Dongchang Hutong – Yin Fu Bodyguard Business

Yin Fu dedicated many efforts to his bodyguard business in Beijing. He successively worked in the East Tower East Factory Hutong (Dongchang)- the site which was once the most elite Intelligence Agency in Ming Dynasty. During the 19th century, Dongchang became the residence to many top military/chief executives of the region (under Empress Cixi jurisdiction/ primarily Baoding elites). An interesting note,  even today at Dongchang, the basic pattern of the Rong Lu mansion is still visible, and the European-style villas are apparent from the Westernization movement. The area is deeply connected with the Beiyang New Army and Yuan Shikai. Yin Fu’s true history reveals the misconceptions of modern Baguazhang promotions- his style, environment, and methods of the time period are not as expected.

Dadao – Baguazhang Big Knife

Before the late Qing Dynasty, the concept of “big knife/Dadao” in the army mostly refers to the knife of the long pole, similar to the shape of the Guandao. The knife with a short handle and a large blade (in popular contemporary Baguazhang culture) is called a single hand knife, it is not called a “big knife”, historically speaking. Ironically the signature instruments used by both disciples of Dong Haichuan are often misinterpreted in Airbending schools of today.

Orthodox Penetrating Palms – Tiger Spear

The Luohan style of Penetrating Palm sets are suitable for the short Tiger Spear… and though adaptable, are not originally designed for sticking the opponent with the tips of the fingers (according to Shaolin treatise, the penetrating/willow leaf palm is meant to grasp). The short spear is a formidable instrument while patrolling on foot, inner palace. In certain sectors of the inner court, empty-hand skill and ordinance is concentrated on instruments with lower damage such as cudgel-  or in close quarters conflict, a short spear. The short spear is largely replaced by the bayonet in the late 19th century for military guards, however, still favored by eunuch bodyguards inner quarters. 

The Yin Fu Duel – Opera Removed

The vast majority of Yin Style Baguazhang folk stories are based on Gong Baotian (Yin Fu’s disciple and not Yin Fu himself). A 2019 article documents one incident which Yin Fu encountered during his life. The story presents more realism on how Yin Fu’s Baguazhang is utilized, outside of an MMA cage and away from the tree:   

Yin Fu is very loyal. Once he was at the forefront of a friend, the two sides invited dozens of people to start a scuffle in the courtyard (undocumented reason).  During the dispute, Yin Fu suddenly realized the conflict was not for loyalty, but for the parties competing interests.  Among the enemies, there is a surname of Yang, who was also a well-known martial arts master at that time, but there is still a considerable gap between his kung fu and Yin Fu. Yin Fu became more and more fierce, and the enemy fled.  After the event, the number of people was counted. Four people were killed on the spot and more than a dozen were injured.  Later, in an attempt for revenge, Yang and his crew retaliated using six-wheeled pistols, and took a shot while Yin Fu was sleeping.  Yang went to the room where Yin Fu was asleep (supposedly a hospital) and pulled a revolver from the sleeves.  Yin Fu counter ambushed Yang, causing a big shock- resulting in Yang shooting himself. The government intervened in this matter and Yang was arrested and sentenced. 

Shanpuying – Cheng Ting Hua

The context of Cheng Ting Hua’s Baguazhang is distorted in modern kungfu culture.  Numerous 2019 articles reveal, Cheng was invited by the elites and became a member of the court’s inner guards- likely the Shanpuying (wrestling battalion equivalent to modern special forces). However, Cheng, who had just entered the palace, had not yet settled into the position… and it was during this time, he encountered the news of the invasion of the Eight-Power Allied Forces. The guards, Cheng Tinghua naturally had the obligation to protect the security of the Qing Dynasty royal family.  

Dragon Cavalry – Napoleonic Era

Dong Haichuan’s Baguazhang is renown for deceptive hands.  Yin Fu’s occupation as an imperial guard often required reconnaissance applications similar to the Napoleonic counterpart. A high-level fight IQ on the ground or the horse is essential to success.

Chinese Wrestling – Tiger Claw

Yin Style Baguazhang contains claw-like movements, many of which adapted from feudal wrestling.  The wrestling vest descends from cuffs of ancient armor. A talon-like grasp is required for clenching and controlling the leather sleeve portion of the armor- before finishing the opponent on the ground.

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.