Ho Chan, or the "Righteous and Honorable Fist," or the "Boxers," is based upon concepts of freedom and providing power to the common people. With a closed fist as its symbol, Ho-Chan is a style used by peasants and criminals alike, all seeking to protect themselves against authority imposed against their desires. It is most commonly found among crusaders, martial-oriented rogues, shou disciples, and monks with more revolutionary tendencies.
History and Founder
The history of Ho Chan is based on the downfall of the Sha-Hai monastery. Not long after its fall, many masters of the Sha-Hai style spread out, seeking to do good where they could, and to spread the teachings of their style along with its underlying philosophy. However, some of the students of these great masters, many of them mighty practitioners of the martial arts themselves, decided to forsake the relatively peaceful traditions of the Sha-Hai, and instead turned to the more practical aspects of combat, as a way of arming peasant warriors against those who would oppress them, without making the practice overly complicated with scholastic enterprises. Jettisoning philosophy except where absolutely necessary, Ho Chan sought to give power to those without any, or those whom the law does not enfranchise for whatever reason. Thus, Ho Chan, or the Boxer style of fighting, has quickly found its way into use by revolutionaries, criminals, and peasants seeking to defend themselves from both bandits and tax collectors alike.
Perhaps the most basic undergirding of the Ho Chan style is that everyone is equal beneath heaven, and all deserve an equal chance to excel or fail, without having such a fate dictated upon one. To this end, Ho Chan teaches its practitioners that they should harden their bodies and hone their reflexes so that they will be able to seize any opportunities that might come their way, and never be taken off guard. This philosophy is also strongly anti-government and other forms of authority, seeing such organizations as restrictive of individual freedoms, preferring instead a more communal style of life, such as that found in the brotherhood of well-organized criminal organizations, or the communities of the common people.
Reactions and Reputation
To just about everyone in positions of government authority, the Ho Chan martial art style is a nightmare, because it provides deadly skills in combat to common peasants, rendering any attempt to disarm them nearly useless, and also makes criminals even more dangerous than they already were. To benevolent governments that provide their citizens with a fair amount of freedom already, Ho Chan is mostly feared among criminal organizations and radical revolutionaries, but is regarded fairly favorably among peaceful peasants as a way of allowing them to defend themselves when the government cannot reach them in time. To just about any other system of governmental authority, Ho Chan represents a significant threat, attracting all manner of radicals and chaosmongers into its ranks, and should be stamped out, if it were possible. To peasants, criminals, and freedom fighters alike, Ho Chan has an excellent reputation, and they are likely to at least respect practitioners of the style even when they might not always agree on individual points of philosophy.
Where to Receive Training
It is most common for Ho Chan to be taught in a village or other community as part of its regular schooling, or perhaps replacing it. In rural areas, it is practiced outside as a part of daily exercises to prepare the common folk for the rest of the day as a warmup. Then its lessons are driven home by parents and older siblings to the rising generation at home at the end of the day, to ensure they are never forgotten. In cities, Ho Chan is taught in similar fashion, but in far greater secrecy, usually inside buildings or outside of city walls, where it is less likely to be noticed by disapproving officials. It is very possible that every member of a community could be a practitioner of Ho Chan, and so getting training in the style is simply a matter of being accepted as a member of one of these communities, at least in some small manner.
Ho Chan is noted for its practicality, as well as its truly savage, bloody brutality. Punches and kicks are staples of the style, but Ho Chan gets really messy when a practitioner gets into close combat. Then a Ho Chan practitioner will seek to cause terrible damage to the nose, ears, eyes and groin, tearing and gouging at these soft tissues. Shots to the throat and to the joints are also par for the course, seeking to incapacitate opponents as quickly and completely as possible.