Xingtai a city in Hebei Province, with its long history and abundant local culture is consisted of the main components of the culture of the Yan Zhao (two important Dynasties in Zhan Guo Period, i.e. Warring States Period) in Chinese history. Meanwhile, its culture has also been an important source to the long traditional culture of China.
Xingtai City in ancient time was named Da Lu Ze(i.e. Water with a Big Land). It contained a very large area in Chun Qiu Dynasty(i.e. the Spring and Autumn Period) and Zhan Guo Period(i.e. War States Period) in Chinese history. In those periods of ancient China, there was a very big lake even like a sea with a huge land inside it named Yun Meng Ze in southern district of Yunna, so was the north, i.e. the "Water with a Big Land" in Xingtai. This City area had instructed several famous Tai Ji Quan experts such as Wang Qihe , Dong Yingjie , Cui Yishi , Jiang Tingxuan and Liu Renhe etc.
The ancient "Da Lu Ze" in Xingtai was not only the paradise for lots of different species of plants growing both in land and water, but also the kingdom for various kinds of birds, an area with an abundant food resource such as fish, rice and lotus roots. There were lots of birds, of which the number may be exceeded the total sum of aquatic birds living in Poyang Lake and Dongting Lake nowadays. While lots of birds were flying in the sky, they looked like a big piece of cloud; when they were going downwards, they seemed to be as a huge wall falling down to the ground. This land had kept in the same situation with its water entering into the lake from three channels, from the east, south and west, and going out of the northern part of the continent before the year of 1963. There was a poet named Li Jing in Yuan Dynasty writing such a poem named The Wave of Water with a Big Land, said that" How powerful the thousands of layers upon layers of water wave, as nine water headstreams all come together in one lake here. When it is calm the surface looks like a mirror reflecting the light. While it is irritating, that is probably impossible to discern the various characters or moving directions of the wave in the lake. In spring, a number of fish jump out of the surface of the lake in the drizzle, sparrows flying alertly with the wind in the evenfall. In the moonlight, among the aquatic plants, near the bank planting willows, the fishermen are singing the praise song for the lotus flowers while sailing." There is another poem written by Wang Yan named The Nan Fung River, "The wave moves toward the center like a drawing from the far, all kinds of fishes and birds strolling about at the surface of the lake. A thousand thatching are built near the water, the fragrance of rice flowers spreading away around ten li (half of one mile) from the calm lake".
When we talk about the "Water with a Big Land ", there was a village located at the center of the land inside the lake has to be mentioned. Since the village was located in an isle of the center of the lake, it was named a "Village Around the Water'' at that time. This village had existed long before Tang Dynasty. Most of the people in this village made their living by fishing and making the lotus leaves to baskets and fans for sale. In Ming dynasty, it was also named the village of "Lotus Leaf", for it was situated in an extruding place, shaping like a lotus leaf surrounded by vast waters,. So there is a saying about its name: "The dew on the lotus leaf, lotus flowers blossom out". In Shunzhi Period, the residents living over there once intended to build a tower but in vain, whereas usually called as "tower platform" on this little island. If it said that the "Water with a Big Land" was like a big eye of the south of Jizhou (one of nine states in ancient China), then the 'village was its pupil of the eye.
This village was a precious place quite famous for its people. As a saying in Chinese legends, it was blessed by the heaven, helping foster lots of talents. For instance, two famous poets, Liu Yongxi and his son Liu Shuqi, who wrote many beautiful poems praising the "Water with a Big Land", were born in this village. The famous master of Tai Ji Quan, Wang Qihe was also born here. In July 4,1938, Deng Xiaoping visited the village for an inspection to shun the Japanese, and stayed in Liu Jia Tai of that village for several nights. There is a gulf named "Xingjia" stands at the throat of backward position of the "Water with a Big Land" and it is a good strategic spot to control battling ships through the channel. This gulf is also called "on land dock" because of its shallowness. The people of the village lived a peaceful life. At night, the honk of wild geese could even been heard several miles away. There is a poem saying, "At the other side of the bank, willows stand and birds fly, and the fiver goes straight into the lake. The aquatic plants flourish after the spring rain. It is not happy without fish every meal, so, with a pole in hand, to fish by the bank".
However, as time goes by, the beautiful natural scenery of the village does not exist any more. The ancient waterway has been replaced by lots of highways and road networks, modem factories spreading around the isle. The picture of the peaceful village can only be recalled in memory nowadays. Even though the environment has been changed so much, with its long history and ancient civilization, there are still many outstanding masters who love the traditional culture, like Li Jianfang, standing as the successors of Kung-fu.
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