Lethwei or Burmese boxing is a full-contact combat sport from Myanmar that utilizes brutal elbow strikes along with various headbutts and clinching techniques. Lethwei is considered to be one of the most aggressive and brutal martial arts in the world- known as the Art of Nine Limbs. The unique close-range striking of Lethwei is reminiscent of those of Bajiquan, both descending from stick/polearm methods of feudal dynasties.
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.
Cheng Ting Hua is Cheng Yougong’s uncle- Cheng Yougong trained and worked as a shop assistant in Cheng Tinghua’s eyeglasses shop. Contrary to popular belief, many of the Cheng family served as elite instructors to the military (not qigong practice), including Cheng Youlong and Cheng Yougong. Cheng Yougong was the Baguazhang instructor of Zhang Xueliang (son of Zhang Zhuolin who Gong Baotian defended) and many Bajiquan fighters in the early 20th century. Hou Diange, the chief bodyguard of Emperor Puyi has a strong bond with the Cheng family. Cheng Yougong met Huo Diange during service in the late 1920s and frequently exchanged Baguazhang /Bajiquan knowledge. Cheng Qingxun learned Bajiquan from Huo (Yougong’s nephew) and still called Huo Diange “Huo Shishu” (Hou Uncle), well into the late 20th century.
Gong Baotian/ disciple of Yin Fu is renown as the prototype for “Master Gong Yutian” in the GRANDMASTER Motion Picture- Gong Baotian may be among the most popular Yin Style Baguazhang icons in the Republic of China era. Modern Baguazhang schools generally make no distinction between Yin Fu’s students or provide a factual explanation of why methods of training, weapons, routines- differ so much between branches which exist today. Feudal Academia reveals the difference is simply divisions/ranks in occupation and time. Gong Baotian achieved the Imperial Guard status and General Manager of the Four Products- which is Second Rank Sword Guard. Yin Fu is First Rank Imperial Guard and Commander, selected from the upper three flags of the banner system. The separate divisions of just one rank are substantial in regards to martial style, weapons, footwork, context. General Managers of the Four Products have more restrictions on firearms and remain unarmed in close quarters with the Empress. The Spear or Halberd is often utilized during inner palace duty, in conjunction with the military saber when appropriate. As a Han Chinese First Rank Guard under Manchu Rule, Yin Fu’s standards and military privileges are on a different level from Gong Baotian- unparalleled in Napoleonic tactics and feudal Shaolin. Yin Fu is the Three Products Commander, therefore Yin Fu’s Chief System contains polearm/Luohan methods of the second rank, as well as techniques reserved for the most elite.
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.