THE ANCESTOR OF ALL CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS
meihua quan (梅花拳）
Meihua Quan (梅花拳) has a complex nature intertwined with Chinese culture, history, philosophy, and religion.
Since ancient times, Meihua Quan has been transmitted and taught from generation to generation from two distinct perspectives: Wenchang, the field of knowledge, and Wuchang, the military or martial arts field.
Meihua Quan’s theoretical and philosophical elaboration are included in manuscripts that the masters have secretly handed down over the centuries. Since the 14th Century, the study of the theory and practice of Meihua Quan (Wenli 文理 and Wugong 武功) have been opposed and repressed by the Chinese imperial authorities, resulting in real secret societies.
The Wenchang represents the cultural and philosophical doctrine, with a specific systemic autonomy, relating to the theory, history, and genealogy of the Meihua Quan style and literature, geomancy, divination arts numerology, and health preservation. It was born and developed as the unification of the philosophical contents of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, linked to the theories of Yin & Yang, the Five Elements, and Bagua (eight trigrams theory).
Meihua Quan theory includes the contents of the Chinese philosophy such as the “Daodejing” (“The book of the way and its power” or “Laozi”) and the “Yijing” or “Book of changes “giving a reinterpretation in a holistic whole.
Wenli, translated in English as “theoretical instruction to truth” while being part of Wenchang, represents an arrival point for the practitioner of Meihua Quan, reachable through a precise martial path constituted by Wugong translated as “martial work.”
The union of mind & body
the methods of training
Until the late Qing period (19th Century), the Meihua Quan style was transmitted only by the direct parental line (from father to son and not to women who had already married). Therefore, in this way, Meihua Quan was not taught to a stranger. Until about twenty years ago, no western people had ever learned this style. This secrecy has allowed keeping intact the essence of Meihua Quan itself up to the present day, preserving one of the few styles of “gongfu” that can be defined as traditional.
A method of mental concentration, a form of meditation, similar to the Bodhidarma conception
Meihua Quan, translated as plum blossom boxing, is a traditional and unique style of Wushu, characterized by flowing and powerful movements. It is considered an excellent method for developing strength, flexibility, osteo joint mobility, and self-defense.
The practice of Meihua Quan allows the body to move freely in space, as the primary training routine, called "Jiazi" or frame. It develops on a complex geometric pattern, called the four doors and eight directions, in which the practitioner must have a clear mind right from the start, able to improve both one's kinesthesis and sense of direction. It teaches practitioners a method of mental concentration, which leads, in the execution of Jiazi, to an actual form of meditation, very similar to that of the Bodhidarma conception. The constant practice of Meihua Quan leads from a general improvement of health conditions to a different state of consciousness, more serene and attentive, and which produces an enhancement of mental abilities in terms of memory capacity and concentration.
Meihua quan training path
Meihua Quan Wu Gong (martial work of the Plum Blossom Boxing) consists of the progressive practice of the following techniques:
BA FANG BU
Walk-in eight directions
The Jiazi comprises WU SHI (five force-figures) and XING BU (work of the legs in movement). It is a training routine formed by the symmetrical repetition of the five figures on both sides of the body and along the spatial lines of a complex topographic scheme called the “Eight directions and four doors.”
awareness & fusion with nature
meihua quan wushi
Wushi is acquiring the awareness that the human body is nothing more than a microcosm that reflects the universe’s macrocosm. Great awareness of the fusion with nature itself and the adaptation to its principles will allow Qi’s natural and deep growth.
The purpose of practicing the five positions within the Jiazi is to obtain the maximum Qi (internal energy) in the Dantien (Field of Cinnabar) to strengthen the body. Each stance must be kept in a state of absolute immobility, low and stable for a time to develop three to five complete breathing cycles. The breath must be natural but deep and on the exhale to visualize the accumulation of Qi in the Dantien. Correct posture is essential for the proper flow of Qi along the natural channels of the body’s meridians.
One enters a meditative state, using breathing, movement, and non-movement to improve concentration, attention, and vitality, removing thoughts and worries from the mind. Each position transforms into the next, following the “mutual generation” theory of the Five Elements.
The stances must flow and be fluid like the continuous water flow. The extremely “static” becomes extremely “dynamic,” the Yin becomes the Yang; the extremely dynamic returns to static, and the Yang changes to Yin. The endless motion and the succession of the seasons follow the theory of Yin-Yang, in perfect harmony with the cycles of nature.
A complete session of Jiazi goes through all eight directions of the basic pattern of the four doors and remains motionless in each of the static positions for at least five full breaths. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Performing the form from start to finish without interruption will produce a synergy between the external “weigong” (muscular and joints) work and the internal “neigong” (circulatory-energetic) work. It is the minimum requirement, practiced daily, to obtain noticeable results in muscular work and energy development.
The practice of Jiazi simultaneously develops both the external and internal aspects of the body, strengthening the muscular-tendon system and allowing the Qi to reach the internal organs, improving their efficiency.
Follow the Meihua Quan Path
Shaolin Temple Yunnan is the Official Learning Center of the International Meihua Quan Federation. Shifu Shi Yanjun is the 17th Generation Disciple of Meihua Quan. The complete training methods are taught at the Temple or Online.
QIXIE OR "USE OF WEAPONS"
All traditional styles of Wushu use weapons. The practice begins with learning the “four basic weapons” (saber, sword, spear, stick). The acquisition of external motor techniques (waigong) and internal work attitudes (neigong), linked to the use of these four weapons, allows the practitioner to learn, without effort, the use of all the other weapons typical of the style Meihua Quan. The traditional weapons typically recognized in Chinese Wushu are eighteen. However, in Meihua Quan, there are many more due to the so-called “Secret Weapons of Meihua Quan” or unique weapons. These special weapons have often been protagonists in significant popular uprisings in China, such as the famous “boxers revolt” (Yihetuan), which took place in the early 1900s. Often disguised as harmless agricultural tools or even as parts of transport wagons, they passed unnoticed under the control of the imperial military authorities to suddenly transform themselves into fearsome instruments of death.
QI GONG "WORK ON QI OR ENERGY"
The "style of plum blossom poles" has always been handled with prudence and respect over the centuries.
The classification into “external” and “internal” styles bases on the principle that some martial methods perform a type of energetic work more focused on the structuring of the musculature (external), others focus more on developing the ability to control and circulation of Qi (the so-called “internal energy”). Meihua Quan classifies as both “internal” and “external” due to the energetic work it develops.
Meihua Quan is based on techniques typical of the Qigong Neidan method (the elixir of internal alchemy, used by the ancient Taoists to achieve immortality with techniques for breath control through meditation). The practice of Jiazi emphasizes the concentration of Qi in Dantien by building in a natural and unforced way, a type of Qi that flows freely in the internal organs, improving their functioning.
A beginner must practice Jiazi for at least three years. A state of exceptional physical vigor is reached due to the work on the external muscles and the development of that part of the body. At this level of practice, the practitioner's body moves according to the "three external coordination" (Waisanhe) theory: Coordination between hands and feet, Coordination between knees and elbows, and Coordination between shoulders and hips.
The work performed in compliance with these requirements leads to fundamental physical transformation, defined as “Shenhua” (body transformation). The external form (Xing), the internal Qi, and the spirit (Shen) will merge to form a single entity. Qi and strength are sent at will to satisfy the “three internal coordinations” (Neisanhe): coordination between will and intent (xin; yi), coordination between intent and Qi (yi; qi), coordination between qi and strength (qi; li). The “six coordinations” (Liuhe) are achieved, and the stage defined as “Shenhua” or transformation of the spirit (Shen) has been reached. In Chengquan and Yingquan, there are systems for increasing Qi. In “real” combat, there is even a particular type of Qi called “attacking Qi” (dianqi) which is used to damage the opponent. This type of Qi is a peculiarity of Meihua Quan. It does not concern specific points along the acupuncture meridians but rather penetrates the opponent’s body producing devastating effects, such as bone fractures, tendon lacerations, and damage to internal organs.