Mr. Zhang Bingdou is a native of Pumu in Laixi of Shandong. He was born in 1938 in a Kungfu master’s family. His grandfather – Zhang Wenying is a Kungfu master famous for Arhat Boxing and his father – Zhang Xiushan is an accomplished Kungfu master specialized in both Arhat boxing and Mantis boxing. Mr. Zhang’s maternal grandfather – Li Kunshan is also a mantis boxing master with his name widely known at home and abroad. Li Kunshan is one of the “Three Laiyang Kungfu Masters” who established their reputation in China in the 1920s through 40s. In 1933, Li Kunshan took part in an all-China wushu contest and won the championship for spearplay and was awarded a gold medal. Mr. Jiang Zhongzheng presented a golden signboard which reads “Superb Spear Skills, Respectable Kungfu Master” to Mr. Li Kunshan as a gift.
Mr. Zhang Bingdou began to learn Kungfu and martial ethics from his grandfather at the age of six. Afterwards, he learned widely from other famous Kungfu masters including Wang Yushan, Sun Yujun and Liu Jingshan. As the disciple of Li Kunshan and Wang Yushan, Mr. Zhang Bingdou is the seventh-generation exponent of Taiji Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing. After nearly 60 years of practice, Mr. Zhang fully grasped the skills and theory of the martial art. At the same time, he enriched and fully developed mantis boxing by drawing the strong points of others and made mantis boxing a systematic school of martial arts. After decades of efforts, Mr. Zhang Bingdou becomes an accomplished Kungfu master and establishes his position in the history of mantis boxing.
In 1979, Mr. Zhang Bingdou attended the First China Traditional Wushu Competition and won the championship for mantis boxing. During the contest, his unique movement skills not only won applauses of the spectators but the attention of Xu Shiyou, a PLA general who was watching the match. After the competition, Mr. Zhang Bingdou was accepted as a member of the China Martial Arts Masters Society and went to Beijing to perform for leaders of the State Council and the State Sports Administration. The performance was highly spoken of by the national leaders. Mr. Zhang Bingdou was invited to perform at the 4th National Games.
In 1982, Mr. Zhang Bingdou was invited as the action designer by a production team from Shandong Television Station for the TV play series entitled “Wu Song”. Together with another Kungfu master Yu Chenghui, he carefully designed all the action scenes. Mr. Zhang also successfully played the role of Taoist Wang nicknamed “Flying Centipede”. The TV series caused a sensation in China and the viewers were deeply impressed by his performance.
To carry forward the traditional Chinese martial arts, Mr. Zhang spares no effort in exploring and compiling materials on mantis boxing. He conducted careful study and absorbed the technics used in traditional orthodox mantis boxing and wrote many essays on mantis boxing. In 1983, the “Knowledge and Life” magazine carried his novel entitled “The Historical Romance of Mantis Boxing” in instalments. This novel tells about the development of mantis boxing, and depicts excellent plots and eulogizes traditional virtues of Chinese martial arts. It is an excellent works integrating historical and literary value.
In 1985, Mr. Zhang Bingdou’s correspondence class received great support from the Shandong Martial Arts Association and achieved success. He received more than 3,000 students from 30 plus cities, provinces and autonomous regions across China.
Mr. Zhang Bingdou became the center of attention in the martial arts world at home and abroad because of his achievements and noble character. In 1987, he was invited by America’s Hualin Temple to give discourses in Orlando and San Francisco. He expounded and summarized the skills and theories of mantis boxing by combining his predecessors’ experience, his own practice and modern physiology and kinematics. His discourses caused a sensation in America and other countries. Media in America, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan reported his deeds. China’s authoritative magazine “New Kungfu Master” put Mr. Zhang Bingdou’s deeds in its cover heading entitled “Zhang Bingdou Brings Martial Arts to USA” and gave a detailed report of Mr. Zhang’s theory, moral character and technics. Mr. Zhang later went to give many discourses in America at the invitation of American martial arts circles.
To cultivate local talents and to create learning conditions for learners from other regions, Mr. Zhang Bingdou cooperated with Laixi city government and established Qingdao Laixi Kunshan Martial Arts School in Pumu of Laixi. It is a school named after Mr. Zhang’s grandfather Li Kunshan. It offers students lessons of both culture and martial arts technics. Mr. Zhang Bingdou himself assumes the position of headmaster and chief instructor. With the support of the local government and the efforts of Mr. Zhang, the school has made great achievements and won favorable comments from all walks. So far, they have reached exchange agreements with many institutions including America’s Hualin Temple Martial Arts School, North Mantis Boxing Academy and Shangdi Stream Karate School. Each year, large numbers of students come to the school to conduct technical exchange and study martial arts.
In 1997, the Qingdao municipal government produced a special documentary on Mr. Zhang Bingdou’s deeds for Sino-American cultural exchange to further expand the influence of Chinese martial arts. Mr. Zhang Bingdou’s deeds were also reported by the Shandong TV’s “Sports” and “Shandong News”, as well as newspapers and magazines such as “Workers’ Daily”, “Qilu Evening News”, “Qingdao Daily”, “Chinese Martial Arts” and “Popular Film”. In 2000, Mr. Zhang Bingdou was invited to attend the Second International Martial Arts Championship sponsored by the North America Martial Arts Federation and he received a “Lifetime Achievement Award”.
Mr. Zhang Bingdou asks his students to learn both culture and martial arts technics. He said that martial arts are by no means vulgar; it is rather an embodiment of noble ethics and profound philosophy. He believes that one can only find the true meaning of martial arts by using the mind and the body at the same time.
As a Kungfu master, Mr. Zhang Bingdou is not only known for his superb skills and righteousness, he is also well versed in literature. He wrote many theses on martial arts, such as “Lecture on Taiji Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing”, “Collected Works on Taiji Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing”, “Taiji Plum Blossom Mantis Boxing” (Vol. 1 and 2), “Cha Boxing” (collective edition). Besides, he also wrote novels such as “The Historical Romance of Mantis Boxing” (Vol. 1 and 2) and “The World of Love and Hatred”. The circulation of “The Historical Romance of Mantis Boxing” has exceeded 4 million.
Mr. Zhang Bingdou is consultant to martial arts associations of Shandong University, the Ocean University of China and Qingdao University and the America’s Hualin Temple Martial Arts Association. He is also a member of the Municipal Committee of the 7th Political Consultative Conference of Qingdao. His name has been included in the “Glossary of Modern Chinese Kungfu Masters” and “Glossary of Shandong Writers”.
Hongwu Cultural Communications Co., Ltd is a company specialized in the research and development of authentic Chinese and foreign Taiji plum blossom mantis boxing, Mr. Zhang Bingdou being the president. Wushu is by no means vulgar; rather it is an embodiment of noble ethics and profound philosophy, so is Taiji plum blossom mantis boxing. It is a priceless cultural legacy of the Chinese nation. The company will make concerted efforts with friends at home and abroad to study and carry forward the profound culture of Taiji plum blossom mantis boxing so that it will benefit the whole world.