Art of Hsing I (XingYi) And Pa-Kua Chang [(Internal Styles) :

Most internal martial arts, Tai Chi, Hsing-i, and Pa Kua, share the following three points:
  1. There is explosive power in their movement.
  2. Strong chi and blood circulation which give good health and long life.
  3. In combat, their movement depends on the movement of the opponent which allows them to control him easily.
Therefore, since people see that these three characteristics are shared by Tai Chi, Hsing-i and Pa Kua, they group them together as internal martial arts. However, if you fail to consider how each of the different arts seeks to achieve these different characteristics, then you are missing a very important point. As you know, the forms of these arts are obviously different on the outside.

So, what are the key points hidden behind these movements that made the internal martial arts famous in their ability to deliver such tremendous power within such a wide variety of movements? Is it a special way of breathing? Is it something in the imagination? The answer is no to both questions. With this question in mind, the author has traveled throughout China to visit many different Masters of various internal martial arts. By discussing and exchanging ideas with these people he found out that the real answer is that all of these different methods of movement were being executed in the same way in terms of structure and alignment. By utilizing correct structure and alignment it does not matter what kind of movement is done externally. There are three external benefits to moving with correct structure and alignment:
  1. You will be able to support greater force with your body without relying on muscular strength.
  2. Your body will act as a single unit enabling you to release much more power.
  3. You will be able to change while maintaining a sound structure and whole body connection.
Internally, one can achieve true relaxation only through proper structure and alignment. Once proper structure is in place, the chi and blood circulation will become stronger without any forced breathing or imagination. This is the quickest, safest, and most effective way to establish good chi circulation. The chi feeling is real unlike other feelings which are intermittent and based on imagination.

Because of the many subtleties of proper structure, and the fact that the basic idea are so deep, the correct path is easily lost. As a result of improper structure, most of the techniques of the internal martial arts lose their effectiveness. The health benefits of the internal martial arts are also gone without good structure. Therefore, the feats of internal martial arts masters become nothing more than folk tales. To make up for improper structure, there are those who add elaborate breathing methods and imagination to their movements in an attempt to make their art internal. These people usually end up with no kung fu. In America, there are few who have realized the importance of structure. They only see a small portion of the structural requirements so they still can not correctly explain the fundamentals of internal martial arts.



Hsing-I Chuan (Xingyi Quan, Shing Yi Chuan) -- (Mind Intention Boxing) 

Hsing Yi Ch'uan is one of the three orthodox "internal" styles of Chinese martial art (the other two being T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Pa Kua Chang). "Hsing" refers to form and "Yi" to the mind or intent. "Ch'uan" literally means fist and denotes a method of unarmed combat. Hsing Yi Ch'uan is commonly refered to as "Form and Mind" or "Form and Will" boxing. The name illustrates the strong emphasis placed on motion being subordinate to mental control.

Origin: Shan Hsi Province, China.

Shing-Yi is one of the three principal soft or internal systems (T'ai-chi ch'uan and Pa-Kua Chang are the other two) within the Chinese "boxing" arts which integrate mind and body—work--hence its name, which translates to "Body-mind Boxing" or "The Shape of Mind Boxing." It is practiced with a light, quick, sometimes penetrating mode—never ponderous, sluggish, tense or heavy.

Four basic parts to the study include:

1. Five basic actions/Five Elements

a. Splitting (Pi Ch’uan), Metal 

b. Crushing (Peng Ch’uan), Wood 

c. Drilling (Tsuan Ch’uan), Water 

d. Pounding (P’ao Ch’uan), Fire 

e. Crossing (Heng Ch’uan), Earth

[ The Twelve Animal Styles: eagle, chicken, phoenix, tiger, crocodile, snake, horse, dragon, leopard, crane, monkey, swallow. 

3. Forms

a. Wu Shing Lien Huan: Linking the Five Elements form. Taught after 5 Elements are introduced. 

b. Lien Huan Si Ba Ch’uan: Snake form, taught after first six Animal Styles are introduced. 

c. Za Shih Chui: Varieties of Grasping. Taught after all 12 animal Styles are introduced.

4. Application drills 

Hsing-I (XingYi) HISTORY :

:The exact origins of Hsing Yi Ch'uan are unknown. The creation of the Art is traditionally attributed to the famous general and patriot Yueh Fei (1103-1141) of the Sung Dynasty. There is, however, no historical data to support this claim. The style was originally called "Hsin Yi Liu He Ch'uan" (Heart Mind Six Harmonies Boxing). The Six Harmonies refer to the Three Internal Harmonies (the heart or desire coordinates with the intent; the intent coordinates with the ch'i or vital energy; the ch'i coordinates with the strength), and the Three External Harmonies (the shoulders coordinate with the hips; the elbows coordinate with the knees and the hands coordinate with the feet).

The earliest reliable information we have makes reference to Chi Lung Feng (also known as Chi Chi Ke) of Shan Hsi Province as being the first to teach the art of Hsin Yi Liu He Ch'uan. Chi Lung Feng was active near the end of the Ming Dynasty (early 1600's) and was a master of spear fighting (he had the reputation of possessing "divine" skill with the spear). He is recorded as stating "I have protected myself in violent times with my spear. Now that we are in a time of "peace" and our weapons have all been destroyed, if I am unarmed and meet the unexpected, how shall I defend myself?" In answer to his own question, Chi Lung Feng reportedly created a style of weaponless combat based on his expertise with the spear. He refered to his art as "Liu He," the Six Harmonies.

Chi Lung Feng had two very famous students. One was from from He Bei province and was named Ts'ao Chi Wu. The other was from He Nan Province and was named Ma Hsueh Li. It was at this point in history that the Hsin Yi Liu He Ch'uan (now also refered to as Hsing Yi Ch'uan) divided into three related yet separate styles, the Shan Hsi, He Nan and He Bei schools. After spending 12 years studying Hsin Yi Ch'uan with Chi Lung Feng, Ts'ao Chi Wu entered the Imperial Martial Examinations and placed first (this was the most prestigious honor one could possibly win as a martial artist in old China, and assured the victor a high government position). Ts'ao passsed on his art to two brothers, Tai Lung Pang and Tai Lin Pang.

Tai Lung Pang passed his Art on to Li Luo Neng (also known as Li Neng Jan). Li holds the distinction of being the greatest Hsing Yi Boxer in the styles' history and one of the top Chinese boxers of all time. Li Luo Neng taught his art in his native Shan Hsi Province and also taught a great number of students in He Bei Province (his duties as a bodyguard involved escorting various members of wealthy families to and from He Bei). Two of Li's most famous Shan Hsi students were Sung Shi Jung and Che Yi Chai. His most famous He Bei student was the formidable Kuo Yun Shen (who reportedly defeated all comers with his "Beng Ch'uan," a straight punch to the body). Kuo Yun Shen passed on his art to Wang Fu Yuan, Liu Ch'i Lan and Sun Lu Tang among others; Liu Ch'i Lan passed on the Art to the most famous practitioners of this century, including Li Ts'un Yi and Chang Chan Kuei (also known as Chang Chao Tung). There are many practitioners of all three sub-systems active today, and Hsing Yi Ch'uan is still a popular and well respected style of martial art in China.


The art is divided into two main systems, the Ten Animal and Five Element respectively. The Five Element system is further divided into two major branches, the He Bei and Shan Hsi styles. The Ten animal style is closest to the original Hsin Yi Liu He Ch'uan in form and practice. The movem nts in the forms are patterned after the spirit of various animals in combat, including the Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Chicken, Hawk, Snake, Bear, Eagle and Swallow. The Five Element based systems have five basic forms (including Splitting, Drilling, Crushing, Pounding, and Crossing) as the foundation of the art. These basic energies are later expanded into Twelve Animal forms which include variations of the animal forms found in the Ten Animal styles as well as two additional animals, the Tai (a mythical bird) and the Tuo (a type of water lizard, akin to the aligator). Training in all systems centers on repetitive practice of single movements which are later combined into more complicated linked forms.

The direction of movement in Hsing Yi Ch'uan forms is predominately linear.

Practitioners "walk" through the forms coordinating the motions of their entire bodies into one focused flow. The hands, feet and torso all "arrive" together and the nose, front hand and front foot are along one verticle line when viewed from the front (san jian hsiang chiao). The arms are held in front of the body and the practitioner lines up his or her centerline with opponent's centerline. A familiar adage of Hsing Yi Ch'uan is that "the hands do not leave the (area of the) heart and the elbows do not leave the ribs." There are few kicks in the style and the techniques are of a predominately percussive nature. Great emphasis is placed upon the ability to generate power with the whole body and focus it into one pulse which is released in a sudden burst.

Hsing Yi is characteristically aggressive in nature and prefers to move into the opponent with a decisive blow at the earliest opportunity. The style prizes economy of motion and the concept of simultaneous attack and defense. As the name of the style implies, the form or "shape" of the movements is the outward, physical manifestation of the "shape" of one's intent. A fundamental principle underlying all styles of Hsing Yi Ch'uan is that the mind controls and leads the movement of the body.


Training in He Nan (Ten Animal) Hsin Yi Liu He Ch'uan includes basic movements designed to condition and develop the striking ability of the "Seven Stars" (the head, shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, knees and feet). From there the student will progress to learning the basic animal forms. Form practice consists of repeating single movements while walking foward in various straight line patterns. Later, the single movements are combined into linked forms. The techniques are relatively simple and straightforeward and rely on the ability to generate force with almost any part of the body (the Seven Stars). Also included at more advanced levels are weapons forms (including the straight sword, staff and spear).

The Five Element based styles of Hsing Yi Ch'uan (Shan Hsi and He Bei) traditionally begin training with stance keeping (Chan Chuang). The fundamental posture is called "San Ti" (Three Bodies) or "San Ts'ai" (Three Powers, refering to heaven, earth and man). It is from this posture that all of the movements in the style are created and most teachers place great emphasis upon it. After stance keeping the student begins to learn the Five Elements (Wu Hsing). These are the basic movements of the art and express all the possible combinations of motion which produce percussive power. After a certain level of proficiency is acquired in the practice of the Five Elements, the student goes on to learn the Twelve Animal and linked forms. The Twelve Animal forms are variations of the Five Elements expressed through the format of the spirit of animals in combat. There are several two-person combat forms which teach the student the correct methods of attack and defense and the applications of the techniques practiced in the solo forms. Five Element based styles also include weapons training (the same weapons as the He Nan styles).


As mentioned above, Hsing Yi Ch'uan is divided into three related yet distinct styles: He Nan Hsin Yi Liu He Ch'uan and Shan Hsi/He Bei Hsing Yi Ch'uan. He Nan Hsin Yi Liu He Ch'uan is characterized by powerful swinging movements of the arms and the ability to strike effectively with every part of the body.

This system is very powerful and aggressive in nature and the movements are simple and straightforeward.

He Bei style Five Element Hsing Yi Ch'uan emphasizes larger and more extended postures, strict and precise movements and powerful palm and fist strikes.

Shan Hsi style Five Element Hsing Yi Ch'uan is characterized by smaller postures with the arms held closer to the body, light and agile footwork and a relatively "softer" approach to applying technique (Shan Hsi Hsing Yi places a greater emphasis on evasiveness than the other styles).

Hsing I Ch'uan is translated as "mind form boxing" because in my opinion, the form is the structural alignment necessary to allow chi to flow, and the mind necessary to direct or deliver the chi into the opponent to damage organs, connective tissue, and internal structures. Hsing I's Beng Ch'uan (wood fist) can feel like being hit with a sludge hammer if applied correctly. What you don't see is the physical cocking of the arm to the extent that the power is obvious, because this is considered an "internal" strike. The origins of Hsing I date back to the Liang Dynasty (540 A.D.) when martial artists first began to integrate ch'i in their training. It was at this point in history when Bodidarma (Ta Mo) traveled from india to share his knowledge of chi training to the shaolin monks. Some texts claim that Ji Ji Ke (Li Long Feng) of the Shanxi province developed Hsing I in the Ming Dynasty (1364-1644 A.D.), however, traditionally legendary Marshall Yueh Fei was credited with its creation in the Sung Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.); centuries before Ji Ji Ke. Marshall Yueh Fei was a very virtuous man and became very successful at Hsing I and taught his armies how to apply it to win him battles. Unfortunately Yueh Fei was eventually imprisoned by the emperor because he was too popular with the people and he felt threatened. However, it was believed that Ji Ji Ke found a manuscript of Hsing I on Jong Nan Mountain written by Marshall Yueh Fei. Even though Ji Ji Ke did not create Hsing I, it is certain that he was responsible for its development. There are many branches of Hsing I, this is because there were many teachers here and there with many different body styles, different masters taught differently based upon body type, interpretation, and their own improvements. This style is based on the 5 elements in traditional Taoist philosophy.

Hsing I (and other internal styles) is unique to martial arts because of the internal nature of it. Even practitioners who have been practicing it for many years, each have unique methods and internal striking; many of them very powerful. Hsing I is based on the 5 elements and each element has its own fist. In Spring we have the element wood, the organ Liver, and the Beng Chuan (smashing fist). In Summer we get the element fire, the organ Heart, and the Pao Chuan (pounding fist). At the end of Summer we have the element Earth, the organ Spleen, and the Heng Chuan (crossing fist). In Autumn we get the element, Metal, the organ Lungs, and the Pi Chuan (splitting fist); and lastly, in Winter we ge the element Water, the organ Kidneys, and the Tsuan Chuan (drilling fist). 

One of the major characters in Hsing I Chuan development among, Ji Ji Ke (Ji Long Feng), Yueh Fei, and Guo Yun Shen was Sun Lu Tang. Each of these great men contributed greatly to the development of Hsing I, but Sun Lu Tang was the first to try and document and perserve the style in script. Sun Lu Tang was a master of Hsing I, Bagua Zhang, and Tai Chi Chuan

BAGUA ZHANG (Ba Gua Zhang, Ba Gua Chang) -- "The ultimate art of circular movement" :

  The principles of Bagua and Hsing'I are in the strictest sense 
completely  opposite. Whilst Hsing'I focuses upon a linear attacking plan, Bagua relies  on the circular. Hsing'I does not neglect the benefit of circular  training  and this is evident with some techniques being identical to Bagua.  Harder to detect in Bagua is the devastating power of Hsing'I. One can find the 
common ground aligned in the practise and philosophy of the animal forms. Interlocking sets of the two arts also bear a great resemblance. 

Tai Chi 
(Taiji) also plays a significant role in Bagua. This comes from the 
emphasis of the I Ching.

Bagua theory is based
upon the Philosophy of the I Ching classic (Book of Changes). All  movements correspond to the elements and the effect on the vital organs of the body. Intellectual development follows. Some say Bagua and H'Sing'I  are inseparable. Certainly history would suggest that the two arts are intertwined. Upon becoming famous Dong Hai Chuan was challenged by Kuo Yun  Shen, the "Divine Crushing Hand" of the Hsing I Boxing school.


Jiulong Baguazhang :

Bagua theory is based
upon the  Philosophy of the I Ching classic  (Book of Changes). All movements correspond to the elements and the effect on the vital organs of the body. Intellectual development follows. Some say Bagua and H'Sing'I are inseparable. Certainly history would suggest that the two arts are intertwined. Upon becoming famous Dong Hai Chuan was challenged by Kuo Yun Shen,  the "Divine Crushing Hand" of the Hsing I Boxing school.

History records how after three days where neither
could invade the others' defence Dong (Tung) defeated Kuo. So impressed were the two of the other's ability and fighting system both signed a pact of brotherhood that would require their students to learn both Hsing 'I and Bagua. To this day the systems have maintained a duality where each art form complements the other.
The principles of Bagua and Hsing'I are in the strictest sense completely opposite. Whilst Hsing'I focuses upon a linear attacking plan, Bagua relies on the circular. Hsing'I does not neglect the benefit of circular training and this is evident with some techniques being identical to Bagua. Harder to detect in Bagua is the devastating power of Hsing'I. One can find the common ground aligned in the practise and philosophy of the animal forms.
Interlocking sets of the two arts also bear a great resemblance. Tai Chi (Taiji) also plays a significant role in Bagua. This comes from the emphasis of the I Ching.
The first written explanation of the relationship between the Yi Jing  and Bagua is found in and is commonly known as Zhou Yi or Zhou's Book of Changes. Zhou Yi states the existence of Taiji in the Yi. This relates to the opposites of Yin and Yang. Eight trigrams are extended from this to create the Ba Gua, (eight trigrams). Hsing'I (Xing Yi) also refers to the Yi in its name.
In Bagua and Hsing'I there are songs. Tai Chi (Taiji) is mentioned in the songs. A deeper study of the relationship of the three Internal schools establishes a combined philosophy through the link with each art referring to aspects of the other.

Ba Gua Zhang translates as eight shapes of the palm. The eight shapes refer specifically to the eight hexagram symbols called Gua comprising the foundation of the three thousand-year-old Yijing or Book of Changes. Zhang means palm and in this instance is used to describe the ever changing shapes of the hands, arms and body. These flow through a series of eight basic postures which are representative of the eight Mother diagrams of the Yijing. The Yijing may be the oldest book in the world dating back before 3000 B C. The word Yi means continuous change. In Chinese the origins of the ancient calligraphy of Yi was: 

Two characters, sun over the moon, symbolized the change of day to night and back again. This is one of the earliest known references to the concept of the Yin and Yang principle. Some scholars claimed the lower character of Yi depicts a flag waving in a breeze under the sun as it travels across the sky. Both ideas represent the concept of continuous change. 

Bagua means "8 trigrams" and therefore, based on the I Ching in traditional Taoist philosophy. This term refers to the eight basic principles of the "canon of changes." Zhang means "palms", meaning that this art uses the palms versus fists as other styles do. Bagua Zhang was created by Dong Hai Ch'uan of Wenan county of the Hobei province in the 1820's. This style uses infinate changes, turns, spins, and coils to combat multiple opponents. 

The top reads, "Bagua Men" - means society of people who follow the Tao.
The Bottom reads, "all virtueous and taoist martial arts".

Form without form :
Li Ching yuen Nine Dragon Ba Gua Zhang method in the final stages has no forms in the traditional sense. The core of his art consists of a Wholistic internal and external training compromising meditation, Qigong, basic linear forms, and circle walking holding eight postures. A study of the meaning and images of each of the eight basic Gua of the Yijing as they relate to attitude, action, tactics and use of each of the basic formations guide the training. Eight Mother palm shapes refer to whole body positions incorporating all of the body's energies. The shapes become entire attitudes, permitting the entire psychological and physiological makeup of the student. 

Each of the eight postures is studied in the context of the shapes they form while walking the circle and changing directions. The student also studies the changing of a single posture from one palm to another and the positive (yang) and negative (yin) aspects of each palm. He studies the eight methods of generating Fajing, kinetic power, and the eight methods of Tian Jin, listening power. Listening power is the ability to feel external force and react to its with any part of the body. It is used to interpret the intentions of an opponent by listening to his pre-movement through touch. There are also defensive tactics, which comprise the six methods of entering into the opponent’s center of power by the six bridges. Use of special principles of energy and power from the wedge and ball principles to create dynamic Jin (mind/body biomechanical energy). 

In the more advanced stage, palm postures are combined one with the other, for example, using the right hand in heaven palm while the left-hand forms the wind palm. When a student comes to fully understands the numerous variations of a single shape (posture- stance- action) mentally and physically, how it can be used to generate Qi and how it connects with the stances to generate power or Jin, he is said to have achieved Yizhang De (the virtue of one palm). He has passed through one of the Ba Long Men, eight dragon doors. After each of the shapes and forms of the eight Mother forms are absorbed has Ba Gua zhang De(eight shapes off palm virtue). 
At this level, movement begins to spontaneously generate forms. As a student comes to know these forms intuitively, they begin to exist or a subconscious level, coming and going as naturally as any other habitual activity. He has passed through the ninth dragon door. He is now a nine-dragon Ba Gua Zhang boxer. 

Jiulong Ba Gua Zhang consists of a series of palms or postures for the upper body and three basic stances or walking methods for lower body. Each posture is associated with the eight Mother Gua of the Yijing trigram, each palm and stance position reflect the energy nature of the trigram to which it is assigned. The genius of this method is that it creates a dynamic interface of both the right and left brain through guided imagery to create a harmonious mind and body energy for healing and martial power unlike any other system of this type. It some ways is similar to the methods used in Yiquan developed by Wang Hiang Zhai in the 1940's. 
Basic training includes two sections:

1. Qigong, internal power training to develop the inner health and strength. All beginning students of Jiulong Ba Gua start with heaven posture Qigong, a study of the meaning and images and the nine positions associated with the heaven palm. Training begins with standing meditations, Qigong visualization and breathing exercises and proceeds to linear forms and then to walk the circle flowing through the nine heavenly palm postures. Students learn how to circulate internal energy through the acupuncture meridians and create internal connections for specific power points to improve strength, speed and health. 

2. Wuyigong, martial art training in the internal martial skills. After the Qigong practice, the student is ready for Heaven Palm Ba Gua Zhang wuyigong. Combat tactics that include pushing hands, power sensing and emitting energies, pressure points, locks and throws as well as palm-striking methods are studied. Once Heaven palm's principles are grasped each of the seven other palms related to the basic Gua of the Yijing are studied. The depths of each palm are so great that each one can stand alone as a healing and martial arts system in itself. By meditation upon these qualities the mind will transform the internal energies to external power as one performs the postures, first standing meditation and later in moving linear and circle walking forms practice. 

Advance studies include: 
the famous nine posts training exercise 
iron shirt Qigong training 
internal iron palm 
applications practice for neutralizing energy 
application practice for striking energy ·
application practice for locking throwing energy 

We should not forget that as Baguazhang evolved from the Daoists it became a superlative martial art. An art that when properly taught and practiced allows a student the ability to be in control of a dangerous life threatening situation. 
Once you understand the Jiulong eight basic forms for health and their underlying principles, you will be shown how to train for speed, power, internal energy and tactical street combat knowledge. It is sensible to practice for health first for if you are not fit internally and externally it stands to reason that you cannot fight to protect yourself. Jiulong students who embark on the martial art (Nine Dragon Boxing) training learn Zhandou (combative) Gong (skill). They come to understand how to use Baguazhang tactics to neutralize virtually any attack easily and with little physical effort.

Jiulong Baguazhang as a martial art was never intended to be a sport or demonstration art. Chinese bodyguards designed Nine-Dragon Boxing for “war time applications”. The methods were created to help them survive against one or more opponents’ 

Nine-Dragon Boxing techniques are serious battle tested methods. Nine-Dragon applications can range from simply fending off mild or annoying attacks to striking with the palms or any part of the body. Nine-Dragon Boxers are highly efficient at using locks and throws that can break legs, arms or even necks to instantly incapacitate enemies who are threatening your life. 
Today the tradition continues with Dr. Painter and his Jiulong study group leaders. Many of these instructors are experienced in Qigong healing methods and there are also numerous instructors who are professional bodyguards, law enforcement trainers, and teachers of military hand to hand combat. 

Quote : "When he moves straight I circle. When he circles I move straight".

Click here to read more on BAGUAZHANG 

Click here for BAGUA ZHANG  Clips 

Mental energy combined with subtle mind/body power exercises teaches us how to coordinate each action and muscle to work in synergy. When understood this will create a force called Jin or subtle body power. Jin can produce an amazing level of speed and power. 
Jin power is often mistaken for Qi. It is not Qi. Jin is the result of a very special physical and mental training to produce a high level of coordination between the muscles and mind working in perfect harmony. This correlation of subtle movements not Qi will create what appears to be an almost super normal level of strength in the internal martial arts expert. 

WHY THE PALM :  Baguazhang boxers feel that the palm is a much better weapon of offense and defense than the closed fist. The fist is a club with limited use except for pounding. The palm on the other hand can offer numerous surfaces ranging from sharp pointed fingers as in a spear hand to broad surfaces like the palm for imparting devastatingly powerful fluid shock blows not to mention the edge of the palm that can slice and cut like an ax blade. 
The open palm can also lift, catch, scoop, deflect, uplift or grab in defensive maneuvers with only a minor adjustment of angle. All of this can be done with the hand opened and in a relatively relaxed position. Relaxation is important for speed and momentum in defense and offense. The open hand does not have a tendency to tighten up the forearm and shoulder like the fist and therefore is better suited for faster response than a clenched fist 

As a martial art Nine-Dragon Postures makes use of close in fighting methods. In the old style combat methods there was almost no space between the opponents body and the Baguazhang boxers. The Nine-Dragon Boxer moves into the opponent like a rushing wave, surrounds him, winds him and wraps him with his body/mind energy. The rushing force overwhelms his center of balance. He loses balance and experiences the fear of sudden loss of control. 
(Put a photo of a close up application here) 
The touch in neutralizing is soft yet powerful. From the first touch there is a feeling of control exerted from the Nine-Dragon Boxer into the spine of his enemy that produces a feeling of confusion and disorientation. As soon as the enemy feels himself being pushed in one direction and attempts to adjust, the force shifts and shifts again like a swirling maelstrom. 
In striking the Nine-Dragon body/mind force is devastating, sending fluid shock waves through the enemies torso and head. These shock waves when applied as palm strikes have such force that they can disrupt internal organs and break bone. Throwing and locking arts are also part of the Nine-Dragon Boxers arsenal of weapons. 

Quote : "Full body force called Jin is used in combat. 
Real combat is very upclose and personal not from a distance

Nine Dragon Boxing Combat Principles :
The RYG Principle: To enter from the safe zone (Green) to caution zone (Yellow) and into danger zone (Red) in the blink of an eye. 
The Wedge Principle: To neutralize, deflect and take the center on the first touch using the Ball and Wedge like the prow of a boat. 
Seek the Ridge Pole Principle: To control his spinal column and thus his balance as the primary first objective when attacked. 
The Brain Blink Principle: To confuse and disorient the enemy at first touch. 
The Straight to Circle, Circle to Straight Principle: To move in linear when he circles and to move in circling when he moves straight. 
Magnetic Body Principle: To adhere to the enemy with the body when in close and control his balance with any part of the torso or limbs. This goes beyond physical and is part of the body/mind control. 
The Dragon Body Principle: To flow and move like a water serpent. We learn to avoid being struck or grabbed as we attack. 

When all eight postures are absorbed into the mind and body you begin combining the energies of the eight gates until all dissolve into one. With time, training and patience the separate methods dissolve into the final stage. We call it the Yizhang (Mind Palm) in which all actions become spontaneous and free of prearranged ideas or images. We now have non-static and non-prearranged, free-style moving forms where mental energy merges with physical shapes to create pure spontaneous function. 

As this becomes natural the Jiulong Men (Ninth Dragon Gate) will open for you. The metamorphosis from sitting to free-form mind Posture takes a number of years of dedicated and constant practice. This after all is the evolutionary message of the Yijing, to go from no form to form then return to no form once again. 

Quote : "Yijing , To go from no form to form then return to no form once again."

Li Clan Masters 
Li, Deng-hua 1591 - 1680 Changed arts name to : Wu Ho Liu Pu Dao Quan 
Li, Shui - Dao 1620 - 1718 Shorten name to : Tao Nei Kung Ch'uan (Dao Neigong Quan) 
Li, Pa - Jing 1655- 1750 Developed Dao Neigong use of spear and staff methods 
Li, Fang - Feng 1700 - 1790 Developed Li family three section staff, sword and sabre 
Li, Zhang - Fu 1739 - 1829 Developed Lightning Fist Xingyiquan (Hsing I Ch'uan) 
Li, Ren - ma 1801 - 1913 Developed the Lu Taijiquan style Combining Chen and Yang Taijiquan styles with the six styles and five circles of his ancestors 
Li, Zhang - lai 1850 - 1946 Developed Nine Dragon Baguazhang from his cousin Li, Ching - yuen's Daoist method of Baguazhang after living with him at Emei Mountain. Developed Li family Standing Qigong. Developed Li family Tzu Jan Te: Natural Style Xingyiquan boxing 
Li, Long dao 1880 - 1980 Created the Li family 5 animal style eighteen fist method Daoqiquan. Taught Dr. Painter 
John P. Painter 1945 - Created Dragon Dancing from Li, Ching-yuen's Quan Yin Palm Baguazhang. Developed PKC (Physical Knowledge Control) Martial Art 

Essence of "Qi"

Qi (chi) is the life essence, or energy, that enlivens all things. The concept of qi is found throughout Chinese traditional arts, ranging from medicine and acupuncture to gong fu and feng shui. Qi is divided into two types: cosmic qi and human qi. Cosmic qi encompasses air, movement, gas, weather, and force, while human qi implies breath, manner, and energy. The two types of cannot be clearly separated; in fact human qi is strongly influenced by cosmic qi.

The Chinese believe that everything that lives has qi. As one grows old the body degenerates due to the gradual lose of qi. That is why internal martial arts like Xingyiquan are not only effective fighting systems, but also very beneficial to ones health. The practitioner learns to cultivate and use ones qi for power, while at the same time strengthening the internal organs and heightening the mind and spirit, which leads to a long and healthy life.

Qi flows through the human body along pathways called meridians. Acupuncture doctors free up blocked or stagnant qi by inserting needles along the meridians into specific areas of the body called pressure points. At higher levels of martial arts training, one learns how to strike these points, which can render an opponent unconscious or even kill. 

Fighting :
When practicing, imagine as if you are facing a top fighter. However, in real combat, the mind is calm, and the face is not angry. "Be like there´s no one in front of you". The body remains relaxed at all times. Whole body power cannot be used with tense muscles and a worried mind. The body strikes in the manner of a bamboo pole: It´s flexible before reaching the opponent, and at the time of contact, the whole body tenses for a second, and the strikes come out with shocking force. 

The important point is to keep the eyes alive, the body must be ready to follow the intention and keep the distance. If the opponent doesn´t move, the Xingyi practicioner doesn´t move. If the opponent makes one little movement, or hesitates, thus closing the distance, the Xingyi fighter advances with quick steps, breaking the enemy´s defense, and strikes him, with multiple attacks or simultaneous attack and defense, gaining space and not letting him step away from the attack, until the enemy is down. The mindset is finishing the encounter as soon as possible. 

If the Xingyi fighter attacks first, he/she won´t let the enemy even know where the attack's coming from. One hand shows up, creating a reaction in the opponent. Based on that reaction, the Xingyi technique changes, attacking in many different ways, with shocking strikes that hurt, no matter where they land. (Because of its shocking nature, even a strike on the shoulder will transfer energy to the neck of the opponent, shaking his head with extreme force). Then, a fast takedown will finish the fight.

Xingyi trains the fighter to attack with every part of the body, specially with the "Seven Stars" (Head, Shoulder, elbow, hand, hips, knees and feet). Together with the whole body, they form the "Fourteen Fists". The fist come out like a shooting arrow, with force and vicious speed. The head, shoulders, hips and knees are very dangerous in close combat. Any of this parts of the body, being trained with the practice of Xingyi, can deliver a dangerous strike. 

In standing grappling situations, the Xingyi fighter doesn´t spend too much time. He uses attacks to break the hold by striking the opponent, followed with techniques intended to finish the fight before the enemy tries to grapple again. 

Xingyi is a devastating fighting art, training the individual to strike even as he retreats, or turns. 

Generally the fighting stance is a 45° position, with one foot ahead of the other. This protects the 'gates' of the body, because they are more hard to see, this way. Also, a smaller target is presented in this position. In addition to that, in this way is easier to move into the opponent´s range. 

With all this in mind, one can understand how an art like Xingyi has stood the test of time. From the Chinese soldier on the battlefield to the modern day practitioner, this no-nonsense aggresive fighting art excels at what martial arts were created for, not health or character development... but striped down highly effective fighting 

Essential Knowledge for the Practice of Marital arts :
by Dai Long Bang, 1750 :

Solo and Partner Practice - For those practicing martial arts, eighty percent of the time is spent in solo practice, twenty percent of the time is spent with others. Therefore, it is said, "The time strengthening the body is long, the time defeating opponents is short."

Daily Practice - One must practice every day, barring illness, without break.

Humility - One must not show off or bully others.

Quality vs Quantity - One who practices too great a variety will become panicked and distraught , if one does not train the body with a realistic foundation, in combat there will be no mature technique to fall back on, one will have neither a well trained body nor a solid technique.

Perseverance - There are those who have no perseverance, who study a little and think they know it all, they are quite satisfied with themselves and rarely practice, they think they are a great success, until they have to use the art and find themselves useless. 

Before practice - The stomach should be neither too full or too empty, the mind should not be preoccupied with other affairs, do not practice when angry. When hungry one has no energy, too full and the stomach will be injured. Extraneous thoughts harm the brain. Anger harms the spirit.

During practice - Do not fool around. Do not spit. Do not be disrespectful. If one is not serious in practice the spirit is dispersed, spitting inflames the throat, disrespect weakens the practice.

After practice - Do not eat or drink, do not relieve yourself, do not lay down. Food and drink will not digest well, elimination causes qi to scatter, laying down causes the qi to rise causing discomfort.

The Three Harms - Those who practice martial arts must avoid the three harms. 
1 - Inappropriate use of strength
2 - Forcing of breath
3 - Sticking out the chest and pulling up the belly 

If one uses strength inappropriately, the qi will not flow smoothly, the meridians will be obstructed and the body will become bogged down. If one forces the breath, one will become stiff and easy to break, with the chest full of air the lungs will be squeezed and will suffer harm. If one sticks out the chest and sucks in the belly, the qi will move the wrong direction and will rise, it will not return to the dan tian. 

Seeking Instruction - In order to study martial arts, one must be diligent in two areas. First, one must be willing to travel great distances in order to study with those of higher ability and sincerely request instruction. One must also be diligent in speech, humbling the self and asking for guidance.

Force and Self-satisfaction - In practicing the martial arts there are two things which must be avoided, the first is reliance upon force, the second is self-satisfaction.

Start Practice Slowly - After a period of practicing slowly, it is good to use more force and speed in order to increase the internal power for practical purposes.

Sequence of practice - At the beginning of practice stand in San Ti, afterwards practice forms. 

Stages of Training - After beginning formal practice, one must follow the rules of training, if so, in three years the basic training will be complete. In the intermediate stages of training, practice single forms repeatedly, use the form to express the intent. After a long period of practice one will be able to change spontaneously with the circumstances. After six years one will complete this level of training. In advanced stages of training, both the internal and external gong fu will be completed, your body will become as hard as steel, your gong fu will be of a high level. 

Chinese martial arts that are usually called as Neijia - Internal Family

Art of Pa Kua :

  Pakua translates literally as "eight trigrams." Trigrams are philosophical symbols of the relationship between the microcosm (in the human body) and the macrocosm (in the Universe.) The fluid, circular motions of the body represent the trigrams in the I Ching, the Book of Changes; these postures balance the evergy in the body and create a sense of inner harmony. Pakua Chuan thus increases the circulation of internal energy.

The positions of Pakua, correctly adopted, transform the body into a sort of powerful antenna, able to attract universal forces. These universal forces are only awaiting for the appropriate vehicle in order for them to manifest. The benefits reaped; for health and general level of vitality are evidently felt and express themselves more than with any other style of martial art or sports. The movements of the Pakua stimulate the circulation of; internal energy,and have great influence on; sexual energy (or 
essence), which circulates beneficially around the body,transforming 

Bagua and Taiji, utilize a system in which the center of breathing is low down in the body. The breath is drawn to the area three inches below the navel. This point is called the lower Dan Tian, 'the cinnabar field' or 'the elixir field'. It is the center of the body's balance and storage area for qi. The muscles of the diaphragm are trained to draw air into the lungs in the most beneficial method of breathing that is used by singers, in yoga, and in relaxation systems. Babies arrive in the world breathing this way. 

While it is commonly known the Dan Tian is generally the spot 3 inches below the navel, it actually encompasses all the internal organs. 

After learning to cultivate qi in the body, one learns to convert the qi into useable power and project it from the body. This procedure is called Fah Jing. Fah means "transfer" or projection," and Jing means "power." As soon as qi is condensed inward toward the center of the body, the mind actively "burns" or "accelerates" it and converts it into a different form of energy - one that feels like an electric current and in some cases even like an electric shock. By following the proper practice procedures, one can then achieve control of this feeling and success in Fah Jing, the transfer of power.

In Xingyi, the primary focus is developing yang, not yin, internal power. The body remains soft until the final moment of contact during a strike at which point the body stiffens. The results are explosive, likened to that of a mortar round going off. In a fraction of a second, the jing is transferred out of the body like a cannonball, aggressively obliterating the opponent.

Wu Ji is a philosophical term. It originally means the most primary phenomenon of the cosmos. In Xingyiquan uan it means that before practicing the art, one should be empty in the mind; without any thought or intention. Nothing is held in the heart, there are no motives in the mind, no visual power in the eyes, no dance in the hands or feet, no movements in the body, no distinguishing between Yin and Yang, no distinction between clear and turbid. Have the mind and consciousness in a calm state. That is the situation of no intention. 

Those who skills become perfectly proficient can master yin and yang and are able to correct the physiological functions of the internal organs in order to guide the qi and return to the pre-heaven, or the initial origin. This is the same state a newborn baby comes into the world. The ultimate goal of Xing Yi is to attain this nothingness. Then the gong fu will flow from your body without thought, without intention, reacting without thinking. 

Grandmaster Sun Lu Tang is shown here in the Wu Ji posture. The body stands normally and relaxed with the feet apart at a 90 degree angle.

Each Xingyiquan form generally begins with the static Wu Ji posture, then a movement into San Ti. The old texts refer to these transitional movements as Taiji and Liangyi. This movement will vary depending on the style and familly.

Example of Shanxi method - the raise the arms up, circling up above the head, the hands turning palm down and into fists in front of the navel while twisting the upper body to the right. As the fists pass the heart, the whole body sinks at the knees, allowing the qi to sink to the dan tian. Then the right fist comes up the centerline as the body twists to the left and you step into San Ti. 

Example of Hebei method - in our style, the right foot dragon steps forward while the hands ball into fists palm side down and arrive between the navel and right hip one fist apart while the upper body twists to the right. Then the right fist shoots out and the left fist chambers as the upper body returns to the forward position. From there, the left fists moves up the centerline to the right elbow and you split into San Ti.

Some call this the Infinity posture and is used for drawing qi into the body and for beginning most Xingyi forms. 

From there, you begin the actual form you are practicing, repeating as space allows, then you turn and go back the same amount of repetitions.

Head - The position of the head is the key to the alignment of the whole body. When standing, the head is gently lifted upwards allowing the entire body to release tension and align itself properly with gravity. The chin is slightly tucked down and in while the head is pulled back and slightly up, as if hung on a meat hook. The Eyes are level, looking straight ahead and into the distance. Sometimes the eyes will be closed. The ears "listen" behind you and to the sounds of the body. The facial muscles remain relaxed; one should not wrinkle the forehead creating tension between the eyebrows. The tongue is curved upwards, touching the roof of the mouth and thus connecting the Ren and Du meridians, allowing the circuit to complete and the qi flow smoothly.
Body - The body should be centered and balanced. The shoulders drop and "get behind" the arms as the chest is relaxed and sunk slightly inwards. The shoulders should never lift upwards and should align with the hips. The buttocks are relaxed and have a sinking feeling. "Get into your legs" by pulling the tailbone slightly forward and under. This roots you better to the earth and straightens out the spine. The testicles should be lifted. As the body moves forward, the head and shoulders should reamain on the same horizontal plane.

Hands and Arms - The arms and hands are relaxed and held in gentle curves. They should never be fully extended. The fingers are separated and "shaped like hooks," allowing the qi to flow to the ends of the fingertips unimpeded. The hands are open and the palms deep. The elbows should feel heavy (with the mind) and remain dropped, protecting the ribs. "The hands never leave the heart, the elbows never leave the ribs." The index finger of both hands should be on the same vertical plane as the nose, or your centerline. The bottom hand should be at the navel or Dan Tian area. 

Feet and Legs - The knees are slightly bent, never passing the vertical line which passes through the tips of the toes. Your weight should be in the back leg in a 70/30 distribution. This may vary a bit depending on the style. The feet grip the ground as if you were trying to pick up the ground with your toes. They should be visualized as twisting inwards and down like the powerful roots of a tree, gripping the ground - rooted, but ready to move without a thought

Internal Arts, of which Chi Gung is the fundamental, are systems of meditation and movement that work with the core energy which flows in each person's body, emotions, mind and spirit. They allow us to observe how energy works inside ourselves and how correspondences of these patterns are present in nature and the cosmos. Without awareness of the balanced flow and formation of energy, one cannot be in harmony with oneself, other people, or nature. Disharmony and imbalance which manifest as illness and disease are the result of unnatural disturbances in the flow of energy. Whereas harmony at all levels within a person depends on a sustained balance in the flow of their life force energy.

Internal Arts practice develops a refined, empowering and illuminating awareness which in time will coalesce at all levels of one's being and allow one to discover their true nature beyond the phenomenal self. Internal Arts so become a pathway of change and transformation which allow one to realize their inner essence and purpose and in time to recognize and understand that essence and purpose in other living things.

Click here for More about Pa Kua

Pa Kua Main site at :

Baguazhang is an internal martial art and exercise form which can only be reliably traced as far back as the late 19th century. The name means "Eight Diagrams (or Trigrams) Palm." It is sometimes written instead as Pa Kua Chang - Pa Kua Ch’uan -Baguaquan, or simply abbreviated to Bagua. Baguazhang is soundly linked to Taijiquan (T’ai Chi Ch’uan), and Xingyiquan (Hsing I) which are sometimes referred to as the "Three Sister Arts". These internal martial arts rely heavily on the classical and cosmological views developed in Taoist alchemy and medicine for their foundations. To understand the complexity of internal Chinese martial arts a brief excursion into Taoist thinking is worthwhile for any serious enquiry. 

The Foundation Thinking of Baguazhang is Rooted in Philosophy
Baguazhang (Pa Kua Chang - Pa-kua ch'uan) is purportedly derived from the metaphysical diagrams generated from the I-Ching -The Book of Changes. Oldest parts date from 800BC more recent 200AD.The I-Ching was originally a collection of linear signs, perhaps best seen as code. (not unlike binary code).

represented 'no' -the unbroken yang lines 'yes' conveniently serves as code complex enough to be used as oracle 'cards' which portrayed a vision of the Taoist Way -where one is aware and becomes in harmony with the process of change. The key code of yang lines balanced with yin lines were arranged in Tri-grams. These tri-grams were arranged into the Pa Kua or eight correspondences which sought to describe the basis of change developing from one thing to two to three to all things. The Tao. The Taoist vision thus at least schematically demonstrated multiplicity of yin-yang possibilities and interrelations through the Pa-kua and other diagrams. Such diagrams served to classically illustrate a interwoven selection of key ideas germane to Taoist visions of change and internal martial arts. Two of the most well known diagrams describe the Tai Chi Principle of Taijiquan and the Eight Correspondences are frequently used as a root expression of the three sister arts.

Baguazhang's History
The history of Baguazhang as an internal form of martial arts is unclear. The most acceptable theory suggests that Dong (T’ung) Hai-ch'uan (1798-1879) learned Bagua from a Daoist named Dong Menglin of Jinhua Mountain in Anhui Province. After rising in fame in Bejing (Peking) Dong (Tung) was challenged by Kuo Yen-Shen of Hsing-i ch’uan both were equally matched and stalemate resulted. A pact between these two masters ensured that their future students were to be instructed in both internal styles. Notable students include Yin Fu, Ch’eng T’ing-hua, Ma Wei-chi, Liu Feng -ch’uan and Shih Liu.

The Basic Structure of Baguazhang

The chief exercise of Baguazhang (pa-kua ch'uan) is "walking the circle". Through this repetition the body learns to revolve and to rotate the torso in a particular style. The ability to walk with swiftness and ease is linked to a few basic actions. The walking represents the passage of time linked to change. Fluidity and constancy of action encourages balance and unruffled intent.Ones intent should be concealed in combative forms. 

The Changes of Baguazhang
The most basic change is the single palm change (tan huan chang) from which the double palm change (shuang huan chang) and all evolving changes can be considered to be formed; in keeping with Taoist principles. Like other internal (nejia) martial arts Yin-Yang movements are in constant change and naturally direct every action. Keyed on these various formal sets of circling postures, are the combative antics classically related to the movements of the snake, lion, dragon, monkey, hawk and the bear. 

Basic Techniques in Baguazhang
Principles of Baguazhang (pa-kua ch'uan) use the palm in eight directions.The palm can then face upwards (yang palm), downwards, outwards, embracing, splitting/cutting, inwards as if pushing up and out, forwards -up. and the eighth palm is moved to spiral upward and then outward. The palm with its power and flexibility over the fist is the major weapon employed in baguazhang. The tiger's - mouth (hu k'ou) is the area of the hand from the thumb tip to the tip of the index fingers, and is used sparingly. The opponent must be stretched or unbalanced if an attack is to result in the desired results. The arms move as part of the body; and every action is circular, which imparts speed and power. 

Core tactics In short, the essence of Baquazhang is circling movements manifested by the arms, waist body, head and palms in their changes. 

Expert Baguazhang (pa-kua ch'uan) practitioners will move behind an opponent and upset the balance and harmony of the antagonists. Therefore, to deal with an aggressive opponent, one should first cross either the body and or arms, preferably both and then employ ground strength techniques where appropriate. Advanced Baguazhang students are taught to move not head to head but obliquely by "turning his corner" and then generating an opponents weakness as an attacking ploy.
Click here to see some animations of movements

Some exposition of palm or body pushing is shared with Taijiquan. Both hands can work together to push-pull-press slightly to disrupt the opponent's root and propelling them in a leading direction. The waist represents a major axis of the body which leads every action. Baguazhang employs infrequent leg manoeuvres, and are only considered effective when kept low, performed as a counter, or are executed only when the opponent's posture is broken. Instability in kicking is mitigated partly if the kicks are kept low and executed only against an unbalanced opponent.

The Health Value of Baguazhang
Baguazhang for health instructs us in the value of softness in relaxation, slowness in the prolongation of postures, and an evenness of actions and breathing. Further that we should move the body naturally, stretch the arms but withdraw the trapezius muscles, harmonise the vital energy (ch'i) and strength (chin), and keep vital energy concentrated before the navel in the tan-t'ien. Core postures express more directly the natural actions of the body than one might at first suspect. 
The integration of mind with body purpose allied with ones spirit enhances daily life at its most mundane levels.

Pelase click here to see a video clip of Pa Kua or Baguazhang

This video clip of of .35mb 28seconds duration 352*288 frame size in MPG format.

Weapons of Hsing-I (XingYi)
Pa-Kua (BaGua) :

The failure of Western Thinking - 
Taoism is an experiential philosophy often translated in a suitably vague manner as 'the way'. Why can best be answered by Van Dallieu who put it that "The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced". This differentiates it from western thinking which is typically intellectual, especially the political treatises such as those by Plato or Machiavelli and the existential thinking popularised by the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre amongst others. Almost all of them looked at the way the world could be or should be rather than the way it is. In short western thinking is typified by its 'paralysis through analysis'. Socrates is a rare exception as for him philosophy wasn't a profession but a way of life. For him sin was not a religious concept but rather due to ignorance.

The heights of absurdity can be seen by Russell's Paradox 'Most classes don't contain themselves as members - e.g. the class of all walruses is not a walrus. Some do. But consider THE CLASS OF ALL CLASSES THAT ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THEMSELVES. Is it a member of itself or not?. Apparently if you think about it, it isn't, and isn't if it is...

Philosophers and the Tao - 
Taoism revolves around the Tao, as expounded by Lao Tzu in the 'Te-Tao Ching' or The Way and its Power' circa 300 B.C. Many versions of it exist as with the Bible but the Ma-wang-tui texts found in 1973 are the oldest and therefore probably the closest to the unknown original. 

It was later dwelt upon by Chuang Tsu and Lieh Tsu (Tsu means master). Historians see it as a esoteric counterpoint to Confucianism which was rigid in its thinking and presupposed that everyone had a set place in society. Taoism on the other hand is very pliable and refers to unity with nature and rejects ego-centric behaviour. The former is called 'tzu-jan, what-is-so-of-itself and expresses the view that nature is spontaneous, automatic and self-moving.

In Chinese parlance Taoism can be thought of as a reaction to the age old problem of tse, the attempt to force unnatural rules or restrictions on the people. Taoism in contrast is in favour of the principle of non-striving, or wu-wei; of not attempting to cut against the grain of the true nature of things.

For the individual this means taking an experiential approach where one lives in the here and now through a relaxed state of mind. The Chinese refer to this as wu-hsin (a non-fixated mind) where you feel and react to what is with no preconception. When this occurs then it can be said that one's li will manifest itself. This means that the natural manifestation of one's spirit, in accordance with the Tao will spring forth leaving behind an honest individual expression. 

This is why the famous analogy is that the Tao is like water, simple, yielding, natural and unassuming. As a result of this it was popular with the peasants. For them the appeal was its simple way of living and encouragement of moderation and tolerance summed up as 'one can not change the world but you can change the way you react to it'. Thus it is wrong to assume that mankind can contain mother nature. For instance latest research indicates that Aids emerged out of a misguided polio vaccination programme in Africa.

To state what Taoism actually is would be a futile exercise in intellectual semantics. Lao Tsu remarked that 'As for the Way, the Way that can be spoken of is not the constant Way;'. It is actually a feeling which lies outside the grasp of anyone but can only be found when self-consciousness disappears. Such a paradox of finding something without looking for it is a good example of the manner in which Taoism works. Hence Lao Tsu says 'Those who work at their studies increase day after day; Those who have heard the Tao decrease day after day.'

Part of the reason why it is so difficult to get to the essence of Taoism is that our own desires cloud our judgements. Hence Lao Tzu remarked in reference to the Way that 'those constantly without desires, by this means will perceive its subtlety. Those constantly with desires, by this means will see only that which they yearn for and seek'. 

Its importance for the martial arts enthusiast is two fold. 1) as a means of living in tune with our environment and 2) because the linking of Taoism with martial arts is widespread. Any martial art with the suffix 'do' is taoist influenced as it means 'the way'. For instance Judo, Tae kwon do, Hwarang-do, Aikido, Karate-do etc. 

History of Taoism -
Is not nearly so straight forward as originally thought. For one thing there is no original 'Tao te Ching' in existence, only copies which may well have been altered centuries after it was written. More fundamentally it is now commonly argued that Lao Tsu was a mythical figure. Similar problems over dates and ownership also exist for the other classic texts of Chuang Tsu and Lieh Tsu.

It seems that the Chuang Tsu and Lao Tsu books were written circa 250 - 500 years B.C. They were not initially one common strand of philisophical thought. (In fact they were just sets of thinking which were a part of the 'Hundred Schools' of philosophy in existence at that time.) This happened around A.D. 200 acc. to Professor A.C. Graham. At this same point the Lieh Tsu book was written by someone who was around when Taoism became popular.

It was around then that the teachings became very skewed. Originally Taoism was a philosophy and not a religion. In A.D. 142 Chang Tao-ling changed this and Lao-Tsu into a deity. This was possible due the obscure and esoteric nature of the teachings and the popular desire for shamanistic rituals by the commoners. The end result was a bewildering range of concepts such as alchemy, astrology, spiritual divination, cosmology and magic. Some sects even went so far as to incorporate orgiastic sex rituals imported from the Tantric rites of India. 

Is it any wonder why most curious people are confused and misled! 

Taoism and Zen Buddhism - 
The essential aim of both is the same in that they try to strip away desire as it distorts reality. Shakespeare put the point across eloquently when he remarked 'Oh what a web we weave when at first we try to deceive'. Indeed many similarities exist and they are often compared by Chinese philosophers accordingly. For instance, originally converts were ascetic monks who lived in remote Chinese mountains and they all shared a joy and respect for nature. Where they differ is that Zen Buddhism has no classic texts from its founder Bodhidharma unlike Taoism. Also Zen Buddhism has in general found it difficult to avoid becoming quasi-religious with all its trappings unlike Taoism.

Interaction according to Chinese thinking - 
In China the Tao is symbolised by the unity of Yin and Yang (pronounced Yong), two complementary and yet conflicting concepts which are supposed to represent the inner workings of everything in the universe and hence form a duality. When they interact they create chi. This complementary and conflicting aspect is well illustrated by the magnetic North and South poles which are opposed to one another and yet part of one whole. Other every day simple examples of Yin and Yang include night and day, male and female, hard and soft. Bacteria is a useful way of explaining the duality and the need for natural balance. It is often seen in a negative manner but it is very important for digestion. However too much can cause illness and too little can cause an upset stomach.

Another example is mankind and its environment. Humans do not control nature or vice versa. Rather we interact through co-operation and conflict. When an imbalance occurs the tao is disturbed and problems result. Likewise it can be said that as for object and space, one has no meaning without the other hence through this recognition orientals attach greater reverence to space.

The South Koreans see this concept as so important that it is integrated into their national flag (see below). Similarly Chojun Miyagi, the karate master, believed that it was so important he decided to utilise it in the name of his branch of karate, gojo-ryu; hard & soft school. 

Yin and Yang can also be seen to operate in historical terms. Western class historians (particularly Marxist ones) repeatedly argue over whether society is more influential indetermining politics than the individual. The latest consensus is that they are mutually inter-dependant and have equal impact on history. Whilst one may conflict with the other both need one another and politics progresses when a union is achieved.

Thus Yin and Yang work harmoniously the Tao flows freely. Another way of thinking is that the Tao is the natural balance achieved when Yin and Yang achieve equilibrium and unite into a complementary and conflicting duality. (Confused ?, have a look at the books recommended in the book section.) 

The Five Elemental Processes - 
Also called the Wu Hsing concern what ancient chinese philosophers thought summed up the behaviour of processes, not as often believed the physical composition of the universe. They observed that there are five archetypes of behaviour which are metal, water, wood, fire and earth respectively. It was also noticed that they affect each other in inter-creativity and inter-destructivity cycles. Examples of these processes include the five musical tones, five flavours and the five primary colours.

It is a very influential way of thinking in China and it is used extensively in China for behavioural problems, medicine, military strategy, divination, astrology, alchemy, geomancy and other fields. For example dissemination of knowledge is regarded as Water and can lead to social advancement or Wood. If rapid growth results then conflict or Fire comes about which encourages the urge for unity or Earth which in turn brings consensus or Metal. Also Sun Tsu in his 'Art of War' makes specific use by suggesting that any military plan needs 'five working fundamentals'. These are 1) the Tao 2) Nature 3) Situation 4) Leadership 5) Art. (For an explanation of how it applies to Pa Kua fighting read "Wu Xing, The Five Elements".)

The five elemental processes are also supposed to operate with the five chief relationships in society. These are the government and those who are governed, parents and the son, elder and younger brother, husband and wife, friend to friend. They can also work on an individual basis. Lieh Tsu remarked that 'our passions, our likes and dislikes, are the same now as they were of old. The safety and danger of our limbs, the joy and bitterness of worldly affairs, changes of fortune, good government and discord'. 

The I Ching - 
Is a classic philisophical and prophetic book which translates as the 'Book of Changes'. It is circa 5,000 years old and comments on the nature of change and how change occurs. The I Ching encompasses eight trigrams (Pa Kua) which expand into 64 when showing the various combinations (see above). It is fundamental to Pa Kua Chang as it is the philosophical precept behind the martial arts ability to 'change'. Its relationship to nature can be summarised by the statement 'life is movement' as remarked by European strongman and author Eugene Sandow.

Here in the West it has actually had more impact than commonly recognised. Binary arithmetic owes a great debt to it. The German mathematician, Willhelm Leibnitz (1646-1716) discovered this branch of math and published his findings in 1679. However his inspiration came from the Shao Yung's Hexagram. Today we can readily see its impact as all computers use binary in their language. 

The central thrust of the 'I Ching' is that the universe is in a continuous state of 'changeless change' (as Bruce Lee put it). This is a view that has been echoed down the ages but is still largely ignored in the west. For instance the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus (circa 500 B.C.) wrote 'All things flow; nothing abides'. The famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi said there was cyclical change, 'rhythm in everything'. More recently the founder of Aikido, Morihei Uyeshiba stated that in Aikido 'there is no end just further growth'. This is also applicable for all martial arts. 

In so far as it relates to Pa Kua Chang it is especially useful when it comes to detailing tactical and strategic optionsa aswell as palmwork.

The Circle and the Point -
Forms an integral aspect of all the martial arts but especially so for the 'internal' ones due to the greater use of it in physical application and for the cultivation of chi. For example it can be seen in circle walking and straight line steps. It is also a doctrine in line with natural principles. The essence of it is that all of the universe is either cyclical or straight. This might come across as obvious however few apply it correctly towards their lives.

Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido remarked that 'the body should be triangular, the mind circular... The circle symbolises serenity and perfection, the source of unlimited techniques'. This is why the Taoist symbol of Yin and Yang is within a circle. The purpose of it is to emphasis cyclical behaviour and continuous change. 

The application of philosophy to Martial Arts -
Pa Kua Chang makes use of all the natural philosophical doctrines and links them together into an integral whole. Thus Yin-Yang,the Five Elemental Processes, Pa Kua aswell as the three classic Taoist texts form the basis of the martial art . Other aspects are also influential e.g. combinatorial analysis but these are utilised at a later stage.

However, contrary to popular western opinion, most internal martial artists are interested in taoist philosophy only in so far as the practical results it will achieve in fighting. To find one who is interested in the spiritual aspect is rare.

An example of application is that in any given situation there is a finite set of permutations. By applying the different lines of principles together one can arrive at the best possible response. Having decided upon it the diligent student then practices the set of principles until a reflex response is developed. This avoids the trap of learning a specific response which then offers little leeway for slightly different environments and/ or opponents. This is in tune with Yin-Yang philosophy as 'partiality leads to extremity. One must see the totality'.

Rhythm - can be discerned in every attack and defence in every aspect. By establishing the weak points in these cycles one can utilizes the optimal counter-attack. 

Quotes :
"The harder you train, the easier the fight."

"If you face your opponent and doubt yourself --you're outnumbered." 

"Learn ways tp preserve rather then destroy. Avoid rather then check, check rather then hurt Hurt rather then maim, maim rather then kill. For all life is precious, nor can any be replaced. Shaolin Principle 

Please click here to go to next page of
Art of Hsing I (XingYi) And Pa-Kua Chang