THE ANNALS OF JINGWU
by the Jingwu Athletic Association
[published Dec, 1919]
[centennial translation by Paul Brennan, Dec, 2019]
The title calligraphy on the front cover is by 陳公哲 Chen Gongzhe:
The drawing below it is by 楊左匋 Yang Zuotao, who signed his named as S. Y. Young (also known as Cy Young when he several years later became one of the major early animators for Disney):
The small world of Jingwu is labeled thus:
箭道 練武廳 運動場 游泳池 議事廳 藏書樓 華人公園 音樂亭 網球場
archery range, martial arts training hall, sports ground, swimming pool, assembly hall, library, Chinese public gardens, bandstand, tennis court
CONTENTS (compiled by Chen Tiesheng of Xinhui)
Preface by Sun Yat-sen
Introductory Statement from Hu Hanmin
Preface by Zhu Zhixin
[Part One] General Discussion
大精武主義 陳鐵生 卓枚
The Great Jingwu Doctrine (by Chen Tiesheng, called Zhuomei)
The True Spirit of Jingwu (by Chen Gongzhe)
Congratulations to the Jingwu Athletic Association (by Wu Rongxu)
[Part Two] A Few Specifics
History of Our Location (by Chen Tiesheng)
The Jingwu Banners (by Chen Tiesheng)
The Jingwu Uniforms (by Chen Tiesheng)
The Jingwu Badges (by Lu Weichang)
The Awarding Crest (by Luo Keji)
Jingwu Branches Within Shanghai (by Huo Dongge)
On the Three Shanghai Branches (by Ning Zhuting)
Heralding the Jingwu Public Gardens (by Chen Tiesheng)
Heralding a Jingwu Village (by Huo Shouhua)
[Part Three] Martial Arts
Our Athletic Meets (by Chen Tiesheng)
The Three Levels of Graduation in the Martial Arts Course (by Chen Tiesheng)
Group Practice of Martial Arts (by Liu Yichen)
The Valiant Warriors Club (by Lu Weichang)
勵志團緣起 鄭灼辰 馮蘭皋
Origin of the Encouragement Club (by Zheng Zhuochen & Feng Lan’gao)
Walking Club (by Jin Guangyao)
The Precious-Time Club (by Chen Shichao)
A Brief Account of the Jingwu Exemplary Women Team (by Chen Shichao)
Building up the Body (by Chen Tiesheng)
A Comment about Yao Chanbo (by Shao Tingyu)
Sleeve Darts (by Cheng Ziying)
Discussing Archery (by Zheng Xiancheng)
復旦公學技擊紀 趙連和 振羣
The Martial Arts Class at the Fudan Public School (by Zhao Lianhe, called Zhenqun)
The Martial Arts Class at the Chinese Industry Technical School (by Zhao Lianhe)
The Martial Arts Class at the East Asia Athletic School (by Yao Chanbo)
The Martial Arts Class at Jiangsu 3rd Provisional Secondary School, Songjiang District (by Chen Tiesheng)
The Martial Arts Class at the Chengzhong Secondary School (by Zhao Lianhe)
The Martial Arts Class at the Lingnan Secondary School (by Huang Weiqing)
The Martial Arts Class at the YMCA (by Huang Hanjia)
The Encouraging-the-Workers’-Children Association (by Li Huisheng)
The Patriotic Girls’ School (by Ning Zhuting)
The Guangdong Primary School of Shanghai (by Pu Kuoting)
The Shanghai Youth Club (by Yao Chanbo)
The Developing Virtue Primary School (by Huo Dongge)
The Developing Fundamentals Primary School (by Li Huisheng)
The Chongde Girls’ School Physical Education Course (by Tao Zhichao)
Photo of Lessons at the Chinese Calisthenics School (instructed by Lu Weichang)
吳淞水產學校授課圖 李振江 蓮村
Photo of Martial Arts Lessons at the Wusong Fishery School (instructed by Li Zhenjiang, called Liancun)
Photo of Lessons at the Nanyang Women’s Normal School
Photo of Martial Arts Lessons in Mengzi, Yunnan (instructed by Liu Yichen)
Judging at the Songjiang District Athletic Meet (by Chen Tiesheng)
An Example of Our Martial Arts (featuring the entire set of Cross-Shaped Fight) (by Chen Tiesheng [and performed by Zhao Lianhe])
A Brief Account of Our Publications (by Chen Tiesheng)
Selections from Our Martial Arts Library (by Chen Tiesheng)
Part Four: Army Drill
A Brief Record of the Jingwu Army Drill Unit (by Zheng Zhuochen)
Martial Arts Techniques for Army Use (by Chen Tiesheng)
Part Five: Literary Pursuits
The Calligraphy Class (by Chen Tiesheng)
“Flock of Crows at Sunset” (an old painting by Gao Fenghan)
Achievements of the Painting Class (by Chen Gongzhe)
Achievements of the Photography Department (by Lu Xueying, wife of Chen Gongzhe)
（一）三潭夕照 設色玻璃板 陳公哲
1. “Three Pools at Sunset” (developed on tinted glass plate, by Chen Gongzhe)
Inscription for “Three Pools at Sunset” (by Wang Jingwei)
（二）蘇臺煙景 設色玻璃板 陳士超
2. “Mist Over Sutai” (developed on tinted glass plate, by Chen Shichao)
（三）揮戈逐日圖 三色銅板 楊左匋
3. “Galloping Fast to Lead Troops into Battle” (painted with primary colors onto copper surface, by Yang Zuotao)
On Making a Motion Picture of the Jingwu Association (by Guo Weiyi)
Invention of a New Zoom-Lens Device (by Cheng Zipei)
A Mobile Dark Room (by Cheng Zipei)
Chen Gongzhe’s Calculations for Exposure (by Huang Yisheng)
A Discussion of Photography (by Chen Gongzhe)
醫學紀 簡玉鵬 偉卿
On Medicine (by Jian Yupeng, called Weiqing)
The Manifesto of the Jingwu Medical Department (by Luo Bokui)
The Debating Team (by Liang Shaotian)
Our National Language (by Yun Zuocheng)
Part Six: Recreational Activities
Discussing Chess (by Zeng Qiwen)
Some Ramblings about Cantonese Opera (by Chen Zhuomei [Tiesheng])
My Casual Opinions on Beijing Opera (by Chen Zhuomei [Tiesheng])
Western Stringed Instruments (by Lu Xueying, wife of Chen Gongzhe)
On the Violin (by Chen Gongzhe)
A Russian Music Master (by Wu Jianzhen)
Tennis (by Yao Chanbo)
紀籃球 周錫三 陸象賢
Basketball (by Zhou Xisan & Lu Xiangxian)
Soccer (by Lu Weichang)
Skating (by Tang Qiongxiang)
Tug-of-War (by Chen Qiying)
Zip-Lining (by Li Guoquan)
Game Hunting (by Li Yongjin)
Hiking – Part 1 (by Qiu Liang)
Hiking – Part 2 (by Shen Jixiu)
Photo of Billiards
Photos of Cycling Excursion to Gusu District
Photo of Weightlifting (performed by Huang Huilong)
Photo of Ping-Pong
Photo of Balancing Platform
Photo of Vaulting Horse
Photo of Horizontal Bar
Photos of Rings & Rope Swings, Shot Put, Discus, and Javelin
Photos of High Jump and Long Jump
[Part Seven] Contributions from Famous Writers
技擊叢刊序 吳敬恆 稚暉
Preface for the “Martial Arts Series” (by Wu Jingheng, called Zhihui)
潭腿序 汪兆銘 精衞
A Preface for Tantui (by Wang Zhaoming, called Jingwei)
贈精武諸子 李葭榮 懷霜
A Gift of Poetry for Everyone at Jingwu (by Li Jiarong, called Huaishuang)
題鐵生肖像 潘飛聲 蘭史
A Portrait of Chen Tiesheng in Words (by Pan Feisheng, called Lanshi)
[Part Eight] A Mix of Offerings
Some Things People Say (by Lu Weichang)
Some Ink Spillings (by Chen Tiesheng)
Visiting Safflower Ridge (by Chen Tiesheng)
Some Words Sent to the Editor of La Jeunesse (by Chen Tiesheng)
Going Outside to See How Much We Can Withstand the Freezing Wind (by Weng Yaoheng)
Our Snow General (by Wang Hanli)
Playing With the Toys (by Huang Wanxiang)
Students Going to Class in Wheelbarrows (by Huang Shanxiang)
Boots in Formation (by Huang Chi)
The Dinner Party Gatherings (by Mo Gantang)
A Rally of the Common People on Our Sports Ground (by Jian Weiqing)
[Part Nine] Gifts of Calligraphy
Calligraphy from Sun Yat-sen on a Horizontal Tablet
Calligraphy from Lin Yinqing [Lin Hu] on a Vertical Scroll
Calligraphy from Wang Qiumei on a Horizontal Scroll
Calligraphy from Zhu Zhixin on a Horizontal Tablet
Calligraphy from Wei Yu on a Horizontal Tablet
Calligraphy from Jingwu Association President Zhu [Qinglan] on a Horizontal Scroll
Photo of a Gift of a Flower Basket from the Chongde Girls’ School
Photo of Other Gifts We Have Received from Various Organizations
[Part Ten] Congratulatory Poetry
From the Shanghai Central Business Group
From the Store & Cherish Business Group
From the Machine-Woven-Cloth Business Group
Two Poems of Congratulations from Fudan University
A Poem from the Guangzhou-Guangdong Public Affairs Office
Six [Five] Gifts of Poetry from Xu Zhisong
“Heroic Deeds” (by Shen Mengxuan)
A Poem from the East Asia Athletic School
From the Patriotic Girls’ School
From the Encouraging-the-Workers’-Children Association
[From the Developing Fundamentals Primary School (by Zhu Qimin)]
[Part Eleven] Lists of People
Photos of Shanghai Jingwu Association Staff & Instructors
List of Positions Held Over the Years at the Shanghai Jingwu Association
List of Martial Arts Instructors from the Shanghai Jingwu Association Teaching at Various Organizations
Lists of Members of the Shanghai Jingwu Association
[Part Twelve] Opening Distant Branches
The Opening of the Nanxun Branch (by Qiu Liang)
A Brief Account of the Hankou Jingwu Association (by Zhang Wende)
Photos of the Guangdong Jingwu Association
開辦關東精武體育會實紀（香江附） 盧煒昌 陳鐵生
A Full Account of the Opening of the Guangdong Jingwu Athletic Association (by Lu Weichang & Chen Tiesheng) (Plus Photos of the Hong Kong Jingwu Association)
[Appendix One] A Collection of Writing Exercises
[Appendix Two] Supplementary Texts
My View that We Should Perhaps Form a National Jingwu Athletic Association (by Chen Gongzhe)
Martial Arts at St. John’s University (by Chen Tiesheng)
Photo of the Boxing Arts Class from the Women’s Calisthenics School of Shanghai
On the First Shanghai Jingwu Branch (by Chen Qiying)
Photo of the Martial Arts Class of the China Public School of Shanghai
Photo of the Martial Arts Class at the Elize Bates Girls’ School in Shanghai
Photo of the Martial Arts Class at the Guangzhou-Guangdong Girls’ School in Shanghai
Photo of the Construction of the Shanghai Jingwu Association Practice Ground for Rainy Days
Photo of the Construction of the Large Gate to the “Jingwu Public Gardens” in Shanghai
Photo of the Construction of the “Jingwu Village” in Shanghai
Concerning Some Doubts about Martial Arts (by Wang Yuanhui)
A Special Entertainment Party (by Chen Tiesheng)
Contents of the Jingwu Association’s Own Martial Arts Film (by Chen Gongzhe)
The Constitution of the China Jingwu Association
[In the drawing below by Yang Zuotao, the figure in the middle is emitting H, O, N, and C2O [CO2] (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide) – the major components of the air we breathe. This appears to be an attempt at a more scientific rendering of the concept of qi, which fundamentally means “air” and eventually grew so far as to imply “force field”, the expressing of which is apparently making this superhero impervious to bullets and blades, as many in the Boxer Rebellion just two decades before claimed to be.]
Portrait of the late Huo Yuanjia, founder of the Jingwu Association:
本編攝影主任 陳公哲 廣東香山人業五金
Head photographer for this book, Chen Gongzhe, from Xiangshan [now Zhongshan], Guangdong (a hardware-store owner):
本編總編輯 陳鐵生又名卓枚 廣東新會人新聞記者
Editor of this book, Chen Tiesheng, also called Zhuomei, from Xinhui, Guangdong (a journalist):
PREFACE by Sun Yat-sen
Ever since human beings developed civilization, they have been able to draw from a vast variety of experiences and make use of many tools to resist against nature. What modern people have invented, ancient people could only have dreamt of and would surely have declared to be the greatest prosperity, but the purpose of using all manner of tools is to gradually elevate our physical capacities. The general rule is to continue to progress rather than fall behind, and this unavoidably involves selection through competition [i.e. keeping what works and eliminating what does not], a factor that has recently given knowledgeable people deep concern.
Alas, ever since firearms came into China, our countrymen have typically given up using martial arts as physical education and no longer even talk about it, and thus the people in our society have become increasingly weak. They do not understand that victory is often determined during the last five minutes on the last five feet of ground – the moment of close-quarters combat – as has lately been shown over and over again in the course of the European War [i.e. World War I]. Therefore how can it not be said that martial arts are just as valuable as artillery or aircraft?
Our countrymen long ago used such arts simply to fight against other societies for material resources, and then after a war was done they discarded their own innate skills, deeming them to now be worthless, a huge miscalculation. The people of our nation are inherently a peaceful people, for we did not begin as militaristic warriors scheming against our own compatriots. However, in times of fierce competition, there is no way to survive without knowing methods of self-defense.
We see with the rise of modern warfare the problem of being a weak nation. When peaceful people are good at self-defense, the world will move on from the notion of “the law of the jungle”. We should not wait for the problems of our nation to be solved by other nations. To promote peace for the world and for mankind is a duty of our people, and a grand one at that. It says in the Book of Changes [from Commentary, Part 1]: “Neglecting to hide valuables invites burglars. Dressing like a whore invites rapists.” Mengzi said [Mengzi, 4a]: “A man first has to bully himself in order for other people to be able to bully him… A nation first has to attack itself in order for other nations to be able to attack it.” These are both examples of not understanding the preventative element of self-defense.
Since the Jingwu Athletic Association was established, ten years ago, it has had a great many achievements. Discerning people recognize it as being an educational institution that is doing specialized research into arts for training the body. The work of promoting martial arts as physical education is greatly related to the task of strengthening the masses to protect the nation. This means that our people are devoted to one of the fundamental principles of establishing world peace. Once the great people of the Jingwu Association had completed their manuscript for The Annals of Jingwu, they asked me for a preface. As I am so impressed by their uncommon foresight and willpower, I have therefore written these words to accompany their book.
- Oct 20, 1919
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT FROM HU HANMIN
Let us use scientific methods
to pass down the spirit of these arts.
– calligraphy by Hu Hanmin
PREFACE BY ZHU ZHIXIN
Three years ago , I came to Shanghai and several times visited the Jingwu Athletic Association, whose fame has spread everywhere. When it was founded, Chen Yingshi [Qimei] was on the rise. He later brought the 1911 Revolution to Shanghai and captured the arsenal there. The city thereafter became part of the Republic of China and has prospered ever since, bringing inspiration to people such as Lu Weichang and Chen Gongzhe, and many other members of the Jingwu Association. Although they focus on fighting skills, they endorse human freedom and the call to resist against tyranny, transforming what are actions for injuring people into a means of caring for each other. This is noble indeed.
Human life depends on movement. No movement, no life. But to provide life without any means of doing good only brings disaster to a nation and its people, leading to licentious living [“drink, eat, man & woman”, the meaning being “food and drink, and sex”] and a chaos of thieving and killing, everyone living a pattern of selfishness that the world cannot quell. To only observe this outcome will fix nothing, but working at the root cause will bring a useful strength that will be undeniable. The Way lies in making use of one’s strength, not in using one’s own life as an excuse to harm the lives of others, thus these otherwise brutal skills can be transformed into beautiful arts and no longer appear to be only what they used to be.
I have noticed that the members of the Jingwu Association are all capable of [from Book of Changes, hexagram 41] “keeping their temper and restraining their passions”, and [hexagram 1] “striving for self-improvement”. Thus they do not act merely for themselves, but for their art, and fear only that there is not enough time in the day for training, because they have made their art into a project of caring for others. Long ago, a great writer [Ouyang Xiu] produced these words [in “Retiring with Six Ones” (one set of ten thousand books, one set of a thousand scrolls of ancient inscriptions, one zither, one chess set, one cooking pot, and one old man himself): “[Mt. Tai could collapse in front of me, but I would not blink.] Thunder could bring down the building around me, but I would not flinch.” Events may crowd in upon us, but they cannot diminish our focus once it has been established, and we will be undistracted by anything beyond it, even humiliation.
Those who can transform a piece of quite ordinary human affairs into an art truly go above and beyond mere codes of ethics, and what they have achieved with their ideas cannot be swayed by the material world. Thus learning fighting skills is now a means of learning to care for ordinary people, and thus is something philosophers would not argue against. The Jingwu Association has now expanded by establishing several branch locations, all of which are now open and operating. Even when its members are hidden behind the walls of these practice halls, what they are doing will cause China’s artistic spirit to make great progress. Chen Tiesheng has encouraged me to become a member of the Jingwu Association myself, and I will start by writing this preface.
- Zhu Dafu [Zhixin] of Xiaoshan [in Zhejiang], Nov, 1919
[PART ONE] GENERAL DISCUSSION
☉大精武主義 陳鐵生 卓枚
THE GREAT JINGWU DOCTRINE by Chen Tiesheng, called Zhuomei
Does the title “The Great Jingwu Doctrine” perhaps imply the tone of the despots of Europe and Asia? No, it does not. [Woodrow] Wilson described a “league of nations” [explained in the fourteenth of his Fourteen Points: “A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”], a system of federation modeled upon the United States and applied to another part of the world. [The League officially formed within a month after this book was published, though ironically the US was not a member.] We have adopted the spirit of this principle.
The maxim “mens sana in corpore sano” [“a healthy mind in a healthy body”] is surely an undeniable truth. This year, the National Education Association of the United States [NEA] announced a post-war basic education program, particularly encouraging physical education and beneficial recreational games, one of the aims being to cultivate a stronger populace. The strength of America does seem to be due to its physical education. But what is the impression of our own people? Huang Yingbai [Huang Fu], for example, has recently written Lessons from the European War and the Future of China, in which he says: “The lesson now is that no matter how loyal the people are to their nation, if they do not have individual ability, they will ultimately not be equipped to perform the great task their nation requires of them.” If those who otherwise hold to a nationalist ideal fall short in this way, then in the eyes of the world they will undoubtedly be thought to either not care about physical education or be very behind in it.
However, there are many kinds of physical education, some done with empty hands, others involving apparatuses. European methods involve both, and so there is nothing missing in this regard. But one of their limitations is that they emphasize one part of the body at a time, thereby neglecting other parts. To seek to work the entire body, all parts working in coordination, energy and blood developing together, is a quality they lack. In order for us to have this quality, our martial arts, passed down over several thousand years, are ideal.
Martial arts actions are so marvelous that Hua Tuo of the Han Dynasty used them to treat illness. However, the true principles of physical education had still not been invented at that time. They knew then how to do things with the body, but did not yet know how bodies actually worked. Later on, we came to know that the strength and prosperity of Europe and America was a matter of physical education, and that their various kinds of exercise had apparently been copied indiscriminately from our Chinese exercises.
In the 47th year of the cycle , Huo Yuanjia spoke out against this in Shanghai and founded the Jingwu Calisthenics Association in the Wang Family Neighborhood in Shanghai’s Zhabei District. At that time, people were usually quite fond of doing European exercises, similar to calisthenics, and this is what was normally used in schools. The Jingwu Association initially only sparked some curiosity from people, not really sure that it would bring results, but gradually their bodies made significant progress.
Membership had not even been worth counting in the beginning, but then eventually grew to a crowd as more and more hastened to ask for instruction. They noticed that the results were just as good as with the European exercises and later understood that this was actually the genuine method of physical education, that our Chinese way is the essentials [the characters used here for “essentials” also coincidentally meaning “pure Chinese”] and their European way is merely the leftovers.
Unfortunately in the case of our martial arts, enthusiasts have often encountered autocratic masters who have deliberately obstructed access to the art. Warriors and teachers both had prohibitions about sharing. Practitioners in former times either kept their art hidden in the wilderness or secret within a family tradition. This is why the training gained a reputation for having a dignified formality and of it being a discipline steeped in a majestic mystique.
After ten years of experience and observation, we have built a solid foundation indeed, transforming weakness into strength, eliminating chronic illness, and turning the old into the young again, too many successes to count. I have heard that some scientific tests on martial arts have been conducted which verify their effectiveness. Broadly speaking, the benefits of physical education such as martial arts can be considered to have countless advantages and not one drawback.
The continued survival of martial arts starts from today. Boxing masters of former times failed to establish this, but the situation has been improved by having an organized and systematic formal association, and from now on, these arts will flourish and indeed they will even spread throughout the world. However, all undertakings are difficult in the beginning, and unless the right path is followed, it is difficult to avoid feeling hopelessly inadequate [“sigh at the scale of the ocean” – Zhuangzi, chapter 17]. Therefore our colleagues made a vow to make it work, and the Jingwu Association has now lasted through ten years.
Below I will explain our purpose, our nature, our curriculum, and our history, as an introduction to everyone, not to set the definitive blueprint, but simply to set an example. The addition of every martial arts comrade means another step toward invigorating the spirit and enhancing the physical health of people everywhere. The addition of every similar organization means another step toward enriching each other’s spirit and improving our capacity to unite for the protection of the people. In former times, we lived by the law of the jungle. But what Confucianists call the “peaceful utopia” and Buddhists call the “pure land” [Sukhavati] both depend on these kinds of strategies as the tools to sustain us and the transportation to take us into a better world.
Equality is what is called for. But how to achieve it? Unless every human body attains a high level of physical fitness, then intellectual and moral fitness have nothing to build on. Therefore equality of physical health is the top priority for society. However, while equality cannot be achieved without physical fitness, physical fitness cannot be achieved without martial arts. The purpose of the Jingwu Association is grounded in martial arts and imbued with martial virtue, which is then further supplemented by other beneficial branches of learning and other appropriate recreational activities. Strengthening the individual radiates an influence onto society as a whole. Refining the self equals refining the world. This is the goal we are progressing toward.
School education usually has age restrictions, but the Jingwu Association deals with a practical consideration that breaks down such barriers: in order to deal with the demands of our time, we cannot afford to discard the potential of the middle-aged. Most people seem to consider them to have been reduced to a permanent state of weakness and then dismiss them as being useless. However, weak parents will raise weak children. This means that middle-aged men and women need to transform their weakness into strength and must not allow themselves to remain weak. Therefore although the Jingwu Association has the nature of being a school, we are not here only for young people.
Beyond our classes, we also have facilities for recreational activities, and thus the Jingwu Association also has the nature of being a club. However, if there were any improper activities going on, this would directly harm an individual’s character and thereby indirectly harm society. Therefore although the Jingwu Association has the nature of being a club, we strictly prohibit improper behavior.
(Note: Because the Jingwu Association first of all has the nature of being a school, any bad habits that our boxing instructors have had in the past have been strictly forbidden. It is not necessary to go into detail about it. Suffice it to say, through dedicated study and hard work, all who are here have become people of pure martial virtue.)
Our curriculum is divided into departments. Overall responsibility lies in a president, vice president, and board of directors. Subsidiary duties are carried out by heads of general affairs, secretaries, bookkeepers, disciplinary officers, general affairs secretaries, inspectors, and customs officers. There is a head director of each department in charge of managing that department.
1. Martial Arts Department
Martial arts are the foundation, therefore it is the primary course of study that is emphasized. There is a department head and department directors. As for the instructors employed to explain how these arts work, they do not qualify if they have not achieved a deep level. Therefore martial arts directors must themselves have experience, integrity, and knowledge in order to gain the confidence of their colleagues in giving martial arts instructors their positions.
Whenever outside schools or public organizations seek to engage instructors from the Jingwu Association, the department head will first choose from among the department directors, and if none are available, then consider from among the instructors for who is to be sent. In terms of individual martial skill, the instructors are of course held in high esteem, but because martial arts are only recently in an era of revival, it is hard to find those who are equally skilled in both literary arts and martial arts.
Furthermore, group instruction is very different from individual instruction. The department directors often come from business or academic circles, but the groups are conducted like drilling soldiers in an army, which is rooted in communicating orders as clearly as possible. Being able to run a group in this way is based on experience, not on empty theorizing from books.
In the autumn of 1918, at the Nationwide Secondary Schools Conference held in Beijing, it was decided to make martial arts a required course of study. Therefore the Jingwu Association now runs an accelerated program for training martial arts instructors, limited to graduates of physical education colleges, thereby filling an urgent need.
Jingwu Association instructors are equipped in various styles, but the course for beginners has been standardized to give a proper foundation. Beginners will learn these ten sets:
 Gongli Boxing
 Articulated Boxing
 Two-Person Tantui
 Eight-Trigrams Saber
 Fifth Tiger’s Spear
 Large-Scale Fight
 Trapping Boxing
 Shepherd’s Staff
 Single Saber Versus Spear
These ten sets must be learned well in order to then move on to other sets.
Among the members, there are those who have formed their own group in which they have promised to non-stop martial arts training. It is called the Encouragement Club. It works like this: whenever a club member is absent without giving a reason, he is given a fine. The result of this for the last seven years is that the achievements of the club have been outstanding. This club has its own director to manage its affairs.
Then in spring of 1918, the Precious-Time Club was formed. They meet before dawn, gathering at the Jingwu Association to practice boxing sets, undeterred by wind or rain. They have appointed a director to evaluate the progress of its members.
In the autumn of 1919, the Valiant Warriors Club also started. Their premise is that on the days in which there is no army drill, they will gather on the drill ground at 7am to do group training of martial arts. The challenge for the talented members of this club is that they push themselves to do four times as much practice, both solo and group, as ordinary members. They have established a rule that once a member is absent for the third time, that person is kicked out of the club. The instructors treat this as the true challenge of the club, making the point that their time should not be wasted.
There is also the Exemplary Women Club, specifically for training women in martial arts, the Walking Club, who are committed to walking to the Jingwu Association every day as their only form of transport, as well as courses in things such as archery, sleeve darts, and so on, and plenty of opportunity for practicing whenever and whatever one pleases. A weapons director has been specially appointed to maintain all of the weapons.
2. Army Drill Department
Group training in martial arts requires verbal commands to direct it, therefore teachers and members should also go through this course (except of course for members who have special cause to be exempt [such as being flat-footed, etc.]). The department head is assisted by drill instructors, a band director, a director of armaments, and a director of uniforms.
3. Literary Studies Department
In their spare time outside of their normal classes, members often train in literary studies. For the Chinese and English language classes, and the classes in accounting, drawing, and Mandarin, they are all run by instructors. For the classes in typing, calligraphy, Chinese medicine, and Western medicine, they are all run by directors. The photography class is run by both an instructor and a director. The duties of this department are spread among directors and instructors, but for the members to be able to delve deeply into these pursuits is thanks to the head of the department.
4. Recreational Activities Department
In the quest for amusement, there are proper paths to finding it. The Jingwu Association offers a variety of legitimately beneficial recreational activities: soccer, tennis, game hunting, basketball, javelin throwing, zip-lining, roller skating, balancing platform, vaulting horse, billiards, shot put, discus, and Cantonese opera, which are all run by directors, as well as Beijing opera and Western stringed instruments, which are run by instructors, and all of these activities are arranged by the head of the department. (There are many members who started with an interest in our recreational activities or literary studies, but after joining, they discovered a delight for learning martial arts as well. Therefore the Jingwu Association has a special martial arts class every Sunday in which instruction is given to ordinary members in whatever they feel like.)
The above items describe the current structure of the Jingwu Association. As for tuition, you do not need to worry that any of the courses above will require you to have a huge income. Apart from the martial arts instructors, the instructors in the other courses are actually volunteers, members who have special qualifications and have thus been given authority to run those courses. This is an example of how people who do not give up on their own ambitions are then able to give help to others. Seasoned member Chen Gongzhe once said that the tuition for one year of primary school would get you two years at Jingwu and the tuition for one year of secondary school would get you four years at Jingwu, and so it is a much better deal.
To study on one’s own is the most difficult way to learn. It is said that reading books for ten years is not as good as listening to a lecture for one day, and also that studying under a great teacher is not as useful as studying with a helpful friend. To study on one’s own is very lonely and one can barely hope to get halfway. We embrace the doctrine of spreading martial arts, and therefore we practice every day as a group in order to encourage each other.
However, in order to function as a group, we must meet with sincerity. The Jingwu Association has its code. The “Jingwu code” is a synonym for “sincerity”. For example, if members agree to meet somewhere for an evening meal, they live by the Jingwu code, meaning that they will arrive at the appointed time and no later. Our code is almost like what is said in the Constitution [of the Empire of Japan]: “[The Emperor is] sacred and inviolable.” There are no exceptions, no matter how small.
It has to be understood that once something has become habitual, it has become natural. People nowadays exhibit a numbness of apathy, and this is entirely due to a lack of sincerity. We cannot claim that the Jingwu Association is the perfect organization, but we have lasted for ten years. We have gone through all manner of difficulty and hardship, but we are still here, and this is because we have maintained our sincerity.
Furthermore, there is the large issue of martial virtue. One aspect of the training is the practice of martial arts, but another aspect is moral education. Generally speaking, a decline in one’s morality usually comes from weakness growing in one’s body to the point that one’s spirit gives up. This is related to a physiological effect: the daily practice of martial arts masters has the effect of cleansing their bodily fluids, filtering their blood until it is pure, and thus their willpower is unclouded by doubts and all variety of immoral thoughts are naturally eliminated.
This is why ancient people who studied literature were required to give equal time to fighting with swords, not emphasizing one and neglecting the other, and thus both aspects completed each other. Theodore Roosevelt said that the spirit of the perfected man is governed by vigor and that the vigor of the perfected man is governed by exercise. I propose a similar notion: “Enhancing one’s ethics is what martial arts are for.”
In the 47th year of the cycle, or 1910, foreigners were putting up martial advertisements in Shanghai. The custom at the time was to issue challenges from a raised platform, but the people of Shanghai were typically too frail and no match for them. There was a man named Song, from Hebei, who sent a letter to Huo Yuanjia, telling him about this. Huo then came south to Shanghai, and those foreigners lost confidence and secretly left. Soonafter, a man from Shandong named Zhao arrived, bringing a violent attitude. Huo said: “I’m not interested in quarreling over who’s best among us Chinese.” Zhao sneered in contempt, so Huo then committed to engaging and Zhao was quickly defeated.
The following week, Zhao’s friend Zhang Mouji came to try, and lost just like Zhao. At that time, there were many lesser mortals who admired Huo’s skill and pestered him for a bout. After a few had got the better of him, they then understood that Huo had become ill and recommended a physician they knew, a certain Dr. Qiu, to cure him. Huo was a somewhat naïve man and accepted treatment without any doubts. At that time, Huo had just founded the Jingwu Calisthenics Association (as it was then called) in the Wang Family Neighborhood in the Zhabei District. After only a week, Huo suddenly fell into a coma and died the next evening. Dr. Qiu then fled like a mouse into a hole, which Huo’s students found to be very suspicious. They had Huo’s medicine taken to a public hospital to be examined. The conclusion given was that it was a poison for slowly rotting the lungs. (This substance remains at the hospital to this day, and we have vowed never to forget this information.)
However, to kill one Huo Yuanjia, or a second, or a third, or any number of Huo Yuanjias, will only continue to produce more. For instance, once Huo died, his students all became even more determined, doing their utmost to carry on. But the Jingwu Association was at that time in dire straits. Upon entering it, it seemed desolate, almost like a monastery in decline, with Lu Weichang, Chen Gongzhe, Li Huisheng, Liu Yichen, Yao Chanbo, Qiu Liang, and Ning Zhuting all being like monks in a trance.
On display within the main hall were a wooden saber, an iron halberd, a spear without any horsehair, a three-footed wooden stool, dim light from a kerosene lamp, some planks for instructors to sleep on, and a few stoves for brewing tea. The Jingwu Association had been stripped down to this. The members were all at a very junior level, and there was no proper master in authority. Therefore although they did their best to maintain the Jingwu Association, they were inevitably overwhelmed by problems, to the point that the instructors had hardly anything to eat each day. This sounds so very different to the current state of the Jingwu Association at 73 Baikal Road. We should not forget about that time when they were living like monks.
The Jingwu Association later moved to its second location, near a railway overpass. Membership then slightly increased. Yuan Hengzhi [whose name 恆之 Hengzhi has the same construction for “perseverance” as in Lun Yu, 13.22: 無恆之人不可以作巫醫 (“A man without perseverance will never become a shaman.”), making him a model of perseverance even in his name], a gentlemen who is enthusiastic about these ancient traditions, was the best person to ask for assistance during those days when everyone still thought little of us. He devoted himself to the Jingwu Association and did his utmost for martial arts.
While he was in charge, the curriculum gradually expanded, funds gradually increased, and the uniforms and paraphernalia became standardized, truly making his contribution something to be remembered. But then in July of 1915, a typhoon hit Shanghai, wrecking the bamboo roof and ripping out eighteen floor mats. This was the starting point for planning the new location. As it is said: “Failure is the mother of success.”
Colorful characters are the backbone of history. Without such characters, there is no history. Because we have always respected actual training and hated empty reputation, people therefore assume that the Jingwu Association does not want to be known for its people. This is not necessarily the case. Fame is indeed meaningless, but one’s deeds can also end up becoming meaningless. A degree of colorful spirit is required for one’s deeds to be remembered throughout the generations. And so to be able to devote oneself to others, one should not be expected to be entirely selfless. The noble deeds of great men inspire the rest of us to carry out the duties that are actually common to us all. However, while writing for The Annals of Jingwu, I have had to tie my hands to a certain extent so that I do not put too much of myself into it. Those who understand that this kind of work is a duty would nevertheless find it difficult to keep from repeatedly giving in to a similar temptation.
After the typhoon damage, Chen Gongzhe, Yao Chanbo, and Lu Weichang discussed having something much grander for a new location. It started out as an old plan of Chen’s, but then when combined with the efforts of Yan and Lu, they were able to get it built, making their progress in secret. In the spring of 1916, the new building was completed, and was moved into on the 4th of March. This is the current headquarters of the Jingwu Association, therefore in terms of Jingwu history, it represents its transition from embryo to infant.
Since moving into the new location, membership has daily increased. The name “Calisthenics Association” was no longer satisfactory, and so it was changed to the Jingwu “Athletic Association”. The curriculum was expanded and improvements took shape, such as the “breeches army” switching to proper uniforms (each department having its own special concerns). Instead of the old bookcases, there is now an enlarged library of books and periodicals. New departments, such as army drill, literary studies, and recreational activities, have all been established.
In the autumn of 1916, Lu Weichang and others began working to form a monthly newsletter to discuss our affairs. Along these lines, and in keeping with our mission of spreading knowledge far and wide, a good strategy for promoting these arts has been to publish writings about them in The Students’ Magazine, run by Commercial Press. Under the banner of “Martial Arts Series”, we have now collected these writing into complete books in individual volumes, for which we have again relied on Commercial Press to do the publishing. There are now the manuals of Tantui, along with a Tantui wall-hanging, Fifth Tiger’s Spear, Damo Sword, Cooperative Fight, and Practical Staff Methods for the Boy Scouts.
There are now Jingwu Association branches in various provinces. They all function independently, but the martial arts instructors must by authorized by the original Jingwu Association in Shanghai. First there were the two branches in Zhejiang – the Nanxun branch and Shaoxing branch – and then the Hong Kong branch. In the autumn of 1918, the Hankou Jingwu Association was established, and then in the summer of 1919, the Guangdong Jingwu Association was established. (A more detailed look at the establishing of the Guangdong branch appears in Part Twelve.) The branches in Hubei and Guangdong required ample boldness and abundant funding. Those who arranged them have great enthusiasm and willpower, and thus these branches are sure to flourish.
Membership has strict requirements. A member has to have a recommendation from someone who can vouch for him. All types of people can become members, whether scholar, farmer, laborer, or merchant, regardless of rank or economic status. However, before joining, you will be examined in order to qualify to get in, and then after joining, you will frequently be examined again to make sure that you are worthy to stay, and if it turns out that you are not abiding by the rules, you will be expelled.
We often make use of the principal in this saying [from Sayings of the Confucian School, chapter 15]: “[Being in the company of good people is] like entering a hall full of flowers. After a long time, you will become so used to the fragrance that you will not notice it anymore and it will have become part of you. [Being in the company of bad people is like entering a shop full of fish. After a long time, you will become so used to the stink that you will not notice it anymore and it will have become part of you.]” Members who solemnly maintain the rules, behaving in accordance with them for a long time, will subsequently be transformed in their conduct. Over the last ten years, we have gained the trust of society, and this is the reason why.
Political issues are the most troublesome of all, therefore in the Jingwu Association we refrain from discussing politics. Despite living among the turbulence of foreigners, we have still not become overly influenced by them. Regardless of the sounds of their cannons and bullets, we go on practicing our boxing arts as before. Whereas the political situation is always temporary, martial arts provide a framework for all generations, for as it is said [a common saying paraphrased from Guanzi, chapter 3]: “It takes a decade to grow a tree, a century to cultivate a people.” And so we simply do not have time to waste on being concerned with the circus of politics.
The result of those monks in a trance practicing what they preach is that the Jingwu Association has had ten years of achievement. Huo by extension has thus had countless students. But even if they do their best to imitate his ability, it would have very little influence upon the future of martial arts and even less upon the world. Nevertheless, some of these people will be able to carry these arts forward, and even if such a project does nothing else, it will at least provide benefit to one’s moral and intellectual education. It is in this way that Huo’s great hopes are being fulfilled. The revival of martial arts will provide the foundation of equality for human beings. I am sure that fifty years ago [i.e. when Huo was born], no one could have known that he would have such a profound effect.
What is provided above is simply a general overview of Jingwu’s purpose, nature, curriculum, and history, and yet within it the great “Jingwu doctrine” is fully presented. However, to spread this doctrine requires funds. The simplest way to express this point to our comrades is with this proverb: “Tall buildings start with breaking the ground.” It is indeed the case that where there’s a will, there’s a way, but if people are able to come together and pool their resources, then they can do even more. Spaces can be rented and teachers can be hired, laying the groundwork for training. With a small group here and a small group there, it will reach to every place, no matter how out-of-the-way it may be, sometimes by way of a seminar, sometimes by way of a club. This is the power of ordinary people sharing the workload, the true way to get things done. The world is full of good men and women who express the same kind of thinking, and such thoughts deserve to be heard.
THE TRUE SPIRIT OF JINGWU by Chen Gongzhe
All things have a form, and consequently a spirit. For example, the form of the nation is a republican constitution, and therefore its spirit lies in building that constitution. The form of the body is its five senses and four limbs, and therefore its spirit lies in using the senses and limbs. If spirit is not involved, then the constitution would amount to little more than some kind of vaudeville show, and the parts of the body would amount to little more than a marionette. The discerning recognize that form possesses a crudeness, and that although spirit is required to complete form, form is not sufficient for completing spirit.
In the Jingwu Athletic Association, it is said that daily practice is a matter of form rather than spirit, because spirit is harder to pin down, having no limit, no pattern. If this seems unclear, think of it as the same principle as losing a sense of height when hiking through mountains, or of losing a sense of speed when traveling in a boat. Confucius praised Emperor Shun [Yao] the Great as “so great that the people did not know what to call him” [Lun Yu, 8.19] and praised Count Tai as having “such a high level of virtue that the people could not comprehend it” [LY, 8.1]. This is no different for the martial spirit inherent in “jing” [spirit] and “wu” [of the martial]. [The name 精武 “Jingwu” is an abbreviation of 精神尚武 “jingshen shangwu” (spirit of the martial), which is an inversion of the more usual 尚武精神 “shangwu jingshen” (martial spirit).] This kind of spirit can never be properly described, but although no description of it can truly do it justice, this does not preclude us from telling people about it. I for one am certainly not smart enough to speak of it in anything more than general terms based on what I myself have experienced and witnessed.
Confucianists strive for self-control, Buddhists strive for harmony, and Christians strive for universal love. Self-control, harmony, and universal love are each the authentic spirit of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity. The members of the Jingwu Association are clearly capable of achieving all of these ideals.
Jia Yi said [in his poem “Vultures”]: “Greedy men are tempted by wealth. Ambitious men are tempted by fame.” Wealth and fame are simply the trivia of ordinary people. In the Jingwu Association, we all have a sense of duty rather than privilege. Sometimes we may get the privilege of giving of ourselves for the sake of other people, but since it is our duty to help anyway, we do not dwell in any thoughts of the fame we may receive for doing so. (For example, a certain member made a donation of 30,000 gold yuan, and we still do not know who it was.) This is an example of virtuous conduct, which conforms to the Confucian ideal of self-control, without descending into exaggeration.
Rich and poor exist in contrast to each other and give rise to resentment. However, in the Jingwu Association, everyone is treated equally, no distinctions of social class. People who exhibit good conduct are looked upon as brothers, no matter how lowly their status may be, and people who exhibit bad conduct are criticized, no excuses made even for close friends. This is an example of moral character, which conforms to the Buddhist ideal of harmony, without getting descending into fantasy.
Between others and oneself, there is the boundary of the ego, like a tree standing alone. However, in the Jingwu Association, others are treated with equal dignity, and it is considered one’s own responsibility to treat others thus. When we know something, we help others to have the same knowledge, and when we have an ability, we help others to develop the same ability. This is an example of tolerance, which conforms to the Christian ideal of universal love, without getting mired in over-sentimentality.
These examples give only a general idea, not a complete picture. The name of Jingwu is already widely spoken of in society, though the members are not even sure why. What they practice every day starts as physical education, but then it becomes more than that. The training of the body increases a sense of morality and opens the mind to new knowledge. Physical education thus also facilitates moral education and intellectual education.
Furthermore, when practicing in a group, some will be better than others, which leads to comparison of quality, which in turn gives rise to competition, which then produces progress. By gathering together a large number of people in one space, they inspire and encourage each other, the more talented striving to set an example, the less talented trying to rise to their level. This can cause members to let go of material addictions and lose interest in fame and wealth, instead becoming in all matters concerned only with working toward actual achievement and guarding against having any false pride over superficial accomplishments. This will create the best and strongest population in the world. It is this that is both the great hope and the true spirit of Jingwu. For the sort of people who fixate on form rather than spirit, they would inevitably have only a shallow view of what we are doing anyway.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE JINGWU ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION by Wu Rongxu
(Note by Chen Tiesheng: This article was previously published in the Guangdong All Businesses Bulletin. It is full of extraordinary praise, but its main function is to inform our countrymen.)
There is a kind of skill that can boost the national spirit and is tied to a tradition thousands of years old. We must take it seriously, for it comes from our own nation. Applying it for a prolonged period can cultivate our people’s capacity for resilience and extinguish our bad habit of being listless and depressed, and so again we must take it seriously. Educators, who make it their personal responsibility to promote education, will then see skill manifest. It can strengthen the body and toughen the moral fiber, and so again we must take it seriously. Sociologists, who live by a doctrine of promoting society, will then see skill manifest. It can get rid of vile vices and maintain order, and so again we must take it seriously. Always and everywhere, people have sought to have such skill, and so it is right that it should be praised.
Our nation is the oldest civilization to have lasted to this day, the glory of history. We in our nation have been moved in recent years to preserve our cultural essence. If we can do this, receiving and carrying forward the authentic traditions of our ancient people, it will cure us of corrupt tendencies. There are now calls to “rescue the nation” almost everywhere in the nation, but the most practical means of doing this does not lie in bad habits of random movement, which leads only to confusion. The issue then is where to start. Alas, I worry.
I worry that without skill, China will not be able to rise, that we will not be able to preserve our cultural essence and rescue our national destiny, and so we should all put our hopes in it and understand its importance. Go outside and look around. We are surrounded by drinking and smoking, gambling and whoring. These things are the signs of a ruined and conquered nation. The people are driven by desires and greed, chasing after pleasure and leisure. Greed for pleasure destroys morale and does not lead to happiness. If the people’s addictions are not corrected, greed will overwhelm us, and the harm will be immeasurable.
How are those responsible for governing the people supposed to discourage such pleasure-seeking and set them on the right path? How should those who consider the potential of social education reinforce what the people know to be right and attack their bad habits in order to cause a change of awareness to keep them from losing their way? Smoking and drinking will kill your health, and whoring and gambling will drain your wealth. Everybody knows this, but they forget it as soon as they are tempted and then get lost in these things for the rest of the day as soon as they have given in. Even scholars cannot resist, and so what is the solution?
It is to replace our diversions with other pastimes. Our nation is the nation of the “sick men of Asia”, as we are mocked throughout the world. We are uncouth beggars, cripples filling the streets, hunchbacked and swan-necked, passing by with withered complexions. We enter buildings in the dirtiest clothes, and cough and pant our way down the alleys. The mere sight of us is met with groans. When the people exhibit this kind of spirit, the nation is given this kind of regard. Compared with foreigners, we have a very depressed air, a gloom all over our faces, and we should restore a passionate bearing. What is the solution? Exercise!
We have either swept aside our human dignity and put ourselves in our present perils or spent our lives dwelling in a state of sorrow and sunk into a longstanding malaise. In short, if we do not reform ourselves, China will never be able to stand tall. Let us choose the training of this kind of skill, so that we can replace our diversions with it, causing everyone to be happy rather than weary. If the vices of drinking and smoking, gambling and whoring, can vanish from the land and physical education can become the new backbone of the nation, then a spirit of martial boldness will increase and the habit of scholarly frailty will diminish. In order to do this, we must strengthen the masses to strengthen the nation, preserve our cultural essence and rescue our national destiny, raising up China without any doubts. Ah, this would delight me indeed.
It is a wonderful thing that martial arts are currently being promoted in China. This is thanks to the forming of the Jingwu Athletic Association, established in Shanghai several years ago. It has now also been transplanted to Guangzhou, the Guangdong Jingwu Athletic Association being established several months ago. Once we encourage China to practice Chinese martial arts, it may attract quite a few practitioners who are hooligans that love to fight, which provokes some suspicion about people using these arts. Therefore wise gentlemen do not overemphasize that aspect of these arts.
Furthermore, different styles have different views, and thus they tend to resent each other. This blessing to the nation consequently seems like it might not be such a good idea after all. For this reason, the gentlemen of the Shanghai Jingwu Association are promoting these arts by tearing down the barriers between styles to mix them all together, by emphasizing spirit rather than aggression, by presenting an orderly curriculum, by making exercise itself more important than competition, and by transforming a brutish nature into mildness. They have cleverly adapted the training so that it is just as much moral education and intellectual education as it is physical education. Being a complete form of cultivation, the training not only can enhance the body, it can also strengthen the mind.
They have recently sent representatives to Guangdong to report on the Jingwu Association’s past results and future plans. People were amazed by what they heard and entranced by the skills they saw demonstrated, skills of the highest quality and not easy for just anyone to learn. Once the Guangdong Jingwu Association had been established, results could already be seen after not even a month, and then after a couple more months, they had achieved great success.
The material being taught gradually increases, and the instructors progress from the simple to the complex. Membership is now in the thousands. After training at the Jingwu Association, children who had quit school for being mentally slow have become sharp, and children who had suffered from asthma have experienced a physical transformation within a mere month. Though deficiencies of the brain and lungs are among the most difficult to treat, this training has proven very effective. As for other illnesses that can be cured in this way, they are too numerous to count. Those with illness can be cured, and those without illness can be made healthier still.
Of my many friends who have joined the Jingwu Association, they all say that they have become stronger in both body and mind. Improving with each passing day at the various skills they are practicing, they have indeed made noticeable progress. When they return home after their practice, they can be found spending their spare time reviewing what they have learned, their hands and feet still moving, and they have cut out their other unspeakable addictions. These arts are challenging to learn, but are beneficial for both body and mind, and so they should by practiced by ordinary people. Is this not an important project indeed?
With the Jingwu Association, martial arts will now enable our countrymen to show our glory to the world, but it is not for supplying skills to hooligans who only want to fight, which would be harmful to the people and the nation. With the Jingwu Association, martial arts are now a means of strengthening the masses to protect the nation, something our countrymen will widely recognize, and through these arts we will restore ancient traditions and maintain our cultural essence. We will gradually get rid of our addictions to smoking and drinking, gambling and whoring, and this will cause our countrymen to stop wallowing in listlessness. This is a practical means of rescuing the nation and preserving the glory of our history.
Pedagogically, such training can strengthen body and spirit, and cultivate morality and intellect. Thus it has educational value and should be promoted seriously. Sociologically, such training can help us get rid of bad customs and maintain better order. Thus it has social value and should be promoted seriously. Because of this, I proclaim this bold project will have a presence forever and reach everywhere, and I extend my solemn praise for it to the world. Best wishes to the future of the China Jingwu Athletic Association and the Guangdong Jingwu Athletic Association.
[PART TWO] A FEW SPECIFICS
HISTORY OF OUR LOCATION by Chen Tiesheng
When Huo Yuanjia created the Jingwu Association in 1910, it was in the Wang Family Neighborhood in the Zhabei District, an old-fashioned building near the western water tower of the Shanghai-Nanjing Railway. The annual rental for the building was a mere 168 silver yuan, but Huo unfortunately soon passed away.
In 1912, Huo’s students Lu Weichang, Chen Gongzhe, Yao Chanbo, Li Huisheng, Qiu Liang, and Liu Yichen finally moved the Jingwu Association to another site in the Wang Family Neighborhood, near the western end of the overpass over the railway. The annual rental for this building was only 200 silver yuan.
In 1915, the practice area at the front was destroyed by typhoon winds. This disheartened all of the members, but failure is the mother of success, for it induced Chen Gongzhe, Lu Weichang, and Yao Chanbo to borrow money from anywhere they could find it and quietly build again. (This is why they are called “the three companies”.)
In the spring of 1916, the Jingwu Association was moved into the newly-built majestic and resplendent western-style building that is its present home. All members have since praised the superb craftsmanship. None of them were ever asked to contribute a single coin toward its construction (and we sincerely hope that future gentlemen will continue to ceaselessly build).
Photo 1 – The Shanghai Jingwu Association’s first location in the Wang Family Neighborhood, Zhabei District (1910):
Photo 2 – A closer view of our first headquarters:
Photo 3 – The Shanghai Jingwu Association in 1912, our first change of location, still within the Wang Family Neighborhood in the Zhabei District:
Photo 4 – Interior of the second location:
Photo 5 – The typhoon damage at the second location (1915):
Photo 6 – Our new headquarters as of 1916 (which cost over 20,000 yuan to build):
Photo 7 – The gated entrance, added in 1919:
Photo 8 – Our first martial arts practice hall:
Photo 9 – Our second practice hall:
Photo 10 – Our reading room:
Photo 11 – Our first bathroom:
Photo 12 – The showers in our second bathroom:
THE JINGWU BANNERS by Chen Tiesheng
The rectangular Jingwu banner is white with a diagonal arrangement of stars sewn onto it in three different colors – red, yellow, and blue (originally green but changed after seven years to blue) – representing liberty, equality, and fraternity.
There is also a smaller heliotrope banner. It has the characters for “Jingwu” in yellow, as well as a top bar also in yellow, and two small lines on the sides in purple. Its three stars are again divided into the three colors of red, blue, yellow. It is designed for members to hang on the wall in their homes to remind them to train every morning and evening.
THE JINGWU UNIFORMS by Chen Tiesheng
Jingwu Association members wear domestically produced “patriotic cloth” [i.e. in support of hand-woven fabrics made in China as opposed to purchasing to foreign machine-made fabrics] that is dyed a light gray. The fringe and frog buttons are made of black cloth.
The button arrangement consists of the first and twelfth spots on the left being frog buttons while the [first and] twelfth spots on the right are loops for the left side’s buttons, and then the ten buttons in the middle [on each side] create an interwoven formation. This button arrangement is called “neatly threading”. When practicing boxing sets, there are times when one claps one’s own chest, and thus normal buttons [made of a hard material] would not be suitable.
The collar also has black cloth fringe.
The jacket is measured to a length of half the body.
The sleeves are narrowed [as opposed to being very loose at the wrist] with a length measured to reach just past the wrist.
The pants are made of black patriotic cloth or Hangzhou crêpe fabric. When practicing martial arts, the lower body will sometimes be touching the ground, and these silk materials will not collect as much dust from the floor.
The short boots are made of black cloth [except for the soles].
The two photos of Chen Tiesheng and Chen Gongzhe near the beginning of the book display the standard uniform. Instructors instead wear black jackets with light blue for the fringe and frog buttons, though still wearing the same black pants and boots.
THE JINGWU BADGES by Lu Weichang
Our first garment emblem was round, three inches wide, and contained the shield design. There was a light blue background around the shield, red color within the shield, the words for “Jingwu Athletic Association” were in light blue, the three stars were white, and there was a white line along the edges of the shield. In 1917, the design was reduced in size to 2.5 inches wide. There was instead a green background around the shield, still a red color within the shield, although a richer rose tint, the words for “Jingwu Athletic Association” in black, the three stars remained white, and there was still a white line along the edges of the shield. Both of these were ordinary garment emblems, using a laminate material over simple colored paper. In 1918, this was changed to an emblem that is made from a casting mold, at first using antimony and then switching to silver. It is 1.5 inches long, and 1.2 inches wide.
There are four kinds of garment emblems:  one that is worn as a brooch,  one that is worn as a cuff link, both of which are for the male students,  one that is worn as a collar stud, which was made specially for the Jingwu Exemplary Women Team,  and one that is worn as a ring, which can be worn on the fingers of both the male or female students. Our standardized emblem is now in the shape of a shield, representing defense, whether of oneself, one’s home, one’s nation, or the whole world. I hope the members of our Association will always wear them proudly.
The new garment emblem [smaller one on the left] and the older garment emblems [the medium ones on the right]
THE AWARDING CREST by Luo Keji
The Jingwu Association has an awarding crest, cast from red copper. The upper section has four corners. It is 14.2 inches tall, 12.5 inches wide. On it is written “Jingwu” (horizontally) and “Athletic Association” (vertically). There are three stars mixed in (one between “Jing” and “wu”, two surrounding “Athletic”).
The crest is designed as a front-entrance plaque [as can be seen on the left side of the gated-entrance photo above]. There is also a smaller version which is used for a variety of garment emblems, similar in size to a letter-writing seal. The calligraphy for the crest design was made by Zuo Xiaotong [a famous calligrapher and the youngest son of the famous general Zuo Xiaotong (the General Zuo of the dish “General Zuo’s chicken”)]. The size of the casting mold is expressed through the photo below [though with no other objects in the picture to give a sense of relative size, it is expressed better by the gate photo].
Members who have volunteered their services over a long period, have provided extraordinary support, or performed deeds of unique merit will receive recognition from all other members by being unanimously proclaimed worthy and be publicly presented with this crest. Those who have received it have all considered it to be an honor. However, Jingwu Association members all have to be in agreement, for this award is not to be given lightly. Being over-praised or covered in medals is empty of meaning. Members already gain limitless benefit to both mind and body, and so for one to also put in ten years of extra service, doing his utmost mentally and physically, and then be rewarded for his efforts with a mere worldly object might not seem like much. But as long as we award people with no other object beside this one, it will surely be respected as a precious treasure.
Design of the crest:
List of people who have been presented with the crest:
袁恆之 Yuan Hengzhi
聶雲台 Nie Yuntai
梁麗藻 Liang Lizao
林錦華 Lin Jinhua
尹鶴林 Yin Helin
王閣臣 Wang Gechen
陳止瀾 Chen Zhilan
孫新甫 Sun Xinfu
李福林 Li Fulin
魏邦平 Wei Bangping
林虎 Lin Hu
簡琴石 Jian Qinshi
朱慶瀾 Zhu Qinglan
陳廉伯 Chen Lianbo
金湘帆 Jin Xiangfan [Cengcheng]
簡照南 Jian Zhaonan
陳益南 Chen Yinan
楊梅賓 Yang Meibin
楊達三 Yang Dasan
黃礪海 Huang Lihai
熊長卿 Xiong Changqing
何劍吳 He Jianwu
羅嘯璈 Luo Xiao’ao
唐善磋 Tang Shancuo
甯竹亭 Ning Zhuting
穆藕初 Mu Ouchu
王維藩 Wang Weifan
鄭灼辰 Zheng Zhuochen
陳陞堂 Chen Shengtang
姚蟾伯 Yao Chanbo
霍守華 Huo Shouhua
李耀邦 Li Yaobang
盧煒昌 Lu Weichang
譚海秋 Tan Haiqiu
温欽甫 Wen Qinfu [Zongyao]
邱亮 Qiu Liang
劉少筠 Liu Shaoyun
胡耀庭 Hu Yaoting
陳公哲 Chen Gongzhe
陳鐵生 Chen Tiesheng
黃季植 Huang Jizhi
唐耐修 Tang Naixiu
黃伯平 Huang Boping
黎惠生 Li Huisheng
劉扆臣 Liu Yichen
湯節之 Tang Jiezhi
馮少山 Feng Shaoshan
黃鴻鈞 Huang Hongjun
JINGWU BRANCHES WITHIN SHANGHAI by Huo Dongge
In the summer of 1919, three gentlemen of the Jingwu Association – Xue Peikun, Liu Yongkang, Cao Yongkang – proposed establishing a couple of branch locations, one in the area of Shanghai’s New North Gate, and another with a location temporarily borrowing space in the public affairs office of Shanghai City Coal. The head of the martial arts department, Lu Weichang, appointed me to the task. As ignorant as I am, how could I be qualified to carry this out? Nevertheless, I have done my best with my limited abilities, hoping only to not let everyone down.
The Inner-City Jingwu Branch (Shanghai, 1915):
Portrait of the second year of the branch location of the China Jingwu Martial Arts Association (April, 1915)
Second Shanghai Jingwu branch – in the southern part of Shanghai [the background of this photo showing the three-star Jingwu flag and also two national flags (being the Republican-era five-colored flag representing the five main ethnic groups in China, which in top-down order are red for Han Chinese, yellow for Manchus, blue for Mongols, white for Hui or Chinese Muslims, and black for Tibetans)]:
In commemoration of the opening of the South-Side branch of the Shanghai Jingwu Association (July, 1919)
Third Shanghai Jingwu branch – in the Shandong Guild Hall, Luban Road, French Concession, Shanghai:
Photo taken at the establishing of the third Shanghai branch of the Jingwu Athletic Association
ON THE THREE SHANGHAI BRANCHES by Ning Zhuting
There are three branch locations of the Jingwu Association in Shanghai. The first is at the intersection of North Sichuan Road and Chongming Road. The second is within the administrative office building of Shanghai City Coal. The third is within Shandong Guild Hall. Seated in the front row [of the third photo] is the president of the third branch, Wang Shaopo.
HERALDING THE JINGWU PUBLIC GARDENS by Chen Tiesheng
In the summer of 1919, an anonymous person, enthusiastic about benefiting the public, donated 30,000 gold yuan to the Jingwu Athletic Association. He included a letter briefly explaining his intent: “The Jingwu Association has the capacity to increase the happiness of society, yet it lacks the means to fully achieve such an ambition. Therefore I send this gift in the hopes that you will use it to expand and thereby further benefit the nation as a whole.”
Administrative staff then gathered on July 8 at 5pm, including Guo Weiyi, Huo Shouhua, Li Huisheng, Chen Gongzhe, Lu Weichang, Yao Chanbo, Zheng Zhuochen, Cheng Zipei, Chen Shichao, Chen Tiesheng, Jin Guangyao, Ning Zhuting, Weng Yaoheng, Zhou Xisan, and Li Yaobang. These fifteen people assembled to discuss the matter at Lingnan Restaurant, deciding to have a general meeting at the restaurant on Aug 28, involving all directors and staff members.
The chairman of the meeting, senior Jingwu Association director Yuan Hengzhi, passed a resolution that the 30,000 yuan would be used to purchase just over ten acres of land on the right side of the Jingwu Association, on which would be established a public flower garden. Wang Weifan then suggested that it be called the “Jingwu Public Gardens”. The group discussed the idea, liking the cosmopolitan notion that it should be for all people, as long they can remain civilized while on the grounds.
All agreed. People would enter the grounds to enjoy themselves in the name of humanitarianism and justice. The anonymous philanthropist would surely have nodded his head in agreement as well. It is now in the process of being built and set to be opened in the spring of 1920. At the corner of Baikal Road and Dalny Road will be the magnificent sight of the Jingwu Public Gardens. Let it be so!
HERALDING A JINGWU VILLAGE by Huo Shouhua
The day after the Jingwu Public Gardens was deliberated over, Chen Gongzhe, Lu Weichang, Yao Chanbo, and Guo Weiyi also discussed purchasing the land behind the Gardens and opening a “Jingwu Village”. Having a “village” [i.e. living quarters] right on the grounds would help prevent improper conduct and more deeply instill the Jingwu code. Immediately after this, many began clearing the land. We hope that those who will live here will always maintain the Jingwu code and never let it change.