Yue Fei

(born Feb. 15, 1103 A.D. in Tang Yin Hsien, Henan province. Died in prison Jan. 27, 1142 A.D. [Dec. 9 1141 A.D. Chinese calendar]) Yueh Fei was also named Yue Peng-Chu. He was born in Honan province at Tang-Yin. At the age of 20 he joined the army assigned to General Tsung-Tse. His went on mission against pirates on both the Yellow River and the YangTze River. In honor of his exceptional skills the Emperor Kao-Tsung wrote in his own hand a banner stating, "Loyal and Patriotic Yue Fei".

This was not the first significant writing for Yue Fei as his mother had branded "Patriotic to Country and loyal to the last" on his back. Now his major call was at hand for Yue lived in a violent time. Mongols had conquered much of Northern China, pushing the Chinese people so hard they had actually re-located their capitol to the South (hence the "Southern Sung Dynasty"). Now Yue made it his personal responsibility to rescue former emperors Huei and Chin and to recover the lost lands of the Han. He struggled against and defeated Tartar hordes led by their general WuShu. At Yen City the Tartars were completely routed and had to flee to Chu Hsien Chen. His fame attracted heroes from all over the Empire and boosted the moral of the people.

However political machinations were rolling along. While Yue was directing an attack at the Tartar capital of Huang-Lung, peace was announced by Chin Kuei, Minister of the Sung and a famous appeaser. As Yue withdrew Chin Kuei added a devastating twist: an order from the Emperor commanding Yue's execution. Before it could be reversed it was enacted. When the next Emperor, Shao, assumed the throne Yue was declared a national hero and given the name WuMu and the title of Marquis. In the History of the Sung he is remembered as "a brilliant and remarkable young man who excelled at both literary and military achievements in his generation." He left "Man Chiang Hung" and "Wu Yu Tzu Meng Chi" as expressions of his patriotism.

Yue Fei also became something of a folk hero for martial artists due to his courage and loyalty. He could very well have saved China had he been allowed to wage war in his own way. The Sung had started as a great dynasty for martial artists begun by one itself. But Yue's death was the triumph of policy over justice. Since then, in the best classical tradition, he has been associated with many achievements which might or might not have historical merit - something like the "George Washington slept here" type of thing. He has been called the founder of Xing I, Eight Pieces of Brocade, Eagle Claw style, The Six Harmony staff and, of course, his own family Yue Fist which is still practiced today.

You can visist Yeuh Fei's grave in West Lake, Hangzhou.


Front entrance to Yue Fei's tomb in Hangzhou