Qi JiGuang (1528-1587)

This famous military figure was descended from a military family from DingYuan, Anhui County. In 1553, Qi Jiguang became Assistant Regional Military Commissioner assigned to "punish the bandits and guard the people" which meant taking on the “Japanese” pirates attacking China's east coast. At the time he was twenty-six years old. The next year he was promoted to full Commissioner in ZheJiang where the pirates were collaborating with their Chinese counterparts and assembling. When he started the tide was against him for the local troops were inadequately manned, poorly trained and easily bested by the trained and armed pirates. Qi JiGuang decided to enlist the aid of Wushu fighters while also promoting the study of the arts for his men. Qi lead his troops to victories even in situations where he was outnumbered. In the next ten years he kept the pressure up agains the pirates. He continued his campaign to TaiZhou, ZheJiang province, then to FuJian province to attack pirate strongholds. He also wiped out the concentration at HengYu. Then he went to GuanDong. During this brilliant campaign, where he defeated forces that had earlier decimated Chinese fighters, he developed four innovations: he upgraded his equipment; began vigorous and organized troop training; strengthened his defensive tactics and trained for organized and concentrated manuevers. He left records of his work on “Military Training” and “Military Strategy”.

Qi JiGuang retains his fame to this day mainly as having left behind a famous book: JiXiao Xinshu (New book of Effective Disciplines). This is a book of 14 chapters with four dedicated to the practice of Wushu. In this section we see that Qi was opposed to “flower fists, embroidered legs”. He also mentions three famous schools of Spear fighting: Yang, Ma and Sha. Both the Ma and Sha were Muslim styles (Jiao Men). These methods have lasted till the present generation of descendants. He also covers another Hui (Muslim) art: “Hui Hui Shi Ba Zou” (Best 18 fighting exercises of the Hui people). This incorporated the best in fighting techniques of the time. These have been influential moves and are, for instance, included in the Hua Quan Zong Jiang Fa (General Discussion of Flower Boxing) by Gan Feng Chi. His book cites some styles and tactics such as "The Eagle King's Grab" and the style Ba Shan Fan (Fan Zi style). This latter he calls one of the best systems during the Ming Dynasty. Qi JiGuang, a martial lover himself, studied sixteen boxing forms and from them developed a 32 Method Fist Form for training soldiers.

Qi's book also mentions staff fighting (Qi got his from General You DaYou) and the Miao Dao two handed battle sword (Shuang Shou Dao) which some people think he got from his enemy pirates but was actually developed in the Tang Dynasty and adopted by the Japanese from which to model their Ken. There is some feeling, however, that Qi might have wanted to revive training in this weapon after seeing it so effective in the hands of his nemesis.


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