“”When I emit my power, the ghosts and gods are all afraid.”
(attributed to) Dong Haiquan
Dong Haiquan (or Dong Hai Chang) was born in 1813 in the Hebei Province of China. Late in life, possibly in his forties, he travelled south and spent a good deal of time in the mountains. At some point, he joined a sect of Daoism called Quan Zhen (Complete Truth/Reality). This sect used a circular walking meditation. This was to help calm the mind and realize stillness in motion. The method was meant to help the practitioner move toward enlightenment.
Dong Haiquan was “discovered” working in the Imperial Palace. His martial abilities had somehow become supremely developed during his travels. He was able to defeat all comers. He was made the Head of Security and put in charge of training others in martial arts. He started teaching around 1870, when he was in his fifties, and taught until his death in 1882, twelve years later.
This story was told to me by my teacher in this context (don’t blame him if I am remembering this one wrong!) – the thing about Dong Haiquan was that he didn’t teach beginners a new “system.” He took already proficient martial artists and upgraded their skills. He taught them something that made what they were already doing better and my teacher suspected that this special sauce was structure.