A S HO R T HI S TO R Y O F THE R E A L I TY

OF

BA G U A Z HA NG
8 trigram palms
by Master Frank Allen (5th Generation)

The martial art of Ba Gua Zhang emerged from the Imperial Palace in Beijing, China during the mid 1800‘s, rising to become the chosen art of the Emperor’s nephew. Prince Su Wang’s eunuch servant, tax collector, martial arts instructor, Dong Hai Chuan, bacame the premier Martial Arts teacher. As a servant, Dong found it prudent to remain vague about the origins of his continuous movement art, featuring coiling, twisting and circling, constantly changing. He taught his beginning students a standard, Northern Shaolin style, and only the best of them went on to study Ba Gua Zhang. His two most famous and prolific disciples were his first disciple Yin Fu and his fourth disciple, the former Shuai Jiao champion of Beijing, the eyeglass maker, Cheng Ting Hua. Most of the lineage Ba Gua Schools existing today come from either one of these styles or a compilation of the two.

Cheng Ba Gua Zhang!

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2004 Almost all practitioners of Ba Gua Zhang agree that it is most likely that Dong Hai Chuan adapted his art from one of a variety of circle walking practices of the various schools of Daoism that existed at the time. then begin gathering energy to evolve into a Harmony of Yin & Yang Cheng Ba Gua Zhang! 2 . etc. no specific mountain. the Yi Jing remain obvious due to the art being named “8 Trigram Palm” . Kang saw a pattern that pointed to the theory that many of the legends of Ba Gua before Dong Hai Chuan. in which the practitioners focused on: Starting from nothing. whose aim was to achieve stillness in motion. no specific man. but they remain just that. leading candidates being the Dragon Gate Sect’s practice. So they created even Better lineages…. Prof. schools seemed often to trace back to some of Dong Hai Chuan’s other disciples (72 of them are listed on his tomb) who became tired of being told they didn’t practice Dong’s Ba Gua. Jan. Wu Dang. Frank Allen & Tina Zhang Meeting with Prof. In the end he found that there was no Ba Gua Zhang before Dong Hai Chuan. The foundations of the art being primarily a set of 8 different ways to change direction while walking around a circle. Perhaps the origins of his art were gleaned from some circle walking meditation or another ? …. because their art was neither Yin Fu’s or Cheng Ting Hua’s …. More on that later. to uncover the legend and story of Ba Gua Zhang. legends. As a lifelong Ba Gua enthusiast and a formal disciple of the living legend Sha Guo Zheng. Decades ago. “Rotating in Worship Of Heaven”. But there was NO evidence of Any lineage Ba Gua Zhang before Dong Hai Chuan. Kang Ge Wu. Dong sometimes said that he learned the art from an old man on a mountain. Kang Ge Wu diligently traveled China searching out each and every lineage. Professor Kang Ge Wu wrote his master’s thesis on the history of Ba Gua Zhang. the foremost martial arts scholar in China of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The there was the Celestial Master’s School of Daoism’s “Natural supreme Empty Palm”.There are many legends of Ba Gua Zhang existing before the teaching of Dong Hai Chuan. Wu Ji. and that its origins before Dong remain ambiguous although the connections to the Chinese Classic of Change. Southern Palms. the Ermei.

it was only the rough template upon which Dong Hai Chuan created the art of Ba Gua Zhang. Therefore things like 5 Element Shaman Ba Gua Zhang. which might be understanding the origin of the practices that Dong Hai Chuan evolved into the art of Ba Gua Zhang.. Beginners need to focus on their foundation practices.and Tai Ji. Traditional. A study of the origins of one’s art is a normal progression of study and looking into the traditional Daoist circling walking practices and perhaps the shamanistic circle patterns that preceded the meditations is a healthy course of research for advanced practitioners of Ba Gua Zhang.. No one knows for sure.e. sometimes Yi Jing based and sometimes not. the late 100’s and early 200’s AD. Actual lineages trace back more than two generations in order to be considered classical. Notice how neither of these were called Ba Gua.e. but a basic study of One of The Patterns. Water Tradition Ba Gua. Some will even claim direct origins from China’s ancient shamans for their Ba Gua. while intermediate level students are learning how to functionally use the movements of their art. They base their practices on nonsense like origins of meditations in Daoist Temples 4. there may have been some other style of circling walking meditation that Dong Hai Chuan stumbled on and studied in his youth. Like the patterns of the Yi Jing. Then they will be ready to decide which aspect of their art they want to specialize in. classical lineages begin Cheng Ba Gua Zhang! 3 . It may also be informative to point out that traditional lineages contain more than one grandmaster (usually deceased) and the currently teaching master. should not be confused with actual. have been and will be around for a while. etc. Ba Gua Yoga. will not contain another. but whatever it was. i. schools of circling walking practices calling themselves a variety titles involving Ba Gua Zhang or simply Ba Gua.000 years ago. with its trade mark circle walk and palm changes. historical schools of the art of Ba Gua Zhang as they are simply New Age Ba Gua Like Products. which was sometimes also referred to as balancing the inner with the outer. either applying it to the entire system or picking their favorite element. the 5 element pattern is also one of the foundation ideas of Chinese culture and can conceivably become an ordering pattern for just about anything. Unfortunately recently there has arisen a variety of New Age. Often these new age hybrids have little to no lineage as there seems to be little past the current teacher. somehow missing the basic fact of history that there were no Daoism or even Daoist temples until the late Han Dynasty. But a study based on one of these patterns doesn’t then also add the other one like a general study might be over laid by any number of traditional patterns from basic yin/yang to 9 Palace and any number of the other patterns. i. sometimes these teachers overlay a five element theory pattern onto their Ba Gua.

with venerated Masters who have no visible lines of decent and no complete system evolved from the classical model Cheng Ba Gua Zhang! 4 . Beware of the New Age Lineage.with a disciple ceremony for each member of the lineage family and contain living masters and lines of disciples.

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