Baguazhang, or 8 trigram palm style, is the younger of the three main internal styles (xingyiquan, taijiquan, baguazhang). It can be traced back to the mid-1800s to a man named Dong Hai Quan. Dong was a palace eunuch who was responsible for tax collection and had the opportunity to test his skills on job. According to oral tradition, he had learned his unique boxing style from a wandering Daoist and was reluctant to reveal who he was.
Dong had many famous students and two of his most famous students were Yin Fu and Cheng Ting Hua. Yin Fu was his first student who was originally a Lohanquan practitioner. He was soundly defeated by Dong and immediately asked to learn Dong’s unique boxing style. The style was then passed down to Gong Bao Tien, and then passed down to Liu Yun Qiao.
Baguazhang is a unique system in terms of training methods and combat usages. The style emphasize on continuous motion, changing of techniques and direction, and making each movement flow from one to another. Although style focuses primarily on palm strikes, it also employs fist strikes and a wide arrange of strikes utilizing the whole body. It’s most unique training tool, and perhaps most easily visible feature, is its usage of circle walking. Although in Yin Fu’s method, single line actions are taught first since applying the palm changes during the circle walking was considered a bit difficult for beginners.
Grandmaster Liu’s training methods of baguazhang includes many empty hand and weapon sets, striking posts training, and strength training.
In recent years, bagauzhang has been associated with mysticism and the Yi Ching. With all that aside, baguazhang contains many training methods that are both internal and external. Sweat, physical fatigue, and hard work cannot be avoided to develop one’s kung fu. Bagua’s emphasis has and should always be based on fighting usages.
---[ Bagua description courtesy of Oslo Wutan ]---