From 1912 to 1949 in mainland China. This period saw the prominence of the kung fu masters. Here is a list of the eight most famous Chinese kung fu owners at the time:
1- Yip Man
Yip Man (1893 –1972), also spelled as Ip Man, was a well-known Wing Chun master. He taught the Wing Chun in Hong Kong in the 1950s. He was the first person to open a Wing Chun school to the masses and his effort also brought Wing Chun to its eminence today. He also nurtured famous martial artists including Bruce Lee. He passed away in 1972 and was praised as “Grandmaster” by his disciples.
2. Li Shuwen
Li Shuwen (1862-1934) is famous for his superb martial arts skill. He was born in Cangzhou city, which is known as “Hometown of Martial Arts”. It was said that he was never defeated in his life. He was good at Bajiquan, Piguazhang and spear. Due to his excellent boxing and spear technique, he got the reputation of “never need to strike twice” and “the God of the Spear.”
3. Shang Yunxiang
Shang Yunxiang (1864 -1937) is a martial artist, Xingyiquan master and founder of Shang style Xingyiquan. He first learned Xingyiquan skills from Li Cunyi and later Guo Yunshen. He was thin and weak and was less than 1.6 meters tall, however, his fame spread all over the martial art world for his “Half Step Bengquan”, “Qi Full of Belly”, “Big Spear” and excellent combat ability. He was hired by Li Lianying, the Head Eunuch of Qing Dynasty, to guard his courtyard, worked as a Biaotou (headman of a biaoju) in Beijing and Baoding.
4. Sun Lutang
Sun Lutang (1860-1933) was a renowned martial artist during Late Qing Dynasty and early Mingguo era. He was Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, Taichiquan master, and the founder of Sun style Taijiquan. He has also published many books on the theory of different martial styles he learned.
5. Li Jinglin
Li Jinglin (1885-1931) was both a martial art master and an army general during the Chinese warlord era. He learned Wudang Sword from Song Weiyi and later obtained Taichiquan from Yang Luchan. These two martial art styles helped him develop skillful sword techniques and got the nickname “China’s First Sword.”
6. Zhang Ce
Zhang Ce (1866-1934) was a well-known Tongbeiquan master. He created his own style Tongbeiquan named Taiji&Wuxing Tongbeiquan. He obtained great fame from his many victories in real fightings, hence got the nickname of “Bei Sheng”, or “Sage of Tongbei”.
7. Du Xinwu
Du Xinwu (1869 -1953) was a Chinese martial artist who developed his own internal style Kung Fu – Ziranmen, also known as Natural Boxing. It is a Northern internal style Kung Fu taught together with Qigong breathing techniques. When studied in Japan, Du Xinwu defeated Japanese sumo and got the name of “God-legs”. He served as Sun Yat-sen’s bodyguard and protected him in important events.
8 Wang Ziping
Wang Ziping (1881–1973) was a Muslim practitioner of Chinese Martial Arts from Cangzhou – “Hometown of Chinese Martial Arts.” He has been practicing martial art since a child and was good at Chaquan and Taichi. Wang won fights against Russian, American, German, and Japanese martial artists. He was also the vice-chairman of the Chinese Wushu Association.