T’ai Chi Page
Biography of Kuo Lien Ying
"Master Kuo Lien Ying's techniques are first rate and genuine as are the intangibles of his philosophy such as loyalty and hard work". (David Chin) The following information was translated from Chinese by Mr. Guttmann and Yu Ching Yuen. It includes a detailed accounting of Kuo Lien Ying's professional training and background. As you will see, his background includes profound teachers who imparted to him the real essence of the boxing art.
Boxing without Boxing
Intent without Intention
In the Midst of No Intention, is the Real Intention
If the Key points of the Way are not Correctly Understood
then cultivation of the Tao is fruitlessly belaboring the body.
China's boxing art is ancient. There are many styles which continue to grow and thrive. It is one of the unique cultural features of this nation. The whole world admires and respects this aspect of Chinese culture. The skill was developed to a perfected art, what reasons would cause it to deteriorate in the modern world? There are three reasons for this.
1. The government focus has put literature and other cultural features above martial arts.
2. The style of teaching between teacher and student has been rigid and there were few books which give an account of the art left behind to explain and propagate it. Understanding the secrets of the art depended on a person's scholastic attainment, depth, and profundity. So much of the skill was lost by inaccurate verbal transmitting.
3. People incline towards the technological advances of the Western civilization such as modern weapons and as a result don't think that Chinese martial arts are powerful. People prefer the new fashion of sports to martial arts and view martial arts as only promoting health. Therefore it is difficult to promote and foster the development of "real martial arts".
Mr. Kuo, who was a member of Congress in Taiwan was an expert at Chinese martial arts, especially Hsing I, Pa Kua, and T'ai Chi. He was admired my many people. He felt a sorrow for the deteriorating state of martial arts and made his best effort to encourage the martial arts to flourish. When he arrived at Taiwan, he taught martial arts at the University of Taiwan in Tai Pei. He taught every morning at dawn and nothing would prevent him from attending his class. He had more than one hundred students and his teaching method was vigorous yet patient. He helped to make martial arts popular and many people were interested in learning from him.
Mr. Kuo born in Kwei Sui capitol city of Sui Yuan province in 1897. When he was young he showed special abilities for boxing. At the age of twelve he began to learn Shao Lin from master Li Ling
nicknamed "Sixty Two" who was a famous master of the northern school of Shao Lin. After five years of study Mr. Kuo developed a high level of skill. At twenty three years old, he began to learn T'ai Chi. He exchanged knowledge with Yin Chien Cheng and Wang Mao Chai of Pei P'ing and with Ch'en Fa Ke nicknamed Tzu Fu Sheng who was from Hunan province. These men were his friends.
He then heard of the magnificent reputation of Wang Chiao Yu who was a senior student of Yang Pan Hou . Mr. Kuo asked to become a student of Mr. Wang. Yang Pan Hou had been in the service of the royal family of the Ch'ing dynasty and taught martial arts. Mr. Wang had been a servant of Pan Hou and took the opportunity to learn the art of T'ai Chi without Pan Hou's knowledge. When he discovered that Chiao Yu had secretly learned the T'ai Chi form, Pan Hou thought him very worthy and sincere and accepted Chiao Yu as a student. Pan Hou soon discovered the great depth and ability of Chiao Yu and passed on to him the "True Teaching of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Chiao Yu went on to develop superb and extraordinary skills. Mr. Wang then lived at the ancestral temple which was located at the He P'ing gate in Pei P'ing. Mr. Wang accepted very few students and is reported to have been one hundred and four years old when he accepted Mr. Kuo Lien Ying as a student. Mr. Wang passed on the "True Teaching" to Mr. Kuo and kept no secrets. When Mr. Kuo was twenty-eight, he began to learn Hsing I from Tai Liu who was from Shan Hsi province and also learned from Huang Chin Yin who lived in He Pei province and was the student of the famous Hsing I master Kuo Yuen Sheng . Mr. Kuo traveled between Pei P'ing and He Pei for two years to receive instruction. In addition Mr. Kuo learned Pa Kua from the famous master Chang Hsin Chai of Pei P'ing. He also went by the name of Yung Te and his nickname was "Boots Chang" Mr. Chang was the student of the famous master of Pa Kua Ch'eng T'ing Hua of Pei P'ing whose nickname was "Spectacles Ch'eng". Mr. Kuo gathered together the achievements of Hsing I, T'ai Chi, and Pa Kua.
Mr. Kuo modest and humble traveled around the country visiting famous masters. He would learn their practice methods and discussed theory. He visited many masters and befriended them. He learned from Tu Hsin Wu who was from Hunan province and the famous master of Pa Kua Chang Fu Hsing who lived at the west gate of Pei P'ing and was called "Steamed Roll Chang". Chang Wu who lived at the east gate of Pei P'ing and was nicknamed "Drunkard Chang" and specialized in Shao Lin. Also T'ien Yung who lived at the south gate of Pei P'ing and nicknamed "Quick hands T'ien". Some of the others were Ch'en Yu Ch'ing who was the guardian of a palace outside of the front gates. His speciality was Three Stars P'ao Ch'ui. Wang Hsiang Chai who was from Shen county of He Pei province. and the student of the famous Hsing I master Kuo Yun Sheng . And, the famous master of Shao Lin Yang I Shan who was nicknamed "Pimples Yang".
Mr. Kuo assimilated all of the fine points from these masters and elevated his own skills because of these relationships.
Later Mr. Kuo's knowledge included the healing arts. He learned medicine and surgery in effort to save people from suffering and illness. His clinic was located at the outside of Ch'ien Men in Pei P'ing. He usually treated very serious cases and paralysis with his understanding of Nei Kung. He did not charge money for this contribution. Patients who could not be cured by other doctors were often cured by Mr. Kuo. Not only did he save many lives but contributed to society in many ways.
On the 13th of December 1951, Joe Lewis the heavy-weight boxing champion of the world came to Taiwan to publicize his skills. His performance was held at Sanchun court in Taipei. No one dared to compete with the world champion. Mr. Kuo asked to compete with Joe Lewis for this so called world championship because he thought China's art was superior to the Western style of boxing because it does not depend on physical strength. Mr. Kuo asked to compete several times but received no reply. He felt that the boxing champion denied the boxing art of China. Mr. Kuo said, he can win by strength but I can win by technique. The subtlety of the Chinese boxing art is that a large force can be overcome by the correct application of just a little bit of energy. Mr. Kuo did regret he did not have a chance to compete with Joe Lewis.
There are very few books that explain the details of T'ai Chi Ch'uan yet it is a national treasure of China. This is why Mr. Kuo compiled the book "The T'ai Chi Boxing Chronicle" in his spare time. To increase the level of education for his students and the world T'ai Chi community. Using his vast experience, he analyzed all aspects of the boxing art.
I will list the sets that Mr. Kuo taught in San Francisco although he also knew Monkey Boxing and a multitude of other sets.
T'an T'ui (springing legs)
Er Lang Ch'uan
T'ai Chi Staff
T'ai Chi Sword
Shao Lin Five Tiger Sword