mizong luohan lineageMizong Luohan Kung Fu (My Jong Law Horn in Cantonese) is a combination of two northern styles: Mizong Quan and Luohan Quan. Both styles trace their origins directly to the famous Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, China.

Mizong Quan (Lost Track Boxing)

Mizong Quan, also known as Mizong Yi and Yan Jing, is a powerful Chinese martial arts system that was popularized in the Hebei Province, especially in the Jinhai and Cangzhou Prefectures.

Most modern practitioners trace their roots to Sun Tong, who lived in the 18th century. He spent 10 years at the Shaolin Temple and later traveled throughout China to refine his skill, finally settling in the Cangzhou Prefecture in Hebei. Cangzhou was the birthplace of Grand Master Ye Yuting (Yep Ye Teng in Cantonese).

The neighboring Prefecture of Jinhai was the birthplace of the legendary Hou Yuanjia, perhaps the most famous practitioner of the style.

What is interesting to note is that both Grand Master Ye Yuting’s family and Hou Yuanjia’s family were in the business of providing bodyguard and escort service for caravans, a dangerous profession in those days but one that served to sharpen skills and test one’s mettle.

Mizong Quan is renowned for its baffling footwork, intricate hand techniques, joint locking and quick change of tactics.

Luohan Quan (Arhat Boxing)

Luohan is a Chinese term derived from the Sanskrit word Arhat, its literal translation means “Worthy One.” In Buddhist tradition it represents an enlightened being and the “foe-destroyer” (e.g. destroyer of evil). In Shaolin tradition, the Luohan is a legendary figure and several Chinese martial arts system and a great number of forms bear the name Luohan.

From Shaolin, Luohan Quan spread throughout neighboring provinces and became popular in Henan, Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong Provinces.

The Luohan system is characterized by a wide variety of kicks, sweeps and leaps. Punches and strikes are swift and powerful and executed at long range. Close-in work incorporates joint locking and throwing techniques.

Mizong Luohan

There are no records in China of Mizong Luohan proper as a combined martial arts system. It is quite likely that the system was developed within the Ye Clan or by Grand Master Ye Yuting himself.

Even though Ye Yuting spent time at Shanghai’s Jing Wu Association, there is no mention of Mizong Luohan being taught there. During his teaching tenure at Jing Wu, Ye Yu Ting could simply have been using the Shaolin brand for his teachings.

Grand Master Ye Yuting was later invited to teach at the South China Athletic Association in Hong Kong and it was here that he taught for more than 30 years, until his death in 1962 at age 70. He was known as one of the Three Tigers from the North: Ye Yuting (Mizong Luo Han), Dong Yingjie (Yang Style Tai Chi) and Geng Dehai (Taishing Pikua – Monkey Kung Fu). It was at the South China Athletic Association that Mizong Luohan came to the forefront as a martial arts system and was taught to a great number of people. (See note below.)

Mizong Luohan Kung Fu incorporates and blends fighting elements from both root systems in principles and techniques. This renders it a more complete martial arts system. The style features numerous empty hand forms and contains a great variety of weapons routines. Partner forms are practiced empty handed as well as with weapons. Fighting is characterized by deceptive hand movements, intricate and rapid footwork, varied kicks, and high leaps. Both hard and soft elements are combined in the execution of the techniques. The style changes very quickly. Hand techniques are combined with rapid footwork to dazzle and confuse the opponent. Mobility and deception are the trademark of the Mizong Luohan fighter.

Pu Fa (Footwork)

Footwork in Mizong Luohan is of great importance and incorporates four major methods. These are:

Jin – Advance, Tui – Retreat, Shan – Dodging, Duo – Evading

Each of the four methods in turn integrates numerous variations. For example, Jin – (Advancing), can include the following methods: shuffling, crossing, leaping, jumping, hopping, lunging or a combination of two or more of these. The same can be said of the three other methods.

Masterful footwork facilitates the efficient delivery of blows and kicks as well as insuring rapid retreat and the deployment of evasive tactics. It is nimble footwork that allows the Mizong Luohan fighter to quickly change from defense to offense and to gain and maintain an advantageous position over the opponent.

Zhi Liu Yao (The Six Necessities)

The Six Necessities represent the core guiding principle in Mizong Luohan practice and refer to the following:

  1. Xin Yao Shen – The mind must be calm
  2. Dan Yao Zhaung – Courage must be magnificent
  3. Yan Yao Ming – Eyes must be sharp
  4. Shou Yao Kuai – Hands must be quick
  5. Bu Yao Wen – Steps must be firm
  6. Fa Yao Bian – Techniques must be changeable

All training conducted in Mizong Luohan, from the very basic techniques to forms and fighting must be guided by the Six Necessities in order to develop the desired mental and physical attributes.

The Sixteen Keyword Formula

The Sixteen Keyword Formula derives from the Mizong system and embodies the essence of Mizong Luohan as a fighting art. It is considered instrumental in developing, understanding and employing fighting theories. It is the modus operandi that amalgamates and consolidates tactics and techniques.

The Sixteen Keyword Formula is as follows:

1– Pi (Chop), 2– Beng (Crush), 3– Quan (Encircle), 4– Dao (Thrash), 5– Za (Smash), 6– Tan (Snap), 7– Kao (Lean), 8– Ding (Butt), 9– Jie (Cut off), 10– Lan (Block), 11– La (Drag), 12– Dai (Lead), 13– Kua (Carry), 14– Tuo (Hold), 15– Lu (Slay), 16– Dian (Point)

High and Low

This is a fundamental fighting principle that derives from the Luohan school. It is simple in nature but contains depth and variety in application. It requires in-depth study to understand all its subtle applications.

The strategy is based on taking advantage of “doors” that are left open when an opponent is executing specific attacks. For example, if the opponent is attacking your high extremities, a door will open in his lower extremities. Understanding this basic precept will enable you to launch a swift and decisive counterattack.

This concept is also brought into play when launching an attack of your own. If you attack low and your opponent responds by blocking downward, a door will open in his upper body that can be taken advantage of by following up with a high response. By blending and quickly changing from striking to kicking and sweeping techniques, the attacks become fierce and unpredictable. Feinting tactics and techniques are also built on this basic but profound principle.

Ming San Qian

Ming San Qian (Watch the Three Fronts) is another important concept in building Mizong Luohan fighting strategy.

This concept requires the alert observation of the opponent’s eyes, hands and lead leg. Your attack and defense are based on the information gathered through the careful observation of your opponent’s expression, and his hand and leg movements.

Weapons

The Mizong Luohan system contains a great variety of weapons. Each weapon helps to develop certain physical attributes as well as mental qualities.

The Spear develops speed, the Staff develops coordination and power, the Saber develops a strong grip and powerful forearms, the Sword develops fluidity, grace and a calm mind, and the Guan Dao develops great strength and firm stepping, and so forth.

The partner weapons sets further develop distance, timing, quick reaction and a sense of boldness and courage. It is not easy to keep calm when someone is jabbing a spear in your face or swinging a saber at your neck. At first a student will be apprehensive and hesitant while practicing these sets, but slowly confidence is gained and forms are practiced with ever-increasing speed.

Partner weapons sets add a certain quality to one’s practice that is not achievable through form practice or sparring. Although weapons have outlived their original development for use on the battlefield, they remain indispensable for honing and sharpening one’s skills.

Note: The Wushu Magazine that was published in Hong Kong in the 1950’s used the idiom Hebei San Jie, when referring to the three masters. The three masters were all from Hebei Province. The term Jie represents a person of outstanding skill and distinguished character.

Some sources claim that Liu Fa Meng along with Ye Yuting and Geng Dehai were “the Three Tigers from the North.”