Shaolin Mizong is a major Northern Kung Fu style that ingeniously blends the “Internal” and “External” schools of Chinese martial arts. It integrates hard and soft, as well as fast and slow movements from Shaolin Kung Fu, Bagua, Xingyi, and Tai Chi. This well-balanced, sophisticated combat system is characterized by techniques that are both powerful and graceful. It incorporates a full range of kicks, sweeps, jumps and leg maneuvers. What distinguishes it from other Northern styles, however, is an equal emphasis on hand techniques, including a wide variety of fist, palm and pressure point strikes.
History of Mizong
History and Legend:
There are different legends about the origin of Shaolin Mizong Quan (pronounced Chuan and literally translated as Boxing). Some claim it was created at the Shaolin Temple by Lu Junyi (one of the 108 martial heroes immortalized in the epic novel “Water Margin”). A young man named Yanqing heard of Lu’s martial skills and became his family servant to secretly watch Lu practice and diligently imitate his techniques. Lu recognized Yanqing’s exceptional talent and accepted him as a disciple. Yanqing’s followers called the system Yanqing Quan (Yanqing Boxing), but to help their master keep a low profile changed the name to Mizong Quan or Buddhist Sect Boxing, in honor of its Shaolin roots. According to a related story, Yanqing was able to trick government troops trying track him down by leading them along a confusing maze of false trails and retracing his tracks so they could not find him. That is why many people called it Mizong Yi or the Art of Lost Track. Yet another legend has it that the system was created by a Shaolin Monk named Qin Naluo who, during his travels, stopped along the mountainside and watched several gibbons fighting. Inspired by their versatile movements, he incorporated what he observed into his own fighting system and called it Nizong Quan, which means Tribal Animal Fists. Nizong becomes Mizong when pronounced with a Beijing accent.
Sharing a Common Lineage:
Sun Tong – The 1st Generation
Records indicate Mizong Quan was popularized by Sun Tong around 1722; so modern day practitioners trace their lineage to him. Born in Shandong Province, he learned martial arts from a martial artist surnamed Zhang and spent ten years refining his skills at the Shaolin Temple. Sun Tong eventually settled in Cangzhou Prefecture, Hebei Province. Among Sun Tong’s top disciples were Chen Shan, Wang Jiwu, and Yang Hongbin. Followers of Chen Shan called the system Mizong Quan.
Huo Yuanjia – 4th Generation
Another branch headed by the Huo family in the neighboring county of Jinghai called the system Mizong Yi. This way of writing the Chinese characters became popular because of Huo Yuanjia, a 4th Generation Mizong Quan master who became a national hero. Huo’s life is a story familiar to many martial arts fans and has been dramatized in literature and cinema, most recently by Jet Li in Fearless. Huo later founded the Jingwu Physical Culture Association in Shanghai. The Association promoted athletic activities, including various styles of Chinese martial arts and western-style boxing. Although Huo taught the original version of Mizong at the Association, after his death, the Association incorporated other popular styles of the period into Mizong Quan. This colorful heritage gave birth to a branch of the art called Mizong Lohan, which was taught at Hong Kong’s South China Athletic Association.
Lu Zhenduo – 5th Generation Mizong Heir
Another famous product of this early period is Lu Zhenduo. Lu Zhenduo practiced traditional Chinese medicine, made his living as a martial arts instructor and was the head of security for a convoy service. Born in 1903 in Hebei’s Cangzhou Prefecture, Lu began training at age seven with Yang Kunshan. (Yang was a disciple of Chen Guangzhi, who studied under 2nd-generation Mizong master Chen Shan). Yang was impressed with Lu’s outstanding character and physical abilities and eventually accepted Lu as a formal disciple and entrusted him with his entire knowledge of Mizong Quan and Qingping swordsmanship, as well as Yang style Tai Chi. Lu traveled extensively throughout China to sharpen his skills and exchange techniques with other famous masters. Among the lasting friendships formed was one with Li Jinling, a well-known Taoist sword expert. He participated in many no-holds-barred contests, pitting his skills against the best of his generation. He became famous for knocking out opponents with iron-palm strikes.
Lu Jun Hai – 6th Generation Mizong Heir
Lu Zhenduo died in 1981 and passed on his martial arts legacy to his fourth son Lu Jun Hai. The younger Lu, born in 1941, is a 6th-generation heir to the Mizong system and 9th-generation heir to Qingping swordsmanship. He began studying martial arts with his father at age six, practicing diligently year round. His father was a strict disciplinarian. As a consequence Lu Jun Hai spent three years just perfecting basic stances, punches, kicks and footwork. His flawless execution of technique to this day is the result of this earlier foundation training. At age 12, he began joining his father in public performances and competing at martial arts tournaments. By age 18, he captained the Shanghai Traditional Martial Arts Youth Team. He was once voted one of Shanghai’s top ten martial arts masters. In the 1980’s, he was technical advisor for a popular Chinese TV series “Outlaws of the Marsh.” He was a Class 1 competition judge in China and he is a level one judge for the Jingwu International Martial Arts Committee. He has held several important positions in the martial arts community including: martial arts instructor to Shanghai University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Shanghai Normal College; Vice-Secretary to the Luwan District Martial Arts Association; and coach and advisor for the Shanghai Workers Martial Arts Team, the Zhejiang Provincial Martial Arts Academy, the Jingwu Association, the municipality of Shanghai, and the China-Japan Taiji Association. He was also the chief instructor for the St. Petersburg Chinese Martial Arts Academy in Russia.
In 1984, he participated in China’s National Research Project for Traditional Martial Arts. He helped to produce a manuscript on all six Qingping sword routines that was published as a limited edition book. Grandmaster Lu received a meritorious award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to China in helping to preserve the martial arts. Although Shaolin Mizong is popular in China’s Northern provinces, it was less widely practiced in the South or outside China. Grandmaster Lu has been instrumental in spreading the system to the rest of the world. During a martial arts career spanning over fifty years, he has trained thousands of students, both at home and abroad, including the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada, and Switzerland. Martial arts masters from all over the world have sought him out and have given him such honorary titles as “master of the martial arts” and “national treasure.” Grandmaster Lu has been in London since 1999, and is currently the chief instructor for the UK Chinese Zhenwei Martial Arts Academy in London.
Sifu Reza Momenan – 7th Generation Mizong Heir
Starting in 1993, veteran Jow Ga Kung Fu Sifu Reza Momenan was introduced to the Shaolin Mizong and Qingping Sword systems through the generosity of his elder Jow Ga brother Sifu Hon Lee. In June, 2000 Sifu Momenan met Sifu Lee’s teacher, Grandmaster Lu, in London. During that short period Sifu Momenan impressed Grandmaster Lu so much that Grandmaster Lu took Sifu Momenan under his tutelage, training him in both Shaolin Mizong and Qingping Sword. Recognizing his talent and dedication, Grandmaster Lu subsequently made Sifu Momenan his disciple and thus a 7th-generation Shaolin Mizong heir and a 10th-generation heir to the Qingping Sword system. It was during this same year that Sifu Reza Momenan transformed his original Jow Ga Chinese Boxing academy into the Jow Ga Shaolin Institute, (co-founded with Sifu Hon Lee), where he continues to this day to generously share over four decades of accumulated kung fu knowledge with his students.