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Wang Zhengyi
Born 1854
Cangzhou, Hebei
Died 1900
Occupation Martial artist, Security guard,
Style Liuhe Quan

Wang Zhengyi (Chinese: 王正谊, courtesy name Zaibin Chinese: 子斌, Xiao'erjing: وْا ﺟْﻊ ىِ) (1854–1900) was a martial artist and hero during the late Qing dynasty, hailing from Cangzhou in today's Hebei Province, Wang was of Hui Muslim ethnicity. Being the fifth by seniority of his master's students, Wang came to be called Wang Wu (Chinese: 王五), i.e. Wang the fifth. His use of the dadao (the Chinese great sword) would lead to him earning the sobriquet by which he is best known, Dadao Wang Wu (Chinese: 大刀王五) (sometimes rendered in English as Broadsword Wang Wu or Great Sword Wang Wu). Liang Qichao also called him the Hero of Yānzhào from the traditional name for Hebei.

Life[edit | edit source]

In the fifth year of the Guangxu Emperor's reign (1879), Wang opened the Shunyuan Protection Agency just outside Beijing's Zhengyangmen.[1] A secure courier business, Shunyuan, served a broad area, from Shanhai Pass in the north to Huai'an (Jiangsu) in the south. Wang Wu was chivalrous in nature and became friends with members of the reform movement, including a young Tan Sitong to whom he taught martial arts. In 1898 with the failure of the Hundred Days' Reform, Wang and Tan Sitong attempted to rescue the imprisoned Guangxu Emperor, but failed. Following Tan Sitong's execution Wang recovered Tan's body for burial. In some folklore accounts, which have become the basis of subsequent films and dramas, Wang storms the execution ground in an attempted rescue-however Tan Sitong refuses to leave saying that in the past reform in China has failed because no one was willing to make the necessary sacrifices, and that if a sacrifice of blood be needed then it should begin with his own.

Death[edit | edit source]

Wang Wu died in 1900 from bullet wounds sustained whilst fighting the Eight-Nation Alliance during the Boxer Rebellion, his corpse was beheaded and the head hung up for display, his remains were stolen away by Huo Yuanjia for burial.

Cultural references[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Stanley E. Henning (2010). "China: Martial Arts". In Thomas A. Green and Joseph R. Svinth (eds). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-59884-243-2. https://books.google.com/books?id=FaTfuuIlmqcC&pg=PA96. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Liu Pengnian 劉鵬年 (1914). "Ji Dadao Wang Wu" 記大刀王五 ("Records of Great Sword Wang the Fifth"), Yuxian lu 娛閒錄, vol. 5: 7081–7082.

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