) learnt the style, but still up to now the most skilful experts of Xinyi Liuhe Quan can be found within Hui communities in China.[2]

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huihui shiba zhou

Hui Hui Shi Ba Zhou (Hui elbow 8 style) was so secret that it was considered completely lost. That was until 1970 CE (1389 AH) when researches found a teacher Ju Kui who knew the style. Ju Kui (born 1886 CE (1303 AH) was from a Muslim family in Tong Xian County Hebei. At age six he started learning from Sun De Kui of De Zhou Shandong. He trained for 17 years learning 19 types of martial arts. At the age of 33 he also tried to improve himself by studying with the muslim Yang Wan Lu an imam from the Tong Shou Mosque.

Chi Shi Quan

Also know as 'Chi Shi' or the seven warriors. Originally the name memoralized the seven sains of Islam, but was altered to the seven forms. Starting among Muslims in Henan it eventually reached ShanXi. The style , as the name implies is based on seven essential postures from which sets are constrcuted.[3]


In 1949 CE (1368 AH) wushu was completely forbidden in China. Cloisters were closed and some monks moved to Taiwan, the USA and other countries where they started their own schools. Later on, wushu trainings were organized at the National Institute of Athletics. In this organization Wushu was taught in a cut way to avoid the possible martial artists’ collusion against the government. Thus wushu took many gymnastic attributes. The situation hadn’t been changed up to 80s.

However, wushu revival in China after many years of persecution had some hardships. Some masters didn’t want to share their knowledge about wushu, some just made away with manuscripts and school secrets. With economic revival and copying the west style of life, young people started making business with great enthusiasm. Traditions and school secrets were not in favor any more. Only Ma family, “Chinese wushu stars” they call them in China, were able to keep their family secrets during time of persecution. Ma Menta became a history professor, Ma Syanta is known as sport official. Wushu masters were highly respected everywhere. Ma Menta’s son, Ma Leanzhan, decided to be Muslim clergy. Later on, traditional wushu got its support from government. And brothers Ma started work developing family style Tongbei in China, Russia and other countries.

Cha quan

Cha quan (long fist)

One of its most famous practicioners is Wang zi ping

External Links


  1. Stark . Micheal J 'Chinese martial arts and the Hui
  2. “Answers to Readers Questions – August 2000. Pt.2”. 1-18. Wong Kiew Kit’s Home Page. 08/30/01 p.3
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