Below is a compilation of Cheng style ~ Gao branch baguazhang information that came from Liu Xing-Han, Madam Sun Jian-Yun, and several of the students under Master Liu Feng-Tsai in Tianjin, China, during the late 1980s. Liu was Gao Yi-Sheng’s last student alive in China who taught the traditional training sets. Some of Liu’s students often came to Beijing to study with Master Liu Xing-Han of the Cheng style ~ Liu Bin branch in which Sun Lu-T’ang was also a student (under both masters Cheng and Liu Bin). Liu Feng-Tsai and Liu Xing-Han were friends who often served together as celebrated dignitaries at national martial arts events in Beijing. In Liu Xing-Han’s class it was not uncommon for us to see and learn the practices of Sun Lu-Tang, Gao Yi-Sheng and Liu Bin that were being demonstrated and shared, all finding their common roots from Master Cheng Ting-Hua. Some of the notes and explanations shared in the classes of Liu Xing-Han and Liu Feng-Tsai that I attended and recorded are presented below as a reference of traditional Gao teachings. Bradford Tyrey
穿掌 Chuan Zhang ~ Piercing Palm
Master Liu Xing-Han taught that 穿Chuan was the first of seven principal hand methods taught by Master Cheng T’ing-Hua. These seven methods, along with their deeper meanings, were shared by Cheng with many baguazhang practitioners which included Liu Bin, Sun Lu-T’ang, and Gao Yi-Sheng, to name a few of many.
Master Liu explained the following regarding Master Cheng’s direct teaching of 穿chuan to Liu Bin and Sun Lu-T’ang:
“The concept of ‘to pierce into or through’ portrays but one fragment of the understanding of 穿chuan. Its meaning is like that of a snake slinking into a cavernous hole. One’s arm is the snake; the hole being the adversary’s defensive posture that must be sharply pierced through and skillfully entered into. One moment it is as if chiseling into the wall of a cave, the next moment like putting one’s hand through the arm sleeve of a silken garment. Chuan is to be exact and fearless, the blending of harshness and suppleness, and the mingling of both kai (to open) and he’r (unite).”
To more fully understand 穿chuan it is important to learn the diverse meanings of this written character during the 1800s, the days in which Tung Hai-Ch’uan and Cheng T’ing-Hua were practicing and teaching baguazhang. These meanings were explained by Liu Xing-Han, Madam Sun Jian-Yun (Sun Lu-T’ang’s daughter), and students of Liu Feng-Tsai. Below is a brief compilation of their explanations:
穿Chuan is composed of the radicals: cavern (hole) and tusk. These two radicals form together to infer that a creature (generally acknowledged to be that of a rat), with tusks (teeth) gnaws through walls to create caverns in which to take shelter and lurk about. This is the action of ‘to dig and bore into through constant effort.’ When the hand is put into use martially chuan further means ‘to insert with a stretching forward action,’ as if to perforate an object and then widen the hole through simultaneous boring and twisting. Further, 穿chuan can mean either ‘to run upon an object, as if running across a suspended bridge’ or ‘to run through an object, as if running through a narrow tunnel,’ both requiring great care and effort. Should the hands be used to strike in a piercing fashion toward the adversary’s body then, 穿chuan refers to caverns (acu-points) that are to be struck in a lethal manner.
In many of Madam Sun Jian-Yun’s neijiaquan classes, 穿chuan was taught in many ways, according to her father’s [Sun Lu-T’ang] teachings. She initially taught us chuan as a secular method, specialized in its application according to whether we were practicing taijiquan, baguazhang or xingyiuan. Each art emphasized the method of practice and application in a somewhat different manner while still adhering to the correct essence of 穿chuan. For example, Madam Sun explained that her father would teach only a single method chuan during an entire week, however he would expound on that specific method as applied to the three arts [taijiquan, baguazhang and xingyiuan]. Following this, he would teach as his teacher, Cheng T’ing-Hua, had, that having been to teach how 穿chuan was taught once attached to 劈p’i (splitting), thereby creating the specialized methods of 穿劈掌 chuan p’i zhang (piercing-splitting palm) and 劈穿掌 p’i chuan zhang (splitting-piercing palm). Though each method is similar, it is the first character in each set that is regarded as the mother; the second character is the child which hides its essence within the mother’s womb, yet provides a hidden strength and skill drawn upon by the mother.
Gao Yi-Sheng, according to Liu Xing-Han and Liu Feng-Tsai, was famous for demonstrating the skill of 穿崩掌 chuan beng zhang (piercing-collapsing palm) at public gatherings and boxing matches. There Master Gao would have his most muscular students attack him at which time he would apply 穿崩掌 chuan beng zhang with such skill, using both linear and circular baguazhang methods, that even his students were astonished at their teacher’s ability to issue great force from even slight, concealed movement. Master Gao had explained that after many years of practice and receiving secrets passed to him by a traveling monk, he had attained the ability to unite methods within baguazhang with those contained within xingyiquan, hence his accrued skill of 穿崩掌 chuan beng zhang (piercing-collapsing palm) and 穿崩拳 chuan beng quan (piercing-collapsing fist).
穿崩拳 chuan beng quan
Conclusion of Part (1).
Bradford’s baguazhang books and others are found at www.lulu.com;
type in Bradford Tyrey in the Search Box.
Two very different Chinese terms: “Jin Lu” is path of Power for “fa jin” “emitting force” and “Jing Luo” is the qi paths used in acupuncture.
勁 Jin/Chin is intrinsic strength
The chin [intrinsic strength] should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
manifested through the fingers. -Taiji Classics
Training these Jin Lu pathways (path of intrinsic force) is not so hard. Joint loosening warm-up’s, stretches found in the Yi Jin Jing (Shaoln muscle change classic), Ba dua Jin (8 Piece Brocade qigong), Hua To’s 5 animals, Kung fu stretching, Stance work, and Taijiquan form will all work on the Jin Lu pathways. This will in turn have an effect on the muscle tendon areas and Jing luo (acupuncture meridians) found in the meridian theory of acupuncture.
In my opinion, the clever use of linking up Yi (Intent), Qi (vital force), and LI (physical structure) into the Yin and Yang Arm and Leg “tendon-muscular” regions described in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the secret of Jin Lu. It is nothing extraordinary, nor mystical. It happens everyday whether you know it or not while you train Taijiquan Tao Lu (forms). It has rather become a trendy term to talk about the “Secrets of Jin”, however it is rarely talked about.Most competent masters do not even discuss this, it is usually scholarly folks on discussion boards that bring up these terms and translations.
In regards to this information: It comes from several sources:
First of all, back in 1996 before we went to Shanghai China for the 3rd Shanghai Wushu Festival, our Sifu Weiqi He had some special private training for the competitors who will be doing the group Yang Taijiquan form. In this training, she said that many of these details of pathways would come as feeling in the hands and fingers and that one of Yang Chen Fu’s scholarly students wrote about them in detail in one of the books. I can only think that would of been Chen Wei Ming or Tung Yie Jie.
Jin Lu are almost about the same except I used the classical names having learned them from TCM school: Yang ming, Tai Yang, Shao yang, Tai Yin, Shao yin, Jue yin). Our teacher Sifu Weiqi, like Louis’s translation of Fu Zhong Wen’s book, was how I was originally taught using: which finger, wrist, Ulna, and Radius bones, palm, etc. Her English was just good enough to have totally new feeling when performing the form. Our form performance is here: https://youtu.be/p7bzfR4ajZo?t=2m6s
see 2:00 minute mark: USA Yongnian Taijiquan Team in Shanghai China
First Place, 1996.
Louis Swaim who translated Fu Zhong Wen’s books says: “I think that section (especially pages 39-42) in Fu Zhongwen’s book on jindian 勁點 (energy points), yunjin 運勁 (moving jin), and jinlu 勁路 (jin paths) is one of the best features of the book. I think it’s a succinct, intuitive way of understanding and expressing optimal body mechanics, but more importantly how the intent directs movement. As Fu stated, “In using the consciousness to thread to a given position, the consciousness arrives, then the jin arrives–the place where the consciousness is concentrated will then have a resulting sensation.” (p. 42)
Chen Yanlin used the term several times. In the section on Neutralization (huajin 化勁）it appears twice, where Brennan translates as “the path of his energy” and “the path of your energy.” Then in the splendid section on Issuing (fajin 發勁)，it appears in the opening sentence to an excellent paragraph that really summarizes jinlu: “When you begin to learn issuing, you should first know the pathways of energy [勁路].” Later, in the section on Break (jue 撅), it appears in the phrase, 而己亦不能知敵之勁路矣, which Brennan translates: “and you will also be unable to know the path of the opponent’s energy.”
Techniques for Tui Shou, Da Shou, San Shou:
The second time I heard about “12 special regions” (that sounded like the 12 tendon area at least) was from Tui Na Massage and Taijiquan teacher Madame LeAnne Gehan who was taught the 36 Liang Gong Shir Ba Fa set along with a class that did theses 2x each: 24 yang form, the 48 Combined (Chen, Yang, Wu, and Sun) form, and the 42 Taiji Sword (Chen, Yang, Wu, and Sun)form . She said that the Liang Gong Shir Ba Fa trained the body well, it was combined for that uses the Ba Dua Jin, Hua To’s 5 animals, the Yi Jin Jing (Muscle changing classics), and more. Madame Gehan said there are 12 tendon/meridian systems that link up to the head. Her English was poor and so she used a translator. Since then, when seriously injured, I would fall back on the 36 Liang Gong Shir Ba Fa set.
Madame LeAnne Gehan from Shanghai
The third teacher to talk about meridian systems to me and Taijiquan is Sifu Cheng Xianhao. He translated alot of material and wasa long time student of Master Zhu Liang Fang in association with Jiang Yang-ke, a disciple of Yang Chen Fu. They are from Hangzhou China, just south of Shanghai. Xianhao competed in push hands and worked with many push hands players in Hangzhou. Hangzhou Taiiquan team at one time was second in the country. One of the champions of that team taught xianhao a gong set that he used for competition and so it was normally are “pre-push hands power qigong” as a warm- up set.
Some of these Tui Shou “power qigongs” are described here:
Sample of a few of the Power gongs for Tui shou
Xianhao, Zhu Liangfang, Jiang Yang-ke
Jing Luo, not the same and Jin Lu but I want to talk about them
Pathways in which qi and blood of the human body are circulated. Pertain to Zang-fu organs interior and extend over the body exterior, forming a network and linking the tissues and organs into a organic whole.
Jing luo- composed from two words, jing mai (經脈) or meridian channels and the luo mai (絡脈) “collaterals”.
Jing- meridians- the main trunk, run longitudinally and interior within the body.
Lou- collateral- represent branches of the meridians, run transversely and superficially from the meridians.
System of meridians and collateral’s:
12 Regular (Internal and External pathways)
12 Tendon/muscle regions
12 Cutaneous regions
12 Muscle Tendon Region in Chinese Medicine-
Xianhao’s translation on Taijiquan and Meridian pathways.
1. Beginning of Taiji:
2. Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail: This posture also promotes stimulation to lung, large intestine, heart, pericardium and triple warmer (the 6 hand related) meridians, which can function as a release for the heart and a draining of the lungs of sick “Qi”. nourish the heart and calm the mind. “Qi” to the earth through the bubbling well accupoint also plays a role in increasing the strength of the kidney meridian.
3. Single Whip: As the waist turns left, the left kidney slightly sinks down and the right one slightly floats up. This soft motion is excellent for massaging the kidneys. This posture also exercises the stomach, the urine bladder and the “Ren Mai” and “Du Mai” meridians. Since the wrist is the spot where most meridians connect, the Single Whip wrist motion stimulates all the meridians at the same time, which helps the healthy coordination of the total body function.
4. Lift Hands: These movements will benefit the heart, stomach, spleen, kidney, urine bladder, and gall bladder and liver meridians.
5. White Crane Spreads its Wings: the triple warmer meridian and adjusts the “Qi” and blood circulation. It functions as cleaning for the liver and nourishing the lungs, strengthens the stomach and spleen, and calms the mind as well. The motion in the feet and heels also stimulate the stomach and liver meridians.
6. Brush Knee and Push: emphasizes “Laogong” and “Bubbling Well” accu-points. stimulates the lung, heart, pericardium and kidney meridians.
7. Playing Guitar: This posture stimulates the “He Gu” and “Shen Men” accu-points which can help unblock the Lung, Large Intestine, Small Intestine and Heart meridians.
8. Ward Off Monkey: During this posture one side of the waist that steps back feels like it is floating upward, while the other side, with the substantial step may feel like it is sinking down. This motion massages one’s kidney which strengthens the kidney function and benefits the belt, “Ren” and “Du” meridians. It helps the circulation of “Qi” and the blood circulation so as to be helpful for balancing the body’s total function
9. Diagonal Flying: In this posture, the right arm stretches up high while the left arm moves downward. This forms a posture with a diagonal extended direction, which also extends the body upward. This allows the release of stale air and the intake of more fresh air. Thus, it exercises the lung meridian, and improves the flow of both “Qi” and blood. Because of the focus in the toes, it also stimulates the three “Ying” and “Yang” meridians of the foot.
10. Fist Under Elbow: This posture has us dropping the right wrist with the mind focused on the “Shen men” acu-point, while holding the right fist inward. This stimulates the meridians linked with the wrists and gets the “Qi” moving. With the right foot stepping on “Bubbling Well” acupoint and left foot insubstantially stepping on the heel with the toes up, it efficiently exercises the heart, kidney, liver and spleen meridians, which adjusts and compensates the “Qi” of the heart and kidney, and also helps the “Qi” pass through the triple warmer meridian, and strengthens the waist and knee.
11. Picking Up the Needle From the Sea Bottom: This technique bends the waist, sinks the “Kua”, and drops the shoulder all at the same time, which extends and stretches the back muscles on the side of the spine. In addition, it stimulates the urine bladder, which can improve the blood circulation and promotes the healthy function of immune system.
12. Fan Through the Back: The opening and spreading out of the arms to the opposite directions opens the chest and the lungs, which stimulates the heart, pericardium and lung meridians. This posture can increase the lung capacity, raise the heart function, and improve the blood circulation. In addition, the stepping on the bubbling well acupoint can strengthen the “Qi” flow in the kidney meridian.
13. Turn Around and Chop: The turning in this posture flow enables the waist to loosen and tighten on each side. It exercises the urine bladder, liver and gall bladder meridians. When loosely holding the fists with middle fingers lightly pressuring on the “Laogong” acupoint, it stimulates the pericardium and triple warmer meridians and drains these meridians.
14. Wave Hands Like Clouds: The smooth turning of the waist to both sides along with the flowing arm movements exercises the neck, chest and abdomen muscles in a wide, effective range. This posture stimulates the related meridians especially “Ren” and “Du” meridians, which improve the “Qi” and blood circulation to the extremities and internal organs. This then can help the healing of related conditions such as spinal pain, nervous system problems, urination problems, and abdomen bloating or pain.
15. Fair Lady works on the Shuttles: Through the changing of “substantial” and “unsubstantial” weight distribution of the legs, the arms turning in different directions, and the distinct waist motion, this four-sequence posture exercises the muscles and meridians in head/neck, chest, abdomen, crotch and hip. The smooth contracting and releasing of muscles stimulate the production of heat and metabolic chemicals that increases the metabolic rate and activate the body’s meridians. More important, this motion will also activate the resting immune cells. Because of the rhythmical turning of the body, it also stimulates the front chest and causes the stimulation of the chest gland that can release substantial amount of active immune peptide compounds. These substances can play a role in the monitoring of mutation of cells (cancer) and destroying them.
16. High Pat On The Horse: This technique emphasizes the exercise of the abdomen muscles. The contraction and release of the abdomen muscles can improve the blood circulation of the organs in the abdomen area to stimulate “Qi” in the “Ren” meridian (Reception vessel), kidney and liver meridians.
17. Separate Legs ( left and right) The movements of arms and legs in large angles stimulate the twelve hand and leg meridians. These have certain functions in aiding the healing the chest, lung, eyes, throat, spleen, stomach, liver and kidney problems.
18. Turn Around And Kick: This posture stimulates the six (Ying and Yang) hand and leg meridians and has the same benefits as Separate Legs (above).
19. Hit The Tiger: The motion of the hands and fingers in this technique can exercise the twelve hand and leg meridians. In addition, the stepping on the “Bubbling Well” accu-points and the rolling on the heels will stimulate the kidney meridian, which will improve the facial “Qi” and blood circulation. This improved Qi and Blood circulation can act to produce positive reactions in the brain, which in turn can depress, or release possible pathological problems caused by chronic decease and then stimulate healing.
20. Hit The Ears: The high hitting with fists stimulates the six hand meridians. The extending and opening of the back muscles stimulate “Ren”, “Du”, “Belt” and “Chong” meridians and the urine meridian. The solid stepping on the “Bubbling Well” accu-points helps to strengthen the “Qi” of the kidney. All of these functions play an excellent role in adjusting the “Qi” and blood circulation, which benefits the healing and prevention of urinary and gynecological problems.
21. Kick With Heel: The smooth and big motion of the leg and arms in an extended range can help increase the blood circulation in the heart, and air circulation in the lung. This helps the “Qi” and blood flow fluently, which balances the internal organs. The arms split apart along with the kicking motion stretches the tendons and muscles, which is helpful for healing any damage in the joints and soft tissues.
22. Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg: Standing on one leg alternately exercises and strengthens the abdomen muscles, and stimulates the movement of the intestines. These movements can eliminate extravasated blood, promote good blood circulation, and regulate the function of the female reproduction organs. This posture can also help develop a healthy liver, gall bladder, spleen and eye health.
23. Snake Sticks out Poison Tongue: The rhythmic turning around exercises the gall bladder, and liver meridians. In addition, the closing and opening of the palms with one’s mental intent exercises the pericardium and triple warmer meridians. The exercise of these meridians has the function of calming the mind and sharpening the eyes, as well as prevents or heals problems in the liver, gall bladder, heart and blood system etc.
24. Punch Downward: This posture puts an emphasis on the alternate substantial and unsubstantial motion of one’s left and right chest muscles. It exercises the nervous system along the spine, and stretches the back muscles. The gall bladder meridian passes through on both sides of the spine. Stimulation of the gall bladder meridian can raise the body’s immune ability and heal related organs.
25. Snake Creeps Down: The opening of the hip ensures the replenishment of both “Qi” and blood in the abdomen area. Also, this posture allows for the release of tightness of the spine vertebrae one by one during the movement. This posture also makes the sacrum fit and loose, and internal energy pours into “Hui Yin” accu-point, which increases the “Qi” in “Ren”, “Du” and “Chong” meridians. This posture has the function of increasing the “Yuan Qi”, and improving kidney function, which in turn benefits the healing of any problems associated with urination, semen emission, prostate, hemorrhoids, and a prolapsed anus.
26. Step Up to Form Seven Stars: From Snake Creeps Down to Stepping up To Form Seven Stars, the internal “Qi” moves from the “Hui Yin” to “Chang Qiang” accu-points then to the “Bai Hui”accu-point. This posture strengthens the “Qi” in both the “Ren” and “Du” meridians, which has the function of releasing excess heat, being good for the brain, and massaging the liver. In addition, it can lift the internal organs for those who have internal organs that have dropped down.
27. Step Back and Ride The Tiger: As the arms form a ring like shape pointing in opposite directions, the upper body opens and extends, which can function in regulating the breathing, cleaning the liver and nourishing the lungs, stomach and spleen. This position of the feet can exercise the six foot meridians so that it benefits the adjustment of the triple warmer meridian, and in turn stimulates the circulation of the blood and causes the muscles and joints to relax.
28. Turn Around With Lotus Kick: The Lotus Kick allows the abdomen, back and chest muscles to have a spiral motion, which increases the stimulation of the twelve hand and leg meridians all at the same time. This benefits the circulation of blood and “Qi”, in the chest and abdomen, which prevents or heals any problems with one’s breathing, heart, blood circulation and nervous systems.
29. Shooting the Tiger: With this posture the “Baihui” will be up and “Yongquan” down. This technique strengthens the flow of the internal “Qi” from the “Baihui” to “Yongquan”. It stimulates the “Du Mai” and kidney meridians. The motion of the coiling fists and arms will also benefit the heart, small intestine, pericardium, and trip warmer meridians. According to modern medical theories, this coiling motion of the arms and wrists can relieve pressure on the neck arteries which can reduce blood pressure and expand the coronary arteries.
30. Twist Step and Chop: The coiling motion of the arms and wrists stimulates the small intestine, pericardium, heart, stomach, and liver meridians. This is helpful in healing problems with digestion, rib pain and the problems caused by these related meridians.
31. Apparent Closing: This posture stimulates both the “Lao Gong” accu-point (on the middle of palm), and “Bubbling Well” accu-point (on the bottom of foot). It strengthens the pericardium and kidney meridians, which is helpful in preventing and healing problems associated with the heart, blood circulation, digestion, reproduction and the urinary tract
32. Cross Hands: The opening and closing of arms in a large range of motion increases the oxygen intake by the lungs and heart, which also strengthens the meridians of the heart and lungs. Stepping solid on the “Bubbling Well” accu-point increases the “Qi” in the kidney meridian. This may efficiently increase the practitioner’s vitality so as to prevent or heal problems with the heart, circulation and breathing
33. Closing of Taiji: “Bubbling Well” acu-points, stimulates the lung, large intestine and kidney meridians.
Extraordinary Vessels in TCM
Part II: BAguazhang: Training “48 month palm” with Sifu Park Bok Nam and Gao Baguzhang Tian gongs with George Wood.
Below is a compilation of Cheng style ~ Gao branch baguazhang information that came from several of the students under Master Liu Feng-Tsai in Tianjin, China during the late 1980s. Liu was Gao Yi-Sheng’s last student alive in China who taught the traditional training sets. Some of Liu’s students often came to Beijing to study with Master Liu Xing-Han of the Cheng style ~ Liu Bin branch in which Sun Lu-Tang was also a student (under both masters Cheng and Liu Bin). Liu Feng-Tsai and Liu Xing-Han were friends who often served together as celebrated dignitaries at national martial arts events in Beijing. In Liu Xing-Han’s class it was not uncommon to see the practices of Sun Lu-Tang, Gao Yi-Sheng and Liu Bin being demonstrated and shared, all finding their common roots from Master Cheng Ting-Hua. Some of the notes and explanations shared in the classes of Liu Xing-Han and Liu Feng-Tsai that I attended and recorded are presented below as a reference of traditional Gao teachings.Bradford Tyrey
截 (to Sever) ~ Chinese: Jie (to Sever, Intercept or Cut into Pieces).
This written character comes from the radical [root character]: spear [halberd]. Jie translates as ‘to sever, to intercept, to cut into pieces, to obstruct, to cut off a passage to or from, to cut off a retreat. This martial set emphasizes the ability to pierce into the adversary’s attack as if a spear [halberd] piercing a bird several times to wound it and cutting [mincing] its attack or retreat apart, thereby obstructing and intercepting any offensive or defensive action the bird [adversary] takes.
Special Notation: In a broad sense, the character jie (截) means ‘to intercept,’ especially when applied to a martial application. However, as this character’s root is spear [halberd] it therefore indicates that the action uses a blade that ‘cuts through or into,’ thereby breaking apart that which is touched. As this character (截) accompanies the character for ‘ribs’ it therefore means that the ribs are to be severed or cut into pieces, like ribs being cut asunder by a butcher’s cleaver.
This set is also known by the name: Chui Shou (Dropping Hand). Chui means: to hang down, to let fall, to drop or to lower something suddenly as if holding onto something heavy. This maneuver uses the front arm to drop and intercept the adversary’s force then, enter by smashing his ribs and following him by advancing with bengquan (crushing fist). Chui Shou can also be used to abruptly stop the adversary’s attacking arm or leg using one’s ‘dropping arm’ while one’s ‘dropping hand’ simultaneously smashes into the adversary’s ribs. Though an open hand can be used within this set, emphasizing ‘chopping [cleaving] into,’ it is more common to use the fist when striking. When the fist is used attention must be given to striking with the two large knuckles of the hand, which mimics a cleaver’s front-most cutting edge enabling the fist to smash [sever] the ribs into pieces as if breaking a clay pot into shards. When hitting the ribs with the three strikes contained within this set, each strike should be directed to the same rib section, thereby attaining the ‘breaking apart’ or ‘mincing’ of the ribs through repetitive poundings.
Skills taught: Severing while Dropping, Intercepting while Dropping.
Methods taught within the set: Severing while drawing [dragging] adversary rearward, overturning fist while entering into and smashing [severing] the ribs, jin ban bu (advancing half- step) into bengquan (crushing fist). Note here that although beng is generally translated as ‘crushing or smashing,’ it actually had a somewhat different meaning during past centuries which is important in that these meanings more correctly reflect the old teachings transmitted through traditional xingyiquan and baguazhang groups in later years. Beng will be fully explained in my next writing.
Methods to practice:
• Solo standing training methods
• Solo set practice
• Two-person application
Application Concept: This martial set emphasizes the ability to pierce into the adversary’s attack as if a spear [halberd] piercing into a bird several times, wounding it and cutting [mincing] its attack or retreat apart, thereby obstructing and intercepting any offensive or defensive action the bird [adversary] takes.
Two Examples of ‘Severing’ Throws:
• Dragging Rearward into Smashing the Ribs
• Dragging into Snake Throw [using a stealing step]
Stick & Spear Application:
• Dragging Throw While Bridging Upward
• Obstruct, then Overturn into Throw
Attached is the cover an old book about Master Lee Yee-Yeow….who studied very traditional Northern Praying Mantis. This book was published in English in 1973. I met his teacher’s students in North China and learned some practices from them.- Bradford Tyrey
Below is a compilation of Cheng style ~ Gao branch baguazhang information that came from several of the students under Master Liu Feng-Tsai in Tianjin, China during the late 1980s. Liu was Gao Yi-Sheng’s last student alive in China who taught the traditional training sets. Some of Liu’s students often came to Beijing to study with Master Liu Xing-Han of the Cheng style ~ Liu Bin branch in which Sun Lu-Tang was also a student (under both masters Cheng and Liu Bin). Liu Feng-Tsai and Liu Xing-Han were friends who often served together as celebrated dignitaries at national martial arts events in Beijing. In Liu Xing-Han’s class it was not uncommon to see the practices of Sun Lu-Tang, Gao Yi-Sheng and Liu Bin being demonstrated and shared, all finding their common roots from Master Cheng Ting-Hua. Some of the notes and explanations shared in the classes of Liu Xing-Han and Liu Feng-Tsai are presented below as a reference of traditional Gao teachings. Bradford Tyrey Bradford’s Baguazhang books on Lulu.com
Traditional Gao Yi-Sheng Style Baguazhang’s Set:
Li Shou Zhang ~ Vertical Hand Palm
立(Vertical, Standing, to Erect) ~ Li Shou Zhang (Vertical Hand Palm).
This written character comes from two radicals [root characters]: big and man. Li translates as: to stand, to be vertical, or to be erect. This method opens up the adversary’s force then, breaks his position. Movement is performed as if encircling something. Its essence is like luring a turtle into a vase (leading an adversary into a trap).
Further explanation of 立: The original form of this written character is: big used for man over one denoting earth, to show that he is fixed in position; the character forms the radical of characters referring to position and posture. Li (立), according to definition from the early 1800s means: to stand erect, poised, set, established, fixed, upright; to rear, to found, to set up, to institute, to establish; to be settled in principles; to succeed, or to set one’s self upon the throne in place of the legitimate heir [to replace the position of the adversary with one’s self]. Additionally, the Chinese have the expression “A crane standing among chickens” (he li ji qun 鹤立鸡群) which means “to stand head and shoulders above others” [to be in a superior or more advantageous position].
Method: Ward-off, chop high as a strike or parry with a standing palm, encircle, chopping downward with a standing palm.
Skill: Separating the adversary’s force then, control and break his position.
Methods taught within the set: Cross body upholding or piercing for deflecting or dodging, outward leading pull for shielding and throwing, and upward striking or pushing palms.
• Solo standing training methods
• Solo set practice
• Two-person application
Skill taught: Upholding [to support the adversary’s balance and force him slightly upward, thereby giving me the advantage to attack from a stable position]. This method teaches a prominent method to uproot an adversary’s sunken balance while establishing li (立) within myself. Li, as its essence develops, must be merged with one’s zhong ding (central equilibrium), thereby forming the greater essence of li ding (vertical equilibrium) which roots and stands like a young tree that can sway without any breakage against the strongest of winds.
Fundamental Applications of 立 ‘Vertical’:
• Warding-off vertical block
• Chopping to the throat
• Sideward chopping to neck
• Chopping the leg
• Palms shoving the pelvis / hip
• Wrapping the neck into throw
• Inserting vertical palm into neck throw
• Inserting vertical palm into waist throw
• Vertical palm ankle grasp throw
立 Li: Vertical Hand Palm Set: Illustration from Taiwan – Gao branch.