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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.

Wei Xiao Tang

Picture of Wei Xiao-Tang

1901 - 1985
Styles: Babu Tanglangquan, Wu style Taijiquan

Born in 1901. His name was Wei Yen Tong, but later he changed to Wei Xiao-Tang.

Being a kid Wei Xiao-Tang started training with his father, who was also a martial artist.

Before meeting Feng Huan Yi, Wei Xiao-Tang was already proficient in the Ditang school of boxing and had some Tanglangquan knowledge knowing Ba Zhou, Lan Jie and Xiao Hu Yan Quan (these forms are not part of the Babu Tanglangquan system and Wei Xiao-Tang decided not to train them anymore after he learned Babu Tanglangquan).

In 1917 Wei Ji Yun, Wei Xiao-Tang's father, invited Feng Huan Yi to their home to teach his son. Being 16 years old, Wei Xiao-Tang invited Feng Huan Yi to cross hands and compare skills. But the young master soon discovered that he was no match for Feng Huan Yi as he was easily tossed to the ground. Instead of getting up, Wei Xiao-Tang stayed on the ground and waited for Feng to attack. Wei Xiao-Tang hoped to use his Di Tang Quan "scissors kick" or "lying break kick" to attack Feng Huan Yi as he advanced. But Feng Huan Yi did not even bother to attack, he just stood there and shouted out, "To lie on the ground is a shameless man, it's a good man who will get up and fight again". On hearing these words from Feng Huan Yi, Wei Xiao-Tang came to a realization and respectfully honored Feng Huan Yi as his master.

Wei Xiao-Tang lived with his master and received an intensive training. He learnt the complete system of Eight Steps Praying Mantis and he managed to develop phenomenal strength and incredible speed. While some of his students mention he was nicknames as "Thunder Hands" Lin Chun Fu mentioned it is doubtful he was given this name.

After training for four years (incorrect versions mention eight years of training), Wei Xiao-Tang had obtained the essence Babu Tanglangquan. In 1921, being 20 years old Wei Xiao-Tang left Feng Huan Yi because he was invited to be martial arts intructor in Fu Shan County. Later in 1924 (being 23 years old) he started teaching to the Chinese Army. He was chief instructor in charge of instructing the 25th Regiment.

In 1931 Wei Xiao-Tang's moved to Korea, there are two versions about this trip. Xung Guang Long says that after serving in China, he went to Korea where he was an instructor to their military. However, Lin Chun Fu mentions that Wei Xiao-Tang did not move to Korea or trained the Korean military but he was a merchant, travelling to Korea just to sell his own farm products. The second seems to be more accurate because Korea did not have army at the time (because it was conquered by the Japanese). On the same line, Zuo Xian Fu (another Wei Xiao-Tang student) adds a small twist to Lin Chun Fu's version mentioning that Wei Xiao-Tang just took a pleasure trip to Korea.

In Korea, several of Wei Xiao-Tang's friends knew that he was a martial arts instructor and would get up early in the morning with him to practice kung fu and chat. It was also in Korea that a famous incident occurred. According Xung Guang Long, Wei Xiao-Tang was walking through town when he saw several Koreans attacking a Chinese merchant. Wei intervened to help the Chinese man and in the fight he defeated several opponents, who after that run after Wei around town. A Korean newspaper told Wei Xiao-Tang had fought with about 50 men and had killed several.

Lin Chun Fu added some different details to this story. He mentioned that a Chinese customer in the restaurant was being harrassed by a group of Koreans. Wei Xiao-Tang tried to stop this peacefully but violence ubrupted. Wei Xiao-Tang used a iron hook (used to stir charcoal) to defend himself and the customer.

Zuo Xian Fu gives the most complete version about this incident. Wei Xiao-Tang's friend Tsuei managed a restaurant in Korea and ran into some serious business trouble. Tsuei was being chased and beaten by 4 or 5 Koreans and ran to Wei Xiao-Tang crying out "The Koreans are beating me with sticks!". As Wei Xiao-Tang ran forward he shouted out to the Koreans "Don't strike! Don't strike!", trying to stop the Koreans from using their sticks. Unfortuneatly they did not speak Wei Xiao-Tang Shandong dialect and they could only understand that Wei Xiao-Tang and Tsuei where friends... so they hit them both! Wei Xiao-Tang and his friend had no choice but to run back to Tsuei's restaurant and hide. The Koreans wouldn't give up so easily and used their sticks to smash through the windows and jump in. Wei Xiao-Tang and his friend would not survive in there so they escaped through the back door and the Koreans quickly gave chase with shouts of death. At this point Wei Xiao-Tang realized that he would be beaten to death if he did not fight back. As he ran he pulled out from inside his jacket a Babu Tanglangquan weapon "Reach to Sky Palm" (similar to the Emei Needles), and attached it to his hand. The Koreans were about to smash Wei Xiao-Tang and his friend with sticks, but when running he suddenly turned around and dodged to the side using the technique "Green Dragon Shakes its Tail" and with his concealed weapon cracked the skull of the nearest Korean, knocking him to the ground. The other Koreans saw this and started shouting out something to the effect "Chinaman kills Korean!". Since it was now only Wei Xiao-Tang standing there they did not run, figuring his two fists could not take all four of them. Just then the electric tram stopped nearby and many of the passengers, hearing the shouts, jumped off and surrounded Wei Xiao-Tang. The mob grabbed whatever was available and advanced on Wei Xiao-Tang ready to strike him to death, but as soon as Wei Xiao-Tang was attacked he fought back with the speed characteristic of a fighting mantis. When telling the story Wei Xiao-Tang could not recall what techniques he used when fighting and running, he only knew that he had managed to smash his way out of the circle and escape back to his friend's house. On reading the next day's newspaper he discovered that he had seriously injured one and killed three Koreans. The Korean government set out to capture Wei Xiao-Tang after this incident, but he was able to return back to Shandong thanks to the help of his friends and started teaching Babu Tanglangquan over there.

Although Wei Xiao-Tang was a qualified instructor, he was too young according to the traditional standards. Some other instructors were angry about that and he had to face several challenges. He gained a formidable reputation because he won all the challenges. Wei Xiao-Tang was known for his remarkable strength, he could hug and lift up a donkey.

It has been said that in the 30's Wei Xiao-Tang moved to Shanghai and met Wu Jing To of Wu style of Taijiquan (Wu Jian Quan son). It has also been said that they exchanged their systems in their entirety. This in incorrect, Wei Xiao-Tang learned learned his weapons and Wu style Taijiquan from his father, and he never went to Shang Hai. He always lived in his home farm until he fled to Taiwan. Wei Xiao-Tang was also very adept at using the 3 sectional staff.

In 1949 the communists won the power in China. They took his land and hanged him upside down in the field as punishment. He was left there for 3 days but the 3rd night he escaped, only to find that his wife and other family members had been killed. Then, Wei Xiao-Tang escaped to Korea again, and after that to Taiwan.

He never re-married in Taiwan for the rest of his life. He was so graved by his loss that he wasn't able to sleep well, and used to wake up at night and break/smash home furnitures at that time.

Wei Xiao-Tang worked as a cook when he arrived to Taipei (Taiwan) until he got fired by his boss because of a discussion. He became jobless and lived on his saving/investment from the years of his working in Taiwan.

Then he started teaching Babu Tanglangquan and Wu style Taijiquan in a park. In Taiwan he also wrote a 100 pages book titled "Shi Yong Tanglangquan".

Wei Xiao-Tang was an exceptional martial artist, but not really a great teacher because he was not a patient person. Since 1975 Wei Xiao-Tang was still teaching but he was not as active as before.

According to Lin Chun Fu, Wei Xiao-Tang passed away in 1985 (other sources mention he passed away in 1982 or 1984).