Who is master Lü Baochun?
Master Lü Baochun was born in 1956 to a family of generations of martial arts practitioners. He started training as a small boy, in a few martial arts appropriate for small children, after which he started to train baji under the master Zhang Xuchu and later under master Han Longquan. Thanks to his talent and a strong training morale Lü became a part of the inner circle of trainees with both masters. Master Lü started training taiji in 1984. He became a part of the inner circle of trainees with both master Feng Zhiqiang and master Wei Shuren – both masters are widely considered to be among the great taiji masters of the latter half of the last century. Lü has trained in several martial arts but he became interested in particular in learning the inner workings of baji and taiji.
Since the year 2001 master the Lü has lived and taught martial arts in Helsinki. His history of practice of martial arts goes back much further – all the way to the turbulent 1960s in China when he started practicing martial arts under the tutelage of his father. Master Lü’s life’s work among the various martial arts has made him a gentle, professional and very responsible teacher.
Lü Baochun and bajiquan
Master Lü began his training in martial arts with shaolinquan under his father’s tutelage. At age eight his father presented the young Lü to many masters of martial arts. He started training baji under master Zhang Xuchu as a teenager, at a time when street violence and fights were an everyday part of life in Peking. Lü was convinced of the practicality of the martial art and decided to deepen his study of it. Later he discovered the master Han Longquan, a part of the famous Han-family, and whose father was the legendary master Han Huiqing. Master Lü is fond of saying that while he learned what practical combat is from master Zhang, he learned a deeper understanding of the strength of baji from master Han.
Master Lü succeeded in several martial arts tournaments at provincial and national levels in Beijing. He was also the combat champion of his teachers, through which he gained a lot of valuable practical experience in combat.
Lü Baochun and taijiquan
In 1984, after master Lü had already become adept at baji, he meat the taiji master Feng Zhiqiang. Master Feng was one of the most revered masters of the Chen-style taiji. Lü was deeply impressed by Feng’s skills and started to learn Chen-taiji under the tutelage of Feng.
Feng Zhiqiang was famous for his incredible inner strength combined with his rare ability to apply taijiquan effectively into combat situations. Lü trained hard in order to learn taiji. As he became more advances, Lü had the honor to accept challenges on behalf of master Feng from all who traveled to meet and test their skills against master Feng. Later in the 1990s Lü became acquainted with the master of Yang-taiji, Wei Shuren, and began to train in Yang-taiji under him. From Wei Lü learned more about the deeper, more meditative and harmonic aspects of taiji.
Zhang Xuchu (1927-1994) was born in Beijing. His grandfather taught him martial arts already as a small boy. Zhang was a part of the inner circle of trainees of six different masters (Ye Zhenbo, Li Yinnong, Gao Ruizhou, Zhang Litang, Ma Yuqing, and Wang Peisheng), and he had other teachers in addition to these. Zhang became adept at many different martial arts. He was especially known for his skills at free style fights and his ability to choose aspects of different martial arts according to the opponent’s skill. Master Zhang won the free style championships of all China in the years 1953, 1957, 1959 and 1979.
Master Zhang Xuchu was the first official teacher of Lü Baochun. Lü trained in the following martial arts under his tutelage: xingyi, tantui, longxingquan, wuqingquan, chaquan, baguazhang, piquazhang, bajiquan and the Li-style of taijiquan. Lü learned from Zhang what combat is in practice and the ability to mix martial arts according to need. The styles of xingyi and bagua taught at the Baji Association are derived from master Zhang Xuchu.
Han Longquan (1917-1985) followed in the footsteps of his father, Han Huiqing. He began to train baji under his father and the rest of his family even as a child and gained a good reputation in martial arts circles.
Lü Baochun became excited by baji and after a long search discovered master Han Longquan. In 1980 Han approved Lü as a part of his inner circle of trainees after becoming aware of his talent, diligence and high morale.
Feng Zhiqiang (1928-2012) became interested in martial arts because his great-grandfather had been a famed master of martial arts. He trained in several different martial arts, but his main martial arts became xinyi, which he learned from Hu Yaozhen, as well as the Chen-style of taiji, which he was trained in by the master Chen Fake, to whom Hu Yaozhen had presented Feng. Feng Zhiqiang developed his own style, Chen Shi Xinyi Hunyuan Taijiquan, from these martial arts and he was famous for his great inner strength combined with a skill to apply taiji effectively in combat situations.
Feng Zhiqiang and Lü Baozhun first met in 1984 at a martial arts school where they were both teaching at the time. Lü was deeply impressed by Feng’s skills and asked to be allowed to be his trainee. Lü was one of the ten first trainees in Feng’s inner circle.
Wei Shuren (1924-2013) started training in the Chen- and Wu-styles of taiji at the age of 29. In 1980, after nearly stopping training in taiji as an unprofitable pursuit, he met the master of the Yang-style taiji, Wang Yongquang, who started to train Wei in the true deep skill of taiji. Wei was known for his ability to use his inner strength hidden in extreme softness. This skill is shown in his tuishou pair training, which he preferred to call roushou (“kneading the hands”, cf. kneading dough).
Wei Shuren first met Lü at a taiji festival organized in 1986. Ten years later Wei sought out Lü in order to pass on his knowledge of taiji to him. In 1996 Lü started learning the Yang-style of taiji as a trainee in the inner circle of Wei.