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Ba Gua Zhang (BGZ)
(Translated as Eight Diagram Palms)



Photo of Dong Hai Chuan

This style of Chinese boxing was very popular during the time of Qing Dynasty's Emperor Dao Guang who reigned from 1820 to 1850. The story goes that Dong Hai Chuan of Wen'an County in Hebei Province came to Beijing in 1852 when Emperor Guang Xu ascended the throne and worked in Prince Su's mansion. There he began to teach his Ba Gua Zhang, which soon became very popular in Beijing, Tianjin and the surrounding areas, and he was acknowledged as the respected founder of Ba Gua Zhang.

Dong Haichuan had a large number of followers and he taught each of them in accordance with their aptitude, adapting movements to suit their ability and talent.

(Pictured left:   Dong Hai Chuan, The Founder of Ba Gua Zhang)

The Various Styles of Ba Gua Zhang

A hundred years later, Dong's Ba Gua Zhang has now branched out into various forms with some differences between them, each having its own distinctiveness. Some of the major branches of BGZ are the Cheng style (after Cheng Tinghua), the Yin style (after Yin Fu), the Jiang style (after Jiang Rong Qiao's), the Liu style (after Liu Fengchun) and the Ma style (after Ma Weiqi).

Photo of Yin Fu

Each of those Ba Gua Zhang systems are based on the individual's background and previous martial training. Each style has its own specific forms and techniques. In essence, all of the different styles adhere to the basic principles of Ba Gua Zhang while retaining an individual flavor of their own. Most of the styles in existence today can trace their roots to either the Yin Fu, Cheng Ting Hua, or Liang Zhen Pu variations.

(Pictured right:   Yin Fu, Founder of Yin Fu Ba Gua Zhang)

  • The distinctive trademarks of the Yin Fu style are the large number of percussive techniques, multiple quick-strikes combinations, xplosive movements and very quick and evasive footwork. (Yin Fu was said to "fight like a tiger," moving in and knocking his opponent to the ground swiftly like a tiger pouncing on its prey.
  • Cheng Ting Hua styles of Ba Gua Zhang include palm changes which are done in a smooth flowing and continuous manner, with little display of overt power. (Cheng Ting Hua's movement has been described like "A dragon soaring in te clouds". It is said that time he turned his body his opponent would fly away.) Popular variations of this style include the Gao Yi Sheng system, Dragon Style Ba Gua Zhang, "Swimming Body" Ba Gua Zhang, the Nine Palace System, JiangRong Qiao's style (probably the most common form practiced today),and the Sun Lu Tang style.
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