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 combat- 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 Melee Stacking [as in the pic].
[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.
The fight between MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong and Tai Chi master Wei Lei sent shockwaves through China. A competition which only lasted 10 seconds- forever changed Chinese Kungfu history in contemporary times. The punch that Xu utilized is the feudal Shaolin fist- iconic in Bajiquan. This straight fist with the expansion of the rear arm is renown for penetrating force, with a continuous second energy upon impact. Beijing Gongfu Jia Taijiquan 83 system also contains this style of boxing technique… Xu has earned the support of the Shaolin Temple in China, in an effort to preserve factual Chinese Kungfu- as there are too many exaggerated Tai Chi or commercial Kungfu promotions nowadays stemming from the 1928 Fitness Reform, detrimental to REAL Taijiquan, Baguazhang, or kungfu reputation. Xu is supportive of authentic Bajiquan (Shaolin), original Taijiquan (feudal Chen Longfist) and Yin Style Baguazhang (feudal Shaolin), he is great friends with some of He Jinbao’s early disciples.
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.
[Uncle Ma, lecturing about short-range elbows again- at the World Armed Forces Association] Feudal Bajiquan and Beijing Chen Taijiquan descend from the same sources in the Ming Dynasty- separated in the early 20th century during the 1928 Fitness Reform. Before the 20th century, the systems are Feudal Military Shaolin. Liu Yun Qiao cross-trained Yin Style Baguazhang (orthodox penetrating palms) with Wutan Bajiquan.
[Brother Hu with He Jinbao in the pic] Feudal wrestling is essential to Yin Style Bagua professionals in the Qing era. The Manchu wrestling before the 20th century contained obvious strikes and joint locks, complementary to the career path, and the Imperial Guard’s armor- worn during circle walking around the tree. The strikes of the wrestling for mounted officers is contained within various Yin Style systems and dominant within the Lion System- contrary to modern Shui Jiao (or popular folk Dragon classification) which has lost much of the cavalry striking. In the Qing era, military wrestling utilized edge of hand and various bone strikes- crucial for taking down an armored opponent. The Manchu style of vest descended from the leather edged portion of the Mongolian style of armor- the most important area of the armor for grasping and qi uprooting practice.
In ancient Chinese sculptures and paintings, most of the Generals were portrayed with a thicker muscular belly- characterized as the waist of a tiger, or ancient military commander’s waist. In modern times, though rare… raw lineages maintain a distinct core muscle control which descends from the Armor dynasties. Under the ancient umbilical is the Dantian, which is regarded as a crucial muscle group for medieval Chinese Knights. A dynamic and thicker waist can provide additional protection of the spine, and auxiliary force to the core muscles. Ancient treatise favors the commander’s waist for generating short-range power and maintaining stability on foot while wearing heavy armor. Armor prevents damage from sabers and polearms, requiring more emphasis on wrestling, balance, and core control for weapons precision. Many conflicts ended with knocking the opponent to the ground and disrupting their Qi with either a blunt weapon (mace), or a short weapon- to penetrate a suit of armor at the seams, or through the visor of the helmet.
[He Jinbao, Frank K. and the crew] A nutrient fortified Baguafighter’s diet is essential for the energy demands in training. Baguazhang athletes need a medium to high protein diet to build and maintain their lean muscle mass. The nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables boost recovery and provides essential fiber needed for hours upon hours of circle-walking and military drills around the tree!!