Zhou JingXuan was a 21st Century master of Bajiquan, PiguaZhang, XingyiQuan, ChouJiao and Li Taijiquan as well as several other forms of Chinese martial arts. Zhou was the founder of Shang Wu Zhai, operating out of TianJin, China. Having trained under several renowned 20th century masters, Zhou and his students have been influential in promoting Bajiquan globally, particularly in Israel.
- 1 Family
- 2 Early Life
- 3 Teenage Years
- 4 Later Life and Martial Arts Career
- 5 Death
- 6 Legacy
- 7 Lineage
- 8 Media
- 9 Trivia
- 10 References
Zhou's grandfather fought the Japanese in China's 29th Army, who had used both Dao and Da Dao swords for close quarters fighting. It is thought that most of his friends died during the war, and this impacted on his grandson deeply.
Zhou grew up in the Hong Qiao 红桥区 district of TianJin, China, an area that had gained fame for the prowess of its martial artists (alongside Nankai 南开). He lived his entire life near Xigu park 西固公园, training and teaching publicly alongside numerous other martial artists, forming strong relationships with many.
Zhou began studying martial arts aged 9, learning Chuo Jiao, Fanzi Quan and Tan Tui. In later life, he went on to Pigua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan, Li Taiji Quan, Baji Quan and Jingang Bashi. As a child, he was described as mischievous and advernturous, possibly acting out as a coping mechanism to help handle the tough life in the chaotic post Cultural Revelolution Tianjin. These conditions created an environment where he was frequently involved in fight, even into his early twenties.
Even as a teenager, Zhou was still rather mischievous and, along with his friends, would harass a particular TaijiQuan teacher who would practice in the park, frequently attempting to topple him over. Undeterred, the man would continue practicing, and, much to Zhou's dismay, could not be knocked down. Zhou in hindsight has been quoted as saying, regarding the incident, "I wish I was wiser, and would have gone to study under this man, as he had obviously possessed a great skill in the martial arts".
As time passed, Zhou's reputation in Xigu Park grew rapidly, particuarly for his Pigua skills
Later Life and Martial Arts Career
Zhou, having grown up in a time when attitudes in China towards the west were particularly negative, did not open himself to foreign students until the 1990s, when his mindset towards them began to shift. His student, Nitzan Oren has been mentioned as a major factor in Zhou's change of heart, and over time, Zhou became particularly protective of his foreign students.
Those who knew him described him as a kinda and caring man without a bad word to say about others, a stark contrast to the mischievous child he was when he began training martial arts. Though not a smoker, he was a heavy drinker, a "true carnivore" and people person, spending as much time as possible entertaining and in the company of others.
Zhou has worked in a number of fields, alongside teaching martial arts, including as a book salesman and a gem trader.
In August 2010, Zhou left China for the first time in his life when he was invited to Isreal to teach a month-long intensive, staying in the house of his future student Johnathan Bluestein for some of the time. During this time he taught not only direct students in HaYarkon Park but other local schools in Tel-Aviv, including a street-fighting workshop at a nearby Karate dojo.
In later life, changing times and a more relaxed temperament led Zhou to practice more health-oriented methods of martial arts, contrasting the violence in his past and his martial experience. Testament to this was his speed and grace even into his fifties, when he was described as still being able to "casually perform splits", and to "make the hairs on his hand stand erect or fall". Though his focus shifted, he was still known to spend many hours training and teaching daily, up until his death in 2015. Despite his more mellow nature many felt he still exuded an aura of Sha Qi even in his forties.
He was also very knowledgeable of meditation practices, and had decent knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, able to treat well with acupuncture and converse with TCM doctors on the classic texts.
Zhou JingXuan passed away on the 27th January 2015, aged 50. Having suffered a stroke a week prior, he had been taken to hospital paralyzed down one side of his body. In the ER, he regained consciousness and by all accounts was mentally functional. Despite donations from more than 20 members of his global gongfu family, to pay for his hospital bills and care, the sudden onset of high blood pressure, caused his condition to deteriorate rapidly, and he lost consciousness again. Having been declared vegetative, his family decided that he would be taken off life support to allow him to pass with dignity in his sleep, with both of his sons by his side.
Zhou's death was considered a particular tragedy as he was outlived by a number of his teachers, having died so young. He has been remembered as a kind, open and generous teacher who shared his material freely. Following his death, a large amount of previously unseen footage was released publicly by his direct students online.
The styles he practiced are:
- Chuo Jiao
- Fanzi Quan
- Tan Tui
- Pigua Zhang
- Xing Yi Quan (Hebei and Song)
- Baji Quan
- Jingang Bashi
- Li Taiji Quan
- Miao dao - Pigua
- Chun Qiu Dao/Guan dao/Da dao/Qin Long Yan Yue Dao
- Pigua Staff
- Feng Mo gun (Crazy Demon Staff)
- Baji Xing Zhe Bang
- Shaolin Yin Ba Staff
- Spears "of all sizes and of countless forms" - XingYi and Baji
- Liu He Da Qiang is one that is confirmed
- Meteor hammer
- Rope dart
- Double clubs
- Black Tiger (iron) whip - Pigua
- Nine-section whip
- Tian Peng Cha - Large farmers fork
- Hua Ji Fa Halberd
Having adopted a more health oriented approach in later life, Zhou also began to promote his QiGong teachings more publicly. The forms taught by him were:
- San Shi Liu Fa - 36 Methods of Qi Gong
- Ba Duan Jin - 8 Sections of Brocade
- Zhan Zhuang - Taught alongside Lu Rhen Zong's structure theory (Stemming from Song XingYi Quan, Yin Yang BaGua Zhang and Yi Quan)
- Iron Palm
- Iron Shirt
Zhou cited Li Guoliang (of Tianjin; there is another known teacher by the same name from Taigu, whose name is written with different characters in Chinese) as the primary source of his Xing Yi Quan – particularly with regards to the practice of Zhan Zhuang (standing post) training, which (alongside other practices stemming from Li) became 'obligatory material' for any student who comes to study under Zhou. While these are considered standard practices across Zhou's curriculum, he was known to adapt them to the particular style being practiced. Such was the importance placed on Zhan Zhuang, that Zhou said: "Even if one cannot practice at all on a certain day, it's still vital that one would somehow make time for practicing Zhan Zhuang for at least 20 minutes".
Zhou also took great care to promote his Dan Tian development methods, derived in particular from Zhao Fujiang. These required a solid foundation in Zhan Zhuang as a precursor, and necessitated prolonged daily practice. The Dan Tian methods would then be introduced, and later be implemented and embedded into any of the arts Zhou taught.
Zhou would demonstrate the difference between Ming Jin (crude/obvious power) and An Jin (subtle/hidden power) using XingYi's Pi Quan: first he would demonstrate with Ming Jin, cutting the air "like a baseball bat hitting a home run"; then with An Jin shooting away "like lightning tearing a gap in the air".
In demonstrating Cun Jin (inch force/short power striking), his blows were described as feeling like being struck by cotton, with a thin needle piercing deep inside to produce an intense internal explosion. He was very willing to demonstrate such techniques on students, believing in a hands on approach towards those training under him.
Shang Wu Zhai
Meaning "Those who admire martial arts".
Zhou accepted students from across the globe including the USA, UK, Israel, France, Latvia, Taiwan, Canada, Kazakhstan, Germany and Poland.
- Nitzan Oren (Successor)
- Ben Oren? (Baji Quan)
- Etai Oren? (Pigua Zhang)
- Jonathan Bluestein, founder of Tong Bu Dao
Zhou learned more than 6 complete systems, having trained long term under a total of 13 teachers, becoming an indoor disciple of 7. Training in Xigu Park, he also developed relationships with several other teachers, sharing knowledge with these teachers on a friendly basis, as it would not have been customary for one veteran teacher to become the student of another of equal rank.
Zhou's greatest skill lay in his XingYi Quan, and as such, he would not allow it to be filmed.
Jingang Ba Shi
Shi YuShan > Tian JinZhong > Shen JiaRui > Zhou JingXuan
Shi YuShan > Tian JinZhong > Sun ZhenYao > Zhou JingXuan
Guo ChangSheng > Gu FengMing > Pang ZhiQi > Zhou JingXuan
Guo ChangSheng > Gu FengMing > Wang LianHe > Zhou JingXuan
Song ShiRong > Li XuZhou > Lu ZhongRen > Li GuoLiang > Zhou JingXuan
Liu QiLang > Gong KuiFeng > Zhou JingXuan
Xiao HuiBo > Lu ZhongRen > Li GuoLiang > Zhou JingXuan
Yang LuChan > Wang LanTing > Li RuiDong > Li JinXin > Li ZhaoYin > Zhou JingXuan
Many instructional and demonstrational videos made by or about Zhou JingXuan can be found on the Shang Wu Zhai Youtube Page.
- Zhou was about 5' 6" in height