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Mizongquan Northern Shaolin
Mízōngquán (迷蹤拳); literally “Lost Track Fist” or “Labyrinthine Boxing” is a style of Northern Chinese Shaolin Gongfu fighting system, based on deception and mobility. Mizongquan is considered to be a powerful internal based martial art, created by Lohan Shaolin Master Mao Rong and popularized by the famous Master Huo Yuanjia of Hopei province, who founded the Jingwu Gongfu Association (精武體育會,) translated as “Elite Martial Athletic Association,” in Shanghai on July 7, 1910.
Mizong is an external Shaolin style, with distinct internal Wudang influences. It draws on many aspects of the Northern Lohan Shaolin Long Fist style, and the internal Wudang styles of Taijiquan and Baquazhang. It is characterized by its use of deceptive hand movements, intricate footwork, varied kicks, and high leaps. In combat execution, the fighting style changes very quickly.
The emphasis on flexibility in Northern Shaolin styles is a guiding principle of Mizongquan, and this is evident in the versatility of its attacks and the extent to which it integrates the concepts of many internal styles. Mizong’s unique Fa-Jing (Discharging of Force) comes from the combination of the internal Silk-Reeling power of Chen-style Taijiquan, and the external snapping power of Shaolin Long Fist. The result is the efficient generation of force through the dynamic motion of multiple elements of the body, the mastery of which gives a Mizong practitioner the capability of generating force quickly and flexibly from any distance.
The History of Mizongquan
I (Professor Jerry Alan Johnson) began my initial training in the Northern Shaoling system of Mizongquan (“Lost Track Boxing”) back in early 1975. During that time, I was instructed in Mizhong Martial Forms and Applications, Combat Drills, Two-Man Fighting Sets, Wooden-Man Training, Weapons Training, Martial Qigong Training, and Free Style Fighting from Master Instructor John L. Staples, in Seaside, California. Upon completion of the training in late 1977, I earned and received the title of Sifu (Master Teacher), and began teaching Northern Shaolin to the public.
Part of the Shaolin Training was also receiving the lineage transmission, traditionally passed on from master to disciple after their first year of apprenticeship. According to my teacher, Mizhongquan started at the end of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) by a Shaolin Buddhist Monk named Mow Rong. The Shaolin Monk was said to have chanced upon a troop of apes (called Ni-Zung) chasing each other in the mountains (the Ni-zhung was a vicious ape-like animal, known for its power and speed).
After studying the various applications of the Ni-Zung’s fighting methods, Mow Rong then combined these unique movements together with his Lohan Shaolin training, and created a new fighting system, known as “Nizungquan” (the “Nizung Boxing”).
From the Buddhist Monk Mow Jung, the fighting system was later passed down to Lu Junyi, a famous and wealthy Kung Fu Master who was noted for being an extremely powerful Qigong Master. It is said that Lu Junyi refused to accept students. However, his personal servant Yen Qing, who had previously learned a form of Shaolin, secretly watched the old master training. Because of his diligent practice, Yen Qing eventually became Lu Junyi’s only disciple.
Later, after Lu Junyi’s death, Yen Qing was forced to become a highway robber, and began teaching many people the Ni-Zung style of fighting. However, so as not to disgrace his teacher, he changed the name of the fighting system to Mi Zhong Quan (“Secret Ancestral Boxing”).
One of Lu Kun Yi disciples Mank Leung, was also a highway robber. Legend states that, on one occasion while being chased by the authorities in the snowing mountains, Mank Leung walked backwards and erased his footprints with his hands so that the police would loose his trail. The technique was repeated so many times by Master Mank, that the people began calling Mank the master of the “Lost Track” style of boxing. According to my teacher, this is how Mizongquan is known today.
I taught Mizongquan to the public for over 20 years, and oversaw three Shaolin Schools (two schools in California and one Shaolin school in Colorado). During that time, I officially passed the Mizongquan lineage on to only four Sifu (Master Teachers), and six senior Tudi (Disciples). Currently, I no longer teach Shaolin to the public, but continue to teach and practice Baguazhang and Taijiquan daily.