The Soul Of Baguazhang – Ming Dynasty Sword Classics

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 Style Baguazhang Pudao – Yin Yuzhang Saber Method

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.

Baguazhang Circle Walk – Feudal Application

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].

Yin Style Baguazhang – Feudal Wrestling

[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.

Feudal Dantian Methods – The Ancient Chinese Military Commander’s Waist

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.  

Yin Style Bagua Dragon Chopping – Napoleonic Saber

Yin Style Bagua before the Republic of China era is labeled as Feudal Shaolin methods of Qing Cavalry/ Security forces.  The civil weapons ban in China has resulted in a bit of amnesia, with the current Yin Baguazhang masters.  Late 18th to the early 19th century “Dismounted Saber” of cavalry officers in the Qing era, is influenced by the Napoleonic saber technique.  Yin Style Baguazhang Dragon Chopping- is now instructed as empty-hand striking… however the primary feudal Shaolin application is the officer saber methods of Yin Fu.