important system in China is Cha Chuan, a fighting style developed
by members of the Muslim faith. Muslim immigrants have lived
in China for over 1000 years and began an especially large
in-flow around the Sung Dynasty (960-1279). In China they are
known as the "Hui" people. The main Muslim communities
centralized around HeNan, HeBei, ShanTung and ShanXi provinces.
at times powerful and influential in China the Hui people have
often been considered "outsiders". As an act of integration,
protection and - as some Hui leaders described it - "holy
practice" they not only took up the study of Chinese martial
arts but excelled. Due to their differences from the typical
Chinese population (wearing a white cap, not eating pork, worshipping
differently) they were often "caught in the middle" much
like European Jewry. As political ping pong balls they soon
developed the realization that knowing martial arts was to
they were developing their own Kung Fu methods, such as 10-road Tan
Tui (Spring Leg), and Cha Ch'uan. They not only
developed expertise in "individual" Kung Fu but assumed
important military ranks often showing exceptional bravery
and loyalty to the Emperor. For instance the military expeditions
which finally expelled the Mongols from control of China and
started the great Ming dynasty were aided by powerful generals
such as Chang Yu Chun (creator of the famous Kai Pin Spear
Method), Hu Da Hai, Mu Ying, Lan Yu, Feng Sheng and Ding De
Xing: each of them a Muslim martial artist.
the Ching dynasty, when the Manchus conquered China, the Hui
were so loyal the Manchus never forgave them and after the
conquest passed harsh laws restricting their rights to have
weapons, congregate, etc. If found violating these laws they
were often branded "Hui Zui" or Hui Rebel. Humiliation
and suppression was their lot for a long time.
throughout, the Cha style has been very important in
the overall martial picture. Muslim experts have been influential,
for instance in:
Xing Yi (HeBei & Henan styles)
And other styles.
the name "Cha" Chuan is attributed to a transliteration
of a Muslim name Chamir. The Tan Tui, one of the most
famous of all Northern Chinese sets was not only developed
by Muslims but originally had one road each for every letter
in the 28 character Arabic alphabet.
by Cha Shang Mir, the Tan Tui is about 400 years old.
As the legend goes a Muslim general, Hua Zong Qi, was
on a military campaign, got sick and was left behind to be
nursed by peasants in a village in XinJiang. Once healed he
taught, as a reward, his Spring Leg set to the locals. Tan
Tui was not only a foundation to develop the beautiful, graceful
and famous Cha Style but was such a rational approach that
it was adopted by all sorts of other styles. Among these are
the Tan Tui versions from:
many more including 6, 10,12, 14, 16 and 18 road routines and
the Cha style developed into three "family" branches: Zhang,
Li and Yang. Only recently have their been efforts to reconstruct
the entire system, including the essential ten core sets.
ten sets are such typical Long Fist that when the Mainland
government wanted to create "required" routines they
decided to use the Cha sets as a base for what is now known
as "contemporary Wushu" because they were relatively
unchanged for centuries. Though in some ways a representative
Long Fist style, Cha has some added flavors distinctly its
own. It emphasizes a graceful series of actions but with unusual timing and angle
changes. Some sets, such as the first set normally taught
- Cha Road #4 - are so famous that many styles, such as Northern
Shaolin, have a version. But all versions display at least
some of Cha's distinctive timing and changes.
truly great and proud style with a long past