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Zhou Tong (Song Dynasty)

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  • Zhou Tong (Song Dynasty)


    I've written to you in the past about my article on Zhou Tong, the archery teacher of Song Dynasty General Yue Fei (1103-1142). I have since then expanded and split the article into three separate pages:

    I hope to write a book about Zhou's historical, folklore, and martial arts references in the future. I figure my book might attract history buffs and martial artists enamored with Yue Fei, as well as those who are fans of the "Water Margin" novels (since folktales and wuxia novels cast him as the teacher of the bandits Wu Song, Lin Chong, and Lu Junyi).

    Anyway, I have been corresponding with many experts in Chinese history, folklore, Literature, and martial arts in my quest for any information about Zhou Tong. One of these people was Stephen Selby, author of Chinese Archery (ISBN 9622095011). He has helped me understand a few things regarding the archery theme in Yue Fei's biography and other subjects related to the process of research in general. Stephen said that he asked his friend, a senior monk from Shaolin, about Zhou and that he knew who he was. However, he didn't claim Zhou was a monk from Shaolin.

    I've noticed Eagle Claw Grandmasters like Leung Shum and Lilly Lau claim in books and magazine interviews that "Jow Tong" was a "Sil lum monk". But there is no historical evidence to support this at all. The oldest known record that mentions Zhou's name was written in 1345 and it only says he taught archery to Yue Fei. It never once says he was from Shaolin or that he knew any kung fu for that matter. None of Yue's later historical or fictional bios say this either. I personally believe this was a modern day legend passed down by practitioners of Great-Grandmaster Lau Fat Mang's lineage. Whether this claim was made by Lau Fat Mang's modern-day predecessors is unknown to me. However, I have yet to see a single document that was written prior to the Qing Dynasty that mentions Zhou Tong's name in correlation with Shaolin or even Eagle Claw itself!

    Having said that, the reason I am writing is because I know you are friends with numerous Shaolin monks. Do you think it would be possible for you to ask them if they have heard any folktales about Zhou? I would be interested in what they have to say. I'm trying to get a general consensus from different pockets of Shaolin monks to see whether they believe he was a Shaolin monk himself or just a layman. Chances are most of them will either know his name, but no tales, or just say "Zhou who?" I'm sure you wouldn't be able to ask them until the next time you return to China. I'm just asking in advance. Let me know. Thanks.

    I know nothing of this historical figure, but I'll bounce it off of Shi De Qian the next time I see him. Unfortunately, I had dinner with him a few days before I got this email. I may be back in Shaolin, soon, though....
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)

  • #2

    very little is actually written about the historical Zhou Tong.

    However, there is an abundance of "legendary" material available about him, which makes it very difficult to clearly distinguish who he really was.

    The only reason his name is still known is because of his association with General Yue Fei.



    • #3
      I have actually read that general Yue Fei, as well, had no in depth knowlage of martial arts. That's to say he wasn't a master. Just atalented general and archer. That the martial arts master Yue Fei is just more "legend"...
      "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest


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