Shang Yunxiang obtained his Xingyiquan skills from Li Cunyi (李存义, 1847 – 1927). In the beginning, Li Cunyi refused to accept Shang as a student due to his “not-ideal-physique for martial arts”, Shang was skinny and short with a height of less than 1.6 meters. It was under the intercede of Zhuo Mingtai (周明泰, a student of Liu Qilan) that Li Cunyi accepted Shang Yunxiang as his student.
Shang Yunxiang had also learned Baguazhang from both Li Cunyi and Cheng Tinghua (程庭华, 1848 – 1900). Shang was well known with his bengquan combat skills that motivated Guo Yunshen (郭云深, 1820 – 1901) visited Shang personally and passed his famous “Half Step Bengquan” techniques to Shang.
Shang Yunxiang, like his shifu Li Cunyi, was famous with his combat ability, he earned nicknames like “Iron Arms”, “Iron Feet Buddha”, “Half Step Bengquan”, etc., through real combats and his ability of generating exceptionally strong power. Shang’s career was all martial arts related, he has worked as a biaotou (headman of a biaoju), bodyguard, detective, martial arts teacher and so on.
Shang Yunxiang’s Xingyiquan was heavy promoted as Shang Style Xingyiquan by his successors in recent years. The leading promoters of Shang Style Xingyiquan were Li Wenbin (李文彬, 1918 – 1997, Shang’s student), Shang Zhirong (尚芝容, 1923 – 2004, Shang’s youngest daughter), Li Hong (李宏, 1954 – ), Zhang Shijie (张世杰, 1946 – ), etc.
Biaoju is an establishment which provides services such as escorts, bodyguards, transport of goods (armed) for a fee.