Bagua zhang

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(Redirected from Baguazhang)

Bagua zhang (Template:Zh-cp) (also called Pa Kua Chang, Bagua Quan, Pa kua ch'an, Bagua, Pakua, Pakua boxing) is one of the three major internal Chinese martial arts, the other two of which are Xingyiquan (形意拳) and Taijiquan (太極拳).

The word bagua zhang literally means "eight trigram palm". The trigrams refer to diagrams from the Yijing, one of the canons of Taoism. In some styles of Baguazhang these diagrams can refer to eight animals, upon which movements in those fighting systems are based.

The trigrams and their corresponding animals in martial arts are:

  • Li (離) - Chicken (鷂)
  • Kun (坤) - Qilin (麟) (sometimes mis-translated as unicorn or Chinese unicorn)
  • Dui (兌) - Monkey (猴)
  • Qian (乾) - Lion (獅)
  • Kan (坎) - Snake (蛇)
  • Gen (艮) - Bear (熊)
  • Zhen (震) - Long (龍) (often translated as Chinese dragon)
  • Xun (巽) - Fenghuang (鳳) (often mis-translated as phoenix or Chinese phoenix)

Similar types of animal systems exist in other types of Chinese martial arts.

The practice of circle walking is bagua's characteristic method of stance and movement training. Practitioners walk around the edge of a circle in a low stance, facing the center and periodically changing direction as they execute forms. Students first learn flexibility through such exercises, then move on to more complex forms and internal power mechanics. The internal aspects of bagua are very similar to those of xingyi and taiji. Eventually, many distinctive styles of weapons training are practiced, sometimes including the uniquely crescent-shaped deerhorn knives. In many schools, students study both xingyi and bagua. These may be used together in fighting, as they are often complementary. Bagua contains an extremely wide variety of techniques, including various strikes, low kicks, joint techniques, throws, and distinctively circular footwork.

Bagua was developed by Dong Haichuan (董海川) in the early 19th century, who apparently learned from Daoist and Buddhist masters in the mountains of rural China. There is evidence to suggest a synthesis of several pre-existing martial arts taught and practiced in the region he lived in, combined with Taoist circle walking. Dong Haichuan taught for many years in Beijing, eventually earning patronage by the Imperial court. Famous disciples of Dong to become teachers were Yin Fu (尹福), Cheng Tinghua (程廷華), Song Changrong (宋長榮), Liu Fengchun (劉鳳春) and Ma Weiqi (馬維棋). Although they were all students of the same teacher, their methods of training and expressions of palm techniques differed. The Cheng and Liu styles are said to specialize in "Pushing" the palms, Yin style is known for "Threading" the palms, Song's followers practice "Plum Flower" (梅花 Mei Hua) palm technique and Ma style palms are known as "Hammers." Some of Dong Haichuan's students, including Cheng Tinghua (who was killed), participated in the Boxer Rebellion.

One of the most famous Bagua practitioners of the 20th century was Sun Lutang (孫録堂), who studied Baguazhang under Cheng Tinghua. Sun was also a Xingyiquan disciple of Guo Yunshen (郭雲深) and learned Wu/Hao style Taijiquan from Hao Wei-chen. Sun Lutang was reputed among the Taiji professionals of his day to have excelled in his studies and subsequently became well known as the founder of Sun style Taijiquan.

Baguazhang is also known for sometimes practicing with extremely large weapons, such as the Baguadao (八卦刀), or 'Bagua Broadsword.'

Few good teachers of Baguazhang are available in the United States, and many do not advertise. Many are conservative and in line with Confucian didactic tradition will only reveal internal practices to dedicated students.

See also


  • Robert W. Smith, "Chinese Boxing"
  • B. K. Frantzis, "The Power of Internal Martial Arts: Combat Secrets of Ba Gua, Tai Chi, and Hsing-I"
  • Bok Nam Park & Dan Miller, "The Fundamentals of Pa Kua Chang: The Methods of Lu Shue-Tien As Taught by Park Bok Nam."

External links

sv:Bagua zh:八卦掌 pt:Bagua zhang


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