Feng Ke-Shan and the perils of martial arts history

Sifu David Ross

Feng Ke-Shan (馮克善) by most accounts, was a man with little interest in religion (Esherick 44). He was a gambler who frequently got into drunken brawls. Feng was thirty five years old when he first encountered the Eight Trigrams Sect. At the age of twenty one, Feng had studied both empty hand and sword techniques with Wang Xiang (王祥), an itinerant martial artist from Shandong. Later he learned how to use the spear (槍) from a local man. Neither man had any connection to sectarian activities. (Naquin 88) By his own testimony, Tang Heng-Le (唐恒乐) accepted Feng as a disciple (拜師 Bai Shi) around 1800.


Tang Heng-Le (唐恒乐) was an elderly medicine seller and a teacher of Mei Hua Quan (梅花拳), a well-established and respected tradition in northern China. He had no sectarian affiliations and stated in his testimony after the rebellion that his only relationship to Feng was in…

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