The Baguazhang Horse Stance is used for generating torque/ power during sparring, as well as strengthening the lumbar and leg muscles. The feudal stance training enhances tendon strength and an overall understanding of feeling grounded. It is a wide, stable stance with a low center of gravity. Advanced and dedicated stance work develops “Movement in Stillness”- the Baguazhang expert achieves stillness and relaxation, while the horse treks around the tree!!
The Snake System of Men Baozhen/ Xie Peiqi branch features a compact guard posture, emphasizing preemptive striking from a natural index position. The palm structures and constricting, binding applications descend from feudal Military/Intelligence grappling methods. Short stick, baton, and dagger are inherent throughout. This style of Snake Penetrating Palm differs from the Orthodox Penetrating Palms in its original application.
The Orthodox Penetrating Palms (left) utilizes a larger diameter circle in training, with a more classical Baguazhang style of movement. The footwork originally favored linear angles, sometimes cutting through the center of the circle. The framework contains Dragon-like, iron bracelet strategy. However adaptable for unarmed fighting- the feudal methods retain the short spear/ lance applications for melee on foot, perfectly. The Dragon structures (right) retain armed applications ranging from Shaolin staff to Napoleonic saber, with elements of Miao Dao and Bayonet. Dragon is exceptionally balanced and well structured for modern self-defense. The Qing era footwork and structures are characterized as “Fencing Without A Sword”, generating force and angles of strikes as if sword fighting.
Well-preserved feudal systems retain elite biomechanics, endured through battles of ancient dynasties. The sophisticated and scientific body mechanics are still practical for all walks of life, even if combat sports are of minimal interest. At times, the feudal master will integrate the biomechanics manually. The student’s skeletal structures and Qi circulation are greatly improved… therapeutic, insightful, rewarding!
Kungfu vs MMA is certainly the hot topic in modern martial arts culture. Traditional Kungfu has received quite a beating in recent years- due to inaccurate documentation of history and faulty commercial promotions. Many in the west do not understand the Chinese language and current events in Asia- headlines are often a fraction of the whole story… A less appreciated fact is, feudal Chinese Kungfu mechanics and principals are integrated within the China MMA Sport Promotions… Most are familiar with MMA Xu Xiaodong, however many do not know he is a student of Mr. Mei Huizhi. Mei Huizhi served as the coach of the Beijing wrestling team, the head coach of the Beijing Sanda team, the head coach of the Beijing Armed Police Corps Sanda team, and the head coach of the Central Guards. Mei Huizhi is a practitioner of Baguazhang and a disciple of Wang Rongtang (Cheng Style) in Beijing. Xu’s teacher made important contributions to the creation and popularization of Sanda. Mei is a pioneer in the integration of traditional martial arts in modern combat sports. (Note: China is promoting MMA-fu, not quite the MMA as viewed mainstream). Mei’s teacher, Wang Rongtang emphasized feudal Cheng Baguazhang- an advocate of the perfection of self and actual combat.
Bruce Lee sought to develop abilities in all areas of accomplishment: intellectual, artistic, and physical. Bruce has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man in modern kungfu culture. Bruce is also known by feudal historians to have a profound interest in Qing and Ming Dynasty military arts- as illustrated by his silky Imperial Dragon t-shirt.
The Shaolin Stick Method is the foundation for Cheng Style Baguazhang and certain categories in Yin Style [Silky Pudao or Dragon Capturing, which is cudgel methods- it’s not empty-hand as commonly presented]. The Shaolin Stick descends from the Ming Dynasty- the stick is interchangeable with polearms ranging from pudao to tigerfork. A short polearm (around the height of the person wielding it) is more focused on melee-fu for foot soldiers or militia. Cheng Ting Hua would possibly use a cudgel or tigerfork for city security and a pudao/ spear for militia duties if required. The Shaolin long staff is commonly represented by the Dragon in ancient literature. It is said that the stick has the unique skills of being flexible and changeable, with the skills of the vertical and horizontal forces. The use of the force must be soft and silky during the transition of the stick method. The force must be smooth- described in ancient treatise as Moving with the Force. The mysterious secrets of Dong Haichuan’s Single, Double, and Moving with the Force Palms are foundationally FEUDAL SHAOLIN POLEARM [priceless artifact near extinction in modern times].
Historical Baguazhang artifact gradually fades into extinction with the modernization of kungfu- the feudal historical context, nuances, and its appreciation disappear with time. Certain Baguazhang systems are underappreciated regardless of history or any reason. The Yin Style Baguazhang Bear system is indeed one often overlooked- the system requires patience and some gladiator back muscles. [He Jinbao back in the dinosaur days, and Li Junfeng- Bear Representative Posture]