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1st generation Bagua Zhang
Dong Haichuan 董海川
(1797 or 1813 – 1882)

2nd generation Bagua Zhang
Cheng Ting Hua 程廷華

3d generation Bagua Zhang
Zhang Zhan Kui 张占魁

4th generation Bagua Zhang
Jiang Rong Qiao 姜容樵

5th generation Bagua Zhang
Sha Guozheng 沙国政 (1904-1992)


We train traditional Xingyi Bagua Zhang 形意八卦掌. This is a martial art that nowadays is surrounded with and aura of myths and mysticism. With its fast spins, strange movements and dance-like expressions, it stands out in the world of martial arts. The name suggests a link to Daoism and the ancient book of Yi Jing. Originally the style was not called Bagua Zhang but Zhuan Shen Quan 转身拳 , which means "to rotate the body". This indicates a less mysterious and more practical origin. This is where our journey begins. 


The founder of Bagua is called Dong Hai Chuan 董海川 (1797 or 1813 - 1882) and was a respected fighter known for his strength and superior tactics. His closest students learned a practical martial art that they mixed with their previous backgrounds. A strong influence comes from the Beijing wrestling scene. This project aims in trying to penetrate the layers of mystery and find the origins of the training behind the doors of Bagua Men 八卦门.

Commonly Xingyi and Bagua Zhang are known as separate forms of training under the term "internal styles". Along with the most famous internal art Taiji Quan (Tai Chi) they were widely practiced in China in the early 20th century. Our lineage is derived from the famous Shanghai master Jiang Rong Qiao 姜容樵 (1891-1974) who wrote many books on martial arts. He was also one of the teachers at the Nanjing Goushu Institute with a close connection to many of the big names of that time. After becoming famous his teachings were called Jiang-style even though, according to Jiang Rong Qiao himself, most of the knowledge he had came from his master the legendary Zhang Zhan Kui 张占魁 (1859-1940).

Zhang Zhan Kui was a bounty hunter in north China who had a strong position in society. He was respected by both the police and the city's criminals. He used the training in his job in a way that linked his martial arts knowledge, and the changes he made, to efficiency and practicality. To further explain his training Zhang Zhan Kui was the kungfu-brother of Bagua master Cheng Ting Hua 程廷華 (1848-1900) and the Xingyi master Li Cunyi 李存义 (1847-1921). They all trained together without any emphasis on separating the different traditions, resulting in the Xingyi Bagua Zhang style of fighting. Mr. Zhang was eventually accepted as a student directly under Dong Hai Chuan although it is more accurate to say that he learned Bagua Zhang from Cheng Ting Hua.  



The project follows a system, but it is not the system that's important. The understanding of how a complete curriculum is put together opens up all martial systems and gives a clear picture on how they all used to be taught. When it comes to Bagua Zhang, all the students of Dong Hai Chuan had similar basic training but the differences are in the forms and appearance and is more a result of politics. 

After the middle of the 20th century, Jiang Rong Qiao developed his own variation of the training. Just like his teacher Mr Zhang he was mixing different skills from his own background. Training with Li Cunyi in Xingyi Quan, Bagua Zhang from Zhang Zhankui but also incorporating Shaolin Mizong Quan which he had trained as a young man with his uncle. In this way there are what are called the "Old 8 Palms" from Zhang Zhankui and then the  "New 8 Palms" from Jiang Rong Qiao. These seem different at first glance, but again, Gong Fu is really all about basic training, application and what you fill the movements with. 

Mr. Jiang's more advanced training for his closest students is called Bagua Tui 八卦腿 and includes the 72 leg techniques and kicks found in Bagua Zhang. Jiang Rong Qiao worked with the 20th century sports and health movement to strengthen China. He was trying to incorporate modern ways of training and added some forms he put together himself. Most known is the health practice from the books of Jiang Rong Qiao, these are seen in parks in China and spread all over the world. The more dedicated students are trained in a more strict regimen with combat training such as Shuai Jiao, Bagua Tui Shou and San Shou. 


WUDANGSTHLM has an exchange with the city of Quzhou in China. There lives master Li Jian Min 李建民 who is a student of Cai Hai Kuang 蔡海康, who in turn studied directly with Jiang Rong Qiao as a child. Mr. Cai lives in Shanghai but after the passing of Mr Jiang then trained under Jiang Rong Qiao's foremost student, Sha Gozheng 沙国政 (1904-1992). In this way, we are connected to the tradition that stretches back to Dong Hai Chuan and can learn the methods, principles and guidelines that have been passed down "within the family". 

However, our training is the result of long research as well as training for several different masters and currently includes the following elements:



Standing exercises to build strength and structure. Some movement can be used together with footwork to create the posture training called "8 big hands"


Footwork exercises to build accuracy, strength, timing and speed. Push step, opening closing, triangular stepp (and only some circle walking).


Exercises to build up the body for the training. Prepare you for wrestling and fighting. Includes strength and body conditioning. Here is also the long staff, stone blocks and Bagua Dao (Sword) practice. 

In wrestling you need a flexible body. We have four requirements to achieve in first place. Rotation in the waist, around the body up and down and also transition through Pubu stance to takedown. 

Relaxing, stretching, strengthening and programing of the body mechanics. 

Basic hand techniques, basic postures, basic hand forms for fighting, basic palmchange etc. 



First combat training is the fast wrestling of Bagua Zhang. Here we use 5 techniques together with 13 concepts that gives you both a method for practice, but also entrances to perform these skills in live situations. In the beginning this is more friendly and compatible with push hands competitions, but traditional Gong Fu really is quite brutal.


A method for training wrestling and entrances can be Bagua Push Hands

The art of grappling and locking the opponent. Used by professionals like police and bodyguards. 


Free fighting including punching, kicking, elbows, knees, takedowns etc. This is the real Bagua Zhang and what all the theory is really about. Few practice to this level and know how to use it in Combat. 




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