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Gu Ruzhang

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Gu Ruzhang

Gu Ruzhang (Chinese: 顾汝章; pinyin: Gù Rǔzhāng; Cantonese Yale: Gu Yu-jeung; 1894–1952) was a Chinese martial artist who disseminated the Bak Siu Lum (Northern Shaolin) martial arts system across southern China in the early 20th century. Gu was known for his expertise in Iron Palm hand conditioning among other Chinese martial art training exercises. He became a legendary heroic figure in some Chinese martial arts communities.[1][2]

Gu was a son of Gu Lizhi (顾利之), an adept of Tantui and Zhaquan and security and escort businessman (at the time, a common business for martial artists in China). Gu Ruzhang's father was friends with Yán Jīwēn (嚴機溫), and Gu inherited his Bei Shaolin style which included 10 empty-hand forms, several weapon forms, and martial qigong techniques such as Iron Palm, Iron Body, and Golden Bell. He was selected by the Central Guoshu Institute to teach Northern martial arts to the South as one of the "Five Southern Tigers".

Gu also learned Chaquan from Yú Zhènshēng (于振聲); Yang Taijiquan and Bajiquan from Li Jinglin (李景林); and Baguazhang, Xingyiquan from Sūn Lùtáng (孫祿堂).



Major events in Gu’s life are difficult to verify, as many of his achievements have been made legendary and may have been subject to gross exaggeration.

Gu was photographed breaking twelve un-spaced bricks with one strike.[3] He entered the first National Wushu Fighting Examination and placed in the top 15 competitors. He was also an instructor for the Guangdong Armed Forces.[1]

According to legend, Gu, in the same spirit as the folk hero Huo Yuanjia, defeated foreign fighters who viewed the Chinese martial arts as an inferior system of fighting.[4]

Gu Ruzhang, using his iron palm skill, won back the fame of the Chinese against the disrespectful act of a Russian circus horse, who was made to kick everyone down from stage as these Chinese were attempting to win a bonus of making the horse lie down. Gu Ruzhang's iron palm struck the horse on its back, and it fell down with a severely damaged backbone and died the next morning. Gu Ruzhang told the Russian owner he was not taking any money from him.[5]


  1. ^ a b "A Legendary History of the northern Shaolim Style". Harmonious Fist Chinese Athletic Association. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  2. ^ Ching, Gene. "Bak Sil Lum vs. Shaolin Temple #2". Kung Fu Magazine. Archived from the original on 2003-01-02. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  3. ^ "Questions-Answers Series". Shaolin Wahnam Institute. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  4. ^ "Northern Shao lin, the 32nd Anniversary of Kuo Yu Chang's Death". Jing Mo Athletic Association. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  5. ^ "Grandmaster Ku Yu Cheung | CFCWA - Kung Fu and Tai Chi School | Winston-Salem, NC". www.cloudforestchinwoo.org. Retrieved 2020-02-27.