History and Origins
Taizuquan (太祖拳, Great Ancestor Boxing) is often segregated into the Zhao Taizu (referring to Zhao Kuangyin, First Emperor of the Song Dynasty) and Ming Taizu (referring to Zhu Yuanzhang, First Emperor of the Ming Dynasty). Whereas Zhao Taizuquan is often referred to as Chang Quan (太祖长拳, Long Boxing) and Ming Taizuquan is also known as Hong Quan (洪拳）.
In Fujian, one of the oldest styles especially in the south (Min Nan) areas is referred to as Taizuquan, with a derivative style often noted as Wuzuquan (五祖拳). The main area of concentration of Taizuquan is in Zhangzhou, which is home to many different styles as well Hakka peoples and Quanzhou areas.
There are in these areas alone of 20 different branches of Taizuquan (in this case referring to Southern Taizuquan).
Ming Taizu, Zhu Yuanzhang was a known leader of the Red Turbans ( 紅巾軍) also sometimes referred to the Ming Jiao, 明教), which was group descendant from the White Lotus Society (白莲教).
After the fall of the Ming many headed southwards from Nanjing. In Southern Fujian and Guangdong province various movements occured which were commensurate with supporting a Ming return within the Manchurian led period of the Qing dynasty.
The Tiandihui ( 天地会, Heaven and Earth Society) was extremely prevalant in the Zhangzhou regions of Fujian aided by the Monk Wan Ti Xi (万提喜), who had recruited some locals Lu Mao, Li Amin and Fang Quan during the Qianlong Period (1711-1799), This movement also spread across nearby Zhangpu and Pinghe counties. The Tiandihui and the earlier Red turbans are related in 1854 were incidents commenced in Shilong village and spread across the South.
Many of the participants of the various groups and activities were descendants from the previous imperial families. Some suggest to the earlier Hakka from Song period, whilst others perceive it from the Ming Dynasty. Although much of the boxing was derived from the North, the system had to be altered. These changes were meant to firstly deal with the different conditions in the Southern landscape compared to the Northern Central plains but more importantly to reduce the learning time so that members of such groups could grasp combat principles faster and more directly applicable within such a short period. It is those early movements that combined aspects of Daoism, traditional culture, Ming imperialists, Hakka and like figures which set the stage for the development of a boxing system, Taizuquan. Much of the symbolism and practices associated with the southern martial arts are full of White Lotus/Red Turbans/Tiandihui traditions which are then from ancestors within Daoism and other religious/social movements of the past.
Taizuquan is suitable whether in its Song Taizu, Ming Taizu or even on the basis that it was to become Ancestral (where Taizu means Great/Primary ancestor) as one of the most representative of Fujian Boxing methods.
Taizuquan is the classical boxing method of the Quanzhou and Zhangzhou areas of Southern Fujian. One of the earliest practitioners is said to be Ming loyalist, Zheng Li （郑礼). As a member of the anti Qing activities he practiced boxing methods from the central plains and is said to have simplified into effective methods that could be applied to develop others in the societies.