Some were crawling away like pigs and some simply couldn’t get up, lying
around, moaning. However, a short while later, the Huang’s came
back again, of course with more help. Around three to four hundred people
came with their own weapons in hand, running towards Liu Shui. Apparently,
the large crowd gave the Huang’s more confidence. It seemed like
that whoever was in the way would be dead for sure. Liu Shui was not
at all stunned by the crowd or the deafening noise it made. He was well
prepared for this.
“You bullies! I will discipline you guys today!”
Wherever the staff hit, few had a chance to even defend against it.
Those who were lucky enough to avoid the staff tip were too scared or
shocked to even lift their weapons to fight back. Moments later,
the crowd had disappeared to nowhere. Only the injured were lying
all over the place.
Liu saw that all of them were scared and would like to end the fight
right at the point. However, on a second thought, he thought those
bullies wouldn’t stop there. They might be scared today or for
a few days because of his presence, but after a while, they would come
back. This is like how people forget about their pain when the wound
Having made up his mind, Liu proceeded into the Huang’s village. The
gang members hiding in the village and on seeing Liu following them into
the village thought he was there to kill them, so ran madly for their
lives. Liu was not there for the kill. He was looking for the seniors
of the village, who had little idea of the bullying towards their neighbours.
Liu met the seniors of the Huang village, explained what had happened
to Liu family’s village and asked for a friendly relation between the
two villages. The seniors were shocked at the news and scolded the Gang
members. Besides making sincere apologies to the Liu Village, they agreed
to develop and maintain a good relation between the two villages as they
had in the good old days. They dined and wined.
After this, the Liu’s family certainly thought even more highly of Liu
Shui. They collected money and planned to celebrate Liu’s birthday
extravagantly. However, Liu, as usual, declined to have such a
big celebration, saying that whenever the family was in trouble the rich
should contribute toward the finance, the strong should handle the labour
work; and he just simply did what he should as a family member.
However, Liu did not see this as a long term fix. As the Liu village
did not have a team of guards to guard it, it was vulnerable to any attack.
Having seen how powerful and effective the staff was against the gangs,
he decided to teach the village folks how to use the staff. The village
was full of joy on hearing the news!
Liu Shui mastered the Zhou Family Staff, which has four famous sets:
Wu Xing (Five Elements), Viper (Poisonous Snake), Ox and Devil Horse
catching Cicada. Each of which has its own training manual and distinctive
ways to handle the staff. The Zhou Family staff is single-ended staff
method, different from normal staffs used in martial arts. Further, a
normal staff weighs only around 4 pounds, but the staff required for
practice in the Zhou Family Staff should weigh a bit less than 9 pounds.
The staff is also over 2 metres long. It requires Qi control rather
than simple muscular strength. Therefore, unless you have mastered
all 4 sets of the Zhou Family staff, it is not an easy thing to use this
staff in a fight in your favour. Among all of the sets, the Devil
Horse is the most famous.
The way Liu used his staff became famous throughout the area after he
had single-handedly tamed the Huang village gang with only a staff. All
the folks in the Liu village worshiped him and started to call the “Devil
Horse catching Cicada Staff set” they had learned from Liu, the “Liu
Shui Staff set”. However, due to the students’ gift, Liu only taught
them three sets of the Zhou Family Staff. Liu understood that martial
arts was a double bladed sword – it could be a powerful weapon in the
wrong hands. Liu had this rule of three ‘No’s’: He did not teach
those who are not gifted; did not teach those who didn’t have the right
moral standard, nor would he teach anyone who did not respect their teacher
or seniors. Due to the restrictions he placed on his students, the most
famous Zhou Devil Horse staff set was probably not taught to anyone.
There are still over 100,000 Zhou Family students in Hong Kong but none
were taught the Devil Horse Staff.
As far as I (author) know, there are only two in Hong Kong who WERE
taught. One is the well known in Hong Kan (aka Hung Hum), the famous
Master Ye Rui (aka Yip Shui) and the other Zhu Guan Hua (aka Chu Gwong
Hua). Master Ye still keeps a staff used by Liu Shui. It is over 2 metres
long and weighs a little under 9 pounds. I was lucky enough to be shown
the Devil Horse Staff. Unfortunately, as a layman to martial arts,
I couldn’t make detailed notes of the way it was used in practice. From
what I could see, at the beginning, Master Ye held the staff right at
end, two hands at 70cm apart and lifted the staff so that it formed a
90 degree angle with his arm. Considering how heavy the staff is and
the way he held it, this is not something that normal people can perform.
During the whole set, the staff was used like a dragon swimming in the
sea, smooth, quick and powerful. My eyes had a hard time trying to follow
the staff movements. You can feel the strength it requires. At the end
of the set, Master Ye hit the wall with five short but quick stabs. Immediately,
five holes became visible with certain depth on the wall.
It is as real as it was said.
Translation by Ada Yang.
All names are in Mandarin Pin Yin form.