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Yue Fei

Yue Fei

Overview


Yue Fei (March 24, 1103 – January 27, 1142), style name
Chinese style name
A Chinese style name, sometimes also known as a courtesy name , is a given name to be used later in life. After 20 years of age, the zì is assigned in place of one's given name as a symbol of adulthood and respect...

 Pengju, was a military general of the Southern Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

. His ancestral home was in Xiaoti, Yonghe Village, Tangyin, Xiangzhou, Henan (in present-day Tangyin County
Tangyin County
Tangyin County is a county of Henan, China. It is under the administration of Anyang city....

, Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

, Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

). He is best known for leading the defense of Southern Song against invaders from the Jurchen-ruled Jin Dynasty in northern China, before being put to death by the Southern Song government.
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Names
Chinese name
Personal names in Chinese culture follow a number of conventions different from those of personal names in Western cultures. Most noticeably, a Chinese name is written with the family name first and the given name next, therefore "John-Paul Smith" as a Chinese name would be "Smith John-Paul"...

 (details)
Known in English as: Yue Fei, Yueh Fei, Yo Fei, Yao Fei, Ngok Fei, Nawk Fai
Traditional Chinese: 岳飛
Simplified Chinese: 岳飞
Hanyu Pinyin: Yuè Fēi
Wade-Giles
Wade-Giles
Wade–Giles , sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a romanization system for the Mandarin Chinese language. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Wade during the mid-19th century , and was given completed form with Herbert Giles' Chinese–English dictionary of 1892.Wade–Giles was the most...

:
Yüeh Fei
Gan: Ngok5 Fi1
Cantonese
Cantonese
Cantonese is a dialect spoken primarily in south China.Cantonese may also refer to:* Yue Chinese, the Chinese language that includes Cantonese* Cantonese cuisine, the cuisine of Guangdong province...

:
Ngok Fei
Style name
Chinese style name
A Chinese style name, sometimes also known as a courtesy name , is a given name to be used later in life. After 20 years of age, the zì is assigned in place of one's given name as a symbol of adulthood and respect...

:
Pengju
Traditional Chinese: 鵬舉
Simplified Chinese: 鹏举
Hanyu Pinyin: Péngjǔ
Wade-Giles
Wade-Giles
Wade–Giles , sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a romanization system for the Mandarin Chinese language. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Wade during the mid-19th century , and was given completed form with Herbert Giles' Chinese–English dictionary of 1892.Wade–Giles was the most...

:
P'eng-chü
Cantonese
Cantonese
Cantonese is a dialect spoken primarily in south China.Cantonese may also refer to:* Yue Chinese, the Chinese language that includes Cantonese* Cantonese cuisine, the cuisine of Guangdong province...

:
Paang4-geui2
Posthumous name
Posthumous name
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

(s):
Wumu, Zhongwu
Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

:
武穆, 忠武
Hanyu Pinyin: Wǔmù, Zhōngwǔ
Wade-Giles
Wade-Giles
Wade–Giles , sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a romanization system for the Mandarin Chinese language. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Wade during the mid-19th century , and was given completed form with Herbert Giles' Chinese–English dictionary of 1892.Wade–Giles was the most...

:
Wu-mu, Jung-wu
Cantonese
Cantonese
Cantonese is a dialect spoken primarily in south China.Cantonese may also refer to:* Yue Chinese, the Chinese language that includes Cantonese* Cantonese cuisine, the cuisine of Guangdong province...

:
Mou5-muk6, Jung1-mou5


Yue Fei (March 24, 1103 – January 27, 1142), style name
Chinese style name
A Chinese style name, sometimes also known as a courtesy name , is a given name to be used later in life. After 20 years of age, the zì is assigned in place of one's given name as a symbol of adulthood and respect...

 Pengju, was a military general of the Southern Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

. His ancestral home was in Xiaoti, Yonghe Village, Tangyin, Xiangzhou, Henan (in present-day Tangyin County
Tangyin County
Tangyin County is a county of Henan, China. It is under the administration of Anyang city....

, Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

, Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

). He is best known for leading the defense of Southern Song against invaders from the Jurchen-ruled Jin Dynasty in northern China, before being put to death by the Southern Song government. He was granted the posthumous name
Posthumous name
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

 of Wumu by Emperor Xiaozong
Emperor Xiaozong of Song
Emperor Xiaozong was the eleventh emperor of the Song Dynasty of China, and the second emperor of the Southern Song. His personal name was Zhao Shen. He reigned from 1162 to 1189. His temple name means "Filial Ancestor"....

 in 1169, and later granted the posthumous title of Prince of E (鄂王) by Emperor Ningzong
Emperor Ningzong of Song
Emperor Ningzong 寧宗 was the 13th emperor of the Song dynasty who reigned from 1194 to 1224. His temple name means "Tranquil Ancestor". His reign was noted for the cultural and intellectual achievements...

 in 1211. Widely seen as a patriot and national hero in China, since after his death, Yue Fei has evolved into a standard epitome of loyalty in Chinese culture.

Biography of Yue Fei



A biography of Yue Fei, the Eguo Jintuo Zubian (鄂國金佗稡编), was written 60 years after his death by his grandson, the poet and historian Yue Ke (岳柯) (1183-post 1240). In 1346 it was incorporated into the History of Song
History of Song
The History of Song or Song Shi is one of the official Chinese historical works known as the Twenty-Four Histories of China that records the history of the Song Dynasty...

, a 496-chapter record of historical events and biographies of noted Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 individuals, compiled by Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 prime minister Toktoghan
Toktoghan
Toktoghan , also called "The Great Historian Tuotuo", was a Yuan Dynasty official historian and high minister of the Yuan emperor. With the purge and murder of him, the Yuan court might have lost its last chance to defeat the Red Turban Rebellion, which started in the early 1350s.- Biography...

 and others. Yue Fei's biography is found in the 365th chapter of the book and is numbered biography 124. Some later historians including Deng Guangming
Deng Guangming
Dèng Guăngmíng was a leading Chinese historian and historiographer who specialized in the 10th to 13th century Song, Jin and Liao Dynasty Dynasties remembered for his meticulous attention to detail....

 (1907–1998) now doubt the veracity of many of Yue Ke's claims about his ancestor.

According to the History of Song, Yue Fei was named "Fei", meaning to fly, because at the time he was born "a large bird like a swan landed on the roof of his house".

The Story of Yue Fei



Yue Fei's second biography, a wuxia
Wuxia
Wuxia is a broad genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists. Although wuxia is traditionally a form of literature, its popularity has caused it to spread to diverse art forms like Chinese opera, manhua , films, television series, and video games...

 novel titled Shuo Yue Quanzhuan , who lived sometime during the reigns of the Kangxi
Kangxi Emperor
The Kangxi Emperor ; Manchu: elhe taifin hūwangdi ; Mongolian: Энх-Амгалан хаан, 4 May 1654 –20 December 1722) was the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, the first to be born on Chinese soil south of the Pass and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1661 to 1722.Kangxi's...

 and Yongzheng
Yongzheng Emperor
The Yongzheng Emperor , born Yinzhen , was the fifth emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty and the third Qing emperor from 1722 to 1735. A hard-working ruler, Yongzheng's main goal was to create an effective government at minimal expense. Like his father, the Kangxi Emperor, Yongzheng used military...

 (1661–1735) emperors of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

. A dating symbol in its preface points either to the year 1684 or to 1744. It was banned during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor
Qianlong Emperor
The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he reigned officially from 11 October 1735 to 8 February 1796...

. There are two main versions of this novel in existence. The original one had 80 chapters. There was an illustrated edition of this version published in 1912. The other version also had 80 chapters and was published during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor
Tongzhi Emperor
The Tongzhi Emperor , born Aisin-Gioro Dzai Šun, was the tenth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, and the eighth Qing emperor to rule over China, from 1861 to 1875. His reign, which effectively lasted through his adolescence, was largely overshadowed by the rule of his mother, the Empress...

 (1861–1875). Starting in 1964 and finishing in 1995, Sir Yang Ti-liang
Yang Ti-liang
Dato Seri Paduka Sir Ti-liang Yang, GBM, SPMB, JP , also known as Sir TL, is a retired senior judge in Hong Kong...

, former Chief Justice of Hong Kong
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong
Chief Justice of Hong Kong or erroneously Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong was the most senior judge in the court system in Hong Kong until 1997....

, current Chairman of the Hong Kong Red Cross
Hong Kong Red Cross
The Hong Kong Red Cross is the national Red Cross society of Hong Kong as part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It was established officially on 12 July 1950 as a branch of the British Red Cross Society in Hong Kong...

, combined the first chapters of these works (in an attempt to weed out the overabundance of supernatural elements) to create a 79 chapter version with 961 pages, which he translated into English. It is currently sold under the title General Yue Fei (ISBN 978-962-04-1279-0).

Some people mistakenly take this novel to be historical fact when it is purely fiction. According to Sir Yang Ti-liang's introduction to his translation:

The work is a historical novel in form, but it is in fact based almost mainly on legends which were current amongst the common people for centuries. Indeed some of the events described there are nothing more than Qian Cai's own imagination.

Chronicle of Yue, Prince of E of Song


The Song Yue E Wang Nianpu was written by Qian Ruwen (钱汝雯) in 1924.

Birth and early life


Several sources state that Yue was born into a poor tenant farmer's family in Tangyin County
Tangyin County
Tangyin County is a county of Henan, China. It is under the administration of Anyang city....

, Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

 prefecture, Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 province. According to the Shuo Yue Quanzhuan, the immortal Chen Tuan, disguised as a wandering priest, warned Yue Fei's father, Yue He (岳和), to put his wife and child inside a clay jar if the infant Yue Fei began to cry. A few days later, a young child squeezed Yue Fei's hand too hard and he began to cry. Soon, it began to rain and the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 flooded, wiping out the village. Yue Fei's father held onto the clay jar as it was swept down the river, but eventually drowned. Although the much older Biography of Yue Fei also mentions the flood, it states Yue Huo survived. It reads,

After [the death of his teacher Zhou Tong], [Yue Fei] would offer sacrifices at his tomb. His father praised him for his faithfulness and asked him, "When you are employed to cope with the affairs of the time, will you then not have to sacrifice yourself for the empire and die for your duty?" (侗死,溯望設祭于其冢。父義之,曰:“汝為時用,其徇國死義乎。)


Yue Fei's father used his family's plot of land for humanitarian efforts, but after it was destroyed in the flood, the young Yue Fei was forced to help his father toil in the fields to survive. Yue received most of his primary education from his father. In 1122 Yue joined the army, but had to return home later that year after the death of his father. In ancient China, a person was required by law to temporarily resign from their job when their parents died so they could observe the customary period of mourning. For instance, Yue would have had to mourn his father's passing for three years, but in all actually only 27 months. During this time, he would wear coarse mourning robes, caps, and slippers, while abstaining from silken garments. When his mother died in 1136, he retired from a decisive battle against the Jin Dynasty for the mourning period, but he was forced to cut the bereavement short because his generals begged him to come back.

Shuo Yue Quanzhuan gives a very detailed fictional account of Yue's early life. The novel states after being swept from Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 to Hubei
Hubei
' Hupeh) is a province in Central China. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Lake Dongting...

, Yue and his mother are saved by the country squire Wang Ming (王明) and are permitted to stay in Wang's manor as domestic helpers. The young Yue Fei later becomes the adopted son and student of the Wang family's teacher, Zhou Tong, a famous master of military skills. (Zhou Tong is not to be confused with the similarly-named "Little Tyrant" in Water Margin
Water Margin
Water Margin , also known as Outlaws of the Marsh, All Men Are Brothers, Men of the Marshes, or The Marshes of Mount Liang, is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.Attributed to Shi Nai'an and written in vernacular Chinese, the story, set in the Song Dynasty,...

.) Zhou teaches Yue and his three sworn brothers - Wang Gui (王贵), Tang Huai (湯懷) and Zhang Xian (張顯) - literary lessons on odd days and military lessons, involving archery and the eighteen weapons of war
Eighteen Arms of Wushu
The Eighteen Arms is a list of the eighteen main weapons of Chinese martial arts. The origin of the list is unclear and there have been disputes with regards to what the eighteen weapons actually are...

, on even days.

After years of practice, Zhou Tong enters his students into the Tangyin County
Tangyin County
Tangyin County is a county of Henan, China. It is under the administration of Anyang city....

 military examination, in which Yue Fei wins first place by shooting a succession of nine arrows through the bullseye of a target 240 paces away. After this display of archery, Yue is asked to marry the daughter of Li Chun (李春), an old friend of Zhou and the county magistrate who presided over the military examination. However, Zhou soon dies of an illness and Yue lives by his grave through the winter until the second month of the new year when his sworn brothers come and tear it down, forcing him to return home and take care of his mother.

Yue eventually marries and later participates in the imperial military examination in the Song capital of Kaifeng
Kaifeng
Kaifeng , known previously by several names , is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, Central China. Nearly 5 million people live in the metropolitan area...

. There, he defeats all competitors and even turns down an offer from Cai Gui (蔡桂), the Prince of Liang, to be richly rewarded if he forfeits his chance for the military degree. This angers the prince and both agree to fight a private duel in which Yue kills the prince and is forced to flee the city for fear of being executed. Shortly thereafter, he joins the Song army to fight the invading armies of the Jurchen-ruled Jin Dynasty.

The Yue Fei Biography states,

When [Yue] was born, a Peng
Peng (mythology)
Peng or Dapeng is a giant bird that transforms from a Kun giant fish in Chinese mythology. In comparative mythology of giant creatures, Peng is likened to the Roc or Garuda and Kun to the Leviathan.-Names:...

 flew crowing over the house, so his father named the child Fei [(飛 - "flight")]. Before [Yue] was even a month old, the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 flooded, so his mother got inside of the center of a clay jar and held on to baby Yue. The violent waves pushed the jar down river, where they landed ashore ... Despite his family's poverty, [Yue Fei] was studious, and particularly favored the Zuo Zhuan
Zuo Zhuan
The Zuo Zhuan , sometimes translated as the Chronicle of Zuo or the Commentary of Zuo, is among the earliest Chinese works of narrative history and covers the period from 722 BCE to 468 BCE. It is one of the most important sources for understanding the history of the Spring and Autumn Period...

 edition of the Spring and Autumn Annals
Spring and Autumn Annals
The Spring and Autumn Annals is the official chronicle of the State of Lu covering the period from 722 BCE to 481 BCE. It is the earliest surviving Chinese historical text to be arranged on annalistic principles. The text is extremely concise and, if all the commentaries are excluded, about 16,000...

 and the strategies of Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu
Sun Wu , style name Changqing , better known as Sun Tzu or Sunzi , was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed, and who is most likely, to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy...

 and Wu Qi
Wu Qi
Wu Qi was a Chinese military leader and politician in the Warring States period.-Biography:Born in the State of Wei , he was skilled in leading armies and military strategy. He had served in the states of Lu and Wei. In the state of Wei he commanded many great battles and was appointed Xihe Shou...

. (飛生時,有大禽若鵠,飛鳴室上,因以為名。未彌月,河決內黃,水暴至,母姚抱飛坐瓮中,衝濤及岸得免,人異之。-- 家貧力學,尤好【左氏春秋】、孫吳兵法。)


According to a book by martial arts master Liang Shouyu, "[A] Dapeng
Peng (mythology)
Peng or Dapeng is a giant bird that transforms from a Kun giant fish in Chinese mythology. In comparative mythology of giant creatures, Peng is likened to the Roc or Garuda and Kun to the Leviathan.-Names:...

 is a great bird that lived in ancient China. Legend has it, that Dapeng was the guardian that stayed above the head of Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

. Dapeng could get rid of all evil in any area. Even the Monkey King
Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong , also known as the Monkey King is a main character in the classical Chinese epic novel Journey to the West . In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices...

 was no match for it. During the Song Dynasty the government was corrupt and foreigners were constantly invading China. Sakyamuni sent Dapeng down to earth to protect China. Dapeng descended to Earth and was born as Yue Fei."

Martial training



The Biography of Yue Fei states, "Yue Fei possessed supernatural power and before his adulthood, he was able to draw a bow of 300 catties
Catty
The catty , symbol 斤, is a traditional Chinese unit of mass used across East and Southeast Asia, notably for weighing food and other groceries in some wet markets, street markets, and shops. Related units include the picul, equal to 100 catties, and the tael, which is of a catty. A stone is a...

 and a crossbow of eight stone. [Yue Fei] learned archery from Zhou Tong. He learned everything and could fire with his left and right hands." Shuo Yue Quanzhuan states Zhou teaches Yue and his sworn brothers archery and all of the eighteen weapons of war
Eighteen Arms of Wushu
The Eighteen Arms is a list of the eighteen main weapons of Chinese martial arts. The origin of the list is unclear and there have been disputes with regards to what the eighteen weapons actually are...

. This novel also says Yue was Zhou's third student after Lin Chong
Lin Chong
Lin Chong is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 6th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Panther Head"...

 and Lu Junyi
Lu Junyi
Lu Junyi is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 2nd of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Jade Unicorn"...

 of the 108 outlaws in Water Margin
Water Margin
Water Margin , also known as Outlaws of the Marsh, All Men Are Brothers, Men of the Marshes, or The Marshes of Mount Liang, is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.Attributed to Shi Nai'an and written in vernacular Chinese, the story, set in the Song Dynasty,...

. The Chronicle of Yue, Prince of E of Song) says he studied the bow and military tactics under Zhou Tong and the spear under the spear master Chen Guang (陳廣). Before he was an adult, Yue could draw a bow of 300 catties and a crossbow of eight stones and could fire a bow with either his left or right hand. The E Wang Shi records, "When Yue Fei reached adulthood, his maternal grandfather, Yao Daweng (姚大翁), hired a spear expert, Chen Guang, to teach Yue Fei spear fighting."

Both the Biography of Yue Fei and E Wang Shi mention Yue learning from Zhou and Chen at or before his adulthood. The Chinese character representing "adulthood" in these sources is ji guan , an ancient Chinese term that means "20 years old" where a young man was able to wear a formal headdress as a social status of adulthood. So he gained all of his martial arts knowledge by the time he joined the army at the age of 19.

These chronicles do not mention Yue's masters teaching him martial arts style; just archery, spearplay and military tactics. However non-historical or scholarly sources state, in addition to those already mentioned, Zhou Tong taught Yue other skills such as hand-to-hand combat and horseback riding. Yet again, these do not mention any specific martial arts style. One legend says Zhou took young Yue to an unspecified place to meet a Buddhist hermit who taught him the Emei Dapeng
Peng (mythology)
Peng or Dapeng is a giant bird that transforms from a Kun giant fish in Chinese mythology. In comparative mythology of giant creatures, Peng is likened to the Roc or Garuda and Kun to the Leviathan.-Names:...

 qigong
Qigong
Qigong or chi kung is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation...

 (峨嵋大鵬氣功) style. This is supposedly the source of his legendary strength and martial arts abilities. According to thirteenth generation lineage Tai He ("Great Harmony") Wudangquan master Fan Keping (范克平), a collector of rare martial arts manuals, Zhou Tong was a master of various "hard qigong" exercises.


Yue Fei's tattoo


According to historical records and legend, Yue had the four Chinese characters jin zhong bao guo tattooed across his back. The Biography of Yue Fei says after Qin Hui
Qin Hui (Song Dynasty)
Qin Hui or Qin Kuai was a Chancellor of the Song Dynasty in China, who is widely regarded as a traitor of the Han race for his part in the political execution of General Yue Fei...

 sent agents to arrest Yue and his son, he was taken before the court and charged with treason, but

Yue ripped his jacket to reveal the four brush-stroke characters of "serve the country with the utmost loyalty" on his back. This proved that he was clearly innocent of the charges. (飛裂裳以背示鑄,有“盡忠報國”四大字,深入膚理。既而閱實無左驗,鑄明其無辜。)


It does not comment when and who gave him the tattoo, though. Later fictionalizations of Yue's biography would build upon the tattoo. For instance, one of his earliest Ming era
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 novels titled The Story of King Yue Who Restored the Song Dynasty (大宋中興岳王傳) states that after the Jurchen armies invaded China, young heroes in Yue's village suggest that they join the bandits in the mountains. However, Yue objects and has one of them tattoo the aforementioned characters on his back. Whenever others want to join the bandits, he flashes them the tattoo to change their minds.

The common legend of Yue receiving the tattoo from his mother first appeared in Shuo Yue Quanzhuan. In chapter 21 titled "By a pretext Wang Zuo swore brotherhood, by tattoos Lady Yue instructed her son", Yue denounces the pirate chief Yang Yao (杨幺) and passes on a chance to become a general in his army. Yue Fei's mother then tells her son, "I, your mother, saw that you did not accept recruitment of the rebellious traitor, and that you willingly endure poverty and are not tempted by wealth and status ... But I fear that after my death, there may be some unworthy creature who will entice you ... For these reason ... I want to tattoo on your back the four characters 'Utmost', 'Loyalty', 'Serve' and 'Nation' ... The Lady picked up the brush and wrote out on his spine the four characters for 'serving the nation with the utmost loyalty' ... [So] she bit her teeth, and started pricking. Having finished, she painted the characters with ink mixed with vinegar so that the colour would never fade."

The Kaifeng Jews
Kaifeng Jews
The Kaifeng Jews are members of a small Jewish community that has existed in Kaifeng, in the Henan province of China, for hundreds of years. Jews in modern China have traditionally called themselves Youtai in Mandarin Chinese which is also the predominant contemporary Chinese language term for...

, one of many pockets of Chinese Jews living in ancient China, refer to this tattoo in two of their three stele
Stele
A stele , also stela , is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief , or painted onto the slab...

 monuments created in 1489, 1512, and 1663. The first mention appeared in a section of the 1489 stele referring to the Jews' "Boundless loyalty to the country and Prince." The second appeared in a section of the 1512 stele about how Jewish soldiers and officers in the Chinese armies were "boundlessly loyal to the country."

Portrait


Southern Song era artist Liu Songnian (劉松年) (1174–1224), who was best known for his realistic works, painted a picture, "Four Generals of Zhongxing" (中興四將). The group portrait shows eight people — four generals and four attendants. Starting from the left: attendant, Yue Fei, attendant, Zhang Jun (張浚), Han Shizhong
Han Shizhong
Han Shizhong was a Chinese general of the late Northern Song Dynasty and the early Southern Song Dynasty. He dedicated his whole life to serving the Song Dynasty, and performed many legendary deeds. It is said that he had scars all over his body and, by the time he retired, there were only four...

 (韓世忠), attendant, Liu Guangshi (劉光世), and attendant.

According to history professor He Zongli of Zhejiang University
Zhejiang University
Zhejiang University , sometimes referred to as Zheda, is a national university in China. Founded in 1897, Zhejiang University is one of China's oldest institutions of higher education...

, the painting shows Yue was more of a scholarly-looking general with a shorter stature and chubbier build than the statue of him currently displayed in his tomb in Hangzhou, which portrays him as being tall and skinny. Shen Lixin, an official with the Yue Fei Temple Administration, holds the portrait of Yue Fei from the "Four Generals of Zhongxing" to be the most accurate likeness of the general in existence.

Character


In his From Myth to Myth: The Case of Yüeh Fei's Biography, noted Sinologist
Sinology
Sinology in general use is the study of China and things related to China, but, especially in the American academic context, refers more strictly to the study of classical language and literature, and the philological approach...

 Hellmut Wilhelm
Hellmut Wilhelm
Hellmut Wilhelm was a German sinologist noted for his broad knowledge of both Chinese literature and Chinese history...

 concluded that Yue Fei purposely patterned his life after famous Chinese heroes from dynasties past and that this ultimately led to his martyrdom. Apart from studying literature under his father Yue He (岳和), Yue Fei loved to read military classics. He favored the Zuo Zhuan
Zuo Zhuan
The Zuo Zhuan , sometimes translated as the Chronicle of Zuo or the Commentary of Zuo, is among the earliest Chinese works of narrative history and covers the period from 722 BCE to 468 BCE. It is one of the most important sources for understanding the history of the Spring and Autumn Period...

 commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals
Spring and Autumn Annals
The Spring and Autumn Annals is the official chronicle of the State of Lu covering the period from 722 BCE to 481 BCE. It is the earliest surviving Chinese historical text to be arranged on annalistic principles. The text is extremely concise and, if all the commentaries are excluded, about 16,000...

 and the strategies of Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu
Sun Wu , style name Changqing , better known as Sun Tzu or Sunzi , was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed, and who is most likely, to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy...

 and Wu Qi
Wu Qi
Wu Qi was a Chinese military leader and politician in the Warring States period.-Biography:Born in the State of Wei , he was skilled in leading armies and military strategy. He had served in the states of Lu and Wei. In the state of Wei he commanded many great battles and was appointed Xihe Shou...

. Although his literacy afforded him the chance to become a scholar, which was a position held in much higher regard than the common soldiery during the Song Dynasty, Yue chose the military path because there had never been any tradition of civil service in his family. Therefore he had no reason to study Confucian
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 classics in order to surpass the accomplishments of his ancestors or to raise his family's social status to the next level. His fourth generation ancestor, Yue Huan (岳渙), had served as a lingshi (令使) (essentially a low-level functionary), but he was never a full-fledged member of the civil service rank. A second theory is that he joined the military in the hopes of emulating his favorite heroes.

Scholars were always welcome in Yue Fei's camp. He allowed them to come and tell stories and deeds of past heroes to bolster the resolve of his men. This way he was able to teach them about the warriors that he had constructed his own life after. He also hoped that one of these scholars would record his own deeds so he would become a peer amongst his idols. He is recorded in saying that he wished to be considered the equal of Guan Yu
Guan Yu
Guan Yu was a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty of China. He played a significant role in the civil war that led to the collapse of the Han Dynasty and the establishment of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period, of which Liu Bei was the...

 and other such famous men from the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms
The Three Kingdoms period was a period in Chinese history, part of an era of disunity called the "Six Dynasties" following immediately the loss of de facto power of the Han Dynasty rulers. In a strict academic sense it refers to the period between the foundation of the state of Wei in 220 and the...

 period. Yue succeeded in this endeavor since later "official mythology" placed him on the same level as Guan Yu.

Yue was careful to conduct himself as the ideal Confucian gentleman at all times for fear that any misconduct would be recorded and criticized by people of later dynasties. However he had his faults. He had a problem with alcohol during the early part of his military career. Yue drank in great excess because he believed it fitted the image of heroes of old. However once he nearly killed a colleague in a drunken rage, the emperor made him promise not to drink any more until the Jurchen invaders had been driven away.

Family


According to Shuo Yue Quanzhuan, Yue had five sons and one daughter. The History of Song records that Yue Yun (岳雲) (1119–1142) was adopted by Yue Fei at the age of 12 whilst others claim he was his biological son; Yue Lei (岳雷), the second, succeeded to his father's post; Yue Ting (岳霆) was the third; Yue Lin (岳霖) was the fourth; and Yue Zhen (岳震), the fifth, was still young at the time of his father's death. Yue Yinping was Yue Fei's daughter. The novel states she committed suicide after her father's death and became a fairy in heaven. However, history books do not mention her name and therefore she should be considered a fictional character. Yue Fei married the daughter of Magistrate Li when he was 16 years old (1119). However, the account of his marriage is fictional.

The Biography of Yue Fei states that Yue left his ailing mother with his first wife while he went to fight the Jin armies. However she "left him (and his mother) and remarried." He later took a second wife and even discussed "affairs" pertaining to his military career with her. He truly loved her, but his affection for her was second to his desire to rid China of the Jurchen invaders. Her faithfulness to him and his mother was strengthened by the fear that any infidelity or lacking in her care of Lady Yue would result in reprisal.

Yue forbade his sons from having concubines, which he almost took one himself. Even though she was presented by a friend, he did not accept her because she laughed when he asked her if she could "share the hardships of camp life" with him. He knew she was liberal and would have sex with the other soldiers.

Though not mentioned in the memoir written by Yue Fei's grandson, some scholarly sources claim Yue had a younger brother named Yue Fan (岳翻). He later served in the army under his brother and died in battle in 1132.

Military record



A northern Chinese from a humble background, he participated in the Song Dynasty's attempt in 1122 to capture the 16 prefectures lost to the Jin Dynasty, and defended Kaifeng after the Jin armies withdrew in 1127. Yue moved south with other loyalist forces in 1129, and took an active part in during the Jin advance back across the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

 that year. He continued to advance in rank, and to increase the size of his army as he repeatedly led successful offensives into northern China and suppressed rebellions within Song territory. Several other generals were also successful against the Jin Dynasty, and their combined efforts secured the survival of the Song Dynasty. Yue, like most of them, was committed to recapturing northern China.

Stone Lake: The Poetry of Fan Chengda 1126-1193 states, "...Yue Fei ([1103]-1141)...repelled the enemy assaults in 1133 and 1134, until in 1135 the now confident Song army was in a position to recover all of north China from the Jin Dynasty ... [In 1140,] Yue Fei initiated a general counterattack against the Jin armies, defeating one enemy after another until he set up camp within range of the Northern Song Dynasty's old capital city, Kaifeng, in preparation for the final assault against the enemy. Yet in the same year Qin [Hui] ordered Yue Fei to abandon his campaign, and in 1141 Yue Fei was summoned back to the Southern Song capital. It is believed that the emperor then ordered Yue Fei to be hanged."

Six methods for deploying an army


Yue Ke (岳珂) states his grandfather had six special methods for deploying an army effectively:

Careful selection: He relied more on small numbers of well-trained soldiers than he did large masses of the poorly-trained variety. In this way, one superior soldier counted for as much as one hundred inferior soldiers. One example used to illustrate this was when the armies of Han Ching and Wu Xu were transferred into Yue's camp. Most of them had never seen battle and were generally too old or unhealthy for sustaining prolonged troop movement and engagement of the enemy. Once Yue had filtered out the weak soldiers and sent them home, he was only left with a meager thousand able-bodied soldiers. However, after some months of intense training, they were ready to perform almost as well as the soldiers who had served under Yue for years.

Careful training: When his troops were not on military campaigns to win back lost Chinese territory in the north, Yue put his men through intense training. Apart from troop movement and weapons drills, this training also involved them leaping over walls and crawling through moats in full battle garb. The intensity of the training was such that the men would not even try to visit their families if they passed by their homes while on movement and even trained on their days off.

Justice in rewards and punishments: He rewarded his men for their merits and punished them for their boasting or lack of training. Yue once gave a foot soldier his own personal belt, silver dinner ware, and a promotion for his meritorious deeds in battle. While on the reverse, he once ordered his son Yue Yun to be decapitated for falling off his horse after failing to jump a moat. His son was only saved after Yue's officers begged his mercy. There were a number of soldiers that were either dismissed or executed because they boasted of their skills or failed to follow orders.

Clear orders: He always delivered his orders in a simple manner that was easy for all of his soldiers to understand. Whoever failed to follow them were severely punished.

Strict discipline: While marching about the countryside, he never let his troops destroy fields or to pillage towns or villages. He made them pay a fair price for goods and made sure crops remained intact. A soldier once stole a hemp rope from a peasant so he could tie a bale of hay with it. When Yue discovered this, he questioned the soldier and had him executed.

Close fellowship with his men: He treated all of his men like equals. He ate the same food as they did and slept out in the open as they did. Even when a temporary shelter was erected for him, he made sure several soldiers could find room to sleep inside before he found a spot of his own. When there was not enough wine to go around, he would dilute it with water so every soldier would have a cup to drink from.

Death



In 1126, several years before Yue became a general, the Jurchen-ruled Jin Dynasty invaded northern China, forcing the Song Dynasty out of its capital Kaifeng
Kaifeng
Kaifeng , known previously by several names , is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, Central China. Nearly 5 million people live in the metropolitan area...

 and capturing Emperor Qinzong of Song
Emperor Qinzong of Song
Emperor Qinzong was the ninth emperor of the Song Dynasty of China, and the last emperor of the Northern Song. His personal name was Zhao Huan. He reigned from January 1126 to January 1127....

, who was sent into captivity in Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

. This marked the end of the Northern Song Dynasty, and the beginning of the Southern Song Dynasty under Emperor Gaozong
Emperor Gaozong of Song
Emperor Gaozong , born Zhao Gou, was the tenth emperor of the Song Dynasty of China, and the first emperor of the Southern Song. He reigned from 1127 to 1162. He fled south after the Jurchens overran Kaifeng in the Jingkang Incident, hence the beginning of the Southern Song dynasty 1127–1279...

.

Yue fought a long campaign against the invading Jurchens in an effort to retake northern China. Just when he was threatening to attack and retake Kaifeng, corrupt officials advised Emperor Gaozong to recall Yue to the capital and sue for peace with the Jurchens. Fearing that a defeat at Kaifeng might cause the Jurchens to release Emperor Qinzong, threatening his claim to the throne, Emperor Gaozong followed their advice, sending 12 orders in the form of 12 gold plaques to Yue Fei, recalling him back to the capital. Knowing that a success at Kaifeng could lead to internal strife, Yue submitted to the emperor's orders and returned to the capital, where he was imprisoned and where Qin Hui
Qin Hui (Song Dynasty)
Qin Hui or Qin Kuai was a Chancellor of the Song Dynasty in China, who is widely regarded as a traitor of the Han race for his part in the political execution of General Yue Fei...

 would eventually arrange for him to be executed on false charges.

There are conflicting views on how Yue died. According to The History of China: (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations) and other sources, Yue died in prison. The Chronicle of Yue, Prince of E of Song says he was killed in prison. Shuo Yue Quanzhuan states he was strangled to death. It reads, "...[Yue Fei] strode in long steps to the Pavilion of Winds and Waves ... The warders on both sides picked up the ropes and strangled the three men [Yue Fei, Yue Yun, and Zhang Xian (張憲), Yue's subordinate] without further ado ... At the time Lord Yue was 39 years of age and the young lord Yue Yun 23. When the three men returned to Heaven, suddenly a fierce wind rose up wildly and all the fires and lights were extinguished. Black mists filled the sky and sand and pebbles were blown about."

The Secrets of Eagle Claw Kung Fu: Ying Jow Pai comments, "Finally, [Yue Fei] received the 'Twelfth Golden Edict' [from the emperor calling him back to the capital], which if ignored meant banishment. Patriotism demanded that he obey. On his way back to the capital he stopped to rest at a pavilion. Qin Hui anticipated Yue Fei's route and sent some men to lie in wait. When Yue Fei arrived, Qin's men ambushed and murdered him. Just 39 years old, Yue Fei like many good men in history, had a swift, brilliant career, then died brutally while still young."

According to A Chinese Biographical Dictionary, "[Father and son] had not been two months in confinement when Qin Hui resolved to rid himself of his enemy. He wrote out with his own hand an order for the execution of Yue Fei, which was forthwith carried into effect; whereupon he immediate reported that Yue Fei had died in prison." Meaning he had Yue and his son executed but reported they both died while in captivity.

Other sources say he was poisoned to death. Still, a great deal simply say he was executed, murdered, or "treacherously assassinated".


Kneeling Iron Statues


Shuo Yue Quanzhuan states after having Yue Fei, Yue Yun, Zhang Xian arrested under false charges, Qin Hui
Qin Hui (Song Dynasty)
Qin Hui or Qin Kuai was a Chancellor of the Song Dynasty in China, who is widely regarded as a traitor of the Han race for his part in the political execution of General Yue Fei...

 and his wife, Lady Wang (王氏), were sitting by the "eastern window", warming themselves by the fire, when he received a letter from the people calling for the release of Yue Fei. Qin was worried because after nearly two months of torture, he could not get Yue to admit to treason and would eventually have to let him go. However, after a servant girl brought fresh oranges into the room, Lady Wang devised a plan to execute Yue. She told Qin to slip an execution notice inside the skin of an orange and send it to the judge presiding over Yue's case. This way, Yue and his companions would be put to death before the emperor or Qin himself would have to rescind an open order of execution. This conspiracy became known as the "East Window Plot". A novel about this incident, titled Dong Chuang Ji (東窗記; "Tale of the Eastern Window"), was written during the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 by an anonymous writer.

When asked by Han Shizhong
Han Shizhong
Han Shizhong was a Chinese general of the late Northern Song Dynasty and the early Southern Song Dynasty. He dedicated his whole life to serving the Song Dynasty, and performed many legendary deeds. It is said that he had scars all over his body and, by the time he retired, there were only four...

 on what crime Yue had committed, Qin Hui replied, "Though it isn't sure whether there is something that he did to betray the dynasty, maybe there is." The phrase "perhaps there is" or "could be true" has entered the Chinese dictionary as an expression to refer to fabricated charges. For their part in Yue's death, iron statues of Qin Hui, Lady Wang, and two of Qin's subordinates, Moqi Xie (萬俟軼) and Zhang Jun (張俊), were made to kneel before Yue Fei's tomb
Yue Fei Temple
The Yue Fei Temple or commonly known in Chinese as Yuewang Temple is a temple built in honor of Yue Fei, a general of the Southern Song dynasty when the capital of China was in Hangzhou. The temple ground is located near the West Lake, in central Hangzhou.The temple was first constructed in the...

 (located by the West Lake
West Lake
Xī Hú is a famous fresh water lake located in the historic center of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in eastern China. The lake is divided by the causeways of Sū Tí , Bái Tí , and Yánggōng Tí...

, Hangzhou
Hangzhou
Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

). For centuries, these statues have been cursed, spat and urinated upon by people. The original castings in bronze were damaged, but later were replaced by images cast in iron, but these were similarly damaged. However now, in modern times, these statues are protected as historical relics.

There is a poem hanging on the gate surrounding the statues that reads, "The green hill is fortunate to be the burial ground of a loyal general, the white iron was innocent to be cast into the statues of traitors."

According to one source, "In 1162 Emperor Xiaozong of Song
Emperor Xiaozong of Song
Emperor Xiaozong was the eleventh emperor of the Song Dynasty of China, and the second emperor of the Southern Song. His personal name was Zhao Shen. He reigned from 1162 to 1189. His temple name means "Filial Ancestor"....

 restored his honours, and gave proper burial to his remains. A [tomb] was put up in his memory, and he was designated Zhongwu (忠武; "Loyal and Martial"). In 1179 he was canonized as Wumu (武穆)."

According to the novel Xi You Bu, a satire of Journey to the West
Journey to the West
Journey to the West is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. It was written by Wu Cheng'en in the 16th century. In English-speaking countries, the tale is also often known simply as Monkey. This was one title used for a popular, abridged translation by Arthur Waley...

, written in 1641 by the scholar Dong Ruoyu (also known as Dong Yue, 1620–1686), the Monkey King
Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong , also known as the Monkey King is a main character in the classical Chinese epic novel Journey to the West . In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices...

 enthusiastically serves in hell as the trial prosecutor of Qin Hui. At one point, the Monkey King asks the spirit of Yue Fei if he would like to drink Qin's blood.

Martial arts


The two styles most associated with Yue are Eagle Claw
Eagle Claw
Eagle Claw is a style of Chinese martial arts known for its gripping techniques, system of joint locks, takedowns, and pressure point strikes, which is representative of Chinese grappling known as Chin Na. The style is normally attributed to the famous patriotic Song Dynasty General Yue Fei...

 and Xingyi boxing
Xingyiquan
Xingyiquan is one of the major "internal" or Wudang styles of Chinese martial arts. The word translates approximately to "Form/Intention Boxing", or "Shape/Will Boxing", and is characterized by aggressive, seemingly linear movements and explosive power...

. One book states Yue created Eagle Claw for his enlisted soldiers and Xingyi for his officers. Legend has it that Yue studied in Shaolin Monastery with a monk named Zhou Tong and learned the "elephant" style of boxing, a set of hand techniques with great emphasis on qinna
Chin Na
Chin Na or Qinna is a Chinese term describing techniques used in the Chinese martial arts that control or lock an opponent's joints or muscles/tendons so he cannot move, thus neutralizing the opponent's fighting ability...

 (joint-locking). Other tales say he learned this style elsewhere outside the temple under the same master. Yue eventually expanded elephant style to create the Yibai Lingba Qinna (一百零八擒拿 - "108 Locking Hand Techniques") of the Ying Sao (Eagle Hands) or Ying Kuen (Eagle Fist). After becoming a general in the imperial army, Yue taught this style to his men and they were very successful in battle against the armies of the Jin Dynasty. Following his wrongful execution and the disbandment of his armies, Yue's men supposedly traveled all over China spreading the style, which eventually ended right back in Shaolin where it began. Later, a monk named Li Quan (麗泉) combined this style with Fanziquan
Fanziquán
Fānziquán is a Chinese martial art that emphasizes offense and defense with the hands. Its movements have been described as:Fānziquán routines are usually quite short and very fast...

, another style attributed to Yue, to create the modern day form of Northern Ying Jow Pai
Eagle Claw
Eagle Claw is a style of Chinese martial arts known for its gripping techniques, system of joint locks, takedowns, and pressure point strikes, which is representative of Chinese grappling known as Chin Na. The style is normally attributed to the famous patriotic Song Dynasty General Yue Fei...

 boxing.

According to legend, Yue combined his knowledge of internal martial arts
Neijia
Nèijiā is a term in Chinese martial arts, grouping those styles that practice nèijìng , usually translated as internal martial arts, occupied with spiritual, mental or qi-related aspects, as opposed to an "external" approach focused on physiological aspects...

 and spearplay learned from Zhou Tong (in Shaolin) to create the linear fist attacks of Xingyi boxing
Xingyiquan
Xingyiquan is one of the major "internal" or Wudang styles of Chinese martial arts. The word translates approximately to "Form/Intention Boxing", or "Shape/Will Boxing", and is characterized by aggressive, seemingly linear movements and explosive power...

. One book claims he studied and synthesized Buddhism's Tendon Changing and Marrow Washing
Yì Jin Jing
The Yijin Jing is a Qigong manual containing a series of exercises, coordinated with specific breathing and mental concentration, said to enhance physical health dramatically when practiced consistently. In the modern day there are many translations and distinct sets of exercises all said to be...

 qigong
Qigong
Qigong or chi kung is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation...

 systems to create Xingyi. On the contrary, proponents of Wudangquan believe it is possible that Yue learned the style in the Wudang Mountains
Wudang Mountains
The Wudang Mountains , also known as Wu Tang Shan or simply Wudang, are a small mountain range in the northwestern part of Hubei Province of People's Republic of China, just to the south of the city of Shiyan.-Geography:...

 that border his home province of Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

. The reasons they cite for this conclusion are that he supposedly lived around the same time and place as Zhang Sanfeng
Zhang Sanfeng
Zhang Sanfeng was a semi-legendary Chinese Taoist priest who is believed by some to have achieved immortality, said variously to date from either the late Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty or Ming Dynasty. His name is said to have been Zhang Junbao 張君寶 before he became a Taoist.Zhang's legend is that of...

, the founder of t'ai chi; Xingyi's five fist attacks, which are based on the Five Chinese Elements theory, are similar to tai-chi's "Yin-yang theory"; and both theories are Taoist
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

-based and not Buddhist. The book Henan Orthodox Xingyi Quan, written by Pei Xirong (裴锡荣) and Li Ying'ang (李英昂), states Xingyi master Dai Longbang

...wrote the 'Preface to Six Harmonies Boxing' in the 15th reign year of the Qianlong Emperor
Qianlong Emperor
The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he reigned officially from 11 October 1735 to 8 February 1796...

 [1750]. Inside it says, '...when [Yue Fei] was a child, he received special instructions from Zhou Tong. He became extremely skilled in the spear method. He used the spear to create methods for the fist. He established a method called Yi Quan [意拳]. Mysterious and unfathomable, followers of old did not have these skills. Throughout the Jin, Yuan
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 and Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 dynasties few had his art. Only Ji Gong had it. (于乾隆十五年为“六合拳”作序云:“岳飞当童子时,受业于周侗师,精通枪法,以枪为拳,立法以教将佐,名曰意拳,神妙莫测,盖从古未有之技也。)


The Ji Gong mentioned above, better known as Ji Jike (姬際可) or Ji Longfeng (姬隆丰), is said to have trained in Shaolin Monastery for ten years as a young man and was matchless with the spear. As the story goes, he later traveled to Xongju Cave on Mount Zhongnan to receive a boxing manual written by Yue Fei, from which he learned Xingyi. However, some believe Ji actually created the style himself and attributed it to Yue Fei because he was fighting the Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

s, descendants of the Jurchens who Yue had struggled against. Ji supposedly created it after watching a battle between an eagle and a bear during the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

. Other sources say he created it while training in Shaolin. He was reading a book and looked up to see two roosters fighting, which inspired him to imitate the fighting styles of animals. Both versions of the story (eagle / bear and roosters) state he continued to study the actions of animals and eventually increased the cadre of animal forms.

Several other martial arts have been attributed to Yue Fei, including Yuejiaquan
Yuejiaquan
Yuejiaquan is a style of Chinese martial arts attributed to Yue Fei, a noted General and patriot from the Song Dynasty.-History and philosophy:...

 (Yue Family Boxing), Fanziquan
Fanziquán
Fānziquán is a Chinese martial art that emphasizes offense and defense with the hands. Its movements have been described as:Fānziquán routines are usually quite short and very fast...

 (Tumbling Boxing), and Chuojiao
Chuojiao
Chuōjiǎo is a Chinese martial art that comprises many jumps, kicks, and fast fist sequences. The fist and feet work in unison and strike continuously forward, like “falling meteorites”, never giving the opponent a moment to recover. The qinggong portion of this style's training involves a...

 quan (Feet-Poking Boxing), among others. The "Fanzi Boxing Ballad" says: "Wumu has passed down the Fanziquan which has mystery in its straightforward movements." Wumu (武穆) was a posthumous name
Posthumous name
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

 given to Yue after his death. One Chuojiao legend states Zhou Tong learned the style from its creator, a wandering Taoist named Deng Liang (鄧良), and later passed it onto Yue Fei, who is considered to be the progenitor of the style.

Besides martial arts, Yue is also said to have studied traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

. He understood the essence of Hua Tuo
Hua Tuo
Hua Tuo was an ancient Chinese physician who lived during the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history. The Records of Three Kingdoms and Book of Later Han record Hua as the first person in China to use anesthesia during surgery. He used a general anesthetic combining wine with a...

's Wu Qin Xi (五禽戲 – "Five Animal Folics") and created his own form of "medical qigong’’ known as the Ba Duan Jin (八段錦 – "Eight Pieces of Brocade"). It is considered a form of Wai Dan (外丹 – "External Elixir") medical qigong
Qigong
Qigong or chi kung is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation...

.
He taught this qigong to his soldiers to help keep their bodies strong and well-prepared for battle. One legend states that Zhou Tong took young Yue to meet a Buddhist hermit who taught him Emei Dapeng
Peng (mythology)
Peng or Dapeng is a giant bird that transforms from a Kun giant fish in Chinese mythology. In comparative mythology of giant creatures, Peng is likened to the Roc or Garuda and Kun to the Leviathan.-Names:...

 Qigong (峨嵋大鵬氣功). His training in Dapeng Qigong was the source of his great strength and martial arts abilities. Modern practitioners of this style say it was passed down by Yue.

Connection to Praying Mantis boxing


According to Shuo Yue Quanzhuan, Lin Chong
Lin Chong
Lin Chong is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 6th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Panther Head"...

 and Lu Junyi
Lu Junyi
Lu Junyi is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 2nd of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Jade Unicorn"...

 of the 108 outlaws in Water Margin
Water Margin
Water Margin , also known as Outlaws of the Marsh, All Men Are Brothers, Men of the Marshes, or The Marshes of Mount Liang, is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.Attributed to Shi Nai'an and written in vernacular Chinese, the story, set in the Song Dynasty,...

 were former students of Yue's teacher Zhou Tong. One legend states Zhou learned Chuojiao
Chuojiao
Chuōjiǎo is a Chinese martial art that comprises many jumps, kicks, and fast fist sequences. The fist and feet work in unison and strike continuously forward, like “falling meteorites”, never giving the opponent a moment to recover. The qinggong portion of this style's training involves a...

 boxing from its originator Deng Liang (鄧良) and then passed it onto Yue Fei, who is sometimes considered the progenitor of the style. Chuojiao is also known as the "Water Margin Outlaw style" and Yuanyang Tui (鴛鴦腿 - "Mandarin Duck Leg"). In chapter 29 of Water Margin, titled "Wu Song beats Jiang the Door God in a drunken stupor", it mentions Wu Song
Wu Song
Wu Song, nicknamed "Pilgrim", is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 14th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes. Wu Song also appears in the novel Jin Ping Mei, a spin-off of Water Margin...

, another of Zhou's fictional students, using the "Jade Circle-Steps with Duck and Drake feet". A famous folklore Praying Mantis manuscript, which describes the fictional gathering of eighteen martial arts masters in Shaolin, lists Lin Chong
Lin Chong
Lin Chong is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 6th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Panther Head"...

 (#13) as a master of "Mandarin ducks kicking technique". This creates a folklore connection between Yue and Mantis boxing.

Lineage Mantis master Yuen Man Kai openly claims Zhou Tong taught Lin Chong and Lu Junyi the "same school" of martial arts that was later combined with the aforementioned seventeen other schools to create Mantis fist. However, he believes Mantis fist was created during the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

, and was therefore influenced by these eighteen schools from the Song Dynasty. He also says Lu Junyi taught Yan Qing
Yan Qing
Yan Qing is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 36th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Wanderer" or "Prodigal"....

 the same martial arts as he learned from Zhou Tong. Yuen further comments that Zhou Tong later taught Yue Fei the same martial art and that Yue was the originator of the mantis move "Black Tiger Steeling Heart".

Poetry


At the age of 30, Yue supposedly wrote his most celebrated poem, "Man Jiang Hong
Man Jiang Hong
Mǎn Jīang Hóng is the title of a set of lyrical poems sharing the same pattern. If unspecified, it most often refers to the one normally attributed to legendary Song Dynasty general and Chinese national hero Yue Fei...

" ("Entirely Red River"). This poem reflects the raw hatred he felt towards the Jurchen-ruled Jin Dynasty, as well as the sorrow he felt when his efforts to recoup northern lands lost to Jin were halted by Southern Song officials of the "Peace Faction". However, several modern historians, including Princeton University Prof. James T.C. Liu, believe certain phrasing in the poem dates its creation to the early 16th century, meaning Yue did not write it.

Modern references


The ROCS Yueh Fei (FFG-1106)
ROCS Yueh Fei (FFG-1106)
ROCS Yueh Fei , is a Cheng Kung-class guided-missile frigate of the Republic of China Navy. Yueh Fei was laid down on 5 September 1992 by the China SB Corp., in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, launched on 26 August 1994, and commissioned in February 1996...

, a Cheng Kung-class
Cheng Kung class frigate
The Cheng Kung class frigates are based upon the U.S. Oliver Hazard Perry class and are currently serving in the Republic of China Navy...

 guided-missile frigate of the Republic of China Navy
Republic of China Navy
The Republic of China Navy is the maritime branch of the Armed forces of the Republic of China . The ROC Navy's primary mission is to defend ROC territories and the sea lanes that surround Taiwan against a blockade, attack, or possible invasion by forces of the People's Republic of China...

, is named after Yue.

External links


"History of the Song" Chinese Wikipedia entry 470 volume version of the "History of the Song" "The Story of Yue Fei" "Yue Fei's Biography" from the History of the Song