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I felt truly honored when Shi Fu Zhang Yun asked me to write the forward to this book. The sword
technique described here is a valuable part of Chinese martial art history. Even more, it represents
part of an amazing man's life and reflects the fascinating story of how
Yin Cheng Gong Fa came to
be. All of this information is now available to us in this book.
I began to learn about Yin Cheng Gong Fa after I had been studying martial arts for about five years.
During that period, I had come across a picture in a martial arts magazine. I was hypnotized by the
beauty and mystique of what I saw. It was a picture of a temple cut right out of a cliff. The temple
seemed to float in the mist among twisted trees and jagged outcroppings of rock and jade-green
foliage. The picture had such a powerful impact on me that I carefully cut it out and framed it. It hung in
my room for several years. Rather frequently, I would look deeply into it thinking that someday I would
go there.
Little did I know that the picture and the temple were going to play a major part of my life in the future.
That summer I turned eighteen and a chance encounter changed my life forever: I was fortunate
enough to meet Shi Fu Zhang Yun. My grandmother was the catalyst when she told me that a friend of
hers had introduced her to a man from Beijing, China. She went on to say that he knew
Taiji Quan and
was very skilled and graceful. I showed no interest after she mentioned that he did
Taiji. There was no
room in my book for such a meeting. I was already almost a black belt in a "real" martial art. Why did I
need to study a bunch of slow geriatric-looking moves? My grandmother insisted, however, that I meet
this man from Beijing and at least talk to him. I hesitantly agreed and the day I met him turned out to be
a day I will never forget.
Thinking back to that day brings up a lot of memories. I am almost embarrassed at how arrogant I was
when, thinking there would be nothing in it for me because I liked only fighting skill, I walked reluctantly
into his house. At that time, Shi Fu Zhang Yun had just recently arrived from Beijing. He spoke maybe
five words of English and had to have his friend translate. He asked me what I studied and I confidently
recited my rank and proudly reported the number of trophies and medals I had won. He very humbly
stated that he did
Taiji Quan. "Oh yeah, I've seen that. It's the slow moving stuff that old people do," I
said with a smile. "
Taiji can be used for real fighting and can be very effective," he calmly returned.
With that, he and his friend began to move the furniture to clear a space. Then Shi Fu Zhang Yun stood
up and politely asked me if I wanted to try some fighting. As I attacked, the most bizarre thing
happened to me. I ended up on the floor with absolutely no clue how I got there. Every time I came at
Shi Fu Zhang Yun with a punch or a kick, I met emptiness. There he was, or at least I thought he was
but what I repeatedly found instead was the floor and I had no memory of how got there.
Needless to say, after that experience, I became Shi Fu Zhang Yun's biggest fan and his first student
in the United States. I studied with him one year before he decided he wanted to teach more students.
The group of students drawn to his classes grew quickly to about ten people, all of whom were
intensely dedicated to training with a teacher of such astonishing skill. For me, an unbelievable
opportunity presented itself after about three years of study. Shi Fu Zhang Yun suggested that I go to
China to study with his
Kungfu family.
At first, this idea seemed like only a wonderful dream, but soon I was working hard to save money for
the journey of a lifetime. Shi Fu Zhang Yun had constantly referred to his grandmaster Wang Peisheng
and his legendary skill. I was very eager to meet this man whom my teacher so deeply admired. It was
arranged that I would stay with Shi Fu Zhang Yun's
Kungfu brother Lu Shengli. Before I knew it, I had
the money, the visa and the plane ticket and it was time to leave.
Being in China was a breathtaking experience from beginning to end and would take a book's worth of
words to describe. I stayed for four months, training six hours a day, six days a week. I lived with Lu
Shengli, an incredible martial artist, who took care of me and trained me every day. As Shi Fu Zhang
Yun's older
Kungfu brother, Master Lu opened his home to me and treated me like a nephew.
Master Lu, whom I called Shi Bo meaning Kungfu uncle, was kind, warm and generous and had a
pleasant and chivalrous nature. Humble and always smiling at those he passed, he nevertheless
possessed an intensity in fighting that was matched by very few. He seemed like a true warrior living in
a modern day world. As you might expect, my training was hard and intense, bringing tears at times.
Looking back, I wouldn't trade those moments for anything.
I will never forget my first meeting with the grandmaster Wang Peisheng. Master Lu and I, along with
my translator, had hopped on a motorcycle and made our way towards Master Wang's house. Master
Wang lives in Beijing's old district, which has the aura of a town still tucked away in the last century.
We had dodged crowds of people and squeezed our way over narrow stone bridges past ancient
stone buildings with tiled roofs and lacquered windows. Elderly people smoking tobacco pipes were
sitting casually on walkways, their caged canaries beside them. People wearing Mao-Tze-Dong era
clothing turned the crowded streets into a patchwork of drab blues and grays.
Shi Fu Zhang Yun and I
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Shi Fu showed me
a Bagua skill
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My Shi Bo, Master Lu
Shengli
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It was the first time I met
my Great Grandmaster
Wang Peisheng
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I (left 4) jioned my Kungfu aunt
(left 6) 's wedding ceremony
with my Kungfu uncles in Beijing.
From this party I can feel how
close the people are in their
Kungfu family. Left 3 is my Shi
Bo Lu Shengli, left 5 is my Shi
Bo Zhang Deshan, left 7 is my
kungfu brother Mike, left  8 is
my Shi Bo Zhao Zeren.
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Grandmaster Wang
demonstrated a Taiji
application in 1995
Beijing International Taiji
Quan Conference
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Grandmaster Wang
demonstrated  Jian
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I was on Wudong
Mountain
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My Kungfu brothers and I
demonstrated fighting skills in a
Chinese New Year Celeberation
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I was teaching a seminar
Yin Cheng Gong Fa Association North American Headquarters
==========================================================================================================
Copyright © 2000 YCGF_NAH. All rights reserved.
Master Wang's house seemed hidden within an endless maze of alleys and intricate narrow
backroads. As we made our way from the motorcycle into his courtyard, I became increasingly
anxious. We were met by Master Wang's wife who led us to Master Wang's small room off the main
house. There he greeted us and invited us in. He had a large, pleasant smile and asked us to sit. The
room was large enough for a couch, two chairs, a table and a desk. He sat in a chair with the table
next to him and we sat on the couch. The room had some framed calligraphy and pictures of family
carefully placed on the wall above his head.
I was introduced as Zhang Yun's student who had traveled from the United States to train. Master
Wang was very interested in what I had studied and asked several questions. He then began to talk
about
Taiji and internal force. Suddenly, he jumped up from his chair and began to demonstrate some
Taiji and Bagua. I had never seen such movement or power from a person before, especially from a
person of his age. He seemed to grow ten feet and moved with an astonishing grace and with fire in
his eyes. I was in total awe of what was taking place.
Master Wang asked me to stand and, as he demonstrated the moves on me, I was astounded by his
ability. At times he seemed to vanish as I pushed on him as precisely as I could. Yet if he wished, he
could become like a mountain. Then, hard as I might try, I could not move him. When he touched me,
the wave of energy that shot through me was like that of ten men. Most amazing was the fact that his
force was soft and undetectable until the last moment. He was relaxed and could guide his force freely
wherever and whenever he wished.
From that day on, I knew that for me this Kungfu was going to be a way of life. I left feeling inspired and
so excited that I could not sleep that night. My translator and I spent every subsequent day and late into
each night discussing my lessons with Master Wang. I studied with Master Lu during the week and
with Master Wang on Sundays. Time moved quickly and one day Master Lu approached me with news
that was beyond anything I had dared to imagine. Shi Fu Zhang Yun had told him if I had done well, I
could be made a disciple of the
Kungfu family.
A Kungfu family has an intricate system of teaching and accepting students. A student must find a
master and ask him for training. For at least three years, the master will teach the student only very
basic principles and skills. During that time, the master observes the student's morals, character and
desire to train. Then, the master decides if he wants the student as a disciple. If the student is
accepted, a large ceremony is held and the student meets the
Kungfu family. From that point on, he is
considered a disciple and as such, is charged with passing on the knowledge transmitted by the
generations before him. It is his duty to learn and preserve the techniques and philosophy of the family.
According to tradition, when a student becomes a disciple, he calls his master Shi Fu. "Shi" means
"master" or "teacher" and "
Fu" means "father." Accordingly, a disciple is called upon to respect his
Shi Fu not only as a teacher but also as a father. By the same token, a Shi Fu must look after and
nurture his students not only in their study of martial arts but also in the moral development of their
character and in the overall conduct of their lives. All members of a
Kungfu family are considered to be
related to each other as though they formed a biological family. The
Kungfu brother of one's Shi Fu, for
example, becomes one's
Kungfu uncle, as Master Lu became for me.
The day I became Shi Fu Zhang Yun's in-door disciple and a member of the Kungfu family known as
Yin Cheng Gong Fa, was one of the most exciting days of my life. At the ceremony, Master Wang told
me that I was the first foreigner to join his martial arts family in the traditional way, having followed the
same course of study and met all the same standards as the Chinese members. I could not believe my
good fortune to be accepted as a full member of Yin Cheng Gong Fa.
Yin Cheng is Master Wang's special literary Buddhist name (Fa Hou). It means "always to treat people
with honesty and from one's heart." When Master Wang studied Buddhism, his master gave him this
special name as a goal or aspiration to strive for.
Gong Fa basically means Kungfu family or "method
of." Yin Cheng Gong Fa, then, refers to the method or
Kungfu family of the man known as Yin Cheng.
Becoming a member of this group was truly an inspiring event for me. The family was made up of
many martial art masters who wanted to study with Master Wang. As a result, it included practitioners
of not only
Taiji but also Xingyi, Bagua, Shaolin, Tantui, Tongbei, Baiji, Paotui and many other styles.
Master Wang, himself, knows fifteen or more styles.
Having practiced for nine years with Shi Fu Zhang Yun and twice intensively with Master Wang and
Master Lu in Beijing, I began to understand the real meaning of Yin Cheng Gong Fa. It is a highly
developed martial arts training system that applies high level principles to the study of the martial arts
and thereby makes it possible for students to understand more fully the meaning and fundamental
tenets of martial arts practice. It offers not only clear explanations of basic principles but also many
efficient techniques and training suggestions for people at all skill levels. Much more than a simple
combination of facts and propositions, it is an integration of traditional wisdom and practice with more
recent modifications that have been developed by Master Wang and others to facilitate training by
practitioners all over the world and at all levels of expertise. It is a system imbued with centuries-old
methods and values that transforms and condenses this knowledge so that students can incorporate it
into any martial arts practice.
This system is not an exclusive system. Nor does it advance any system or style as superior to others.
It encourages each practitioner to make individual choices about which forms to study and generally
which path to take in the pursuit of high level mastery. It has been used by many practitioners to
improve the performance of techniques and skills derived from the whole spectrum of traditional
martial arts styles.
Master Wang, as one of the most outstanding martial arts masters in China today, has studied
numerous martial arts styles with many of the most famous Chinese masters. His training has been
rigorous, traditional, serious and lifelong. His expertise extends to a detailed knowledge of traditional
Chinese culture, including philosophy, history and the arts. Throughout his life, he has prevailed in
competitions with many famous masters and has justly earned a reputation as one of the great
masters of martial arts fighting techniques. He has devoted his life to a thorough and deep exploration
of the martial arts. During more than sixty-five years of studying, practicing and teaching, he has
gained superior skill in and knowledge of a great variety of styles. Because of this, he has been able
to gain insight into the essential nature of the martial arts and to combine traditional knowledge with
his own experience to devise this new martial arts training system.
To understand Yin Cheng Gong Fa is not an easy undertaking. With the publication of this book, there
is now a way for practitioners everywhere to learn the principles and methods of this system, which is
at once innovative and tradition-based. As one who has benefited enormously from Yin Cheng Gong
Fa training, I am delighted that this book is finally available.
Not only is the approach described in this book unique but also it is important for what it represents in
the bigger picture. Master Wang's system provides a gateway to a world that has passed. There has
been much lost over the years as China makes the transition into the twentieth century, including the
fact that the martial way is no longer practiced by many martial artists. People today must work all day
and keep pace with the modern world. Very few can train many hours a day for years on end as did the
practitioners of the past. In general, guns and modern weaponry have replaced skill and swords and
spears.
What used to be an integral part of Chinese culture and a vital part of everyday life has been
diminished by the passing of time. Nevertheless, martial arts skills, traditions and principles are
preserved by a dedicated few. Master Wang is one such man, working to pass this knowledge on to
the willing. Shi Fu Zhang Yun is another and this book, one can hope, is just the beginning of many
volumes aimed at preserving a part of classical martial arts history.
In this book, the reader will learn about one of the most refined and revered of Chinese weapons, the
double-edged sword (
Jian). Jian is a very special weapon with a long and significant history. It was
carried by generals and noblemen and was considered a gentlemen's weapon. The skill required to
wield it was regarded as refined and of a high level, attained by only accomplished practitioners.
Mastering the elements that make
Jian form beautiful and its applications effective is a challenging
task. I feel that this book offers the most comprehensive and detailed method for learning
Jian form
and its applications. The details of where to direct the mind is especially characteristic of Master
Wang's method. With careful training, one can feel changes and sensations while practicing the form.
The insights passed down from master to student for generations give the modern student a clear path
to mastery of
Jian. Master Wang's method of study allows the student to perfect movements and to
derive these movements from correct principles and feelings.
When studying the sword form by utilizing the points detailed by Master Wang, one feels instantly
comfortable. The sword that initially felt like an unwieldy piece of metal, eventually comes to feel like a
natural part of one's body. In my opinion, this book gives us a clear and safe way to master a very
challenging and beautiful weapon,
Taiji Jian. Even more, it gives us a way to understand Yin Cheng
Gong Fa.
Near the end of my stay in China, I decided it was time to travel. I wanted to see the Shaolin Temple
and Wudang Mountain. My uncle Lu Shengli was not happy with the idea of my traveling so far. I would
be traveling with only my translator and neither of us had a good idea of exactly how to get to our
destination. It took a lot of pleading to talk my poor uncle into allowing us to take this risky trip.
Eventually my perseverance succeeded and we boarded a train and headed for the Shaolin Temple.
The Temple was right out of the storybooks. Once again, this is a story in its own right. The most
fascinating part of the story centers on our experiences in the city of Wuhan which was on the route to
Wudang Mountain, the birthplace of
Taiji Quan. When we arrived in Wuhan, we had been on a bus for
twenty-two hours. We exited the bus terminal tired and in search of lodgings. This quickly became a
problem and the search became a quest. Although many reforms are currently taking place in China,
travel outside the large cities is still fraught with numerous difficulties. The hotels in Wuhan, for
instance, were either way too expensive or were not open to foreigners. Finally, we did find a cheap
hotel that was willing to let me stay for an extra fee. This discovery came just in the nick of time
because it had started to rain. The problem of rain turned disastrous as the downpour continued
non-stop for two days. We needed to get a train from Wuhan to Wudang and the weather was causing
a delay. I had to be back in Beijing to catch my flight home and we were running out of time.
Finally after what seemed like unbeatable odds, we managed to get on a train heading towards
Wudang Mountain. The question was where to get off. How far were we from our destination? When
the train stopped, the conductor's voice through the loudspeaker was very heavily accented and the
speaker system itself did not work very well. A man sitting a few seats away seemed to sense our
dilemma. His eyes were unusually bright and he just seemed like a martial artist to me. He came over
to sit beside us and began to explain that he had overheard us discussing our plans to go to Wudang.
He asked why we were so interested in going to the Mountain. I explained that I was studying
Taiji and
internal
Kungfu and wanted to visit the birthplace of Taiji.
He smiled and said that Yuan Fen had brought us together. Yuan Fen means "karma," suggesting
that in his opinion our encounter had not been accidental. After talking martial arts for about two hours,
the man seemed really to like us. Having said that it was his karmic duty to help us, he told us exactly
where to go, whom to ask for and where to stay. Shortly thereafter, he got off the train and was never
seen by us again.
At nightfall, we arrived at the base of Wudang Mountain. We walked through a small village to a giant
gate that marked the beginning of our 12,500-foot journey into the sky. We managed to catch the last
small bus going up the mountain that night. It was an awe-inspiring and treacherous trip. At times, the
road that wound up the steep mountainside hugged the edge of a cliff that dropped so far below us no
bottom was visible. Finally after five hours, we arrived at a small village about halfway up the mountain.
We were exhausted and made our way to our room for the night. The next morning I was up at sunrise
ready to start the day and ventured outside to look at the mountain in the daylight. I climbed to the top
of a hill to gaze across the valley towards the tallest peak. There, cut right into the cliff, was the temple
in the picture I had hung in my room years before.
It was at this moment that something inside me changed. The whole meaning of Kungfu and my
spirituality came into focus. The philosophy, the training, all those lessons seemed to stand before me
just as the temple stood before me now. From that point on, my experiences became only more
profound but were no longer a surprise.
I realized that high level martial arts involve not only mastery of skills and techniques but also a special
quality of spirit that can come only from one's heart and mind. In some ways, the temple exemplified
this notion. The people who built it wanted to make something beautiful to honor their God, but they
could have built a beautiful temple anywhere. The fact that they chose this high, craggy cliff and
thereby set themselves an almost impossible task suggests an intense devotion, a desire for
perfection and a commitment to principle. High level martial arts mastery demands similar qualities of
practitioners. And like the temple which has stood for over a thousand years revealing its greatness,
high level martial arts endure from generation to generation because of the spirit and values they
represent.
Looking out the window of the plane as I left Beijing, I knew that I would return to this age-old land
again and again
. I knew, too, that one day the Yin Cheng Gong Fa system would make its way into the
mainstream of the martial arts community in the United States. After all, that was our goal so that all
could benefit from this wonderful method of improving body and mind. This goal is served with the
publication of Shi Fu Zhang Yun's book and the growing popularity of Master Wang's methodology
here in the United States and abroad.
Strider Clark
Reno, Nevada

December 1, 1997
 
About the author:
Strider Clark has studied martial arts for more than 16 years. He is the black belt of Tae-kwon-do, Jiu-jitsu,
Philippine stick fighting. He learned more than 10 years in internal kungfu with Zhang Yun. He also got a special
intensive training with Master Wang Peisheng and Lu Shengli in Beijing. He is a graduate of the Beijing Physical
Science Research Center in Asian philosophy and martial arts. He is the certificated internal kungfu instructor of Yin
Cheng Gong Fa Association and Beijing Wu Style Taiji Quan Association North American Branch.