A unique characteristic of Chinese fighting arts is the integration of feudal instruments, within the empty hand structures. Close-in wrestling and striking are delivered in conjunction with weapons strategy- this is a primary reason kungfu looks so exotic. The Kungfu vs MMA debate fails to acknowledge most urban adversaries in ancient (and modern) era are armed- a primary emphasis on empty hand application is excellent for combat sport pugilism, however, limited for the real world.
The Shaolin Cudgel is the foundation for much of the strategy in Yin Style Baguazhang today- ranging from unarmed techniques, military saber, spear, polearms, and bayonet. In ancient dynasties centuries before Yin Fu’s time, the dagger is used alongside the cudgel… predating the longsword and saber.
In modern Baguazhang schools, the Giant Sword and Saber is often emphasized, regardless of branch or styles. In fact, many instructors today regard the sword as the soul of Baguazhang structures, in feudal times… While this theory certainly has merit, Feudal Academia is not here to play guessing games. 10 out of 10 Chinese scholars agree that the cold weapon technology of the Qing Dynasty is inherited directly from the Ming. IRFS provides clear documentation, tracking the longsword foundation to Yu Dazhao in the era of General Qijiguang. Yu Dazhao wrote a book called “The Sword Classic”: the techniques illustrated include the iconic T-step/shape footwork entries of triangular point-stepping, describes the sword method as ‘running water’, a continuous striking which ‘flows with the force’, demonstrates ‘reversing the body’ and ‘heaven and earth’ usage of the longsword… last and most importantly, THE SWORD CLASSIC IS A BOOK ABOUT STICKS [aka polearms] FOR PIKEMAN OF THE ARMY!!
Yin Yuzhang, the son of Yin Fu is remembered for his cleaving Saber methods, utilizing an instrument less than half the length of the iconic Giant Baguazhang saber often instructed in contemporary times. Many Chinese scholars link the cleaving saber to the Pudao in feudal era. The Silky Pudao dates back to the Song Dynasty and remained its emphasis throughout the Qing Dynasty. China is an agricultural continent- the pudao is a rare instrument important to both civil and military airbenders for cultivating qi or vegetables. In feudal times, not everyone had clearance to carry long weapons in certain districts- due to government restrictions at that time. The pudao wielders modified the big knife into a short knife (separating the blade from the pole) and attached the blade to the staff during battle. Yin Fu’s methods undoubtedly emphasize the importance of this long weapon, concealed within the Interlinking Body methods. Live Training Available.
A stoic pic of Yin Fu in the Forbidden City. The Yin Style Bagua Lion System is stoic as well- a powerful fighting system enduring hardship in the gentle mind-body sports promotions of China fitness/wushu reforms. The Lion represents the Father of all Baguazhang systems, renown as the King of the Beasts… This is the 21st century, however, so rest assured- the main focus of Lion System today is adapted for modern self-defense emphasizing unarmed pugilism, joint locks, with wrestling. Feudal Baguazhang artifact retains elite calisthenics for the fast-paced information age. Distance Monitoring Available, minus the bayonet.
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 calisthenics- 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 Stacking [as in the pic].
[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.