U Sung's Fist


None of China's classic novels is without descriptions of battle scenes. No other, however, compares in this respect with Shi Nayan's novel The Riverwaters. There are no good translations of it into European languages of practice, because in addition to an excellent knowledge of Thai, the translator must also have an understanding of Wushu.

Many of the characters in the novel play a major role in the history of wushu. From Yan Qing deduces himself style yantsin tsuan (Yan Qing fist), Lu Zhishenya considered one of the founders of the style tszui-tsuan (fist drunkard), fans of the style chuotszyao (penetrating feet) believe that the first reference to the style is in this novel, in the fight with Wu Sung tavernkeeper Jiang Menshenem. And the scene of Wu Sung's fight with the guards became the basis for the complexes: "Wu Sung's Fist with One Free Hand" and "Wu Sung Breaks the Shackles", the latter of which exists in several variants. They are based on the following scene:

"Wu Sung's right hand was tied to the kanga, his left hand was free. He used it to take out a goose tied to the kanga and began to eat it, ignoring the guards. When they had walked another five li, Wu Song took the second goose. Holding it with his right hand, he tore off piece after piece with his left hand and was engrossed in his food. Not five li passed before both geese were eaten. When they were nine li away from the city, he saw two men with swords in their hands and daggers at their belts waiting for them on the road. When they saw Wu Song and his escorts, they joined them and went with them. Wu Song soon noticed that they were all looking at each other and knew that some kind of trap was being prepared. But he didn't let it show. So they walked a few more leagues and when they came to a big pond they saw a bridge with a single rung and behind it an arch to which a board with three characters was nailed: "Feiyun Pu" - "Flying Clouds Pond". On all sides were ponds and pools. Pretending to be a simpleton, Wu Song said:

- I need to recover!

The two with the swords approached him, but at that moment Wu Song kicked one of them so loudly that he somersaulted into the water. The other one tried to escape, but Wu Song swung his right leg and threw him into the water. The guards that were accompanying Wu Song were so frightened that they rushed away and Wu Song rushed after them.

One of the guards fell to the ground in fear. Then Wu Song chased the other one and hit him so hard between the shoulder blades with his fist that he immediately collapsed. After that, Wu Song ran to the pond, picked up the sword lying on the bank, and jumped up to the guard, finished him off with a few blows. When he returned to the one who was lying on the ground in fear, Wu Song finished him off as well..."

This is not even a style, but simply a complex staging this episode.

The first complex is based on the fact that one hand of Wu Sung was tied to the kanga (wooden block) around his neck, and therefore in the complex the left hand is held behind his back. The second is performed in two variants. The modern sport variant is a complex without weapons. The traditional variant uses the fact that, according to the novel, killing the first two guards, Wu Song took a sword from one of them and cut down the remaining two. That's why in the traditional variant of the complex the student at first imitates a fight holding hands together, as if put through a wooden kanga, then he/she imitates a kanga breaking, imitates some time a common hand-to-hand fight, and then picks up a previously placed at the beginning of the complex from the floor and goes on with the complex with a sword. In the sport variant of the complex only the first half is performed (before lifting the sword).