Guo Yunshen

Guo Yunshen (郭云深, 1820 – 1901), a.k.a. Guo Yusheng (郭峪生), was a famous Xingyiquan master at the end of Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). Guo is always referred as one of the main representative figures of Hebei Xingyiquan nowadays.

Guo Yunshen

Guo Yunshen was born in Shenzhou of Hebei Province in 1820. Guo was one of the famous eight disciples of Li Luoneng (李洛能, 1807 – 1888).

Guo Yunshen was very famous with his combat abilities and his bengquan skill and he loved to use bengquan, nothing else but bengquan, in real combat situation, thus earned him a nickname of “Half Step Bengquan”, meaning that he defeated most of his opponents by only moving half a step with his bengquan.

Story tale on the “Half Step Bengquan” is that Guo Yunshen had accidentally kill a person with his martial arts skills and ended in prison. As a dangerous figure (skilled with martial arts), Guo was handcuffed and chained at all time in prison, he had developed the technique of “Half Step Bengquan” under the condition of his hands and feet being chained. Other version of the tale is that Guo developed a small frame Huxing (Tiger-Form) in the prison cell. (You should remember the scene of the movie “The One” that Jet Li was practicing Xingyiquan with chain on inside the prison cell, the screenwriter should have got the idea from this tale.)

Another tale of Guo Yunshen is that he fought with the founder of Baguazhang, Dong Haichuan (董海川, 1797 – 1882), for three days and three night, the result being none of them could defeat the other. With high respect, both of the masters recommended their students to learn the other style. Another version of the tale is the founder of Yang Style Taijiquan, Yang Luchan (杨露禅, 1799 – 1872), fought with Dong for three consecutive days and nights.

Guo Yunshen has many students over his life time, including Qian Yantang (钱砚堂), Xu Zhanao (许占鳌), Li Kuiyuan (李奎元) and his disciple Sun Lutang (孙录堂, 1860 -1933).

Seated Left: Che Yizhai (车毅斋), Seated Right: Guo Yunshen

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