About Meihuazhuang

Originating as a highly sophisticated battlefield art already common on the north China plains by the 1500s, it remains today a holistic and effective method for self defense. Additionally, because it integrates physical training with intent and thought, it is highly effective for relaxing and strengthening the mind and body, eliminating dysfunctional movement habits and attaining advanced martial and cognitive-perceptual skills.

Many areas in rural China practice defensive maneuvers using battlefield weapons of meihuazhuang. This photo shows the use of special weaponry to defend against long spears. (2001, Guangzong County)

Meihuazhuang literally means Plum Flower Posts. The term post derives from meihuazhuang’s distinctive practice of undertaking training on the top of posts driven into the ground. The plum flower (actually a species closely related to the plum also known as the ume or mume) blooms very early in spring. In northern China, the beautiful blossoms of the plum flowers bloom in early spring despite the cold and the snow covering the ground. Because of its resilience, its presentation of beauty and elegance in spite of harsh conditions, the plum flower is regarded a symbol of resilience and a powerful thriving spirit embodied in beauty. The arrangement of the five petals around the heart of the flower symbolizes the unity of humanity as a single body, and the annual flowering at the end of winter symbolizes longevity and the continuity of life. In addition, if an observer were to watch the practice of meihuazhuang from above, the pattern traced on the ground, is reminiscent of the shape of a plum flower.

Meihuazhuang master Yan Zijie at the University of Regina. (1995)

Studying Meihuazhuang

The style is rare and very few masters of meihuazhuang teach publicly in the major urban centres of China. The International Meihuazhuang Organization teacher, Professor Yan Zijie, the disciple of the famous Beijing Meihuazhuang master Han QiChang, has been teaching Meihuazhuang publicly in Jinan, Shandong province since the early 1980s. Master Yan’s students can be found throughout China and around the world. For information on Meihuazhuang groups worldwide please go to our associations page.

Other Names for Meihuazhuang

The school of boxing or “quanpai” referred to as Meihuazhuang throughout this website is known by a variety of names including Meihuaquan, a name in common use today, and the more ancient name Meihuazhuang. It is also referred to as Five Posture Meihuazhuang (Wushi Meihuazhuang), Stem·Branch Five Posture Meihuazhuang (Ganzhi Wushi Meihuazhuang) and in some locations, Yihequan (Boxers United in Righteousness).

Structure of the Website

You will note that the history and sociocultural setting of meihuazhuang are elaborated upon before discussing the Art’s training methods and theory. This arrangement has been deliberately chosen to illustrate that the practice methods and theory are inextricably linked to the history and sociocultural context of Chinese society both during the dynatic periods and into the 20th and 21st centuries. A basic understanding of the sects history allows a deeper understanding of physical training methods and raises the act of practicing beyond that of an exercise routine to the realm of meditative practice rooted in history and ritual. Understanding practice in such a “mindful” condition yields superior results.

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