The first row from left: Zhang Zihe, Guo Fen, Wang Maozhai, and Zhao Tiean.
The second and third from left in the second row are Wang Maozhai's two sons:
Wang Zichao and Wang Ziying, in May 1933.
Wang Maozhai (Youlin)
In 1933, Yuan Liang (袁良), the new mayor of Beijing (called Beiping at that time), wanted to find a
high-level master to teach him martial arts. Yuan practiced martial arts for a long time and had good
skills. He asked Xu Yusheng (许禹生), the president of Beiping Physical Culture Institute (北平体育研
究社) and disciple of Yang Jianhou (杨健侯), to introduce someone to him. Xu brought several
famous masters to meet with Yuan. However no one could defeat Yuan, perhaps in deference to his
position. When Yuan complained about this, Xu said he could invite this one master, however he
was concerned Yuan may get hurt. Yuan said he doesn’t care, his only concern is of finding the best
teacher. So Xu invited Wang Maozhai to meet with Yuan. Before the meeting Xu cautioned Wang.
Wang said “Don’t worry, I am in full control of my powers”.
When they met, Yuan wanted a realistic fight. But Wang said: “See that couch over there, I will just
throw you onto that couch.” As predicted, after fighting started, no matter how Yuan Liang attacked,
Wang would throw Yuan so that Yuan would end up sitting down gently onto the couch each time.
Then an even more interesting thing happened: having gained an exacting measure of his opponent’
s abilities, Wang said he would throw Yuan exactly ten steps before Yuan could regaining control,
and proceeded to do just that. Shocked and awed by Wang's skills, Yuan immediately became
Wang's disciple. The ceremony was holden in Tongheguan (同和馆) Restaurant on Nov. 8, 1933.
Included Yuan Liang, total seven new disciples were accepted by Wang Maozhai. On the same day,
Wang's disciple Yang Yuting opened his door to accept Zhao Anxiang, Wang Peisheng (王培生) etc
as his first seven disciples. Thus they were called double star stars.
Wang Maozhai formed the famous Taijiquan organization Beiping Taimiao Taijiquan Association (北
平太庙太极拳研究会) in 1930. Taimiao was the temple where emperor’s family performed sacrificial
ceremony to their ancestors. It became a public park after the Republic Revolution. To promote the
organization, Wang Maozhai invited the famous modern educator Wang Houzhai (王厚斋), and then
famous general of Southwest Army Xu Mingshan (徐明山), also called Xu Xiangyun (徐翔云) to be its
On any given day, at least one hundred people, sometime more than three hundred, would
practice at Taimiao. This was the biggest Taijiquan organization in northern China at that time.
Wang’s senior disciple Yang Yuting taught most public classes, and Wang taught more advanced
students. Wang became very famous during that time. Many people learned with him, and many
people came to challenge him. Wang, his disciples and grand disciples never lost a fight in the
twenty years they were at Taimiao (they moved out in 1951).
The front gate of Wang Maozhai's
home in Dawuguan Village
Students practice Taijiquan in Taimiao by de Henri Cartier Bresson
Wang Maizhai was a very modest and honest person. He respected his master very much, and
helped out his master’s family whenever they faced difficult times. The level of prestige he achieved
was such that many in the martial art community, including his disciples, suggested the nature thing
to do is to come out from under Wu group to form his own group. To this he always answered
“Never would I do that. My teacher and my younger gongfu brother teach for a living. I have my
own business. If we were to promote anyone, it should be the Wu family.” He was known to be
extremely patient with his students, and never conservative in his teaching. From the 1920s onward,
especially during the 1930s, he was the most famous Taijiquan master in the northern China.
Wang Maozhai passed away in 1940. It is said he died much earlier than he should have, and the
reason was the sudden loss of his favorite son in an accident. The sudden tragedy caused his hair
and beard to whiten completely in just a few days.
Wang Maozhai had many in-door disciples. Most of them are in Beijing and northern China. Some
are in his home village area. Some of Wang Maozhai's famous disciples are: Peng Guangyi (彭广义)
or Peng Renxuan（彭仁轩), Zhao Tiean (赵铁庵), Yang Yuting (杨禹廷), Liu Guangdou (刘光斗), Xiu
Pixun (修丕勋), Zhang Jizhi (张继之)；Wang Lisheng (王历生)；Li Zhigu (李子固)；Zheng Hechun (郑
和春)；Cao Youfu (曹幼甫), Zhang Wanqiu (张万秋), Hu Wanxiang (胡万祥), Zhang Shiju (张世聚)
His sons Wang Zichao (王子超) and Wang Ziying (王子英) were great also. It was said Wang Ziying’
s internal strength was very powerful, but he was at the same time very soft. When people pushed
with him, they would feel they have suddenly collided into a giant unstoppable force; they would feel
lost, helpless, but suddenly they would feel nothing there, as a result becoming nervous, confused,
Wang Maozhai's grave in his home village
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