Yin Style Bagua Dragon System – Imperial Power

The YSB Dragon System is underappreciated in today’s kungfu culture, partly because Snake symbolism is often attached to Yin Fu’s personal fighting style. The popularity of the Luohan Penetrating Palms styling in most Yin Style branches is the primary reason for the ‘snake’ characteristics- snakes are a symbol of SPEARS.  The Luohan Penetrating Palm sets cater to instruments such as the short spear. It is worth noting William E. Fairbairn’s Baguazhang teacher (Cui Zhendong/disciple of Yin Fu), represented Shaolin Dragon & Tiger methods in the early 20th century. The system at the time was not labeled as ‘Baguazhang’. Dragon and Tiger symbolism in northern Shaolin styles trace back to General Qi Jiguang and Yu Dayou, renown as the Tiger and Dragon of the Ming Dynasty. The most iconic palm in mainstream Baguazhang is represented by the tiger mouth- the Shaolin stick method is represented by the Dragon… Dragons have significance to the Beiyang New Army towards the later part of Yin Fu’s career. The most prominent feature of the new army saber is the enamel ornament on the shank. The saber distinguishes the ranks of the officers and military ranks with the number of dragons/in the knives/on the knives: senior officers are sorghum Dragon pattern, five dragon claws; intermediate officers are Pingyi dragon pattern, three dragon claws; lower-level officers do not have patterns, no dragon claws. The dragon was the symbol of the imperial power of the Qing Dynasty and the symbol of the emperor. It was hoped that this new army at that time would become an important force for the maintenance of the imperial rule of the Qing Dynasty.  [Yin Style Bagua Dragon System contains officer saber methods, bayonet, cudgel, and restraint/close quarters strategy of Imperial Guards]

The Ball Is Not In Your Court – Eunuch Bodyguards

[In the left corner, Imperial Guard/ in the right corner, Eunuch Bodyguards]

During the early 19th century, the Forbidden City Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) utilized resistance forces known as “Technical Courage Eunuchs”, well-known martial artists selected from the eunuch team. A special security bodyguard capable of protecting the safety of the emperor in the innermost quarters of the court- in areas that were difficult for the military/ Imperial Guards to enter. However, the team this close to the family has relatively low combat strength compared to Imperial Guards or military divisions. Empty-hand skill in regards to retraint/ disarms are emphasized. The instruments used are mostly sticks/ spears and waist knives. Though well trained, the Qing eunuch guards were fond of the Peking Opera apparently.

The Lion System – Baoding Wrestling Connection

[David Chee-Kai Lin/ Combat Shuai Chiao in the pics] 

In modern Baguazhang culture- Cheng Ting Hua is often credited for wrestling and Yin Fu is revered for his penetrating palms.  While this may be a half-truth, Imperial Guards (Yin Fu) are skilled in military wrestling as well… the wrestling is the core foundational training of the elite, and the wrestling in Qing-era contained strikes and locks. To note, the Lion System of the Xie Peiqi/ Men Baozhen branch shares ancestry with the combative Baoding Wrestling schools- including all eight striking methods (from left to right, top to bottom: Sweeping, Cutting, Chopping, Hooking, Shocking, Blocking, Seizing, Grasping).  Baoding is the southern gate of Beijing. There are many troops stationed there. The military academy of Manchu is also located in Baoding. 

Spiritual Origins – The First Gun

A Buddhist silk banner dated over a thousand years ago, depicts a demon wielding the fire lance- the ancestor of every gun and cannon, ever made. The banner is the oldest depiction of a firearm in the world. Furthermore, in 808 AD, Taoist monks created gunpowder when formulating an elixir for longevity.  

Cheng Ting Hua – Court Guard

Scholars reveal Cheng Ting Hua became a qualified candidate in the Court Bodyguards of the Empress Dowager… quite possibly the Qing Wrestling Batallion or, the Good Camp. The inner guards (Yin Fu) and the good-fighting camp are directly under the jurisdiction of the emperor and have the obligation to serve as guards. There are about 2,000 people in the inner guards, and there are only 300 people in the camp. Regardless of Cheng’s official position, he is not a folk martial art master- but a professional with urban strategy.