The history of Hao Family Meihua Mantis, written by Hao Zhong Yue and translated by Will Wain-Williams
Hao Hong, alias Lian Ru, was born in Yantai’s Miao Hou village. He studied Praying Mantis boxing under Liang Xue Xiang and became sworn brothers with his son, Liang Jing Chuan during the time he lived in Beijing. Due to the fact his skill with the spear was so renowned, people called him “mystical spear Hao”. After Liang Xue Xiang left the capital, Hao and Liang Jing Chuan exchanged knowledge regarding martial arts. After returning to Yantai he taught his skills to his six sons: Hao Heng Yi, Hao Heng Lu, Hao Heng Chang, Hao Heng Xin, Hao Heng Po and Hao Heng Xiang.
Hao Heng Yi was born in 1885, and spent time in Beijing, Haerbin and Jinan. He was invited by the warlord Wang Zong Chang to be the martial arts coach to his troops.
Hao Heng Lu (picture right) was born in 1887, and went by the nickname “Old Taoist Hao”, and had the Taoist Name of Yun Gu Zi. His art was very high level and he had taught in Yantai, Qingdao, Haerbin and Penglai. He was invited by the warlord Wu Pei Fu to be the martial arts coach to his troops. During the Republic era, he was the Dengzhou Martial Arts School’s headmaster. He had made a large contribution to the written knowledge of Meihua Taiji Praying Mantis. He was accomplished in both literacy and martial arts.
Hao Heng Xin (pictured left) was born in 1890 and went by the Taoist Name Yun Fu Zi, as well as the nickname “Fourth Old Taoist”. He spent time in Muping, Wendeng and Yantai where he taught martial arts. He was also the headmaster of the “Yantai special district martial arts school”. His kung fu was very high level, and he had exceptional strength. He was skilled in hard Qigong, bone condensing skill and was also said to have the highest iron palm skill in Yantai. He trained with a “Spring and Autumn Sabre” which weighed 60kg, and a spear which was around 4 metres long. Master Hao Heng Xin had excellent martial virtue, and never took life or created trouble.
During the 1930s, Yantai had a strong foreign presence, and there were many foreign consulates on Yantai Hill. Many of the foreigners looked down on and bullied Chinese. One such stories went that they would call Chinese weak and say they didn’t dare to swim in the sea during winter. Master Hao upon hearing this was angered, and took his students to swim on the coldest day of the year right in front of the consulates. The foreigners could only take a few minutes in the water, but Master Hao and his students stayed there for over 20 minutes. After that, they stopped bullying the Chinese.
During the same period, a martial artist from Cangzhou visited Yantai looking for challengers. He went to Jin De Hui and stood on the stage politely asking if anybody would fight him. He asked three times and nobody answered. On the last call Master Hao stood up and asked him very politely who he was and what his style was. Once Master Hao stood up and extended his arm, the man saw how strong his forearm was and how his skin was darkened from iron palm training, he hesitated. Master Hao allowed him to attack, but the man knew he had no chance and accepted defeat instantly. This was a moment of pride for Yantai.
Master Hao’s nephew Hao Bin (pictured right) said of him “my fourth uncle’s hard qigong and iron palm was so great! If you fight with him do not let his hand touch you. Just a touch would hurt you.” During the 1940s Hao Bin came back from Dalian to Yantai’s Fu Lu Temple Boxing School. As soon as he entered he saw Master Hao meditating and announced to him he had returned. Master Hao replied “young one, you are back. I hear your kung fu is really great now, let’s have a try.” Master Hao held out a single hand and made some slight movements. Hao Bin used “stick and hit, beng and press”, Master Hao responded with “upward lift and downward roll” and then said “you are quite good!” The next day Hao Bin’s stomach hurt, and was worried he had got sick. When he got home and took off his shirt, he found a small black mark on his waist. Hao Bin later said “at that time my body method was so quick, when my uncle used rolling hand, I contracted my body but he still hit me and left this black mark. That is my fourth uncle and his iron palm speed!”
Zhang Kai Tang (another prominent student of Master Hao) recalled “one time Master Hao had a meeting at the Yantai Boxing Club. Master Hao sat on a cushion. Bagua Zhang master Gong Bao Tian wanted to try him. He stood up and extended his hand towards Master Hao complimenting him on his beard. Master Hao suddenly blocked it with his forearm. Master Gong then changed to a piercing palm, but Master Hao didn’t move, only sat there and used a closing hand to intercept and hit him back with a direct palm strike. Gong Bao Tian stopped there. Master Hao’s hands were so fast!”
Hao Heng Po, born in 1893, went by the nickname “Fifth Monkey”. His skill was very high. He spent time teaching in Qingdao, Yantai, Jinan and Penglai. He had many great students, including Zhang Xue Lang from Taiwan and Sun Jia Tan and Sun Zhen Xian from Yantai.
Hao Bin, alias Shan Qing was born in 1906 and was the son of Hao Heng Lu. From a very young age he began training Meihua-Taiji Mantis from his father, and furthered his studies under Ji Chun Ting during his time in Dalian. Because of this he had a very deep knowledge and pure skill. IN 1937 he became the deputy headmaster of the Muping county martial arts school. He taught in Qingdao, Yantai, Chaoyang, Shenyang, Harbin and Dalian.
Hao Zhong Yue, born in 1937 was the son of Hao Heng Xin. From a young age he began training Meihua-Taiji Mantis from his father and attended many provincial and local competitions. In 1993, the Yantai International Praying Mantis Discussion Committee invited many domestic and overseas masters for a competition. Hao Zhong Yue performed many forms, including Luan Jie, Chu Dong and Damo Sword. He got gold medals for all of them. The organiser of the event said “during the whole event, the best performer by far was Hao Zhong Yue, he perfectly expressed the change between hard and soft, and his movements were pure and skilled!”
Before the communist liberation, Yantai was known as “the home of mantis boxing”. In 1915 Hao Heng Lu and Hao Heng Xin opened a boxing club at Chang Fa Yang, this was one of the first boxing clubs opened in Yantai. During the 1920s Ma Lang came to Yantai to invite Hao Heng Lu to Jinan Martial Arts School, and so the Yantai Hao Family Boxing Club was then run by Hao Heng Xin. Up until 1956, Hao Heng Xin remained at the club, teaching many students for over 40 years, including many famous students, gaining a strong reputation. His notable students in Yantai included Cao De Kun, Ji Zhong De, Jiang Gen Fang, Tan Bing Zhang, Wang Chong Lun, Wang Xiang Zhi, Li Tian Xiang, Lu Yang Sheng, Zhang Kai Tang, He Shi Guang, Wang Zhong Ao, Wu Tie Qiao, Liu Zhong Qi, Zhang En Ling, Lai Chang Chun, Jiang Hua Ting, Xu Wang Zhi, Wang Chuan Yu, Zhang Da Hai, Sun Ze Shu, Li Ji Tian, Wang Ming Lun and Shi Kun.