Guo Xian He
郭宪和 (1939 – )
Teacher Guo Xian He descends from the Hei Longjian province and was born in Beijing in 1939. He is the continuer of the tradition of his father, Guo Cheng Yao, and his older brother, Guo Xian Ya, and belongs to the second generation of Ying Shou Quan of the family of the “King of the Eagle”, Chen Zi Zheng.
Teacher Guo Xian He was the youngest of five children. His father died when he was just two years old and was brought up and taught the eagle system by his older brother, Guo Xian Ya, who at the time of their father’s death was almost twenty-seven years old.
His first contact with the eagle system was at the age of seven, but he became excited about the art at the age of twelve. Growing up in a house where teachers of all styles would visit –friends of his brother and father– and wushu training was as natural as sleeping and eating, it was not odd that at the age of twelve, teacher Xian He fell in love with the martial arts. It was at this time he began systematic training under the instruction of his older brother. Noticing his brother’s interest and ability, Teacher Xian Ya planned his training very carefully. He gradually passed on his knowledge of martial arts and the eagle system to Xian He, emphasizing combat techniques (san shou), which since the time of Liu Shi Jun, comprised the essence of the system. Teacher Xian He was taught the combat techniques one by one, learning their application and the different types of strength required when using them.
He was also taught by You Shu Kong, his “uncle” in the system (who was a student of Chen Zi Zheng), while in 1953 he met teacher Li Bao Ying (who was a student of Liu Qi Wen and assistant to Chen Zi Zheng when he was teaching in southern China) for the first time. Many years later, after the death of his older brother, Li Bao Ying would become Guo Xian He’s second teacher.
Teacher Guo Xian He would be fortunate to have come to understand the system through two of its main branches (Chen Zi Zheng and Liu Qi Wen), enabling him to immerse himself even further in the “eagle”. With Li Bao Ying as a teacher, he practised on the combat techniques again and was taught other great forms of the system.
Apart from his great love for the eagle system, teacher Guo Xian He was extremely keen on traditional Chinese medicine. In 1956, he began his studies in medicine with Xia Xi Wu, the famous royal doctor during the late Qing dynasty. From him, Guo Xian He learned the method of treating skeletal injuries. From 1956 to 1959, he studied Chinese medicine, while in 1959 he studied with teacher Wang Ya Ru, the well-known therapist who specialized in an mo techniques (therapeautic massages) and dian xue techniques (therapy via pressing the meridians) to treat diseases of the internal organs.
Through his studies, he became a specialist in orthopedics and osteopathy and worked at the university hospital of Chinese medicine in Beijing until his retirement in 1999. He became professor of orthopedics and finished his career in medicine holding the position of head of the hospital’s Orthopedics Department.
Having selected traditional medicine as his profession, teacher Guo Xian He’s interest in wushu had nothing to do with earning money. Nevertheless, his study in wushu was systematic and painful; he was dutiful to the responsibility of passing on the legacy and knowledge.
In the ‘70s, teacher Guo Xian He fell ill. This event played a major role in his decision to strive even harder to propagate the art of the “eagle”. In an interview he gave, he stated: “In the ‘70s, I was very ill. I was afraid I was dying and that along with me, the art would die as well because none of my students had been immersed deep enough in the art so as to continue without me. Therefore, I began recording my knowledge in a book. While doing this, I carried out further study in all the details of the system, so that I could record as accurate information as possible. During this time, my health improved. My work was my medicine. From the ‘80s to present day, I have dedicated all my efforts to teaching and propagating my family’s tradition”.
He travelled in Greece and Spain in order to promote and spread the system. He has students throughout China, as well as in Greece, Spain, Taiwan, Switzerland, and USA.
Teacher Xian He managed to immerse himself in the system more than most of his contemporaries. His great knowledge is apparent in the detailed and concise manner in which he teaches his students, while his ability in grabbing is immediately perceived by his opponent due to its depth. Nevertheless, his grabs are executed as if he is not using any obvious physical strength.
He has written many articles both in Chinese and European magazines, as well as two books on the eagle system: Ying Shou Quan Fa (The Hand of the Eagle and its Technique), published in 1987, and Ying Shou Quan (The Hand of the Eagle), published in 2004.
(personal disciple of teacher Guo Xian He, Head of the “Guo Family Ying Shou Quan” in Greece)