Shaolin Broken Wall – Four Towns and Three Guanzhi

“Shaolin Broken Wall”, also known as “the practical scatter of three hundred and sixty hands.” by Yan Dehua (printed in the Tianjin Commercial Daily in 1936) is connected with high-ranking members of Cheng Tinghua’s relatives.  Cheng Youlong, the eldest son of Cheng Tinghua, retired and worked in Tianjin during the early 20th century. Sun Xikun (in the pic) is a senior student of Cheng Youlong- transitions of the single and double palm change are rooted in Ming Era polearms ranging from cudgel, pudao, to tigerfork. The “Shaolin Broken Wall” is likely to symbolize the strong defense line for Beijing with context to the Great Wall [Four Towns and Three Guanzhi/ military wushu book of the Ming Dynasty]

Dong Haichuan The Waiter – Fantastic Baguazhang Promotions

The book, Taiji Yang Luchan’s “Stolen Boxing” by the novelist Gong Baiyu of the Republic of China, is another primary inspiration for modern Baguazhang promotions and instruction. This fantasy novel is the foundation for the renown waiter and teacup story of Dong Haichuan- which contributes to inaccurate documentation of feudal Baguazhang.  The story illustrates:  Su Wangfu’s banquet on this day are full of wonder and guests -extremely crowded, that the waiter’s [Dong Haichuan] dishes cannot be placed on the table. The Qing officials saw the appearance of marvelous stunts, and the hand-held dishes were twirling between the crowds, flying, and dancing, and entering the unmanned environment- majestically the Waiterbender completed the task!! Everyone in the room was astonished and intrigued, only to realize this person is the top martial arts master Dong Haichuan. When serving teacups, it is the use of superior [Opera-fu] martial arts – the body and footwork of the Eight Trigram Palm.

Baguazhang Circle Walk – Feudal Application

Baguazhang is renowned for the Circle Walk strategy- however, it is of great irony very few Baguazhang schools today instruct or preserves the feudal application of the circle, in the correct context.  Flanking is important in fighting… everyone knows.  Circling prowess around an opponent, a tree, for meditation, for equilibrium, are common reasons the circle is instructed in modern schools.  In the feudal era, the circle walk is designed specifically for melee calisthenics- a special precaution for a soldier’s defense against multiple armed opponents. A classic example is illustrated in Costantino Calarone, Italian Fencing Treatise of 1714.  The treatise dictates a single fighter against multiple armed opponents- should circle walk, so the body’s movements are more agile.  The sole fighter should not deliver thrusts, unless in the reach of just one opponent.  The fighter should not stay planted, nor withdraw with backward steps.  The optimal strategy is to wheel to the right of the first opponent, away from the multiple opponents at his side- aka Stacking [as in the pic].

Dong Haichuan Novel – Tong Lin Chuan 1920s

[Pics from Tong Lin Chuan novel- the Shaolin influence is obvious]  The legendary story of Dong Haichuan’s Opera-Fu exploits originated from the martial arts novel “雍正剑侠图” in the early 1920s.  This instant classic has the most extensive influence on Baguazhang folk tradition in the Republic of China era. The author Chang Jieyi used Dong Haichuan as a prototype to create the character Tong Lin, which has brought a magical and fantastic context to Dong Haichuan’s life and the origin of the Eight Diagrams Palm.  The magical fallacies from this world of FICTION continue to this day in countless Baguazhang schools, including the Deerhorn Knife and an arsenal of Peking Opera weapons…  Now back to base reality, Dong Haichuan was originally named Dong Mingkui, a native of Zhujiawu Village, Wen’an County, Hebei Province in the Qing Dynasty. The Factual Dong family lived in Hongdong County in Shanxi Province. The ancestors of Dong Haichuan were the generals of the Yuan Dynasty. They served as the deputy marshal of the general of Long Huwei. Dong’s ancestors moved to the city of Hebei in the early years of the Ming Dynasty. The descendants of their descendants were military commanders for five consecutive generations.  According to Wen’an Wenshi data and Xiongxian County records, many people in the Dong Haichuan family are military commanders and FEUDAL SHAOLIN PROFESSIONALS.

Cheng Ting Hua – Interlinking Body Baguazhang

The graceful Pudao appeared in the Song Dynasty and which at the time, was the only legal folk weapon of this caliber.  However, the legendary Airbending weapon was not widely used until the late Qing Dynasty. The Pudao is underappreciated in modern Baguazhang culture, as historical documentation reveals its strong connection in defending against ferocious tigers in the feudal era. The tiger is a symbol of Imperial Rule and ancient Shaolin champions.  Many today regard Cheng Ting Hua’s Baguazhang as the most similar in appearance and strategy to the founder, Dong Haichuan. Scholars have determined this fact is indeed true, though it is a myth Cheng Ting Hua’s method is separate from Yin Fu’s Imperial Guard Commander system. The Pudao in the pic is the “Tai Ping Knife”.   A multitude of soldiers from the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in the late Qing Dynasty used this style of Pudao extensively.  Even with such a simple weapon, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom defeated the well-equipped Qing army- which shows that although the Pudao is extinct in modern Baguazhang culture, the power is not to be underestimated. Dong Haichuan entered Beijing around the Taiping Rebellion timeframe- there is minimal chance the founder would not be skilled with the silky and smooth Pudao prowess.

Ip Man vs. Jin Shan Zhao Fight Scene – Cheng Ting Hua

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The fight scene in the first “IP MAN” film between Ip Man and the Northerner, Jin Shan Zhao-  is based on Cheng Ting Hua’s patriotic journeys in 1883.  The movie pays homage to the teahouse skirmish between Cheng Ting Hua and a Southern Chinese militiaman (who challenged Cheng Ting Hua as he was pouring tea).   

New Science of Baguazhang Book Now Available – The Ultimate Chinese Martial Art

ChengTingHua
The pre-release of the new historical and scientific analysis of Cheng Baguazhang, published by World Scientific is now available. Special thanks to Arlen, Master Li, Madam Ge for providing IRFS with the opportunity to introduce this marvelous book. The Ultimate Chinese Martial Art, The Science of the Weaving Stance Bagua 64 Forms and its Wellness Applications is a much-anticipated book authored by an old mentor and family friend, Li Junfeng. Classic baguazhang enthusiasts will remember Li Junfeng as the lead actor in the award winning film, The Honor of Dong Fangxu, the iconic movie which propelled Cheng Baguazhang into mainstream culture, beginning the baguazhang renaissance in Beijing and China in 1982. The original film is the inspiration for Wang Kar Wai's The GrandMaster movie. The Ultimate book is coauthored by Luo Tong and Ge Chun Yan, who is Zhang Zi Yi's baguazhang coach for the Oscar-nominated action film. For Baguazhang practitioners searching for a new style of martial art book providing insight into the historical and scientific exploration of the Dragon style of Baguazhang - this book does not disappoint. Unlike classic internal kungfu books on mystical qi fields, this one is published by World Scientific. Refreshing indeed, The Ultimate Chinese Martial Art removes the Chinglish and over sophisticated/poetic writing style of cliche Asian martial arts manuals ( thanks to Mr. Luo). The book is divided into three main sections, Part one: Cultural, historical, scientific background of Baguzhang. Part two: Concise instruction for training methods, foundational mechanics, and 64 palm routine consolidated from the knowledge of famous Cheng masters -Sun Zhijun, Liu Jingru, and Sha Guo Zheng. Part three: Fighter's mind and wellness applications/ fight evolution and martial renaissance discussions.

 The Ultimate Chinese Martial Art, The Science of the Weaving Stance Bagua 64 Forms and its Wellness Applications⇒ Part one begins with Biological theory, addressing the brutal combative nature of ancient internal martial arts and its modernization into the 21st century. Discussions are given on the martial evolution of human body through natural selection, and our complex physical design to become great fighters. The first section provides a solid crash course in Taoism, Confucianism, Trigrams, Taiji philosophy, Shaolin origins, and evolution from outer to inner schools of fighting arts. Three major components of Chinese martial arts are analyzed - the practical application component, body/mind development and wellness component, and the controversy of the "dancing" impractical art side of Chinese martial systems component. Cheng Bagua Ge

In the next chapter, new perspective is provided on Dong Haichuan and Cheng-ting Hua, including discussions on the later heavier, self-cultivation aspect of Dong Haichuan's teachings - as he was 77 years of age when he retired from the Imperial court to teach Baguazhang full time. As a side note, the book suggests the strong emphasis on energy cultivation and health in Cheng bagua is traditional/crucial via the founder and not a process of modernization. A brief discussion is provided on Cheng Ting Hua's body and build - revealing it's similarity to the build of Dong Haichuan, thus the popularity of the Dragon shape and Cheng Ting Hua's close resemblance to the Founder's own preferred fighting structures. (Note: the Men Boazhen/Xie Peiqi branch of Yin Style view swimming (weaving) bagua to be an integrated part of the eight animal (dragon) system. Modernized demonstration routines now alter the perspective of the original fighting art of Baguazhang regardless of branch/raw, noncomUltimate Bagua Covermercialized bagua are usually not very pretty, and contain nuanced martial strategy and biomechanics not obvious to nonpractitioners.) Credit is given to Yin Fu as the top disciple of Dong Haichuan, who spent the most time training with the founder during his prime fighting years.

Chapter three, The Ultimate book detours into Newtonian and classical physics of Axioms. Explanations into physics of objects moving in perfect circles, stopping and smart power, sophisticated design of Baguazhang even to the atomic level....Chapter four transitions into classic principals, meridians, biomechanics. Chapter Five explores Mud -Wading steps of Cheng baguazhang and its scientific illustration. Enthusiasts curious about the iconic unnatural slide step made famous in mainstream Bagua culture, this section answers all of those questions. As a note, the book discusses the slight misunderstanding of the original mud step and the now over-emphasis on keeping the soles of both feet parallel to the floor at all times. The mud stepping of old practitioners of Cheng were somewhat more natural in quality, paying more attention to the body's center of gravity as a whole and not just sliding on a cord (though as a developmental method, modernized mud wading is even more tiring to train then wheel step, those who train Yin and Cheng understand this surely. This correlates with He Jinbao's description of the original mud stepping methods of the more combative branches of Dragon shape Bagua).

Chapter 6, Beauty, Grace, Power. The New 64 Palms detailed demonstration and key points by Madam Ge Chun Yan, established under the guidance of famous Cheng/and or Bagua masters and her coach, Li Junfeng.

Chapter 7, ScUltimate Baguaience of mind/body, importance of integrating ancient fighting arts with modern life. This chapter reveals interesting perspective on the visible changes of our ancient fighters body of 10, 000 years ago vs modern times. Our outer body shape has shifted considerably, yet our organ structure remain very similar to cave men. (hint, internal martial arts are worth exploring). This chapter describes the cause and effects of ancient fighter's evolutionary path into the modern keyboard warrior, informing how this impacts our mind-body connection. Humans were given a sophisticated fighters body over millions of years of evolution, and in just hundreds of years stopped needing to fight the same way as our ancestors. This creates intrinsic conflicts and this section will tell you all about that.... Chapter 9, closes with commentary of the internal martial arts renaissance, and again gives credit to Dong Haichuan for forming the sophisticated and comprehensive art of Baguazhang. The late chapters explain the title of the book "The Ultimate Martial Art". Baguazhang is the latest, evolution of Royal Chinese martial arts developed by the founder, who historians consider the best fighter in the Qing Dynasty.

This brief summary barely touches the surface. The Ultimate Chinese Martial Art contains much more complex subjects and numerous scientific graphs, formulas, concepts, physics. -IRFS

For those interested in the pre-release of The Ultimate Chinese Martial Art, please contact Arlen Hodinh:  arlenhodinh@gmail.com