The Escort Agency is a decorous site, where those from the Martial World congregate. Those who join our agency must observe the rules and prohibitions listed below:-
1) Anyone who joins the Agency has a duty to proliferate knowledge of Chinese martial arts and advance the quality of life of the people
2) Anyone who joins the Agency must revere their Master and Elders, commit to memory lessons learned, respect their colleagues, safeguard comrades, respect the benevolent, interchange knowledge and progress together
3) Anyone who joins the Agency, must first and foremost abide by the martial code of morals, practice the virtues of martial arts, shirk not from martial arts practice, persevere to achieve success.
4) Anyone who joins the Agency, must meticulously respect the trade, be loyal to the appointment, be industrious and not indolent, protection of consignment is paramount
5) Anyone who joins the Agency, must observe four prohibitions – forbidden to oppress with one’s martial skills and create disturbances, forbidden to disrespect the Master’s teachings and slander colleagues, forbidden to teach others before one’s knowledge of martial skills is complete, forbidden to violate the law and regulations, bringing disrepute to the martial front.
And some rules etc., from a book in another Armed Escort Agency:-
Ten Primary Guild Rules
1) Forbidden to deceive master and destroy forebears 2) Forbidden to treat predecessors with contempt 3) Forbidden to upset the code of the martial world 4) Forbidden to raise the sluice and release the water 5) Forbidden to climb on ashes and upset cages (cause havoc?) 6) Forbidden to covertly engage in private security work 7) Forbidden to upset guild rules 8) Forbidden to engage in villainous activities, burglary, malevolence, debauchery 9) Forbidden to shepherd brigands 10) Forbidden to form cliques and cheat people
yenchin noted that:-
The 10 Guild Rules... look like the rules of the "Canal Gang" (漕幫, Cao Bang), which later derived to the "Green Gang" (青幫)
In addition, yenchin explained that:-
4) means doing selfish acts resulting in harm on others 5) means spilling out secrets to outsiders
Also 爬灰 (or 扒灰) has another meaning in Chinese: incest between a man and his daughter in-law (though it seems that this meaning isn't used in this rule).
Rule 6) is kind of strange as the Canal Gang and members were also called 安清, so it seems like "Forbidden to privately sell out gang members". Why "privately" is added seems confusing to me. (If I sell out my fellow gang brother in the public, does it count? )
I did another search on the web and found that some websites list this rule as "盜賣安清" (Rule 6) and explain it as stealing and selling property of the guild.
These 10 do's and 10 don'ts are from the same book as the Guild Rules.
1) Be filial to parents 2) Be loyal to the country 3) Be respectful to elders/seniors 4) Be fraternal to colleagues and friends 5) Husband and wife should be harmonious 6) Preserve trust between friends 7) Observe amity with neighbours 8) Practice being true to oneself 9) Cultivate virtues diligently 10) Grant expediencies to the public
1) Forbidden for one disciple to seek two masters 2) Forbidden for a father and the son to learn under the same master 3) Forbidden for a master to seek tutelage from another master in another school 4) Forbidden for siblings to be in different generations (in the same school) 5) Forbidden to recommence accepting disciples once registration had closed 6) Forbidden for a master to accept new disciples after the disciples ceased accepting students 7) Forbidden for members to introduce others as members into the society 8) Forbidden for a master to re-accept a disciple after the disciple had been passed over to another teacher. 9) Forbidden for a member to berate another member 10) Forbidden for a Incense Head (Head of Ceremonies) to overstep his bounds and be conceited
Expected skills of on involved in the armed escort service include:-
Fighting skills - (three types mentioned here, but I am only familiar with XingYi Quan 形意拳 – At Will Fist), etc.
Weapons – Blade, Spear, FenShui Lan, YanYue Spike (not familiar with these two) Emei Spike, Plum Blossom Scholar's Brush, etc.
Darts – (various types named here, but I am not familiar with them)
Others – Flying on Eve and Running on Walls (I believe this refers to qing gong 轻功, Light skill), (not familiar with this one but I think it refers to being able to steal into buildings), foot battle, horseback battle, chariot battle, water battle, etc.
yenchin clarified that:-
"The "blade" you mention is 六合刀, or "Six-Directions Sabre", a sabre used by practitioners of Xingyiquan (形意拳)."
yenchin also explained that:-
"The 緊背華裝弩 is a short, loaded crossbow tied to the user's back, pointed up, with the release mechanism linked with a cord at anywhere handy. Likely for a surprise when the user is bowing. I was trying to find information on the Fenshui Lan and the Yanyue Spike since they sound like interesting unorthodox weapons. I bumped into a couple of sites and found that the information on the martial arts in the exhibit seems to be based on the memoirs of an old guard called "李堯臣" (Li Yao Chen) who worked at the 會友 Agency. His article (and variations of it) can be found all over the net."
A martial artist in an Escort Agency is expected to be well versed in the 18 types of weapons; but the most important ones are the single broad blade and long spear. When the Guard tangles with a robber, is often close quarter fighting or night fights. As such the Guard will often have on his body a short weapon, very often a single broad blade which is ideal for close quarter fighting and fighting at night.
The long weapon chosen is often the spear which is suitable for fighting on chariots and horses. Of course, the Guard would also have on him various sorts of darts. The darts used are often one catty (600g) per piece; when forced to use these, the damage they inflict is severe.
Precious/ostentatious swords are often not used in actual fighting, they are more for decoration purposes or for personal protection.
While Guards use rather traditional weapons and familiar fighting styles, when new weapons are introduced, the Guards will master these weapons very quickly. Within a few years of their introduction the Guards were able to use rifles, revolvers etc. and even became the escorts’ weapons of choice, thereby striking fear into the hearts of potential opponents.
This display was from the Tong Xing Gong Armed Escort Agency, and lists the sequence relating to the ceremony of Master Wang (the chief) accepting a new disciple.
1) The ceremony of Master Wang Accepting a Disciple commences. 2) Master Wang offer incense to Lord Guan Yu, (the Chinese God of War), and (the memorial tablets of) Master Wang's deceased masters 3) Disciple Zhang kowtows to Master Wang and kowtows to Lord Guan Yu, and the memorial tablets of Master Wang's deceased masters. 4) Master Wang and Mrs. Wang are invited to take the seat of honour. 5) Zhang kowtows to Master Wang and kowtows to Mrs. Wang 6) Zhang reads out his card (requesting to be disciple) and hands it to Master Wang 7) Master Wang receives the card, then intones the expected Code of Conduct/Rules and List of Taboos, or read out the Agency’s Rules of Association. 8) (VIP) Guests are introduced (to Zhang), and similarly, Master Wang’s Brothers in Arms, and (a representative of Zhang’s) brothers in arms make a speech (of welcome) 9) End of ceremony.
This display is from another Armed Escort Agency, and the sequence is pretty much the same.
This is a letter of recommendation, with the introducer being Guo Cheng. Guo Cheng was Ping Yao City's Bagua Style practitioner. This card dated back to 1967, and is a replica of the original. Guo Cheng would have been about 76 years old at this time.
Close up #1 - Guo Cheng's name is on the second line on the left hand side panel.
Close up #2 - the name Guo Cheng can be clearly seen on the panel on the right
The following two exhibits detail the decline of the armed escort business.
The decline of the Armed Escort Agencies began in 1900, when the Qing government began to examine the experiences of the western countries, and established a police force. Residences of government officials were patrolled by the police.
At the same time, railroads were built throughout the country* so many traders no longer require the services of the armed escort agencies – this was especially so during the end of the Qing Dynasty, when the Chinese traders emulated the west by using the co-operative system.
The armed escort agency cargo transport business declined and the family protection part of the business was gradually replaced by personal security guards. Eventually, by 1922 the last armed escort agency in China, Hui You 会友镖局 closed shop, thus bringing an end to the chapter on the history of Armed Escort Agencies in China.
*Not quite true, only some parts of the country had rail links, but then China is a big country.
1) Change in the system of business in China 2) Emergence of rail roads 3) Establishment of a police force
Ingredients include pearl 珍珠, frankincense 乳香 (this ingredient is required in quite a few formulae), safflower 红花, musk 麝香 (from musk deer) and fossils 龙骨 (apologies to archeologists).
Safflower (not saffron), if taken in (relatively) large quantities by pregnant woman, may cause abortion. This herb is often used in palace intrigues when one concubine is jealous of the pregnancy of another and desires to cause an abortion.
yenchin explained that this formula, to be taken for internal injuries, is a topical application.
This is to be kept in a sealed ceramic container so as not to allow 走气 - loosely translated, it means to lose its air/smell - it means to prevent its volatile oils from escaping.
Ingredients include musk 麝香, pearl 珍珠, amber 琥珀, frankincense 乳香, cinnabar 朱砂.
Cinnabar is a compound of mercury and therefore is red in colour and is poisonous.
When pearl is used as medicine, it is usually finely ground - but it is sold whole, never in powder form. Pearls for this use are never the perfectly round ones - those are much more valuable and are used as jewellery, not medicine. Pearl is also administered to reduce fever.
By the way, I thought this snippets of information on certain types of medicines would help add an air of authenticity for the reader. I am sure the authors would not mind these trivia.
I saw that the ingredients were to be ground into powder form, and with the honeycomb (蜂房) I thought that was the binding ingredient to make them into pills. I just looked up, apparently, the honeycomb is an antiseptic.
So this formula is to be ground into powder form, then applied to the wound, most probably to help stop the bleeding for starters, and kill germs (antiseptic) etc.