Dragonfly Way Lineage 2 - The Ba Gua Zhang Roots...

Dong Hai Chuan - (1804 - 1882) widely known as the founder of Ba Gua Zhang (8 Diagram Palm) - by combining his martial expertise with Daoist meditational circle walking practices.  Each of his students were already proficient in different martial arts, and it is said his Ba Gua Zhang was adapted to suit each of their specialities

Yin Fu - (1841 - 1911) first student of Dong Hai Chuan, had a boxing background - his Ba Gua Zhang contained many striking and  deflection techniques using fingers, palms, fists, wrists, forearms, elbows, upper arms, shoulders, back, hips, knees and feet - depending what was in range at the time that contact occured. He was sparticularly renowned for his "snake-tongue" striking style. 

Cheng Ting Hua - second student of Dong Hai Chuan - had a background in Shui Jiao (Chinese wrestling) and his Ba Gua Zhang contained many throws, trips & sweeps using different joints and fulcrums throughout the body, a signature being use of spiralling forces in several directions at the same time.

Ging Ji Shan another of Dong's students, though perhaps less widely known, he was the teacher of Teng Yun Feng.

Teng Yun Feng (1873 - 1941) is best remembered these days for his famous student,  Rose Shang Chiao Li, who brought Ba Gua Zhang to the West.

Miss Rose (Shang Chiao) Li (1914 - 2001) taught the late Michael Spink, in her London classes, from 1981- 1987. 

Michael Spink passed on Miss Li's teachings (as well as teachings in Tai ji Quan and Qi Gong) to Joe Boake and other students at the Archway-based T'ai Chi Association,  where many of Michael's original students still meet regularly to practice together.    

Since the sad passing of Michael Spink, Joe has continued his studies of Ba Gua Zhang with a number of other teachers, including private instruction from Alex Kosma, who learned his Ba Gua Zhang from He Jinchan; Joe also attended seminars and classes led by He Jinbao,(and his principal UK students at the Yin Fu Ba Gua Zhang school).  Sifu He was taught by Dr. Xie Peiqi (1920 - 2003). Dr. Xie was taught by Men Baozhen (1873 - 1958), who inherited the complete system from Yin Fu.



So what is Ba Gua Zhang?  

Ba Gua Zhang (8 Diagram Palm) uses whole-body movement to add power to its many and varied martial principles - like its internal sister arts of Tai Ji Quan and Xing Yi Quan it focuses on core martial movement principles - rather than specific martial techniques to deal with particular attacks. Trained use of the body enables these principles to be applied while continually moving, weaving, turning and spiralling - making the art particularly appropriate for dealing with multiple attacks at the same time.

Practice includes use of circle-walking to teach mobility, brisk deftness and constantly changing direction & angle of approach.

Sun Lu Tang (1862 - 1933), a famous student of Cheng Ting Hua, is highly regarded for his scholarly works on Ba Gua Zhang - linking physical practices to complex Taoist theories - as well as other works on Xing Yi and Sun style Tai Ji Quan - which Sun synthesised using his preferred techniques from all three of the internal arts that are widely considered to make up the internal arts family.


So what's involved...?

Students will begin studying how to shift weight, move around their central axis and issue spear-thrust strikes as a static exercise to begin loosening and strengthening tendons, particularly around the core of the body - working on developing the "loose back" which is a prerequisite for learning further Ba Gua Zhang.

This is developed further into circle -walking practices, then a series of eight palm change sets are studied, as well as additional animal styles.

Once students have developed sufficent foundation, and embedded these movements, work is undertaken with partners to develop sensitivity, sticking, range and timing skills.

At the same time, students will learn how to use specific postures that are held while walking the circle to allow energetic pathways to open up, enabling the body to become filled with Qi.


 Yin Fu (above) - first Ba Gua Zhang student of system founder, Dong Hai Chuan, and Cheng Ting Hua (below) the second student of Master Dong

Please note Ba Gua Zhang instruction is offered to students who have already developed a solid foundation in other internal martial arts. Regular (daily) practice is required to get the best from this area of study, and it can be an intense, long - term and demanding work to undertake. Ba Gua Zhang may not be suitable for people with some health conditions . If you have  pre-existing health concern, please discuss Ba Gua Zhang with your GP to see if it may be right for you.












Copyright Joe Boake & Dragonfly Way 2020