YSB Xu Xiaodong – Traditional Martial Arts In The Army

There is MMA Xu Xiaodong… and there is also YSB Xu Xiaodong- they are both connected to Baguazhang in Beijing.  YSB Xu Xiaodong is instructing various hand to hand strategy in the department of the Beijing Armed Police Corps in the pic. Xu adapted simple, concise, fast and effective techniques of Internal Martial Arts to complement the requirements of professionals in the fast-paced information age. 

Yang Kun – Yin Style Baguazhang Beijing & Tianjin

Yang Kun is a friend and mentor of He Jinbao, extraordinary in Yin Style Baguazhang skill and chivalry.  The Baguazhang methods of Yang descend from the Beiyang New Army in the Beijing and Tianjin area. Yang Kun is known for his strength in Yin Style iron bracelet strategy and interlinking body methods. [the pic in the background is from MMA Xu Xiaodong’s tv show in Beijing- Yang Kun’s disciples, left, are often guests of honor. Xu is a supporter of Real Baguazhang- he’s always been respectful towards Yin Style Baguazhang] 

Anatomy of Yin Style Baguazhang – Imperial Guard Toy Figure

100% of historians and Baguazhang enthusiasts agree- Yin Fu is the Senior Disciple of Dong Haichuan with the most elite demands for martial application [Imperial Guard Commander]. What most do not agree on is the context, and how Yin Style Baguazhang should appear aesthetically, as far as feudal routine training. In contemporary times, kungfu enthusiasts often base imagery from mainstream movies.  A classic example: the Baguazhang style demonstrated in ‘The Grandmaster’ motion picture is commonly associated with Cheng Style Baguazhang (or polearm methods in Yin).  However, the character in the film, Gong Yutian (Zhang Ziyi’s father) in factual history is built on GONG BAOTIAN- Gong’s system in real life is Yin Style Baguazhang, not Cheng Style. The predicament here… so is the Baguazhang fighter Gong Yutian a badass because of Cheng Baguazhang, or because of Yin Baguazhang polearm usage [the prop left out of the film]? Or is the reason simply modern enthusiasts associate high-level Baguazhang inspired by true history/ presented as fantasy in popular media- to be the most efficient method of learning feudal fighting systems in modern times?  [Note: China has plenty of Qing Imperial Guard statues and toy figures as illustrated above. The rest is preference and history!!] 

Feudal Baguazhang – Expanded For Contemporary Times

Medieval China is full of mystery, wonder- yet harsh with intensity. Feudal Baguazhang masters utilized the arts for real-world applications in an era which was not forgiving. The historical artifact endured to this day carries genetics often clashing with modern interests… for standard Internal Martial Art enthusiasts. Fortunately, there is something called smart, scholarly, and scientific training which is capable of preserving ancient systems while remaining practical for the modern era.

The Practical Isn’t Pretty- General Qi Jiguang

Most Internal Martial Arts in origin, descend or are significantly influenced by Ming General Qi Jiguang, a pioneer of kungfu in medieval China.  His ancient proverb states that the “pretty is not practical and the practical is not pretty.” Feudal Scholars believe Qi Jiguang is describing YIN STYLE BAGUAZHANG- a raw historical artifact of terrifying prowess and prestige.  Many have yet to realize, feudal Baguazhang does not look like the performance-based demonstrations often represented in modern kungfu cinema.  To judge an ancient fighting art using contemporary Peking Opera-fu aesthetics guidelines- is a prime reason why there are Kungfu vs MMA discussions in modern times.

Chen Fake/ Liu Yun Qiao – 1920s Kungfu Exchange

Liu Yun Qiao and Chen Fake exchanged martial concepts in Beijing during the late 1920s.  Both masters at the time- Chen Fake (Beijing Chen Taijiquan) and Liu Yun Qiao (Bajiquan) agreed there was a great similarity between the systems. Both fighting arts utilize segmentation of elbows, short-range power, the similar tempo of footwork etc. In the Ming Dynasty, Bajiquan and Chen Taijiquan were one system- gradually separated through modernization, with the fall of Qing Dynasty. The fusion and historical artifact are preserved in Beijing Gongfu Jia of Chen Yu (Chen Zhaokui’s son).

Enter The Dragon – Bruce Lee Bronco Kick

Bruce Lee demonstrates the ‘Bronco Kick’, a feudal kungfu technique illustrated in William E. Fairbairn’s 1942 book ALL-IN FIGHTING. The Bronco technique biomechanically strengthens one’s Qi in the Dantian- and inversely weakens the opponent’s Qi. Some consider Bruce Lee to be the Father of Mixed Martial Arts… and most consider William E. Fairbairn to be the Father of Close Quarters Combat.

The Grandmaster Motion Picture – Wong Kar-Wai

Wong Kar-wai’s 2013 film, THE GRANDMASTER, features elegant cinematography and artistry of Baguazhang. In the movie, Gong Er’s (Zhang Ziyi) father is Gong Yutian who is an elite Yin Style Baguazhang fighter. Gong Yutian’s character is inspired by Yin Fu’s (right on pic) disciple GONG BAOTIAN (left)- who served as the royal bodyguard of the Dowager Empress Cixi (middle).  The style of Baguazhang in the movie is Yin/Cheng Baguazhang Interlinking Body- characterized by smooth coiling and uncoiling actions, dynamic footwork, close-in wrestling, bone strikes, and most importantly Polearm methods of Qing era Bodyguards… An interesting note, Gong Baotian’s LUOHAN Style of Baguazhang is cross-trained by Wutan Bajiquan carrier, Liu Yun Qiao.  The Bajiquan fighter (Razor’s character) in The Grandmaster film is based on Liu Yun Qiao’s journeys.