Liu Shi Jun (19th century)
Liu Shi Jun was born in Guzhuang village in Xiongxian district of the Zhili province. Coming from a very poor family he was forced to earn his leaving from a very young age. He started training in Wushu in his early youth and by the time he was 20 years old he already had a fine level of experience in martial arts. It was at that age when he met the great "eagle claw master", monk Daoji. Their first encounter was the starting point of Liu Shi Jun's training in the eagle claw system. Liu Shi Jun continued his study with another great master of the system, monk Facheng.
After many years of the hard training he left Fa Cheng and traveled to Beijing to teach his art. He fought many times with various fighters of his time. His victories made him famous in Northern China and he became known as one of the three greatest fighters of the capital along with Yang Banghou (Taiji) and Dong Laogong (Bagua). He was called to teach at the Imperial Palace where he applied a very tough method of training. He used to ask his students to attack or defend themselves as he applied the technique wanted to demonstrate at full contact. After a few tries students understood the essence of each technique by experiencing it on their own body. Those who where afraid to get hit or to fight at full contact didn't stand a chance to study with Liu Shu Jun. His method of training will set off some great fighters like JiDe, Ji Xu, Xu Liu, Liu Xue Zheng, Li Zheng Sheng and Ge Bing. The famous Liu De Quan (also known as "the big spear" ) will also study under him. After years in Beijng Liu Shi Jun returned at his village where he continued to teach well into his old age. Because of his exceptional ability with the staff he was also known as "the great staff".
Liu Shu Jun chose his grandson Liu Cheng You to pass down his knowledge before his death at age of 80. Having left a great work behind him he was the first to teach the eagle claw system openly starting a new area of wingspread this traditional system.
The stories being told about Liu Shu Jun are many and it is worth mentioning a couple. The first one is about his first meeting with the Monk Dao Ji. When Liu Shi Jun was 20 years old he was practicing Wu-Shu every day and his ability was great. One day during his practice close to a temple just outside his village the great eagle-claw teacher, Monk Dao Ji happened to be there, young Liu Shu Jun tried to impress him, but he earned negative comment: Dao Ji told him "Your Gong-Fu is good but worthless for real combat" . Young Sun became infuriated with the insult and he attached the monk who countered his strikes with great ease and with a lighting fast strike he neutralized young Sun. It was then that Liu Shu Jun study of the eagle-claw system began and continued with Fa Cheng.
The second story is about a fight Liu Shi Jun had, at the age of 60 before he left the capital for his village. At the time there was a man from Shan Dong province who was trying to be famous as a fighter. First he challenged the schools Yang Banghou and Dong Laogong they both refused and as they said: "A victory over an unknown man would add nothing to their fame but a possible defeat would be dishonoring" and thus they didn't pay any attention to his challenge. Right after the fighter went to Liu Shi Jun's school and challenged him using insults. Liu's calmness made his students think that he was afraid but their teacher was thinking that he should act as teacher's Yang and Dong did. The ambitions fighter continued to provoke him with insults then Jun came closer to observe the leg techniques the fighter was demonstrating. As Jun was watching his fast kicks, he spit at his legs. The fighter geared with surprise but Liu Shi Jun, without losing his temper, he remarked that the fighter stood in the way of his spit. The fighter then attacked Jun in fierce with a high kick aimed at the head. Jun grasped his leg and then threw him away. He came closer to the surprised and injured the fighter and said: "I am Liu Shi Jun, how you dare you challenge me with so bad Gong-Fu. If you dare stand-up and fight." The man from Shandong run away humiliated.
Judging from this particular story we can conclude that Jun apart from his exceptional technique he had thorough knowledge about fighting tactics and psychology.