My friendship with Huo Yuanjia and his real life by Lu Zijian
In Oct. 15 2005, the oldest living Chinese manLu Zijian was celebrating his 112 years old birthday in the city of Dalian. This special event was also a tribute to Lu Zijian as the Doyen of Martial Arts circlecalled also the“The Knight of YangTze River“ who maintains even in his advanced age a very healthy life and all the mental vivacity of a young manMr. Lu Zijian was born in 1893, Yichang City of Hubei province. During all his lifeLu was known for his exceptional martial skills but in the same time for quiet temper in any situation that may occur to him This leads him to gain a very honorable consideration by the highest experts of Martial Arts circle
For example very few people know about the very close friendship between the Legendary Huo Yuanjia and Lu Zijian
     1. The YangTze River Great Chivalrous Man
In the beginning of 20th century Shanghai was the most logistic hub in China, conveying goods all along YangTze River and in the same time being the indispensable part of Chinese economic supply chain.
At that time YangTze River was deserved by more than ten foreign freight companies and only one national freight company the Min Sheng freight company.
Competition between foreign freight companies was such that each of them was claiming a policy of “faster shipping for higher efficiency”,but this was in the detriment of local Chinese fishermen:it was quite frequent that several fishermen lose life and boat after collisions with foreign freight ships。But also in the same time the National Freight Company Ming Sheng was quite near bankruptcy facing this unfair competition。 
The President of Min Sheng decided to look for Mr. Lu Zijian, as a special consultant to help them to overcome this crisis situation。 After taking account of the situation,the patriotic Lu did not hesitate to give his help, with the assistance of his friends,Lu started to inform through all his formal and informal network, Chinese population and invite them to avoid using foreign shipping companies。 And this campaign was so successful that even freight personal was joining this movement against foreign freight companies,and especially Japanese ones, and all were next to stop any transportation activity. Japanese companies decided to invite under very heavy expenses a very famous American Boxer Champion Tom Johnson,known to be undefeatable。 The boxer sent an official challenge to Lu Zijian and announced that he will rapidily punch Lu down in the beginning of the match.
Lu Zijian accepted the challenge, as witnesses he had Chinese famous patriotic celebrities such as the General Feng Yuxiang and followed by many others, Lu Zijian and Tom Johnson signed an Life and Death Agreement before the boxing match. The two men battled for more than an hour and still there was no clear winner. Lu's hands were badly scratched when one of his disciples called out, "Master, use Eight Trigram Palm!" Lu recalled, "I was in a hell of a fight and had become confused." When his mind became clearer he began to walk around Tom, using Eight Trigram, and finally hit Tom's chest with his palm. Tom stumbled backward a few steps then fell to the ground, blood gushing from his mouth.
Every Chinese was exulting and of course especially the Min Sheng freight company‘s president。 Lu was offered the vice-presidency of this company but as fame and power did not interest Lu, he declined it politely,but in exchange he asked Min Sheng company’s that people of unfavorable conditions and requiring transport should be able to travel free of charge。
This requirements became famous in the population and contributed to develop even more the reputation of the patriotic Lu Zijian as “The Yangtze River Great Chivalrous Man”。

  2. The beginning of a long friendship between the two martial artists

Lu Zijian had many years of friendship with Huo Yuanjia.
Lu Zijian likes to rememorize these glorious years,where although around twenty years younger than Huo Yuanjia. But Huo Yuanjia used to be very respectful regarding Lu Zijian, called Lu Zijian respectfully “brother”.
The family of Lu was already very famous in Chinese Martial Arts circle but also established  in important company specialized in provided high qualified escort with around 900 employees。 This companies had its own escort offices in most large cities in China。
As Lu was often part of these escorts team,he was known as the “young master” in this family business and naturally he had the opportunity to meet the most famous martial artists in each place he visited。
Lu Zijian was in excellent terms a group of young Martial Arts Experts based in Beijing- Tian Qiao called “San ‘San Er’”. This group“San ‘San Er’ place referred to three top martial artists: Shensan, Baosan and Yanzi Lisan。 Memebers of San ‘San Er’ were a kind of Chinese ”Robin Hood‘ robbing wealthy people to help the poor ones。 At that time Tianjin’s famous Huo Yuanjia wanted to set friendly relationship with these young experts of “San ‘San Er’”, but the only way to achieve it, especially in Martial Arts circle is to be recommended by someone。 So Huo Yuanjia came in Beijing to visit first Lu Zijian, hoping that Lu through his very good relationship with the San group could introduce him to them。 According to Chinese martial arts traditions, no matter how old the visitor is he should call the host “Brother”and that’s what Huo Yuanjia did,although being around twenty years more than Lu and from that time Huo will continue to call the young Lu "brother"...
Lu Zijian remembers very clearly the discussion he had with Huo Yuanjia in this special occasion。 At the most decisive moment of this discussion he asked Huo Yuanjia a metaphoric question: “Are you going to go through the city or pass around it?" Then Huo Yuanjia observing scrupulously the rules of Chinese etiquette, tied up his coat, rolled up one sleeve and then he bent politely towards Lu to answer: “I’ll neither go through the city nor pass around it, but just obey to my Brother……”
Lu remembered then how happy they were finding himself with Huo Yuanjia and the three members of “San ‘San Er’” finally sitting altogether, drinking wine on a same table and starting a sincere friendship.


3. Helping  Huo to start the futur  Chin Woo(Jing Wu)  Physical Training School

Later Lu Zijian went to Shanghai. A very healthy businessman named Cao asked him to teach his three sons. Lu accepted but later Lu was very disappointed by this family when he discovered that these three sons were using their martial skills to cause regularly trouble to the population and would not stop to use brutality. As a result Lu stops any relationship with Cao family and started to be by his own.
  By chance, Huo Yuanjia at the same time came also to Shanghai with the ambition to build a larger Chin Woo Physical Training School, Lu Zijian joined him and help him to find for a place with 20 mu courtyard (one mu is the ancient Chinese unit of area equivalent to 667 sqm). Lu Zijian remembers the early time of Chin Woo, in the very beginning, he said, Jing Wu Academy did not have such variety in their martial arts program, but served  as a martial arts meeting place, where was taught practical combat and wrestling, it was only some times after that it offered a such wide program in Chinese martial arts (including 18 different weapons).


  4. Accompanying Huo Yuanjia until his death

When Huo Yuanjia’s Jing Wu Martial Arts Academy opened his doors, numbers of others martial arts associations sent gifts and greetings but among them was also one Japanese Martial Arts Association which sent a plaque where it was written the famous insult to Chinese population: “Dong Ya Bing Fu (Sick man of Asia)”. Huo Yuanjia took immediately the plaque and followed by members of his including me, he went to the Japanese Martial Arts Association, to return it back and break it furiously. They challenged us and I was besides Huo when he fought against the Japanese Association members. He won successfully on all of his adversaries and we managed to come safely back to Jing Wu.
Very few knows the real story about of Huo Yuanjia, but the true thing is that after being severely beaten in combat, the Japanese Association changed its strategy, they started to be very friendly with Huo Yuanjia, sending many gifts and inviting also a large number of students to study martial arts with Huo Yuanjia in Chin Woo. I was very worry about this and I advised Huo to be on his guards concerning these Japanese, but Huo Yuanjia was much absorbed in developing Chin Woo and started progressively to loose his attention. After a certain time, when the Japanese understood that Huo Yuanjia was more vulnerable, they sent someone to offer him a Fu Shou Liquor and to use the following pretext “Huo Yuanjia being quite tall but still too thin, the Fu Shou Liquor will be very efficient to nourish him and that he will also enjoy its delicate taste.
Losing his vigilance Huo Yuanjia took regularly this liquor which was melt with cooked opium and very strong acid, which led him to his death…
Lu sighed and added: “Just imagine if Huo Yuanjia survived from Japanese conspiracy, how wonderful it would be…”



Do not miss Lu Zijian  Taiyi Video
Healing and fighting daoist training methods of Lu Zijian are presented in this video by Lu himself.
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Huo Yuanjia  1

Huo Yuanjia  2

His elder son

Students practicing in front of Huo's tomb


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