Born on the 8th day of the second month in the lunar calander in Ji Tao Village, Cang County, (northern district Han Chung) a district of the Hebei Province with a long warrior tradition where even the women, it is said, are feared practitioners of the martial arts.
During the late Qing Dynasty the patriarch of the Liu clan governed Cang County and the surrounding district. Imperial Governor Liu, as well as being one of the wealthiest and most influential men in China, was also Liu Yun Qiao's grandfather.
Liu Yun Qiao began his martial training in the family castle around 1913, at the age of five. His grandfather's bodyguard, Zhang Yao-Ting, taught the small, sickly Liu Yun Qiao for several years in the arts of Mi Zong Quan and Tai Zu Changquan. At the time, the fact that Liu studied martial arts at all must have been an accomplishment, for he suffered from a severe, chronic stomach ailment.
After two years, Liu's grandfather contacted a renowned martial artist, Li Su-Wen, also called "Magic Spear Li" for the fact that he had never been defeated in a life replete with weapons duels and unexpected challenges. Li was one of the most famous martial artists in Northern China, a man of such lofty and dangerous position that the average person would have had no access to him at all. Things were different for the patriarch of the Liu clan, though, and "Magic Spear Li" came to live at the Liu's palace to give private lessons to Liu Yun Qiao. He lived there, and taught his young charge, for ten years. The art they concentrated on was Li Su-Wen's own specialty, the art that the last Chinese emperor himself had learned, Ba Ji Quan (Eight Ultimates Boxing). Liu Yun Qiao also learnt under Li Su-Wen Piguazhang (Hanging Chop Palms), Liu He Da Qiang (Six Harmony Big Spear), Shuai Ba Gun (Handle Throwing Staff) and Pi Gua Dao (Pi Gua Sabre).
After Li Su-Wen had lived at the Liu home for some ten years, he and young Liu set off for Shangtung Province and traveled together for another five or six years. Liu Yun Qiao also studied Liu He Tanglang under Ding Zi-Cheng and Taijiquan under General Zhang Xian-Wu (one of Li Su-Wen's earlier disciples).
After Li Su-Wen passed away, Liu Yun Qiao met Gong Bao-Tien, with whom he was to remain for some time. A significant meeting, because Gong Bao-Tien was the direct student of Yin Fu, who learned from Dong Hai Chuan, founder of the art of Ba Gua Quan (Eight Trigrams Boxing).
Liu Yun Qiao's youth, essentially, was spent traveling China, searching out the most proficient and famous martial artists that his family's wealth and position could locate. These men, whatever their styles, whatever their specialties, then became his teachers. And thus his time was spent until the 1930s and the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war, when he accepted a commission as a paratrooper, a captain of the Chinese commando forces.
Liu Yun Qiao's life was devoted to war for many years after that, for he remained in the military, retreating from the Japanese and striking back with his forces at opportune moments. By a few years after WWII, he had advanced to the rank of general, an honor which was incapable of rescuing any of his family's wealth or power on the mainland, however. In 1949, China came under control of the Communist Party. With thousands of other once privileged people, Liu Yun Qiao left the mainland as a refugee, all his lands and family wealth gone. In Taiwan, Liu Yun Qiao continued to serve in the armed forces a few years, until 1955.
His retiring from the military then gave him time to turn to a new activity (for him) in the martial arts-teaching, publishing, promoting.
In June 1971 Liu Yun Qiao put "Wu-Tan" monthly magazine. The magazine was a non-commercial martial arts publication. Liu Yun Qiao and his associates even took their non-commercialism so far as not to allow advertising. Unfortunately this purity of approach proved their undoing. So, having put out a few issues that were truly ahead of their time, the magazine of Wu Tan folded. It was published until 1973 when it was necessary to put a halt on publication on the score of financing difficulty.
In July 1971 Liu Yun Qiao established a training class, that later would become into "Wu Tan Martial Art Promotion Center" with the purpose of spreading and promoting all the Chinese martial arts. The association worked out fine. and it includes many of the instructors of northern Chinese martial arts in Taiwan.
Years later he retired from teaching, but in 1982 Liu Yun Qiao made a comeback.
Promoting the Chinese martial arts had been Liu Yun Qiao's lifetime mission. He constantly motivated and supervised his students to embark on the documentation of the history of our martial art, and the compilation and publication of teaching materials.
Liu Yun Qiao passed away the 21st January 1992