Guo Xian Ya
郭宪亚 (1913 – 1964)
Teacher Guo Xian Ya was born in the region of Baiquan in the Hei Longjian province and was the eldest son of Guo Cheng Yao. His first contact with the eagle system was in 1921, when his father left the 1st secondary school of Hei Longjiang, where he taught wushu, to return to his home town with his good friend You Shu Kong – another eagle style teacher and student of Chen Zi Zheng. Only eight years old at the time, Guo Xian Ya officially accepted You Shu Kong as his teacher (within the wushu community, it is customary for either the father or one of his “brothers” to become teacher of a young student), and started his training in martial arts. He was taught the eagle system in detail by You Shu Kong and his father, Guo Cheng Yao, and later also trained in the Ba Gua Ζhang and Yue Shi Ba Fan Zhang styles.
In 1933, he travelled with his father to Beijing, where, after passing examinations, he was accepted into the Physical Education School of the university. Immediately after his graduation, he became head of the wushu department at the School of Education of Beijing.
He participated in the “Northern China Wushu Competition” and the “2nd Panchinese Championship”. His fights demonstrated that he had excellent skill in combat technique (san shou) and he began to gain a reputation in the martial arts community. Just like his father, he refused to support the Nationalist Party (Guo Μingdang) and turned down the invitation to participate in the National Army. In 1940, some friends persuaded him to take part in a martial arts competition that was being held in Japan. At that time, China was under Japanese rule and therefore teacher Guo Xian Ya considered it his duty to prove to the oppressors that Chinese wushu was superior. The organizing committee was impressed by the passion that he showed and the explosive power he used during his fights. Immediately after the competition, he received many invitations to remain in Japan and teach the system, all of which he categorically refused.
Upon returning to Beijing, he began his studies in traditional Chinese medicine and for several years held the position of lector at the Medical Institute of Mingshui. As a doctor, he provided his services both in Beijing and in rural parts of China
During the Second Chino Japanese War (1937 – 1945), and the difficult years that followed, not a day passed that teacher Xian Ya did not train in the eagle system. His grabs were so quick that you could hear the sound as his hands passed through the air.
Apart from the “eagle”, he also taught his students the “Sixty- Four Hands” of Ba Gua and Qi Xing Gan (the cudgel of seven stars). It was common for him to say, “Every system has its own advantages and beauty; the most important thing in a student’s progress is what he truly desires to learn and how hard he trains at it”.
Teacher Guo Xian Ya diligently passed his knowledge on to his younger brother, Guo Xian He. He died in 1964, at the age of 51.