During centuries, the art of Kung Fu remains the same and it is only in the middle of the 19th century that it changes under the impulse of Kuo Yun Seng.
Kuo Yun Seng was called " the Divine Palm ", and he was the greatest expert of his time in Xing Yi Quan (the boxing of the unit of the body and the thought : Xing = form, Yi = will, thought, Quan = fist, boxing, or in its original significance " to do instantaneously what the heart decides ").
He insists on the postures and simplifies the form of the Tao Lu, then transmits his art to Wang Xian Zhaï, his preferred disciple.


Master Wang Xian Zhaï


1885 :
Master Wang Xian Zhaï was born in 1885 in the Hebei province.
At the end of the 19th century, in China, Master Wang Xian Zhai had observed that the Chinese society changed. The profit, base of a modern mode of production, revolutionized the relationship between the men. The martial arts, component of this same society, had them also tendency to lose their essence. The practice of the fast movements, therefore badly controlled, the exaggeration of the importance of the muscular force and hardening with excess of the body, often with a conclusive aim, characterized the majority of the practise. He then decided to return to the sources of Kung Fu, at a time when one could control " the movements of the immobility ", immobility which is the " mother " of any movement.

1913 :
In 1913 he was engaged as instructor with the army.

1918 :
In 1918 he crosses China from North to the South, he observes and learns the essence of other styles which include techniques of fists and legs. He also makes a stay at the monastery of Shaolin where he is involved in particular with the higher bonze, expert in Xin Yi Quan. (Xin = the heart)
This assiduous study helps him to discover what he seeks : control of the speed and the force by the concentration, the relaxation, and the slow movement, thus restoring a true return to the sources of art. Until the 12th century indeed, the practice of Kung Fu passed by the mobilization of the thought, the control of the posture and the slow movement, to reach the explosive force. The method used named Zhan Zhuang, which means " to remain upright such as a tree or a pile ".
The two experts find themselves perfectly in their mutual search. They share their techniques to supplement their work.

1925 :
In 1925, Master Wang Xian Zhai declares that " the practise in general neglect the importance of the thought in the movement ". He creates Yi Quan in which you find the linear work of Xing Yi, circular displacements of Bagua, the principle of " sticking and following " of Taïji and the essence of other styles such as the essence of the school of Shaolin, etc...
He preaches a martial arts serving health while proving to be a method of effective combat.
It was a new way of considering the martial arts because of the absence of forms (Tao-Lu), the most significant being the concentration, the will.

1940 :
In 1940, the colleagues of Master Wang in Beijing recognize the value of his art and give it the name of Da Cheng Quan.
The term Da Cheng means great success, achievement, perfection.
Da Cheng Quan thus means the great achievement of the harmony of the body and the spirit.
Later, Master Wang, always modest and conscious that one never reaches the great achievement in Wushu, returns definitively to the name Yi Quan.
It is just today to respect this desire.
From the beginning of the Fifties, he teaches Zhan Zhuang Gong (position of the pile or position of rooting) in various medical institutes.

1963 :
Master Wang Xian Zhaï died in Tien Tsin.




"Great movements
are not as efficient
as small movements.
Small movements
are not as efficient
as stillness.
is the mother of eternal movement"

Master Wang Xian Zhai.


Master Yao Zong Xun


The best pupil of Master Wang were Zhao Dao Xin, installed in Tiantsin where he created his own method and have practically not left any pupil, You Peng Xi, from Shanghai, which has make in the same way and the one which will become his successor, Yao Zong Xun from Beijing.

Li Wentao, Zhao Dao Xin and Yao Zong Xun


Until 1985, year of Master Yao Zong Xun's death, everyone, including Wang Xian Zhai's daughter, which she reports in her book, recognizes Master Yao Zong Xun as the successor of Wang. He is the last who has made the Yi Quan school evolve and at the same time the most gifted and the most honest of the three.
Very young, Yao Zong Xun begins the study with Wang Xian Zhaï who considers him as his son. In 1940, Wang names him his successor and gives him the nickname Ji Xiang (the successor of Xian) and symbolically offers him a demonstration costume. From this day, Yao Zong Xun has replaced Wang when this one misses, taking up the challenges and teaching.
Yao Zong Xun was an expert of a very open spirit ; he knew the techniques of the other schools, therefore he always took the best of each style to include it in his practice of Yi Quan.
He said to his pupils: " Learn Yi Quan ; if you have other valid techniques, keep them, but apply them through the principles of Yi Quan ". He also taught his pupils the totality of his knowledge without mysticism nor superstition.

Master Yao Zong Xun died in 1985, leaving his two sons and good students.

Master Yao Zong Xun and his son Yao Cheng Kwang



Different schools developp themselves, especially in Beijing's area.
In Japan, Yi Quan is known by the Taï Ki Ken students. Taï Ki Ken was created by Master Kenichi Sawaï, former student of Wang Xiang Zhaï, but who mainly studied under the direction of Yao Zong Xun.
Yi Quan schools exist in
France, Italy, Argentina, Great-Britain, Portugal, Singapore and Hong-Kong.

In Europe, Yi Quan was introduced by Ilias Calimintzos, only Westerner which was initiated by Master Yao Zong Xun.

Master Yao Zong Xun and Ilias Calimintzos


The School of Master Yao is still united.
From left to right : Yao Cheng Rong, Ilias Calimintzos, Yao Cheng Kwang and Cui Rui Bin


Ilias CALIMINTZOS during a seminar in Marocco, 2004