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Great Grandmaster Liu Yun-Qiao

Great Grandmaster Liu Yun Qiao

Founder of Wu-Tan and master of styles such as Bajiquan, Piguazhang and Baguazhang.
Grandmaster Kurt Wong

Grandmaster Kurt Wong

Our instructor's shifu teaches traditional guoshu in the city of Anchorage, Alaska.
Sifu Paolo Castaneda

Shifu Paolo Castaneda

Wu-Tan's proud tradition was brought to Oslo by Shifu Paolo Castaneda, head instructor at Oslo Wu-Tan.

Ding Zi Cheng

Picture of Ding Zi-Cheng

ca. 1850 - 1940
Styles: Liu He Tanglangquan, Mei Hua Tanglangquan.

Born around 1850, Ding Zi Cheng came from the wealthy Er Pu clan. His clan was well known and respected in the Huang county of Shandong province, and his family lived in modern Long Kou Shi. It is known that the Ding Family business was a network of pawn shops which were scattered all over Shandong province.

Ding's first boxing was his family style called "Boxing of the Three Tongs " (San Tong Quan). After learning this first style, Ding Zi Cheng learned Luo Han Quan - "The Boxing of the Arhats". Then Ding Zi Cheng learned the hard qi gong of the Iron Sand Palm (Tie Sha Zhang Ying Gong). Ding Zi Cheng would develop incredible skills in the Iron Sand palm. Because of his fame in this skill people used to call him "The Iron Forearms Ding".

Once, Ding Zi Cheng's father invited the now famous Lin Shi Chun to come and to teach martial arts to the pawn shop guards. Ding Zi Cheng was astonished by the great skill of Master Lin Shi Chun and together with his younger brother, Ding Huan Qing, became disciples of Lin Shi Chun.

Ding Zi Cheng excelled quickly in his studies of Praying Mantis, due to his previous knowledge of and experience with different styles of Chinese boxing as well as his personal dedication and determination to training. Eventually becoming the Lin's best disciple, Ding reached the highest level of understanding of style and openly started teaching Six Harmonies Praying Mantis.

Unlike his contemporaries, Ding Zi Cheng held an unorthodox belief in Kung Fu diversity. Looking for the good points in any martial system, he was able to develop a complete martial arts knowledge. Ding clan's network of pawn shops, which were all around Shandong province, was required to have squad of bodyguards in each shop. Master Ding interviewed each applicant for the pawn shop guard job. If one was particularly good, Master Ding would hire him and would try to get as much martial arts knowledge from this guard as possible. His ability to implement such techniques is described in a story where he was able to learn the TaiJi sword upon watching his brother perform the form only once. Ding Zi Cheng was interested in the "hard mantis" and Cao Zuo Hou admired the Six Harmony Praying Mantis Kungfu very much. Therefore, the two masters then exchanged their styles. The Mei Hua TangLang had the soft in the hard, and the Liu He TangLang, the hard in the soft. This exchange had a great significance in the development of Ding Zi Cheng fighting ability.

Several times it has been said that Ding Zi Cheng taught only to the boys of rich families aiming at good health and self defence and that is the reason why the Liu He TangLang had not spreaded far from the Zhao Yuan and Huang Xian. But the truth is that, as early as 1926 Master Ding Zi Cheng, inspired by the people of his town, established "The Martial Arts Research Organization of Huang County" (Huang Xian Guo Shu Yan Jiu Suo). Two years later under the guidance of the Health Institution of Huang County Education Department, he expanded his Martial Arts Research Organization. In addition to their regular martial arts classes, the members of the association gave free Chinese boxing lessons in the schools around Huang county as a part of a charity program.

During the first years of the Republic after the Xin Hai revolution, a devastating earthquake in Huang county destroyed the house in which master Ding Zi Cheng lived. Completely buried under a huge pile of bricks, tiles and logs, the bodies of the building's inhabitants were slowly dug up by the rescue teams. Discovering one body after the next, the rescue team eventually found Ding Zi Cheng, still alive. He was lying under the ruins of the main room and holding, curled up in a ball and using both hands to hold a huge horizontal beam of the house. "Iron Forearms Ding" had used his Hard Qigong skills and strength to survive in conditions that claimed the lives of those lying around him. However, as a result of the earthquake his ear drums were broken and he became completely deaf.

His deafness forced him to hone his perceptabilities as well as his already amazing grasp of internal techniques. One story involves a curious disciple. The disciple, Chen Yun Tao, inquired Ding about the so-called "Cun Jing" (one inch special strength), and was asked by Ding to kick his abdomen. Chen Yun Tao kicked Ding's abdomen with as much force as he could, but felt some mightier force repel the kick and throw him backwards onto the ground. There was more to the old master than met the eye.

Ding Zi Cheng passed away in the '40s (or 1956 according to other sources), leaving a bunch of very good students.