Han HuaChen 韓化臣 / 韩化臣 also known as Han HuiQing was a Seventh-Generation Bajiquan master under Fourth-Generation master Zhang GongChen (Also known as Zhang JingXing). He was a Hui nationality man from Luotuan village who gained prestige through his martial skills and formidable strength, earning the nickname "Invincible General" and "Iron Palm". His reputation was so great that he was compared to the legendary Li ShuWen in the saying ‘bei li nan han’ ("Li in the north and Han in the south").
- 1 Early Life
- 2 Biography
- 3 Martial Arts
- 4 Legacy
- 5 Lineage
- 6 Media
- 7 References
Han was born in either 1886 or 1887 to a late Qing dynasty military officer in LuoTuan village 罗疃, North-East Cangzhou. Han Huachen (1887-1937), named Huiqing , was a native of Luotuan in the southeast of Cangxian County, Zhili Province, a professional martial artist, and the fifth-generation master of Bajimen. In his youth, he worshipped Zhang Gongchen (Jing Xing) as his teacher, and learned Baji and Chop Hanging. In order to get the true story, he joined the clan with Master Zhang and became a disciple in the room. At the same time, he also won the prizes of his uncle Huang Sihai and his brother Li Shuwen . Han Huachen practiced hard with his brother Zhang Yuheng, his brother Ma Fengtu, and Ma Yingtu . The four brothers hacked and developed the salt mountain brought by Ma Fengtu and Ma Yingtu. This is another leap forward in the combination of eight poles and hacking.
When compiling the Cang County Chronicles, Han once provided a large amount of oral materials, mainly in Luotong Village, to illustrate the development of the Baji martial artist in the Cangzhou area.
Han was born Han HuaChen 韩化臣, his courtesy name was HuiQing 惠卿 and he was also known as HuiQing 会清.
Han's father was a military officer. He had two children, Han JieQuan 韩洁泉 (1909-1994), and Han LongQuan 韩龙泉, who inherited his Bajiquan. Han JieQuan would later pass on his Bajiquan to his own daughter Han ZhenGe and sons Han ZhenJiang, Han ZhenDe, and Han ZhenHai as well as numerous other students.
Luotuan Village 罗疃
HuaChen grew up in Luotuan Village, situated near Cangzhou, studying bajiquan and piguazhang Zhang Gongchen from an early age. His diligence and hard training earned him a position as one of Zhang's indoor disciples, inheriting the style having been adopted into Zhang's family.
In 1906, having completed his training with Zhang, Han was told to leave Cangzhou and develop his skills and explore his limits by meeting martial artists from other areas. At this point, he travelled to Beijing with Li ShuWen. Despite the saying "Escorts (guards) do not yell in CangZhou" (to announce their arrival), 3 miles out from the village, Han and Li pretended to be escorts in order to lure out opponents to fight.
Following the saying in the martial arts community at the time, "1st (Bei)Jing, 2nd Wei (TianJin), 3rd LuoTuan", the pair travelled to BeiJing via TianJin. Here they met and befriended many notable figures including Zhang ChangZhen "the drunken Zhang San" as well as the XingYi and BaGua masters (and Students of Dong Hai-Chuan) Zhang Zhao-Dong and Li CunYi李存义 (also known as Li Zhongyuan 李忠元).
In Beijing, Li was known to practice Shen Xing (speedwalking) by circumnavigating the 20km city walls each morning using Lu Fu He Xing (crane stepping) and, on one occasion, Han joined him. Though he could not keep up, and finished far behind his senior, this was no mean feat, and as such he earned Li's praise for merely being able to complete it.
Shenyang Police Academy
In 1912 Han was invited by his shidi, Ma Fengtu to take on the role of martial arts coach at the FengTian Police Academy (Now ShenYang Police Academy), as a second generation Bajiquan instructor in the North East; Li ShuWen and Huo DianGe having been the first, under General Xu LanZhou at the officer training academy in Harbin. Here he became sworn brothers with FanziQuan masters Hao MingJiu 郝鸣九 and Yang JunFeng 杨俊峰, and Chuōjiǎo master Hu FengShan ("The three masters from guangdong" 关东三老) due to their similar temperments.
In 1915, after a meeting with his three sworn brothers, Han resigned his post. Before leaving he sparred with a few other masters, during this event, having felt a palm on his back, he countered and ended up striking the black brick wall behind him smashing it through the wall. The "Three heroes" covered the wall with a calligraphy to cover the hole in the wall..
TianJin Chinese Martial Arts Association
After leaving he was invited to instruct at the TianJin Chinese Martial Arts Association.
Following the LinCheng Train Attack In May 1923 in LingCheng Village, ShanDong, Han was invited to work as Head Guard and martial arts instructor of Zhongxing mine in Zaozhuang (in Shandong province), as part of their "Mine Police Unit". It had previously been rather weak, and as such investment was made to procure talented martial artists to lead the 5 units and maintain order during the chaotic period. He brought with him Zha ShuDe and his son Han JieQuan, and transmitted his Bajiquan to the men of ZaoZhuang. It was during this time at the mine that he accepted Li Xueyi, Zhao Ronglin and a number of other students.
Nanjing Zhongyang Guoshu Association
Soon after, the Nanjing Guoshu Institute was established and Han received a telegram from its headmaster, Zhang Zhijiang inviting him to serve as an instructor.
After heading south to Nanjing in 1928, Han and his students (Zhao Shude, Li Xueyi and Zhao Ronglin), along with Ma YingTu entered the October 1928 National Leitai competition. Han is reported to have defeated more than 30 of his opponents, each a well known fighter in their own right, using a single blow each time, and hospitalising many of them. It was here that he earned the nickname the "Invincible General", being undefeated alongside his Ma, who himself was able to defeat ten renowned fighters in a row. At this point, fearing their success would cause problems, the organisers Zhang Zhijiang and Li Jinglin forbade the pair from continuing to compete. As such, they were only listed amongst the 37 names of the YouDeng ("Excellent") division.
Fortunately for Han, this impressive performance earned him his appointment as head of teaching, at the Nanjing Zhongyang Guoshu Association, with Ma being made sectional training head. Their combined efforts were instrumental in making Bajiquan a compulsory style at the Institute. During this period, Wang Ziping and Tong Zhongyi took charge of Shuaijiao competitions whilst Han Huiqing and Ma Yingtu ran the empty hand sparring competitions. Wang and Tong, alongside Gao Zhendong, Huang Bonian and Jiang Rongqiao were said to have admired Han and Ma enough that they would be put forward first for any challenge matches. Tong Zhongyi’s son-in-law, Li Yuanzhi, would later study under Han and Ma, lauding their teaching greatly.
Han and Ma were seen as "pillars" of the Institute, building their reputation enough to earn the respect of both Li and Zhang. Han's influence at the school, and in proliferating Bajiquan in the south was so great that at the time the was also a saying "in the South Han, in the North Li" referring to the Han and Li ShuWen's superior skills.
During the 1930s, Han followed Li ShuWen to the Hebei and ShanDong GuoShu institutes created by Li Jing-Lin and Xu Lanzhou, bringing his disciples with him. While there, he became the martial arts trainer for Han Fuju's militia, and met Yang ChengFu 杨澄甫; crossing hands and developing a mutual respect for one another.
Han HuaChen died of heart failure in 1937.
Han developed his skills through practicing ceaselessly, regularly spending two hours practicing individual drills and was known to train his Chuang Bu (charging step) while doing work on his family farms and developing an incredibly supple waist and kua. To train his palms he would practice mud-hitting from ma bu.
Other stories emerged with time such as how, by using his advancing palm, he could displace bricks 2 inches out the other side of the wall; or how , he could strike the square hole in the centre of a cow tethering post and cause it to break at that point. His arm strength was so formidable that, after winding up the pulley to draw water from a well, he would allow the pail to drop back down the shaft and stop the handle instantly mid-spin. He earned his nickname "Iron Palm" by shattering slabs of ice with his left palm using his "hungry tiger pouncing" strike from Pigua.
Students of Han HuaChen include:
- Dong Huiting
- Dong Yiqing
- Dong Yiwen
- Han Longquan
- Han Jiequan
- Li Xueyi
- Liu Hanzhou
- Shang Guanting
- Shen Zhongshan
- Wei Hong-En - Wei is said to have also studied under Li Shu-Wen.
- Yao chunfu
- Zhang Zhendong
- Zhang Ziting
- Zhao Ronglin
- Zhao Shude.
Wu Zhong > Wu Ying > Zhang KeMing > Zhang Jingxing > Han HuaChen
Han is thought to have learned the Jingang BaShi from Li ShuWen.
Shandong TV has run a 2015 feature about the life of Baji Quan master Han HuanChen.