outside of the eight animals, such as Penetrating Palm and the Backhand systems. Hence, there are more than 448 strikes, though 448 are contained within the animals. (Note that the animal relationships with the bagua diagram are not unique to Xie's art; these relationships are also often used for other styles of bagua, including Cheng substyles, such as that of Sun Lutang.)
Other substyles of Yin include different forms and methods. For example, Cao Zhongsheng's system's technical base is the 64 palms (also taught by Wang Peisheng); other substyles focus on only 8 main palms (such as that of Liu Zhenlin, Li Baosen, or other Men Baozhen lineages). Gong Baotian's version has many forms and a strong emphasis on Yin Fu's Luohan forms. Each substyle also includes many supplementary forms (such as luohanquan) and training methods (such as hand hardening methods).
Four Basic Practices of Yin Style Baguazhang
There are four basic practice methods in Xie Peiqi's Yin Style Baguazhang: standing, turning, striking, and changing. These practices are the basic pillars of the style, and are all considered equally important.
The standing practices involve nine static strengthening postures specific to a given animal. Each posture requires precise body alignment and distinct isometric pressures necessitating full body exertion to maintain properly. These postures are undertaken to develop and check the structure of every part of the body.
Turning (or turning the circle), is the practice many people associate with Baguazhang. "Yin style Bagua is the art of striking while you are moving. You ceaselessly move and strike, and are always trying to get to the outside [of your opponent] by turning. No matter what, position yourself to avoid the heavy blows and let the light ones fall. It is within turning that these movements and techniques are honed to perfection or to a higher level. All movements and techniques are linked smoothly together.
Striking is the most fundamental way of developing power in Yin Style Baguazhang. It is introduced through the stationary drilling method, unaccompanied by footwork. It is intended to establish the harmony between hand and waist that is necessary for generating power.
The moving strike practices consist of:
One-step drilling method, of which there is the zig-zag stepping or dominating the side, straight stepping, or dominating the center, and closing or turning the back method.
Two-step, or square drilling, which consists of advance-back-step, advance-advance, or back-step-advance, and back-step back-step.
Three-step, or horizontal drilling method, which combines the stationary strike, advance step, and back-step.
Changing is most obvious when changing hands to face opposite directions. Changing also includes the changing or redirecting of force, or alterations in stepping.
Animal Styles in Xie Peiqi's Yin Style Baguazhang
Commonalities Between the Animal Styles
Each animal style in Yin Style Baguazhang is its own complete system; however, each system contains practices and movements from all of the other animal systems. Example: when practicing forms in Yin Style Bagua, a practitioner may practice, for example, the Lion System Windmill Sweeping Strike Form. The strikes come from the lion system, but the Windmill movements come from the Phoenix system.
Thus, each animal has a specific movement technique in addition to its 8 striking methods. Each animal also has its own kicking technique, which is not included in its striking methods.
Qian Trigram Lion System
The lion is pure Yang energy, or hardness, and is one of two animals represented by a pure trigram; the other is the Unicorn. The lion trigram is characterized by powerful and ferocious full-body force generated from the waist. The lion's eight striking methods are: sweeping, cutting, chopping, hooking, shocking, blocking, seizing and grasping.
The lion's characteristic movement technique is Linking the Forms.
Kan Trigram Snake System
The Snake's striking methods are: shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, shooting, binding, entrapping, and grasping. The style is characterized by a smooth and flowing motion of the force-palm, with many of the strikes targeted at vital organs.
The snake's characteristic movement technique is Moving with the Force.
Gen Trigram Bear System
The bear system is distinguished by a strategy of taking advantage from a losing position. The Bear's striking methods are: rushing, penetrating, withdrawing, carrying, leaning, shocking, soft and following. The Bear's power is generated from the back, and is short and blunt.
The bear's characteristic movement technique is Turning the Back.
Zhèn Trigram Dragon System
Known as the lifting and holding palm. Its striking methods are: pushing, lifting, carrying, leading, moving, capturing, chopping and entering. The Dragon's power is emitted through a forward motion of back and waist. The Dragon style, although practiced differently in Yin Style, is the animal practiced by Cheng Style Baguazhang.
The dragon's characteristic movement technique is Lifting and Upholding.
Xun Trigram Phoenix System
In the phoenix system, force is emitted from the shoulders, and characterized by whipping action. The striking methods are: dodging, extending, chopping, shocking, transforming, removing, curling in, and cutting.
The phoenix's characteristic movement technique is Windmill.
Li Trigram Rooster System
The rooster focuses on long, deep footwork with one's center of gravity close to the ground. Power comes from the elbows. The Rooster's striking methods are: dodging, extending, lifting, shifting, entering, whipping, rushing and stabbing.
The rooster's characteristic movement technique is Reclining Step (also known as Lying Step).
Kun Trigram Qilin/Unicorn System
The Unicorn is the opposite of the Lion, being pure Yin. The Unicorn's striking methods are: sticking, kneading, soft, following, hip, striking, chopping and cutting. It issues force by employing all joints to produce a flexible, snapping power.
The unicorn's characteristic movement technique is Reversing the Body.
Dui Trigram Monkey System
Concentrates on leg techniques, referred to as the interlocking leg. Its striking methods are: bending, thrusting, straightening, hip, chopping, swinging, stopping, and ending.
The monkey's characteristic movement technique is Compacting the Body.
Practitioners of Yin Style Baguazhang
Yin stylists are most concentrated in Beijing, where practitioners of the lineages of Ma Gui, Yin Yuzhang, Cao Zhongsheng, Li Baosen, Li Yongqing, Men Baozhen, and others still practice and teach today. Certain Yin styles have moved to other locations as well, however, such as the Cui Zhendong lineage in Shanghai and the Gong Baotian lineage in Shanghai, Shandong, and Taiwan. Famous practitioners in Beijing today include Zhang Zhao Ren, He Puren, Wang Shangzhi, Xu Shixi, Zhang Lie, Zhu Baozhen, and He Jinbao. Others include Huang Zhicheng of Shandong and He Jinghan of Taiwan.
Cheng Style Baguazhang
Cheng Style Baguazhang is the style of Baguazhang descended from Cheng Tinghua, the fourth disciple of Baguazhang's founder, Dong Haichuan (Yin Fu was the first, followed by Ma Weiqi and Shi Jidong).
Cheng Tinghua was from Shen County; he later moved to Beijing where he had an eyeglasses shop located next to the Fire Spirit Temple on Si Shuai Street in the Flower Market Plaza. Therefore, he was called Eyeglasses Cheng.
During the boxer Rebellion (July 1900) Cheng swore to defend his country from the enemy. One day, around the government buildings near the Yong Ding Gate, Cheng met ten of the enemy and subdued them all and none dared to advance. The officers were furious, and ordered a large patrol with rifles to surround Cheng. Cheng calmly used piercing palm to evade them. Then he turned around, leaped up on top of a wall and walked away. They did not have pity on him when he was on the wall and he perished in a hail of bullets.
Characteristics of Cheng Style Baguazhang
The stepping method of the hook step and the swing step. Their qualities are: the hook step must be small, and the swing step must be big.
In the Dragon Claw palm the thumb is spread wide. The tiger's mouth is curved and pushed up. The second, third and fourth fingers are slightly spread apart. The little finger and the fourth finger are in contact with each other.
Due to Cheng Tinghua's extensive background in shuaijiao throwing techniques before learning baguazhang, Cheng style tends to emphasize throwing techniques, while Yin style tends to emphasize striking techniques. In Yin style bagua, many of the martial applications are evident in the form. Cheng style applications are not as evident, but are equally as powerful.
Each Cheng substyle uses as its technical basis the eight basic palms (Badamuzhang 八大母掌), from which more complicated linking forms are derived. Of the eight basic palms, only the first three (Laosanzhang 老三掌) are considered to be the oldest and passed down by Cheng Tinghua himself before his death in 1900.
These three palms are:
Single Change Palm (單換掌)
Double Change Palm (雙換掌)
Smooth Posture Palm (順勢掌)
Cheng Style Bagua Substyles
Cheng style has many substyles, some of the lineages for which are given below:
Dong Haichuan --- Cheng Tinghua
--- Cheng Tinghua ---
Cheng Youlong --- Sun Xikun
Liu Ziyang, Cheng Youxin, Cheng Yousheng --- Sun Zhijun
Yang Mingsheng --- Wang Rongtang
Liu Bin --- Wang Wenkui, Liu Xinghan
Sun Lutang --- Sun Cunzhou, Sun Jianyun
Li Wenbiao --- Luo Xingwu
Liang Style Baguazhang
In general, Liang style appears somewhat similar to both Yin and Cheng styles, yet has a unique methodology and training methods of its own.
As its technical basis, Liang style baguazhang has the "Fixed Eight-Palm set" (Ding Shi Ba Zhang), from which more complicated linking forms are derived like the "Eight Mother Palms" (Ba Da Mu Zhang), "Dragon Form" (Long Xing Zhang) or "64 Linear Palms" (Liu Shi Ba Zhang). Liang style is also known for its large array of weapons: Big Broadsword, Straight Sword, Rooster Head Daggers, Deer Horn Knives, Kun Lun Fan (Iron Fan), Yin Yang Pen Brush, Steel "Yo-Yo" Meteors, Wind and Fire Wheels.
Liang Style Baguazhang is the style of Baguazhang descended from Liang Zhenpu (梁振蒲), the youngest disciple of Baguazhang's founder, Dong Haichuan. In general, most lineages of Liang style descend from either Guo Gumin (郭古民) or Li Ziming (李子鳴) (the first president of the Beijing Bagua Research Association).
Liang Style Baguazhang Substyles
Liang style has many substyles, some of the lineages for which are given below:
Dong Haichuan --- Liang Zhenpu
--- Liang Zhenpu ---
Li Tongtai, Li Shaoan, Guo Gumin --- Gao Ziying, Liu Jiemin
Li Ziming --- Ma Chuanxu, Wang Shitong, Zhao Dayuan, Di Guoyong, Zhang Quanliang,
Wang Tong, Sui Yunjiang, Li Gongcheng
Practitioners of Liang Baguazhang
Most Liang Zhenpu style practitioners are concentrated in Beijing, although Tian Jinfeng is said to have taught in Xian for a short while, and Chu Guiting taught in Shanghai (as Chu was first a disciple of xingyiquan master Li Cunyi, his Baguazhang has different influences).
Jiang Style Baguazhang
Jiang Style Baguazhang (姜氏八卦掌) is the style of Baguazhang (八卦掌) taught by Jiang Rong Qiao (姜容樵) 1890-1974. Jiang Rong Qiao (also anglicized as Chiang Jung Ch’iao) was a student of both Zhang Zhaodong and Cheng Tinghua, both of whom were formal students of Baguazhang founder Dong Haichuan (董海川). Jiang Rong Qiao's Neijia kung fu is one of the most widely practiced combined styles of Baguazhang and Xingyiquan in the world today. Jiang's Bauguazhang is distinguished by emphasizing efficiency of movement and an ambidextrous approach.
Jiang Style Baguazhang Influences
Zhang Zhaodong appears to have been the dominant influence on this style, but Jiang Rong Qiao had many other influences. Jiang Rong Qiao started his training as a student of the Shaolin Kung Fu art of Mizongquan with his father, Jiang Fatai. Jiang Rong Qiao later studied more formally with his uncle, Chen Yushan. Jiang also studied Chen style Taijiquan. Eventually, Jiang Rong Qiao became a formal student of Zhang Zhaodong, who had studied with both Dong Haiquan and Liu Qilan. Jiang Rong Qiao also studied with Li Cunyi, a close associate of Zhang Zhaodong. Li Cunyi (also known as Single Saber Li) was also a student of Dong Haiquan and Liu Qilan. While Jiang Rong Qiao did not become a formal disciple of Li, Li Cunyi was clearly a significant influence on Jiang. Also, Jiang Rong Qiao studied Liuhebafa with Wu Yi Hui during his stay in Nanjing. Later when he became friends with Wu's disciple Chen Yi Ren, he further studied Liuhebafa in exchange for teaching his system to Chen. He personally wrote about his Liuhebafa study in Chen Yi Ren's 1969 published book entitled Liuhebafa Chuan.
Jiang Style Baguazhang System
Jiang's system of Bagua was kept simple. His concept was to focus developing the essence of Bagua and not over complicating it with more forms and movements. His version went through a drastic change at some point during his life, which most say occurred perhaps when he lost his eyesight. His original system that he taught was simply called Lao Bagua, meaning "old or traditional bagua". Later on Jiang changed his concept and revised his whole system to what is generally seen today as Xin Bagua, meaning "new bagua". The material he taught included:
Bagua Yi Lu 八卦一路 (1st form):
Lao Ba Zhang 老八掌 (Old 8 Palms - taught to earlier students)
Xin Ba Zhang 新八掌 (New 8 Palms - a revised version of the former taught to later students)
Bagua Er Lu 八卦二路(2nd form): Bagua Tui 八卦腿 (Bagua Leg)
Lao Bagua Tui 老八卦腿 (Old Bagua Leg - taught to earlier students)
Xin Bagua Tui 新八卦腿 (New Bagua Leg - a revised version of the former taught to later students)
Zuan Jian 鑽劍 (Drilling Sword)
Lian Huan Jian 連環劍 (Continuous Sword)
Jiang Style Bagua Literature
Jiang was a prolific writer of martial arts manuals during his time. Though most often the writings were of other styles he did write a manual on his own art entitled "Baguazhang Lianxifa (Bagua Palms Practice Method)".
Gao Style Baguazhang
The Gao style system is referred to as the Gao Yisheng branch of the Cheng Tinghua system of Baguazhang. Essentially, Gao Style Bagua is a unique subsystem. The Gao style system, because of Gao's own martial progression over time, can be found to have a number of different permutations, represented in these various lingages. All are valid examples of Gao style Bagua because they all represent Gao Yisheng’s progression as a martial artist. Gao was refining and creating sets until he died. He changed his straight line, pre-heaven and weapons sets more than once in his life but at its core it is a complete Baguazhang system.
Gao style explicitly divides training into two categories: pre-heaven (先天) and post-heaven (後天). Pre-heaven training includes walking the circle and practicing changing palms on the circle; this material is similar to that found in the other Cheng styles. Post-heaven training consists of 64 linear palms (六十四掌) said[by whom?] to be passed down by a man known as Song Yiren (宋益仁) (i.e., Song Yiren (送藝人), or "person who gives arts"); these palms are unique to the Gao system.
Gao Style Baguazhang (高氏八卦掌) is the style of Baguazhang (八卦掌) descended from Gao Yisheng (高義盛), a student of Cheng Tinghua, who founded one of the two main branches of Baguazhang. Gao is alternatively said to have originally studied with Song Changrong (宋長榮) or Yin Fu (尹福), later (or alternatively previously) studying with one of Cheng's students, Zhou Yuxiang,(周玉祥).
Gao Style Baguazhang Substyles
Gao style has many substyles, some of the lineages for which are given below:
Dong Haichuan --- Cheng Tinghua --- Zhou Yuxiang --- Gao Yisheng
--- Gao Yisheng ---
Wu Jinyuan, Wu Huaishan --- Wu Guozheng
Liu Fengcai --- Wang Shusheng, Liu Shuhang, Chen Baozhen, Han Fangrui
He Kecai (Cantonese: Ho Ho Choi) --- Cheung Sing Tang (C. S. Tang)
Zhang Junfeng --- Hong Yixiang --- Luo Dexiu, Su Dongchen
Wu Mengxia --- Wu Min'an, Bi Tianzuo
Bi Motang --- Bi Tianzuo
Practitioners of Gao Style Baguazhang
Gao style is one of the most widely practiced Baguazhang styles in the West, many Gao style practitioners can be found in Tianjin (lineage of Liu Fengcai and others), Taiwan (lineage of Zhang Junfeng), and Hong Kong (lineage of He Kecai).
Fu Style Baguazhang
History of Fu Style Baguazhang
Fu Zhen Song (name also translated as Fu Chen Sung) began learning Chen style taiji quan at age 16 from the famous Chen Family master, Chen Yan Xi. Three years later, Fu began learning baguazhang from Jia Qi Shan (also known as Jia Feng Ming). Fu was one of the first to learn these arts, as the Chen Family had only started teaching their art to outsiders a few decades earlier; Dong Hai Chuan had only created baguazhang a few decades earlier, and only took on a handful of students, one of them being Jia Qi Shan. Although Fu did not receive the formal schooling of his urban countrymen, Fu was very bright, learned the two arts well, and practiced very hard.
At the age of 26, Fu had become very famous for single-handedly defeating a large mob of bandits, a story that appears in a number of versions.
Fu traveled to Beijing where he met the other great bagua masters of that period. He learned from them and exchanged information about the art. In 1928, three military generals organized the first nation-wide martial arts competition in Nanjing. Fu Zhen Song was one of the five judges of the competition. In fact, as Fu was at that time barely 30, he was the youngest amongst all the judges. For that reason, when the generals wanted to test the true skill of the top winner, a young man by the name of Wang, all the judges "nominated" Fu to do the "testing". Fu had no choice but to respect the commands of his seniors and fought with the winner, Wang. According to those present, the battle went on for a long time, and at the end, Fu hit Wang off the stage with one single blow. This was to be one of the three high-profile battles Fu was famous for, the other two being the fight with Li Shu-Wen, an older and established master of BaJi, and with a large group of Muslims who practiced Cha Quan back in Fu's home village.
During this time, Fu met, befriended and exchanged information with the top bagua masters of China. He became close friends with Sun Lu-t'ang, and taught him the baguazhang "mud-walking step." Fu studied Yang-style taiji from Yang Cheng Fu, and one day beat him in a match of "push hands." Yang said, "You only won because you switched to BaGua." Fu also studied swordsmanship with Li Jing Lin .
Fu Zhen Song and four other winners of the competition were invited to the south to teach their arts. Because of this historic event, they were called, "The Five Northern Tigers." These five men were constantly challenged by martial artists in the south, as the southern martial artists were very proud of their arts and refuted the arts of the north. Fu Zhen Song never lost a fight or a challenge.
Fu Zhen Song moved to Guangzhao in the Guangdong Province, and headed a school there. By this time, Fu had synthesized his own system by learning various family styles of taiji; the differing styles of baguazhang; the Wudang Sword from Sung Wei Yi (likely learned from Li Jing Lin, though Fu did study under Song for a time); xingyiquan and bajiquan; by emphasizing the most important principles and techniques from each, and by eliminating all of the parts he thought were not valuable or of no substance. Fu's style of bagua would include such methods as the yang and yin palm changes, the famous Dragon bagua, the si xiang form, the liang yi synthesis of bagua and taiji and his own version of taiji. Many of the names used were likely inspired by the I Ching, and the forms and progressions inspired by both that work and by the martial philosophies of Sun Lu Tang.
Learning Progression of Fu Style Baguazhang
When Fu and the other 4 invited martial artists arrived in GuangDong, the Da Gong Newspaper had an extensive article about the background of Fu and proclaimed that Fu was at that time the "true inheriter" of the BaGua tradition as handed down by Dong HaiQuan and Cheng TingHua. Fu understood the massive gap between Tai Chi Chuan and BaGua Zhang; thus, he created an elegant solution for that gap. Fu created a martial arts form he called, "Liang-Yi Chuan," or Harmonized Opposites Boxing. This form would be a vital key to the Fu Style system of learning BaGua Zhang, as it is a precursory set of movements and skills required to move from Tai Chi Chuan to BaGua Zhang.
In other words, if one wishes to learn Fu Style BaGua Zhang, he or she must learn Fu Style Tai Chi Chuan very well; then learn Fu Style Liang-Yi Chuan very well in order to advance to the highest levels where he or she can learn Fu Style BaGua Zhang. Many will refute this hierarchy of learning, however, this is the true system of learning Fu Style Wudang Chuan which is the globally encompassing name for the Fu Style system of Tai Chi Chuan, Liang-Yi Chuan, BaGua Zhang, Hsing-Yi Chuan, BaJi Chuan, weapons, applications, and mastery of health and wellness).
Fu Style is characterized by a large number of spinning movements and point strikes. This fighting style can also be used to damage internal organs with precise striking methods.
Fu Style Baguazhang Present Day
The Fu Style Wudang Chuan was carried on by his son Fu Wing Fay, who also created forms for si-xiang, advanced tai chi and more. Among others, Fu taught Bow Sim Mark. The lineage is now held by his own son Victor Fu Sheng Long in Vancouver, Canada. Victor Fu has somewhat truncated the style because he feels there is not enough time to learn the entirety of the Fu Style system, and it is more important to develop health and wellness, rather than "hands that can chop a table in two." However, with the incorporated conditioning exercises, 2-person routines and the practice of the Bagua Push Hands form, the martial aspects remain intact. Another branch of the style was established by Fu Zhen Song's student Lin Chao Zhen, who likewise modified the teaching methodology.
Baguazhang in popular culture
Jet Li's character in The One uses bagua zhang, while the antagonist version of the character uses xingyi quan.
Airbending in Avatar: The Last Airbender is modeled on bagua zhang.
Bagua zhang features briefly in the manga History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi.
Neji Hyuga and Hinata Hyuga from Naruto use the Gentle Fist style which is based on bagua. For example, the technique called Eight Trigrams: Sixty Four Palm Strike is derived from bagua zhang terminology.
Ling Xiaoyu from the Tekken video game series uses bagua zhang.
Ashrah from Mortal Kombat: Deception and Kitana from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance use bagua zhang.
Joscelin Verreuil from Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series uses a fighting style similar to bagua zhang, which is the fighting style of the Cassiline Brotherhood.
In Ip Man 2, one of the styles used during the tabletop fight is bagua zhang.
In the 2010 live-action film Tekken, Jin Kazama says that he is impressed by fellow competitor Christie Monteiro due to her foot placement while practicing bagua zhang.
In the 2006 movie Jadesoturi (Jade Warrior) Pin Yu vs Sintai used bagua in a sort of courting fight. The staff usage resembles how Aang in Avatar uses bagua to Airbend. The movie is the first Co produced Finnish-Chinese film.