There are many styles of Chuan named after General Yue Fei of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) These include Yue-family Chuan of Hubei, Henan and Anhui provinces, Yue-school fist plays of Hunan and Sichuan provinces, Yue-family martial arts of Guangdong Province, Yue Fei Sanshau and Yue-style chain of fist plays. These different Chuan styles have been influenced by local culture and practices as well as individual styles. Although it has combined the old and new Chuan theories and practices, the Yue-family Chuan is based primarily upon the principles of combining inner and outer bodies, theory and application. Its various tricks stem from its principal philosophy of the positive and negative and the five elements of the heart, liver, lung, spleen and kidney in the human body.
Investigation has found that the Yue-family Chuan practised in Huangmei County of Hubei Province is simple and uncomplicated and has a close relationship with the Yue family. It is believed to have been created by General Yue Fei and passed down by his sons, Yue Zhen and Yue Ting, and his subordinates. They taught the arts of Yue-family Chuan in Huangmei, Guangji, Qichun in Hubei as well as the southeastern part of the province. This style of Chuan has been practised by 20 generations over about 800 years. It is recorded that General Yue Fei had been to Huangmei twice, and Yue Zhen accompanied his father and stayed in Huangmei. After Yue Fei was framed and secretly killed by treacherous officials of the Imperial Court, Yue Ting went to join Yue Zhen in Huangmei. The Yue's practised the Chuan and trained their army men in an attempt to avenge their father's death until the Song Dynasty perished. However, the Yue-family Chuan was passed down from generation to generation.
The Yue-family Chuan now practised in Henan Province is said to have been passed on by a person named Fan from Tangyin in Henan, who followed Yue Fei in his expedition against invaders from the Jin Dynasty in the north. When Fan returned to his native town, he taught the Yue-family Chuan and weapon plays to his offspring, including Fan Ju who mastered the arts and continued to pass them down.
In Anhui, the Yue-family Chuan is called King Yue Chuan. Fang Yinglong, a native of Shandong Province, learned the basics from his grandfather and then followed Ji Qingshe to learn the Yue-style hammer play. Fang served as a martial arts instructor in the army of warlord, Feng Yuxiang. Before the establishment of the People's Republic of China, he went to Bengbu to teach the Yue-style hammer Chuan. Some of Fang's disciples were also found in Guangxi.
There are two theories about the evolution of the Yue-family Chuan in Sichuan Province. One is that Zhang Tianhu of Hebei taught the Yue-family Chuan in Sichuan in the middle of the Qing Dynasty while Tao Rujie of Shuangliu County taught the arts in Chengdu and other places. The other says that Wu Daoren of Hubei Province passed it on to Sichuan in the late years of the Qing Dynasty.
In Emperor Daoguang's reign (1821-1850) of the Qing Dynasty, martial arts instructor Liu Shijun of Hebei taught a nine-move Yue-style fist play in the barracks of Beijing garrison. His disciple Liu Dekuan developed the style to make it an easy-to-learn, well-linked style of unarmed play. Thus it is called Yue-style linked Chuan.
According to the remnants of the manuscripts of Yue-Family Chuan by Huang Chunlou, this style of Chuan was spread to Guangdong Province when Huang taught it in Meixian County in the late years of the Qing Dynasty. Because most local people referred to it as "discipline," this style of the Yue-family Chuan came to be called the Yue-family discipline.
The Yue-family Chuan features simplicity and steadiness. Its tricks are clear and clear-cut. When delivering blows, boxers articulate sounds to help generate power. This style of Chuan combines breathing and mentality to make fist blows powerful and complete. It resorts more to fist plays than to feet plays and does not lift the knees, nor does it wield elbows away from the body (Fig. 22).
The Henan-style Yue-family Chuan requires low stances and closed knees. When generation power, boxers jerk elbows and turn shoulder to pass energy to the fists.