Zhou Jianhua- from Shanghai Wushu to Richmond Wushu.
Richmond Wushu training at Virginia Commonwealth University
Some of the forms practiced at Richmond WushuMike Shea- Shaolin Wu Xing Ba Fa- Five animals Eight methods boxing
Developing gong fu (martial skill) through the study of Wushu (war arts) and Taijiquan (Grand ultimate boxing) as taught by Master Jian Hwa Zhou (coach Joe) has been more comprehensible in the physical, energetic, detailed, philosophical, and competitive aspects of training. His efforts and achievements in his personal training, research, and study has led to American students success in local. National, and international competitions. The traditional and modern methods that have recently come to our country are redefining Chinese martial arts as we know it. This results in the improvement of the athlete on levels range of motion, relaxation, balance, endurance, stamina, and flexibility necessary in the various forms used in wushu and taiji. Coach Joe is highly qualified to teach beginners, intermediate, and advanced level players willing to undergo this level master. His ability to train individuals based on their weak and strong points benefit any individual. Coach Joe is a silent voice in the wushu scene, but he is someone who can really help clarify the technical mistakes currently taking place in wushu and taiji.
In 1966 at the age of nine, a young Joe began training in the traditional Changquan (longfist) under the lineage of Chang Chi Han in the Zhong Hwa Wushu Association in the Shanghai parks in the early morning hours. Master Chang was an accomplished Northern and Shaolin practitioner. In keeping with family tradition, Joe and his brother practiced the asic stretches, kicks, and punches, the variety of forms and weapons precisely executed in accordance with Master Chang.
After public school, Joe would go to the Ching Wu, (Martial arts Society) and practice even more of the general long fist routines. The Ching Wu is known for its famous martial arts teachers from all over china that have taught during the various semesters that began in the early 1900’s. Masters of changquan, taijiquan, tanglangquan (praying mantis), zuijiuquan,(drunken boxing) mitsung (lost track), xingyiquan (mind and will boxing), baguazhang (8 diagram palm), Nanquan (southern fist) to name a few have all taught a t the ching wu. These include masters such as Wang Ziping, Sun Lu Tang, Yang Chen Fu, Wu Chien Chuan, Gu Lu Xiang, Fu Zhong Wen, and Fu Zhen Song to say the least.Tan Tuei- Shanghai Ching Wu Variation- Richmond wushu- Sifu Zhou Jianhua
The Ching Wu was not limited to martial arts. Intellectual games and western sports were added to the cirriculum. Chess, Roman-greco westling, western boxing, basketball, soccer, volleyball, checkers, and card playing and more were incorperated. Even today Joe is quit good at wei chi, "Go", a chinese board game of strategy, w here one must capture the opponent’s beads and develop territories.
The Ching Wu teachers that were Joe’s instructors were well known in Shanghai for their dedication to preserving the lineage they represented. Xingyiquan, Drunken Boxing, and San Shou (full contact) became specialties that joe endeavored at.
Wong Tsou Wing was Joe’s Xingyiquan (mind and intent boxing) teacher. At a very young age, Master Wong began his study of Shanxi Xingyi and did not study any other martial art, therefore developing a high degree of Gong fu skill of this tradition, The xingyi Joe teaches begins with low postures for leg development with simple executions of the wusing (5 element fists) with attack and defense explanation.The crucial purpose in executing the body mechanics of beng chuan (crushing fist) is greatly empasized as well as other explosive xingyi shapes. A variety of stepping patterns, short attacks, and standing postures are also taught. Xingyi’s internal developments complimented the external training of long fist. The combat techniques that are simple and to the point inherit in xingyi gave joe the true understanding of fighting after have been practicing the large and spirited movements of Changquan.
Tsou Jin Kan, a master of the Ziujiuquan ( Drunken Boxing) was another influence in Joe’s training. This style of training demands great flexibility and the acrobatic skills such as tornado falls, butterfly, twist falls, head kick ups, kip ups, aerials and a variety of kicks and strikes from unusual angles. Drunken boxing bridges the explosive attacking with deceptive unbalanced drunk-like poise. Drunken boxing , a treasure of the shaolin school is one of the most historic and eye catching forms, not everyone can practice this advanced form.
Wang Pei Kwen was a fighter and that’s what he taught, all the necessary chi-na (grappling and seizing) the shuai (throwing), hand techniques and foot techniques, vocal training, bone smashing and accupoint piercing techniques, as well as body conditioning for full contact San Shou. The consciousness necessary to win a fight and the mind of a predator was Wang’s specialty.
As recognition of his exceptional abilities, Joe became a wushu team member at the physical education school in his dictrict of Shanghai. Due to the competition to become a team member, the teachers scrutinized every student and only the most diligent and respectful were among the chosen few to make the team
Competitions in Shanghai were not easy due to the fact that wushu is a national sport of china with thousands of competitors, rivaling districts, and the percentage of living masters located in the area. During his training time , weekly performances were to be given to various members of the martial arts society, as well as government and public demos.
Several of the routines that coach Joe performed were the standard kicks, advanced jumps, Long fist, broadsword, spear, two person fighting, two person weapon fighting, nine section whip and PiQua, a continuously changing fist style.
As earlier as 1972, six years into his training, the serious competition began with first in spear. 1973- Became first place in Long Fist Shanghai competition. 1974- 1978 were years of training with his teachers 1979-Champion of Long Fist -2nd place spear 3rd place broadsword, and All Around Champion of Shanghai competition
In 1979 Joe experienced another side of Wushu when he began traveling outside of shanghai to different provinces for national competitions and visiting some of the sacred mountains of China. Witnessing other competitors inspired joe to a new level achieving success in national competition for long fist, spear, and broadsword. From these experiences in competition, Joe is able to communicate to his students today, the inner discipline necessary to successfully compete.
Later in 1979, Joe was accepted into the Shanghai Physical Education College. This was a great honor Bestowed on only a very few students. This college at the time was the only school in mainland china which actually certifies a Master of Wushu degree. Only a few students a year, in a nation of a billion people, become a Master of Wushu.
Joe’s university studies included: Training texts of standard wushu forms Texts of international wushu forms Basic training and warm-up exercises Wushu history General physical conditioning Anatomy Psychology Biology Biochemistry Physics Sports statistics Sport chemistry Wushu Theory
A master also needed to know how to deal with first aid and sport injury and rehabilitation, with general knowledge in traditional chinese medicine. Understanding how to organize local, national, and taiji tournaments. Requirements for judging and advancing to head judge were updated, as well as yearly registration of certifications and licensees.
At the college Joe trained with some of the most influential and famous martial arts masters in China. From these advisors he was entrusted with all the necessary details for becoming the next generation master of wushu. The traditional and modern studies in Taiji and Northern and Southern fist were being examined everyday by Joe. He interacted with students from all walks of life with backgrounds in Shuai jow, Nan chuan , Chi-na, and national champions of other styles, so everyday for hour on end Joe lived and breathed chinese wushu.
Madame Wong Ju Rong , the famous daughter of Cha Chuan Master Wang Ziping, and wife of Dr.Wu Cheng, also a student of Wang. Madame Wong grew up at the Ching Wu and is a long time member having been taught by some of the best sword men and women in the country as well as being personal student of Ma Yu Liang and Wu Hing Wa, (daughter of Wu Chien Chuan ) and Sun Jian Yun, (daughter of Sun Lu Tang) of the Wu and Sun style taijiquan. Madame wong also was a certified master and judge with the government, having trained many top students in the country in wushu and taijiquan. She was joe’s advisor on the Standard Taiji forms, 24,48,and 42 competition routine, traditional Yang style, and how to judge and correct Yang, Wu, Sun, and Chen competition routines that were recently being designed by the chinese wushu research committee. The forms of Fan ze (arm swing fist), Tong bei (apes back style), Baguachang (eight diagram palm) and Ditang (rolling shadow fist) were studied as well.
Chen Chou Pei, a student of 19th generation Chen Family member Chen Xiao Wong, taught the traditonal chen style 1st routine,Yi Lu and the second routine Pao chui (cannon fist). The chen Style Fa jing (emitting power), chang su chin (silk pulling drill), Tui shou (Push hands methods) of Chen Fake’s, (18th generation chen style) student Feng Zhiqiang were learned. Chen Chou Pei tutored Joe also in the theories and rules of taiji.
Cai Long Yu, famous during world war II as a ring fighter in honor of standing up against foreign imperialists. Russian, japanese, and american boxers were defeated by this skinny 19 year old chinese boy. He was china’s true "Dragon," long before Bruce Lee, since his name Long actually means dragon. His connections to the existing masters of wushu became phenomenal and he brought a resurrgence of wushu pride back to the nation. He later became the Head of the Wushu Research Institute in Shanghai and a top actor in the Chinese Theater. He was the top official at all wushu events National and International, and had a permanent license to judge and teach. From Master Cai , Joe learned the rare styles of Long Fist., Cha quan, Zha style, Paoquan, Hongquan, Shaolin, And the most essential Hua quan, (spinning flower fist) that had the requirerments of moving at great speed so that the arms and body simultaneously turn to resemble a flower’s petals.
Of these Professors’ of wushu that joe interacted with, he chose Cai to be his Mentor. His list of accomplishment were long , he had the best background and had been around the best masters. Master Cai has a unique personality and strong spirit He carries himself in a way that all his mannerisms show vitality and lives knowingly that he is always trying to do what is best. This is how he taught, always encouraging his students to try hard and be their best. His gong fu spirit brought fourth the highest level of form and movements to his students.
Between 1982 and 1988 Joe was lecturing as a teacher’s assistant, teaching courses in Wushu and Taiji theory and training. Some of his research included how wushu effected the heart and its arteries and veins. Focusing on the hearts ability to rest and pump more blood evenly and efficiently through cardiovascular workouts that wushu provided. From his data gathered from a electrocardiograph on all types of wushu enthusiasts , athletes, to the older generations ,beginners and veteran, Joe concluded that wushu was more better for developing a strong heart, while taiji produced significant results on the heart in elderly people. He also took peoples pulses and examined how the pulses felt, explaining that a long and thick feeling pulse was ideal than a short and thin one. From this Joe designed a workout and exersice program based on peoples pulses to improve the heart conditions and restore the veins and arteries ability to receive and pump blood to the extremities. This would thereby be a major factor in increasing a person’s health and well-being. This study can be read about in Joe’s book, Electrocardiograph Analysis of Outstanding Players of Long Boxing, Southern Fist and Taiji.
Joe also studied the mechanics of the different jumps and jump kick in the wushu basics. And has designed many exercises to increase the length and height of these jumps. One of my former coaches explained to me that Joe was known for his high jumping ability in all of China. His book, Mechanical Analysis of Wushu Jumps , explains this.
Joe graduated in 1988, one of two people to ever have received a Masters Degree under Cai long Yun. His masters in Physical Education, with Wushu and a minor in Sports Physiology gave him a strong background for his upcoming challenges. A permanent license issued to teach and referee in China was issued by the China National Sports Administration Department and has been a member of the Chinese Physical Science Society since 1989. Other work s by Joe include, An outstanding Collection of the Culture of Chinese Rehabilitative Medicine.(Nanjing press,1991).
By 1990 Joe was the head coach at the Shanghai Physical Education University. For the next two years Joe’s team received first place in the Shanghai city tournament. In 1991 and 1992 Joe took his team to first place in shanghai with members of 6 boys and 6 girls all receiving top honors in spear, broadsword, long boxing, and taiji.
In 1991 through 1994, Joe was a national judge of long fist, Traditional events, Taiji, and weapons. As a national coach and head judge, he had to pass testing requirements for judging. This included his own performances in Taiji and wushu. Judging became a two to three times a year event and all judges had to be authenticated. If there waa no proper background, results could be devastating to competition.
1994 Joe arrived in Washington D.C. as an immigrant, working in Chinatown and privately teachin Taiji. Later that year he was invited by Master He Wei Chi to assist in the Richmond Va. Taiji and Wushu team. At this time Joe trained the classes in 24 Yang style tai ji, 42 compition taiji , compulsory chen taiji ,42 compulsory sword, Ditangquan, Baguazhang , xingyiquan, Mitsung Lohan quan, (lost track), compulsory longfist, broadsword and staff. From his help and He Wei Chi's foundation, members of the team received 6 gold medals, 8 silver and 4 bronze medal in the Shanghai International Wushu Festival. That same year at a Taste of China, and the International Kuoshu tournament members received numerous top placings, bringing back medals and trophies.
Currently Joe does not go to the tournaments and does not participate in the quest to start a huge school and does not want to be in the crass politics of wushu in america. Wushu is not to be a business and money making venture. He simply lives in Richmond and teaches a few people and may sometimes start a class at the chinese community center or recreation department for a semester. His new studies at Virginia Commonwealth University are in Computer Science.
Joe feels that the most important aspect of Wushu is that Wushu is used for self defense and that it teaches how to respect every other person, not just teachers and elders, but everyone. That when a student gives a respectful salute to the teacher, the teacher must also sincerely return the gesture or they are "no good." When learning from a master who passes on their art, a teacher gives you a special trust in which you can improve, explore and carry on to others. And that you can make many friends through Gong fu, connecting and becoming companions in the world of martial arts.
Jian Hwa Zhou sincerely want to let Americans truly understand Wushu, and how it improves health, self-defense, the heart and muscles. And that taiji helps injuries, bodily pains and has a curative effect.
1. What should beginners who have no teachers near then do to have good basics? First try to find teacher, get a video, start by themselves in basic level but for intermediate you’ll need a teacher, basic jumps, basic kicks, basic stretching, basic stances, basic hand forms are easy to learn. Usually learn movements is harder but still postures you can learn from magazines and video. But to learn more you have to have coach, because a video doesn’t work that well.
2. There is a saying, “you’re only as good as your basics” what do you think about that quote? If your in intermediate level and can’t correct your basics you can't get your level high, but a teacher needs to correct you, their duty is to teach new stuff and correct student to make sure its right.
3. Can you please talk about the variety of kicks and any details to them? Three kicks- front kick, inside kick, outside kick, knee must not bend. Toe kick side kick , back back kick heel kick knee bends first and the foot snaps. Third major- front sweep, back sweep and short sweeps and each with technical requirements.
4. What are the different family styles of changquan, nanquan and taijiquan? Changquan-Huan quan, cha quan, pao quan, shaolin quan Nanquan-Jiangtsu, Fujian- more closed knee, feet closer, Cantonese-includes choy li fut low stances. Taijiquan-yang ,Chen , Wu Jianchien, Wu Yu xiang, Sun.
5. What should be happening with the eyes and intent for punches and kicks? When you move usually your eyes follow your hands when doing posture always look far, when punching look in the direction of punch but not at fist. When hands move eyes must follow, body move step must follow, mind must be quick before the body never stopping even in holding postures, mind is connected into going into the next section.
6. Can you talk about the specialties of wushu stretching? dynamic and static
7. . How can new beginners know about their developing endurance? control your training, normally for beginner you have to control 150-160 bpm during training, that’s average. An exceptional training would be able to be at control with 180 bpm. You have to count by pressing your wrist right after form. You take a class for training if you over train not good, not enough isnt good, how do you know? Take blood pressure, and judge by your pulse,not by feeling. When you practice body need o2 nutrition to muscels, heart goes fast to get more blood out to support muscel movements, after 2 or 3 hour practice heart will pump slow and deep and save energy, 40bpm at rest is normal is for an athlete, a normal person who doenst train would be sick with low blood pressure. The professional athlete might have 220 bpm training while at rest have 40 and be healthy his heart can pump more blood at rest and his blood vessels can hold more blood. The professional pulse feels strong and thick an normal person might 40bpm guy is stronger for an athlete, anormal person would be sick with low blood pressure, with the pulse feeling thin and wireyWushu Basics by Zhou.