Presse 2006


Bagua-taijiquan in Xi´an (Original: chinesisch) (1 von 3)

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Bagua-tajiquanquan (2 von 3)

In Xi’an Bagua-tajiquan is a rare and special blossom in the world of Chinese martial arts. It combines the strengths of taijiquan, baguazhang and xinyiquan into a single style. It contains the essence of these 3 superlative internal styles and has been a highly secretive transmission, so much so that has been thought by many to have disappeared altogether, but in the past couple years I have been introduced to the style a little bit at a time. I have been doing this research on behalf of the “Yongnian Taiji Almanac” and recently made numerous visits to Mr. Li Suiyin of Xi’an so that I can begin to better understand it. Now, let us begin our introduction.

Different Varieties of Bagua-tajiquan

Some people say that there are five main branches of Bagua-tajiquan, Zhaobao, Ningxia, Wu Junshan, Guo Zhushan and Jiang Xinshan, each with their own style. The first branch, Zhaobao, was created in the 20’s or 30’s of the last century in Liaocheng, Shandong by Mr. Ma Yongsheng. (马永胜)Xi’an Zhaobao Taijiquan lineage holder Zhao Zengfu. (赵增副) of Xi’an has published “Chinese Baggua-taiji” on the style. The styles attributes are based on the 8 directions and training is divided into 8 “roads”. It also includes movements and attitudes of  “5 birds” and the “5 beasts”. In the Ninxia branch, it was built on the basics of baguazhang and taijiquan and then combined with the native styles of the Hui (an Islamic minority group in China). The style has been passed down in the Xiji region of Ninxia, Haiyuan county and other parts of that region. The move names include “Grasp Sparrow’s Tail, Diagonal Single Whip” (揽雀尾斜单鞭), “Raise Hand and Advance Eyes Look Ahead” (提手上势平眼看), “White Crane Spreads its Wings and Soars to the Sky” (白鹤亮翅腾空起), “Brush Knee Twist Step Cross the Entire Mountain” (楼膝坳步走满山) and others. (see: “Chinese Wushu Dictionary”/《中国武术词典》for reference.) This style is said to be the creation of Wu Junshan (吴俊山), Guo Zhushan (郭珠山) and Jiang Xinshan (蒋馨山) but actually it shares a common origina with the other varieties. The “Bagua-tajiquan” I discussed in this article will mainly be referring to this system.

The Origins of Bagua-tajiquanquan

There are a number of beliefs about the origins of Bagua-tajiquan which I will enumerate below.

1.  Liu Dekuan. (刘德宽) Liu Dekuan often traded spear techniques for boxing instruction and it is believed that he created Bagua-tajiquan based on these numerous experiences with other masters of the time. The movement names are mostly the same as in Taijiquan but there have been many Baguazhang movements and training methods added in. Liu Dekuan passed it on to Guo Gumin (郭古民) and today the style is held by Wu Yue. (吴岳).

2.  Cheng Tinghua and others. Cheng Tinghua crossed hands with numerous Taiji and other Baguazhang experts of the time and   based on his personal research into the two styles created Bagua-tajiquan. He then taught the new style to his son, Cheng Haiting (程海亭) and the others in this line call the style “Cheng Style Bagua-tajiquan”. The entire form consists of 128 movements. Inheritors include Guo Zhushan, Zhang Wanying (张万英), Qiao Hongru (乔鸿儒),Chen Lixin (陈立新) and others.

3.  Yang Luchan. (杨露禅) On contrast to the above version, in this one it is said that it was created by Yang Luchan who then passed it on to his son in law, Xia Guoxun. Xia Guoxun then taught Liu Dekuan who in turn taught Cheng Haiting. Todays style comes down to us from Cheng Haiting.This version of the story can be found in the “Chinese Wushu Dictionary” cited earlier listed under both “Bagua-tajiquan” and also “Cheng Transmission Bagua-tajiquan”. 

4.  Liu Dekuan and others. When Liu Dekuan was in Beijing there were a very large number of experts there at that time. He learned Baguazhang from Dong Haichuan, Yue style Sanshou (free fighting) from Liu Shijun (六士俊) and Taijiquan from Yang Luchan. In 1894 he became sworn brothers with Cheng Tinghua and Li Cunyi. They then set apart their stylistic differences and worked together to unify Baguazhang, Taijiquan and Xingyiquan into a single style. This story can also be found in the “Chinese Wushu Dictionary” under both “Liu Dekuan” and also “Cheng Tinghua”.

5.  Xia Guoxun and others. According to Cheng Haiting’s third disciple, Chen Lixin, Bagua-tajiquan was the result of collaboration between Yang Luchan’s son in law Xia Guoxun, Dong Haichuan’s discple Liu Dekuan, and Xingyi expert and sworn brother to Cheng Tinghua, Li Cunyi. In the process of exchanging what each felt was the basic essence of their respective arts, they secretly united to created the style. Li Cunyi then taught Cheng Tinghua’s son, Cheng Haiting. Cheng Haiting taught Guo Zhushan. Guo Zhushan taught Zhang Wanying who taught Chen Lixin and so on. After the establishment of New China, the style continued to be taught in Beijing, Nanjing, Tianjing, Yunan, Dongbei and more.  

6.  Dong Haichuan and Yang Luchan. Bagua-tajiquan lineage holder Xu Junwei says that according to what he was taught and has been able to research, he has been able to get closer to the real origins of Bagua-tajiquan. According to him, Dong Haichuan, Yang Luchan and Guo Yunshen were all close friends and often crossed hands with each other to test their skills. First it was Dong Haichuan who absorbed the techniques of Taijiquan and created a Baguazhang supplementary set. After Yang Luchan found out he immediately went to Dong to exchange ideas and to give him even more of the essence of Taijiquan into it. Furthermore, he sent an invitation to Guo Yunshen to participate and create “Bagua-tajiquan”. It was to be a secret teaching only available to inner door disciples. That was the first generation of the style. Dong Haichuan then taught Cheng Tinhua and Liu Dekuan. Yang Luchan taught his son in law, Xia Guoxun. These three exchanged ideas, continued to better the style and gave it the official title “Bagua-tajiquan”. This was the second generation. In 1900 Cheng Tinhua lost his life fighting the 8 nations. Liu Dekuan passed the art on to Li Yuanzhi (李元智) and Wu Junshan. Xia Guoxun passed it on to Cheng Haiting. (Wu Junshan trained with Cheng Tinghua as well). This was the third generation. Li Yuanzhi taught Zhao Fulin (赵福林) and Zhu Shunjun (朱训君). Wu Junshan taught Fu Shuyun (傅淑云), He Fusheng (何福生), Zhang Wenguang (张文广)and others. Cheng Haiting taught Guo Zhuyshan and Jiang Xinshan. That is the fourth generation. The fifth generation consists of Zhao Fulin’s disciple Jing Guohua (景国华), Xu Jinwei and a few others along with Guo Zhushan’s disciples Zhang Wanying, Qiao Hongru and more.

Apart from these, Jiang Xinshan’s thirds generation disciple, Zhu Rui (朱锐), Jiang Xinshan also taught Sun Baolin (孙宝林) and Sun Baolin taught Zhao Zhensheng (赵振生) who taught it to him.

From the above content you can see that all the different branches of Bagua-tajiquan share mixed roots and are only different in the details with each branch supporting the others. The differences among them could be just the differing teaching styles of various generations transmissions. Various teachings and oral histories eventually have led to the creation of these different branches but we still have Wu Junshan and one more extremely important figure who has not been mentioned. That would be the then Assistant Dean of the National Chinese Martial Arts Acadamy (中央国术馆),Zhang Xiangwu (张骧伍). In Xi’an, Zhang Xiangwu passed on the art of Bagua-tajiquan to Li Suiyin (李随印), Yang Rongji (杨荣籍) and others. According to [Li Suiyin] the form was most definitely created by Yang Luchan in his later years after he had absorbed the attack methods of Baguazhang and at simply call it “Old Frame Yang Style 103 Step”. As far as the relationship between Yang Luchan and Wu Junshan it is not clear. According to the other materials I have looked at Wu Junshan seems to have learned it from Liu Dekuan and Cheng Haiting.

I believe the primary content of Bagua-tajiquan is primarily a combination of Taijiquan and Baguazhang principles with a few Xingyiquan techniques as well, but that Xingyiquan disciples Guo Yunshen and Li Cunyi were not the primary creators of the style. Below, let’s first leave Guo Yunshen and Li Cunyi out and make a list of the remaining families. The lineage chart that follows is not complete in the 5th and 6th generations:


Wu Junshan and Zhang Xiangwu

Wu Junshan was from Beijing. He was one of the 3rd generation inheritors of the style. According to the “Chinese Wushu Dictionary”, he, “Loved wushu from childhood and originally became a disciple of Dong Haichuan to study Baguazhang”. He received deep and thorough instruction. He then later studied baguazhang and Bagua-tajiquan with Liu Dekuan. He studied Bagua-tajiquan from Cheng Haiting as well. In 1930, he was appointed by Zhang Zhejiang to be a department head at the National Martial Arts Acadamy [in Nanjing]. He was primarily responsible for teaching Baguazhang and he produced enormous numbers of high quality students. After entering the Nanjing Acadamy he set aside his highly conservative traditional customs. Together with Li Yuanzhi, he opened up Bagua-tajiquanquan, releasing the tradition from secrecy. The two of them have done tremendous work on behalf of this precious treasure. Wu Junshan’s primary disciples were Fu Shuyun, He Fusheng, Zhang Wenguang, Liu Yuhua and the Assistant Dean of the National Martial Arts Acadamy in Nanjing, Zhang Xiangwu. Among them, Fu Shuyun, Zhang Wenguang and Liu Yuhua, all went to the 1936 Berlin Olympics as performers representing Chinese Gongfu. Li Yuanzhi’s preimary disciples were Zhao Fulin, Zhu Xunjun and some others. Madam Fu Shuyun, after spending some time in Taiwan, moved to America. Since that time, she kept Bagua-tajiquanquan secretly exchanging techniques and ideas only with Li Yuanzhi’s disciple, Zhao Fulin. Zhao Fulin also did not openly teach the standard Bagua-tajiquanquan form. He only taught a newly created 48 step version of the larger form that had been created by Fu Shuyun. This form was widely taught.

Zhang Xiangwu was from Ji county in Hebei. He was named Xian (宪). His “zi” (alternate name) was “Xiangwu”. He is a primary Yang Style Bagua-taijiquan 4th generation inheritor. He studied Confucianism as a young child and joined the army as a youth. He later became a major general under Li Jinglin. He had loved martial arts since he was a child and eventually had the chance to learn baguazhang and the Wudang sword from Song Weiyi and Bajiquan from “The Spear God” Li Shuwen. In 1928, after he had retired from military service he, together with Zhang Zhejiang and Li Jinglin, established the Nanjing National Martial Arts Acadamy and served as the Vice Dean. During this time he also had the opportunity to learn and Bagua-taijiquan from Wu Junshan and perfect its methods. He put all of his efforts into spreading and developing Chinese Martial arts and has accomplished much in that regard. He is considered by many to be one of the primary modern figures in modern day Chinese martial arts. After the establishment of New China, he moved to Xi’an and continued teaching. His disciples there include Tian Zhenfeng (田振峰), Wang Yingming (王应铭), Li Suiyin, Yang Rongji and more. Zhang Xiangwu’s disciples in Xi’an say that insisted on calling Bagua-taijiquan, “Old Frame Yang Style Taijiquan 103 Steps”. They believe it to be the creation of Yang Luchan in his later years after absorbing techniques and methods from Baguazhang.

Zhang Xiangwu’s disciple Mr. Li Suiyin (1942 ~ ? ) is from Xi’an in Shaanxi provice. He was small and weak as a child but at eight years old, started learning Bagua-taiji, Bajiquan, Baguazhang, the Kunwu Sword and more from Zhang Xiangwu. He was an excellent student and received loving attention and instruction from Zhang Xiangwu. He has been training continuously for over 50 years now and has a deep understanding of the training, methods and theories of Bagua-taijiquan. His command of the attack methods is engrained in him and his gong fu is quite profound. In push hands, he is light, soft and endlessly changing. He leads with a touch and his movements are easy and natural. His local reputation is extremely strong. Currently he serves as an assistant head of the competition and training department of the Xi’an Chinese Wushu Association. He has spread Old Frame Yang Style 103 Step Taijiquan (aka Bagua-taijiquan) and spread it not only across China but to America and Europe as well. Disciples in Shaanxi include Zhu Yongjin (朱永金), Zhao Jiaqing(赵嘉庆), Ren Manqing (任曼青), Li Xiaohang (李晓航),Liu Xiao Gang (刘小刚) , Sun Shanying (孙善银) and Zhao Feng (赵峰). In Qinghai there are Li Jijing (李齐景), Wang Junzhong (王俊忠) and Li Hai (李海). In Germany there is “Thomas” (托马斯), Udo Werner (务都) and Fang Yu (方宇). In America there is Omar Belove (白乐文).

Characteristic and Movement Names

The basic characteristics of Bagua-taijiquan, we could say, are a combination of the training and techniques of both baguazhang and taijiquan but also with a few xingyiquan techniques blended in as well but when performed in the context of Bagua-taijiquan they are not exactly the same. The names and order of the movements [of this Taiji form when compared to others] also have some differences. For example, Fu Shuyun taught a 145 step form. Zhang Xiangwu taught one with 103 steps. Guo Gumin’s is 123. Guo Zhushan’s transmission has 128 steps and the form created by Fu Shuyun and Zhao Fulin together has 48. These differences maybe because they were created by different people at different times but they may also be simply changes or additions made along the way. We just want to try and make the lineage clear but do not wish at all to imply there are more or less legitimate versions. For the most part we can separate them into two broad categories. One group has a sequence and set of move names that is relatively close to Yang style taijiquan. This group includes Zhang Xiangwu and Guo Gumin. These are the ones who just call the style “Old Frame Yang Style 103 Step”. The other group differs more markedly from Yang style taijiquan. For example Guo Zhushan teaches a form that includes moves such as “Plucking Stars, Changing and Trembling” (摘星换斗), “Magpie Soars Skyward” (喜鹊腾空), Swallow Splashes Water (燕子三戏水), “Yellow Oriole Comes to Rest” (黄莺洛架), “Crouching Tiger Listens To The Wind” (卧虎听风), “Lift a Spear And Strike a Bird” (托枪打鸟), “Old Mother Does Her Stitching” (老妈妈纺线), “Advance and Absorb Elbow” (进步吸肘), “Punching Through The Back” (范翻背捶), “Asking Punching” (问心捶), “Advance and Cover Horse Punching” (上步盖马捶) and more. None of these are present in Yang Style Taijiquan. The items created specifically for the style [in this version] are somewhat more numerous. It is my belief that the first of these two categories, based on its content, clearly can be considered to be “Yang Style Bagua-taijiquan”.

The Yang Style Bagua-Taijiquan that Zhang Xiangwu taught in Xi’an has the following distinctive features:

1.  It preserves the majority of the traditional Yang style Taijiquan basic flavor and structure. It combines the 3 internal styles and in keeping with the Taiji symbol and the so called “Bagua walks the perimeter, Xing Yi advances ahead, Taiji holds the center” saying, Bagua-taiji should not focus on walking the perimeter. Sure enough, it tends to emphasise holding the center and moving horizontally. The names and sequence of the moves is more or less the same as in Yang Style Taijiquan.

2.  It preserves some of the moves from the Yang Style Frame. Tale for example, “Raise Hand and Advance” (提手上势). In the version set down by Yang Chengfu (杨澄甫), left and right hands are extended as front and rear are brought together, but in Bagua-taijiquan, the right hand is a hook hand as can be seen in picture 1. This is the same as several other Old Frame Yang Style versions.

3.  It has absorbed many movements and methods from baguazhang. Take for example, “Grasp The Swallows Tail” (揽雀尾). In addition to peng, lu, ji, an, it has also [in this version] incorporated baguazgang’s outside twisting (外坳), lifting (捧), hanging (挂) and fixing/stabilizing (定). Hidden within every Single Whip (单鞭) is Baguazhang’s “Pulling Down a Windmill” (到拉风车-picture 2.). Sometimes “single whip” also has an “Upwared Piercing Palm” ( 上穿掌-picture 3). The “Carry Tiger Back to the Mountain” (抱虎归山)has within it the 9 palace stepping pattern of Baguazhang. (pictures 4-7). “White Crane Spreads Its Wings” (白鹤亮翅) has been changed into a single leg balance exercise with a very different flavor from the original. (picture 8)



4.   In terms of usage, Bagua-taijiquan also has absorbed attributes from both baguazhang and taijiquan.. The content has been made more varied and the practicality has been strengthened therefore the difficulty in performing this style has been increased a bit.  

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Artikel von Li Suiyin über seinen Lehrer Zhang Xiangwu (3 von 3)
Übersetzung aus dem Chinesischen: Omar Belove

"Mr. Zhang Xiangwu (also known as Zhang Xian), born in Hebei, Vice Dean at the Nanjing National Martial Arts Acadamy in charge of education and development made tremendous contribution to my development as a martial artist.  

Zhang Xiang Wu and Huo Dian Ge (Late Ming Dynasty personal martial arts instructor to the emperor Pu Yi), Ma Yingtu, and Mr. Liu Yun Qiao were are internationally famous Bajiquan practitioners, all of them proud disciples of the respected grandmaster "The Spear God&", Li Shuwen.  

Mr. Zhang was strapping, vigorous 80 years old when he came to Xi'an. His exceedingly high level of Bajiquan gong fu gave him the strong and nimble bearing of a tiger. When he performed Bajiquan the movemenets were hard and powerfull, explosive without preparatory movements. It was like seeing the adamantium body (jin gang shen) appear and every move had power. One explosion after another his form was like an artillery battery with heng and ha one move after the other. With this sort of extreme ferocity he brought out the special flavor of Bajiquan.

Mr. Zhang also performed Yang style Taijiquan (103 step form). This particular form of Taijiquan was created in the late Qing Dynasty by Yang style founder Yang Lu Chan. In his later years he often trained together with the Baguazhang legend Dong Haichuan and as a result many of the moves in this form have names taken directly from Baguazhang. Zhang Xiangwu learned the form from Wu Junshan who Yang Luchan had transmitted it to. His [Zhang Xiangwu] Taijiquan had already entered [when I met him] a truly deep place. When he went through the form it was flowing like water, soft and unbroken as cotton. There was stillness in motion and motion in stillness. He was still as the mountain and flowing as the river. Empty, relaxed, round and lively, internal and external united, he had found the place where man stands between the earth and the sky and links them together as one.  

  His push hands skill was even more amazing. His listening jin, his ability to know another persons gongfu was truly miraculous. He had taken the 13 methods, the 6 major jin, the two methods of sticking and following, [the interplay of] yin and yang, the changes of opening and closing and was using them mysteriously and naturally without form or intent.  

  One time when a Xi'an Taijiquan practitioner with very good push hands skills came to visit he wished to test Mr. Zhang's gongfu. The two of them raised their hands and Mr. Zhang assumed the "ji" position, closed his eyes and waited for the other person to move. The visiting practitioner went to respond with "an" but before he knew it Mr. Zhang was asking him, "What are you doing?" and he had been bounced out and across the room and was on the floor.  

  Mr. Zhang's push hands skill had developed and empty, agile body moving as needed, awaiting motion while still. He embodied the principles of "I am not moved, I don’t move. With the slightest movement I move first."He was nimble and light, hands using jin the lightest touch felt like lightning. He used extremely small movements to send people flying great distances. He had an immeasurably high level of skill.

  Mr. Zhang's Baguazhang, Wudang Sword (Wudang Jian) was transmitted to him from his Shifu Song Weiyi. (Song Weiyi was a great master who was a disciple of Shishu (uncle) of Dong Haichuan.). Song Weiyi was a disciple of Bi Yuexia, a doaist at the "San Qing Temple" in Wuyi, on Lu Mountain right on the border between Hubei and Sichuan. Dong Haichuan dicipled his [Bi Yuexia] daoist "brother", Bi Dengxia in An Wei at the Jiu Hua mountain temple. Bi Yuexia and Bi Dengxia took the same monastic names as a show of brothership in Dao.  

Zhang Xiangwu's superlative skill in the Wudang Sword was a result of his direct instruction from Song Weiyi. Together with his already high level neigong he was able to achieve make the sword a true extension of his body, natural agility, sword sticking to his body while his movements were light and carefree, extending and contracting like magic. Watching him perform his sword [form] was really something special.

  His Bagua performance was profound as well. Such a tall a sturdy stature turning and soaring like a swallow, like wood floating on water, as elegant as if at a formal banquet, it made me realize what is really meant by the unity of "yi", "qi" and "shen". Zhang Shifu made tremendous contributions to the development of Chinese Wushu and gave much. He left me with a very deep impression. His example is one that is deserving of the emulation of the later generations study and further development."