Wednesday, November 30, 2016

General Historical Trivia Regarding to Baguazhang

Source: Egreenway

What is Baguazhang

"The power of the eight diagram palms knows no bounds-, the palms seem to strike even before the hands move.  When the hand threads upward, it's like a hundred birds paying tribute to the phoenix; when it threads forward, it's like a tiger swooping downhill.  Walking round and round, he is like a stray wild goose that has drifted from the flock; but when the palms are thrust forward, they can move a mountain.  Now dodging, now ducking, his body slithers in and out; using the opponent's force he delivers a counts, blow, with as little effort as, pushing a boat down the stream."  - Dong Hai Chuan


Records of Selected Dialogues between Dong Haichuan and his Disciples.

by Guang Xia

translated and edited by Joseph Crandall
Brief History of Baguazhang
At the time when Dong Haichuan was in Su Wang’s palace teaching fighting. 
 Su Wang asked:  "What is  the name of the art that you practice?"
 Dong replied:  "It is the Bagua School."
 Su Wang also asked:  "Who was your teacher?"
 Dong replied:  "I was taught by a Daoist in Anwei."  (Note:  Dong never gave his teacher’s name.)
 At a garrison in the northern county of Guanwai, Song Dehou (aka Weiyi) came to call, he said, "I received instruction from the Daoist Bi Yuexia."
 Dong replied:  "He is my teacher’s elder brother."

Why Some People Wanted to Learn Baguazhang?

One day, a group of students asked Master Dong when he was going to teach the leaping arts.
Dong replied;  "You all desire to study this. Do you want to use it to become thieves?"

The Significance of  Being Consciously Aware of One's Terrain Through the Practice of Baguazhang

Another time, a group of students were sparring outside his home. They planned to ask Master Dong to evaluate them.  They went into the house to ask him, but Master Dong was not inside the house anymore.  Upon going out again they saw Master Dong walking in the front courtyard.  The students asked: "Master, when did you walk out?" 

Dong replied:  "You people claim to practice martial arts, but ears and eyes that cannot see and hear both sides are lacking. I was  in the house and I walked out. Still, you did not sense me.  Suppose you have an enemy who wishes you evil, would you still have your lives? Therefore you were not practicing martial arts. To be practicing martial arts, you must be immediately aware of the entire surroundings, and in addition being on guard."

One time Master Dong was inside his house and wished to look out his window at people. He tore off a piece of the window paper,  put it in his mouth, chewed it up and spat it back out the window, it truly struck Quan Kaiting (who was at that time thinking to secretly trying to kill Master Dong)  in the eye. The next day Quan Kaiting went to his house, knelt down, and asked Dong to be his teacher. 

 Dong replied:  "You ask me to be your Teacher? I will not!" 

The Traditional Chinese Medicine Pointer

Also one day, a group of students observed that Master Dong ate sparingly. They asked why? 
 Dong replied:  "Eat to appease your hunger.  Eating too much creates problems."

The Essence of Baguazhang

One day, a group of pupils of Master Dong asked him about Baguazhang.  Master Dong said: "Grandmaster said:  ‘My way uses turning palms to make the root, it uses the fist tools to make the function, study and practice.  Skill is created to its utmost. You will have no enemy under heaven. By itself it is good for the body.’"

The Advanced Level of Baguazhang

Yang Junfeng asked:  "Grandfather, the way to raise the qi for the leaping body skills is so difficult that your disciples' disciples not dare make presumptuous demands.  It must be most difficult to use qi to strike men." 
 Dong replied:  "Concerning causing qi to strike men, where does qi come from? You must use strength to make the root."

Master Dong one time was chatting and laughing. It was evening and  the Master was happy and cheerful. He said:  "This evening you all will get a secret.  Put out the lamps. You try to find me. Whoever can touch me, tomorrow will get a private lesson."

Why Some People Really Wanted to Learn Baguazhang

Anecdotes about Mr. Ruan Zhigu (A Minor Aspect of BGZ History)

The Myth
There was a student of Master Dong named Ruan Zhen’gu.  His skill was pure and deep. He would climb up and down the palace walls and roofs easily, walking like he was level ground.

Master Dong warned him: "Your leaping into the air and walking on walls is very good. But sure enough, you will offend people and make trouble for yourself. Come down or I will have to cut off your head."

Half a year passed, Ruan Zhen’gu now had to use double crutches. His legs could only move 3 to 4 inches when walking.  Dong asked him how he is?"  He replied:  "Teacher, my legs are injured."

Dong shook his head:  "That’s to bad! It is also good.  So as to avoid stirring up trouble."

The Real Truth
Ruan Zhigu was a student of Mr. Dong Haiquan. His skill was pure and deep. He had a high degree of mobility. He could travel across the palace rooftops as if he were walking on level ground. Master Dong warned him, “Your skills for leaping into the air and walking of walls are very good. But if you misuse them, I will cut off your head.” Ruan heard this and became afraid. He thought to himself: “That would be inconvenient!”

One time, Ruan left Beijing and returned to Baoding to see his family. He was gone for about six months. When he returned to Beijing, he was using crutches and walking with great difficulty. His feet didn’t clear the ground by more than two or three inches as he dragged himself up the road. Master Dong saw his condition and asked what had happened. Ruan replied that his legs were bad. Master Dong felt sorry for him, but he also felt good, so to avoid causing trouble he left again.

After this, Ruan Zhigu was not involved with external affairs for many years. After Master Dong died, Ruan threw away his crutches. He resumed walking without restraints. He never again feigned injury.

The multiple meanings of certain Chinese phrases are always interesting.   . . .  Knowing how to critically read into a certain phrase is always a challenge.  .. .

The Origin of Eight-Diagram Palm by Liu Yida 

Baguazhang not only serves as a good means of self-defense but also helps improve one's health and prolong one's life.  In practicing it, one's mind must be highly concentrated in order to adjust one's breath and coordinate the body movements so that, according to traditional Chinese medicine, one's vital energy will circulate smoothly through the jingluo (a network of main and collateral passages in the human body).  The joints, muscles and internal organs should also be relaxed during practice so as to facilitate blood circulation and promote metabolism.  This has been proved to be helpful in treating many chronic diseases.

At present, baguazhang is a very popular health-building exercise all over China, with thousands upon thousands of people practicing it.  Quite a number of foreigners are also interested in this traditional Chinese martial art whose usefulness as a means of self-defense and efficacy in improving health and treating diseases are being studied by special research societies in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and other cities.  The people in the United States, Japan and Southeast Asian countries have also set up associations to promote this form of wushu.

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