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Sanhuang Paochui (Three-emperor Cannon Chuan)

Sanhuang Paochui or the three-emperor cannon Chuan is also known as the cannon Chuan. It is said to have originated from the three legendary emperors of Fuxi, Shennong and Gonggong in prehistoric China. Others believe them to have been the heaven, earth, and human emperors. Both beliefs are intended to describe the long history of the cannon Chuan, which is popular in Beijing, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Liaoning, Henan and Jilin. This style of Chuan owes its name to its rapid and powerful fist blows which are likened to firing cannon balls.

According to ancient chronicles, at the turn of the Ming and Qing dynasties, Monk Puzhao toured Mount Emei in Sichuan Province, where he met a Daoist priest from whom he learned the Chuan. After mastering the art, Monk Puzhao taught it to Qiao Sanxiu and Gan Fengchi during Qing em-perors Kangxi and Yong-zheng's reigns (1622-1735). He taught Qiao to temper suppleness through hardness, with suppleness as the core and hardness as the outward application. In contrast, he taught Gan to temper hardness through suppleness, with hardness as the core and suppleness as the outward application. The Gan-style focuses on maintaining health. The two styles gained their respective followers. During the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795), Qiao Sanxiu passed his Chuan on to Qiao Heling whereas the disciples of the Gan Fengchi-style are unknown. Decades later Qiao Heling passed the three-emperor cannon Chuan onto Song Mailun and Yu Liandeng. Yu stuck to the original style of Chuan while Song combined it with more than a dozen other schools of Chuan to form different routines and was later known for his invention of three-hand holds.

Eventually, people designated the gun Chuan as the Song-style and Yu-style three-emperor cannon Chuan while others further divided the cannon Chuan into Yu's fists and Song's hands.

Sanhuang Paochui is based on the theories of the positive and negative, hard and supple, substantial and insubstantial, attack and defence, as well as advance and retreat. Cross-hand fist blows are the foundation of the skills and rounded squatting stance is the basic stance. The three-emperor cannon Chuan requires organic combination of eye, hand and body movements, footwork, spirit, mind, breathing and generation of force. It pays attention to the close blending of mentality, breathing and movements. While practising Paochui, practitioners should maintain a still mind and concentration. When building up power, it is like pulling a bow and when releasing power, it is like discharging an arrow.

Cannon Chuan uses suppleness as its core and hardness as its application and requires its boxers to be consistent in both attack and defence. According to cannon Chuan theoreticians, attack is de-fence and ad vance is retreat, and vice versa while the positive and negative supplement each other.

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