Cai Long Yun
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Cai Long Yun is a famous martial artist, also the vice chairman of the Chinese Wushu Association and an associate professor at the Shanghai Sports Academy. When China implemented its first belt system for wushu, he was one of only three individuals nationwide who was awarded the ninth, or highest, degree.
Cai Long Yun was born in 1929 in Ji Ning, Shandong Province. He was the son of the famous martial artist Cai Gui Qin. Cai Gui Qin was a short and skinny man who does not appear physically talented. However, he was a great martial artist who was undefeated in Shandong. He had fists that move as fast as lightning, and was called "Fist Demon". He was also proficient in long and short weapons. Well known by martial artists all over the country, he would influence his son greatly.
During the 1940s, China was in turmoil as a result of foreign invasions. Many foreigners look down upon the Chinese and their martial arts. The Chinese were called the "Sick Men of Asia". Many Western boxers challenged Chinese martial artists to fights. In December 1943, these foreigners spoke of having an official competition between foreign fighters and Chinese martial artists. This challenge angered the entire martial arts circle in Shanghai, and a team of eight fighters, including Wang Zi Ping and Cai Gui Qin, was assembled to fight the foreigners.
Amongst the Chinese fighters picked, the youngest was Cai Long Yun, who was only fourteen at the time. He started practicing martial arts since he was only four. He often performed exercises at least a hundred times at once, and stayed in stances for half an hour at a time. When he was nine, he was already proficient in several styles of martial arts, including Luo Han Quan (Arhat Fist) and Shaolin Feng Mo Gun (Shaolin Crazed Demon Staff). Later, he traveled to Shanghai, where he learned various styles of Shaolin kung fu, Xing Yi Quan (Hsing-I Fist), and Bagua Zhang (Eight Trigrams Palm). He was best in Hua Quan (Hua Fist), the style practiced by his family for generations.
When Cai Long Yun told his father he wished to fight against the foreigners, his father was initially concerned that he was too young, but was eventually won over by his determination. On 8 December 1943, newspapers in Shanghai began announcing the upcoming fight. The news was soon all over the city. It wasn't long before all the tickets were sold. On 13 December 1943, the day of the fight, the sports stadium where the matches were held was filled with to maximum capacity.
After drawing lots, Cai Long Yun's opponent turned out to be a famous boxer from Russia. Many doubted that he can stand up to his opponent, who, around thirty years old, was both older and larger in built. However, Cai Long Yun more than just stood up to his opponent. Using his Shaolin kung fu and Hua Quan and taking advantage of his opponent's clumsiness, Cai knocked down his opponent thirteen times in just two and a half rounds, or less than five minutes. Towards the end of the third round, the Russian gathered all of his remaining strength and threw a sudden punch at Cai's forehead. Cai Long Yun was long prepared for this and, ducking, threw a kick at his opponent's abdomen. It was knockout. The Chinese martial artists won the competition with five wins, two losses, and one tie. Cai Long Yun's nickname was "Da Long", which means "Big Dragon". After the fight, he would be known as the "Big Dragon with Magical Fists".
Later, his Russian opponent claimed that the fight was not fair since Western boxing does not allow the use of legs, although this was not one of the rules under which they fought. He challenged Cai Long Yun to another fight, this time without the use of legs. Cai readily accepted. Three years, the Russian found an African American heavyweight boxer to fight Cai. Cai Long Yun had been practicing throughout the course of the three years, and had improved even more in his martial arts skills. He again used Shaolin kung fu and Hua Quan, but this time only the fist movements of the styles, to defeat his opponent.
In 1953, Cai Long Yun represented Northeast China in a national sports competition, and won gold with his Hua Quan, Emei Dao (Emei Saber), and Hua Quan dui lian (simulated combat). In 1954 he joined the national wushu team, and later became the head of the team. From 1957 to 1960, he joined many other researchers in organizing the material regarding wushu, and later helped write the first set of rules for modern wushu competitions. He started writing books on the use of various types of weapons, and did research on the martial arts of various regions. In 1960, he became the head of the wushu teaching and research section of the Shanghai Sports Academy, and also became an associate professor there in 1978. He had also become a judge in wushu competitions. In terms of martial arts theory, his books include Hua Quan, Wushu Exercise Basic Training, and Swordsmanship, all well received by martial artists.