Saturday, May 21, 2016

Martial Arts Training

he information in this article was obtained during an interview with Gong Bao Zhaiand He Jin Han in Taipei, Taiwan in September 1992 and a follow-up interview with He Jin Han in Los Angeles, CA in January 1994.
When I arrived in Taiwan in the Fall of 1992 and called the home of Gong Bao Zhai {t f #) to see if he would allow me to come visit with him and talk about his Ba Gua, the 87 year old Ba Gua instructor told me that he would allow me to come visit, however, he was old and weak and so I should not expect too much or plan to stay too long. When we arrived at his home a robust elderly man with a deep, booming voice met us at the door. I said to myself "This is the weak old man!?" Our "short" visit turned into a three hour stay with Gong Bao Zhai continually demonstrating that he was nothing close to the weak old man he had proclaimed to be over the phone.
The person who rules by virtue is called a king. The person who rules by force is called a tyrant.
When we sat down to start the interview, Gong Bao Zhai began by discussing the importance of well rounded development in the martial arts. He said that the study of Ba Gua was not to only be centered around martial arts forms and fighting, but the practitioner must also work on literary, and other intellectual means of self-cultivation. The idea of wen wu pC ^ - literary and martial) being developed equally sits very deep with Gong Bao Zhai and he wanted to insure that I understood this before we began to discuss anything about the martial arts.
Although I appreciate a good philosophy lecture, at the beginning of the interview I was a little worried that the wen wu discussion was all I would get out of Gong that day since he had said that we should not expect a long visit with him. Anxious to get to my list of questions, I began to ask Gong about his teacher Gong Bao Tian ff Gong Bao Zhai said, "I know why you are here. We will get to those questions, but first we need to talk about wen wu and martial morality."
Gong Bao Zhai believes that in the practice of self-cultivation every individual should strive to seek a balance between literary and martial pursuits. He said that everyone has two abilities, one belongs to the animal side of our nature and the other is a civilized

Ba Gua Instructor Gong Bao Zhai of Taipei Taiwan

and cultured side. If the animal side is cultivated more than the cultured side the individual will be wild. If the cultured side is cultivated more than the animal side, the individual will be a coward. Gong said that martial artists should seek a balance. He believes it is improper to only study how to use martial power and ignore intellectual abilities and says, "The purpose of studying martial arts is simple. It is to change useless people into useful people." Gong gave an example to demonstrate his point. He said that if the government wishes to choose a general, they will look for someone who has both wisdom and fighting skill, not someone who is only a good fighter. He continued by adding, "The person who rules by virtue is called a king. The person who rules by force is called a tyrant."
Gong believes that the reason a person should study martial arts is to develop character. He says that the martial and literary arts should be of the same family. However, he feels that "in recent times the martial and literary paths have become two separate roads." Gong says, "Most people think that the word 'martial' and the word 'power' are the same. This is incorrect. In studying martial arts we try to understand the principles of the art, not the power. Martial power comes from martial principles." He believes that the true meaning of the word "martial" is closer to the meaning of "virtue" than it is to the meaning of "power."

Gong Bao Tian with his top student He Jin Han in Taipei Taiwan September 1992

Gong states, "If martial arts are only for developing power and winning battles then martial artists should study how to fly war planes and operate guns and cannons."
Gong Bao Zhai said that traditional teachers did not take their acceptance of students lightly. Before students were taught true martial skills each student went through a "testing period" whereby the teacher would observe the student practice basic skills and make sure that the student was dedicated, loyal, and understood martial morality before accepting the student as a disciple and teaching the "inner door" concepts of the art. Gong explained that there was a big difference between what the "inner door" students and the "outer door" students were taught. He said that only the "inner door" students were taught the full system. The other students only received simple forms and surface level explanations.
Gong Bao Zhai's teacher, Gong Bao Tian, told his students that martial arts is not something that can be sold to the masses for money. He explained that Ba Gua Zhang was not only a fighting technique, there is a very deep philosophy which includes self-cultivation beyond martial techniques. He wanted each of his students to be something other than someone who only knew how to fight. He encouraged them to cultivate themselves to a higher level. Gong Bao Zhai listened to his teacher's advice and has spent his lifetime studying all of the various philosophical, medical and martial aspects of the art of Ba Gua.

Gong Bao Tian

Gong Bao Tian (1871 - 1943), who was also known as Gong Zi Ying -H-), was from Qing Shan,
Mou Ping County, Shandong Province. When he was thirteen years old he moved to Beijing and worked as a waiter in a restaurant. He loved martial arts and eventually became a Ba Gua disciple of Yin Fu (f
There are a couple of different versions of the story which tells of Gong Bao Tian meeting Yin Fu. One story says that Gong's older brother, Gong Bao Shan, was a Ba Gua Zhang student of Yin Fu and thought that his younger brother had martial arts potential. Gong Bao Shan introduced Gong Bao Tian to Yin Fu and Gong eventually became one of Yin's top students. Another version of the story states that Gong walked past the area where Yin taught everyday on his way to work. Each day he would stop and watch Yin's students practicing. One day Yin approached the young man and said, "It looks as though you are interested in martial arts. Why don't you practice with us." Gong said that he loved martial arts but had no money to pay for instruction. Gong added, "Besides, I can already do these things." Yin said, "Show me." Gong stepped out and performed what he had been observing Yin's students practice and he did in fact perform them as well as many of Yin's students. Yin was happy that Gong had such natural talent and told Gong he would teach him for free.
Gong Bao Zhai states that after Gong Bao Tian had studied from Yin Fu for several years, he served as a body guard in the Emperor's Palace. He also continued studying Ba Gua Zhang with Yin Fu in the palace and when Yin retired, Gong took over Yin's position as a bodyguard and martial arts teacher in the palace. Gong Bao Zhai said that in Beijing, during the Qing dynasty, the martial arts that were practiced in the palace were of a much higher level than what was being practiced outside. The Qing rulers were always fearful of a martial uprising and so they hired all of the best martial artists to work in the palace as bodyguards and martial arts instructors so that they could keep an eye on them.

Gong Bao Tian with his top student He Jin Han in Taipei Taiwan September 1992

Gong states, "If martial arts are only for developing power and winning battles then martial artists should study how to fly war planes and operate guns and cannons."
Gong Bao Zhai said that traditional teachers did not take their acceptance of students lightly. Before students were taught true martial skills each student went through a "testing period" whereby the teacher would observe the student practice basic skills and make sure that the student was dedicated, loyal, and understood martial morality before accepting the student as a disciple and teaching the "inner door" concepts of the art. Gong explained that there was a big difference between what the "inner door" students and the "outer door" students were taught. He said that only the "inner door" students were taught the full system. The other students only received simple forms and surface level explanations.
Gong Bao Zhai's teacher, Gong Bao Tian, told his students that martial arts is not something that can be sold to the masses for money. He explained that Ba Gua Zhang was not only a fighting technique, there is a very deep philosophy which includes self-cultivation beyond martial techniques. He wanted each of his students to be something other than someone who only knew how to fight. He encouraged them to cultivate themselves to a higher level. Gong Bao Zhai listened to his teacher's advice and has spent his lifetime studying all of the various philosophical, medical and martial aspects of the art of Ba Gua.

Gong Bao Tian

Gong Bao Tian (1871 - 1943), who was also known as Gong Zi Ying -H-), was from Qing Shan,
Mou Ping County, Shandong Province. When he was thirteen years old he moved to Beijing and worked as a waiter in a restaurant. He loved martial arts and eventually became a Ba Gua disciple of Yin Fu (f
There are a couple of different versions of the story which tells of Gong Bao Tian meeting Yin Fu. One story says that Gong's older brother, Gong Bao Shan, was a Ba Gua Zhang student of Yin Fu and thought that his younger brother had martial arts potential. Gong Bao Shan introduced Gong Bao Tian to Yin Fu and Gong eventually became one of Yin's top students. Another version of the story states that Gong walked past the area where Yin taught everyday on his way to work. Each day he would stop and watch Yin's students practicing. One day Yin approached the young man and said, "It looks as though you are interested in martial arts. Why don't you practice with us." Gong said that he loved martial arts but had no money to pay for instruction. Gong added, "Besides, I can already do these things." Yin said, "Show me." Gong stepped out and performed what he had been observing Yin's students practice and he did in fact perform them as well as many of Yin's students. Yin was happy that Gong had such natural talent and told Gong he would teach him for free.
Gong Bao Zhai states that after Gong Bao Tian had studied from Yin Fu for several years, he served as a body guard in the Emperor's Palace. He also continued studying Ba Gua Zhang with Yin Fu in the palace and when Yin retired, Gong took over Yin's position as a bodyguard and martial arts teacher in the palace. Gong Bao Zhai said that in Beijing, during the Qing dynasty, the martial arts that were practiced in the palace were of a much higher level than what was being practiced outside. The Qing rulers were always fearful of a martial uprising and so they hired all of the best martial artists to work in the palace as bodyguards and martial arts instructors so that they could keep an eye on them.
When the Qing government was overthrown and Gong Bao Tian left the palace, he noticed that the Ba Gua and Tai Ji that was being taught and practiced outside of the palace was different than what he knew. Because the martial arts in Beijing were not familiar to him, Gong Bao Tian decided to return to his home in Shandong Province and teach the martial arts as he knew them.
It is also reported in several written accounts of Gong Bao Tian's life that he served as the top bodyguard for the famous warlord General Zhang Zuo Lin It is said that on one occasion, at a party, Zhang asked Gong what he would do if someone pointed a gun at him. So saying, Zhang began to pull his gun from his holster. Before Zhang had his gun pointed and ready to fire, Gong was behind him with his hand firmly holding the wrist of Zhang's gun hand. Everyone at the party was impressed with Gong's agility and martial arts skill. Shortly thereafter Gong decided to retire to his hometown. Zhang Zuo Lin repeatedly sent telegrams to Gong asking him to come back and work as his head bodyguard and teach his martial arts to the other bodyguards. Gong politely refused.
Gong Bao Tian
Some of Gong Bao Tian's descendants at his grave site in mainland China. Kneeling closest to the stone is Huang Zhi Cheng a student of Gong Bao Tian's student Sun Ru Wen. Huang currently teaches in Shanghai.
Gong Bao Zhai said that Gong Bao Tian had a total of nineteen "inner door" students. Some of his well known students were Sun Ru Wen 0 & X, 1896 -1984), Sun Fu Ying t Yu Shi You (f & t), Wang Dao Cheng Gong Bao Zhai, and Liu Yun Jiao
(#1 1909 - 1992). Gong Bao Tian's father-in-law ran a security company and Gong's wife was also quite good at martial arts. Gong Bao Zhai said that many times he watched Gong Bao Tian's wife moving with great speed and agility while catching chickens in the yard. Gong Bao Tian's daughter was also a first rate martial artist and taught martial arts with very detailed explanations.

Gong Bao Zhai

Gong Bao Zhai grew up in the same village where Gong Bao Tian lived. Gong Bao Zhai's father and grandfather were both wealthy scholars. Gong was from a large, well educated family. Several of his relatives had passed the imperial examinations. Gong Bao Zhai was a smart child and began reading the classics and writing at a young age. When Gong Bao Zhai was young he had a variety of health problems and his father was worried about him. Gong Bao Zhai had to take so much medicine everyday that he said he "felt like a pillbox." Gong Bao Zhai's uncle and Gong Bao Tian held similar positions in the imperial government and knew each other well. Gong Bao Zhai's uncle asked Gong Bao Tian if he would teach his nephew martial arts in order to improve his health. At the age of seven, Gong Bao Zhai moved into Gong Bao Tian's home and lived there until he was seventeen.
When Gong Bao Zhai first began studying with his teacher he did not learn any classical martial arts forms, exercises or movements right away. His teacher did not talk much and for the first few years of training the only thing Gong Bao Zhai did everyday was catch the flies and mosquitoes that were around his teacher's home. Because young kids like to play, Gong Bao Zhai thought that catching the flies and mosquitoes was fun and he put a lot of energy into it. After a few years of fly catching Gong Bao Tian began teaching Gong Bao Zhai about pressure points, Chinese massage, and Ba Gua boxing.
Looking back on those early years, Gong Bao Zhai recognizes the importance of his early training. He said that he now realizes that catching flies and mosquitoes was important basic training. One of his teacher's goals was to teach Gong how to practice martial arts during the activities of daily life. Gong Bao Zhai feels that studying martial arts isn't practicing strength. If the martial arts are practiced correctly, then the strength should come naturally without special strength training. He believes that stability and accuracy are more important than strength, saying that if a person is stable and accurate, he will have power (complete power without a loss of balance). Gong says, "If you want to catch flies and mosquitoes and they are flying all around you, you must be stable, balanced and accurate." These are the principles he developed during his early training as a "fly catcher."
Gong Bao Zhai's System of Ba Gua @uan (& ^ A^h
Internal
External
Ba Zhang Quan %
Ba Gua Pao Chui
Ba Mu Zhang (A Si Xiang Liang Yi Ba Gua Sword (^h^'J)
Ba Gong Quan IT #-) Kan Gong Quan (%-t Gen Gong Quan (Hf Zhen Gong Quan (t. t Xun Gong Quan (Hf*) Li Gong Quan Kun Gong Quan 1 #-) Dui Gong Quan Qian Gong Quan #-)
Ba Gua Spear ^t)
Ba Gua Staff (A> Ba Gua Broadsword (^^h X7)
After he became an adult, Gong Bao Zhai studied a variety of professions and held many jobs. He studied agriculture, worked as a carpenter building houses and furniture, commanded an Army battalion, and was the head of two different news agencies. Just prior to the communists coming into power in mainland China, Gong left the country and moved to Taiwan. Because of his background in news, several newspapers in Taiwan wanted to hire him.
When Gong first arrived in Taiwan he wanted to live a quiet life. No one in Taiwan knew he was a martial artist and he wanted to keep it that way. In fact he has never referred to himself as a martial artist and through the years when people have asked him about it he has denied that he knew any martial arts. However, after he had been in Taiwan for several years he ran into someone who was from his home village and knew that he had studied martial arts. The man asked Gong to teach him and Gong agreed. Since moving to Taiwan Gong has only taken a small handful of students. Of the students he has taught, his senior student, He Jin Han (iTitf" has spent the most time with him.

Gong Bao Zhais Ba Gua Quan

All of Gong Bao Zhai's Ba Gua has a very direct relationship with Chinese philosophical concepts and a knowledge of the human body. Gong says that the practitioner of Ba Gua must understand the philosophical knowledge, the technical martial knowledge, and have medical knowledge of how the body works in order to fully understand the art of Ba Gua Zhang. In fact, Gong Bao Zhai states the Ba Gua Zhang is only a part of a more complete system which he calls "Ba Gua Quan." Therefore, he calls his system Ba Gua Quan or "Ba Gua boxing."
Gong Bao Zhai believes that while most martial arts, such as Shaolin originated with physical movements and then later developed fighting concepts and strategies based on those movements, Ba Gua started with the philosophical idea and then built the physical movements and tactics in accordance with the philosophy. Gong said, "Taiji comes from chaos - wuji'). After time it split into yin and yang [f%) and formed the two principles - liang yi), and then into four figures - sixiang), followed by the eight trigrams (^^h - ba gua). The relationship between the ba gua symbol, the human body, and the martial art is important to understand." Gong went on to explain that of the eight gua of the ba gua,, there are four inner gua and four outer gua. The inner gua relate to internal parts of the body and the outer gua relate to external parts of the body. These relationships are as follows: Qian Gua - Head, Xun Gua - Waist, Kan Gua - Kidneys, Gen Gua - Back, Kun Gua -Abdomen, Zhen Gua - Liver, Li Gua - Heart, and Dui Gua - Lungs.
While anyone who has studied the classical writing of Ba Gua Zhang has read about the relationships between different body parts and the eight trigrams (Sun Lu Tangexpressed these relationships in his book The Study of Ba Gua Boxing published around 1916), those who briefly mention such relationships in books do not explain exactly what is meant by them. Gong teaches that each of the eight gua have expressions of martial force which are related to them and that this force is originating from those parts of the body which correspond to each gua. The movements of each gua represent a particular "feeling" in the body. Once the student understands the feeling of the movement and where the energy of the movement originates, he will understand that gua and know how to use it.
Gong Bao Zhai's Ba Gua is primarily a study of
how the internal body is associated with the external movements. The force, or power, in the internal arts is generated from inside the body and expressed externally. When you have a connection between the inside and outside, you can learn to effectively use your internal power externally - this is Ba Gua. If you discover where the external power is originating inside the body (trace it to its true source), and understand the internal path along which that power is most effectively expressed, you can then begin to understand Ba Gua posture and movement. Every posture and movement has a source of power and a path which that aligned power travels from the source to the final expression in the extremity (terminus). If the path is true and connected to the source, that power is most effectively and efficiently expressed. If the path is not true, i.e. the power is somehow redirected, dissipated, diverted, or otherwise thrown slightly off course, the expression of power will not reach full potential. Ba Gua practitioners work to become familiar with these associations and work to be very exact in the execution of physical movement with these principles in mind. In Gong Bao Zhai's system basic stance and posture training is very important.

Gong Bao Zhais Teaching Method

When Gong Bao Zhai teaches, each student has his or her own personal program. The part of the system a student will start with and how they progress from that point depends on each individual student. Young/old, strong/weak, male/female, and other physical characteristics are taken into account as well as the student's individual goals in practice. Someone who wants to study the art for health will have a different training program than someone who is interested in learning the entire system. Gong teaches each student differently based on what they need to develop internally. He can look at a student and tell what would be good for the overall health of their body and then begin their training with those movements.
A beginning student who is young, male, and interested in learning the entire Ba Gua Quan system will start by learning basic hand methods, finger strength training, basic waist training, and basic stances. There are three basic standing postures, the "horse riding" stance - qi ma bu), the "bow and arrow" stance - gong jian bu), which is also called the "climbing the mountain" stance J-i IP* - deng shan bu), and "containing chances" stance ( ^^ 7F - hanji bu). In training the legs the students will first hold the stances, then execute stepping methods which utilize the stances, and then perform "jumping stance" training for balance and coordination. After this training is complete the student will then perform post-stance training whereby the stances are held on top of five posts which are stuck in the ground. Four posts are placed in the shape of a square and the fifth post is placed in the center. The student steps from one stance to another on top of the five posts. This training further improves the leg strength and balance.
After completion of the basic training methods, the first form the young male student will usually be taught is the Li Gong Quan form. He will then be
Gong Style Ba Gua Zhang Basic Stances
Gong Style Ba Gua Zhang Basic Stances
Horse Riding Stance Gong
Horse Riding Stance Bow and Arrow Stance "Containing Chances" Stance
taught other forms in a sequence which corresponds with his growth potential in the art. Gong teaches by "prescription" and thus each student's program depends upon his or her individual progress. Because there is no set sequence of training, we will simply present the components of Gong's system with the understanding that the sequence of training will vary from student to student.
Gong Bao Zhai's system of Ba Gua consists of the forms and practices which are divided into two categories: internal and external (see chart at the top of page 6). However, the term "external" as it is used here does not have the connotation of being "hard" or "stiff." The "external" aspects of Gong's Ba Gua are intimately related to the "internal" aspects and cannot be separated. Just as the interior and exterior of the body cannot be separated, the "internal" aspects of this Ba Gua system cannot be separated from the "external" aspects. They are two integral parts of the whole.
While training methodology and emphasis of the "internal" and "external" forms of Gong's system will vary from one form to another, one consistent aspect of the training which differs between the internal forms and the external forms is the "type" of qi (-SL) which is trained. Gong Bao Zhai's senior student, He Jin Han, explained that the qi in the body can be divided into two types. One is the qi that runs parallel with the muscle fibers and another which runs from the skin directly to the organs through the jing lou. The first kind of qi is trained during the execution of the external forms and the second type is trained during the execution of the internal forms.

Forms Training in Gong Bao Tian Ba Gua Zhang

As stated above, since Gong has no set training sequence, here we will simply list the forms, give a general description and state the basic training philosophy of each different form.
Ba Mu Zhang - The ba mu zhang, also called ba zhang are the "eight mother palms"
Gua Name
Palm Name
Body Part
Li Gua ($Mb)
Lying Down Palm
Heart
Kun Gua (H7
Retreating Body Palm
Abdomen
Dui Gua
Embracing Palm
Lungs
Qian Gua (iMb)
Lion Palm
Head
Kan Gua
Smooth Palm
Kidneys
Gen Gua (l^b)
Back and Body Palm
Back
Zhen Gua ¿ft ib)
Flat Lifting Palm
Liver
Xun Gua (It ^b)
Wind Wheel Palm
Waist
Gong Bao Tian
(see photographs on page 8 and chart below). These are the holding postures held while the practitioner walks the circle and represent the "static" feature of each gua (^h). This set consists of a circle walking form whereby the upper body postures are held statically while the practitioner walks the circle. After the practitioner has walked the circle holding one posture for the desired length of time, he will execute a change of direction sequence of movements and then walk the circle the other direction holding the same posture. With the next change of direction the posture will change to the next palm. The practitioner will continue in this manner until he has transitioned through all eight upper body postures or "mother palms." This set is used to train the circle-walking footwork, gain knowledge of the internal and external connections related to each posture, and to learn what Gong calls "silence in moving."
Although the holding postures are obviously an important part of the ba mu zhang practice, the changing postures of this form are equally as important. There are three kinds of changing palms that the student in Gong Bao Zhai's school will learn. The first change is primarily used only when the student is practicing the change of direction from the "pushing palm" - tui zhang) posture. This palm, which is the standard Ba Gua ready stance position, is not one of the eight mother palms, but is a posture beginning students will practice while learning the basic circle-walking footwork. Gong Bao Zhai's senior student, He Jin Han, states that, "because in the pushing palm the focus is not on moving qi as much as it is filling the whole body, the pushing palm change is designed to change the direction of the body while remaining steady."
When executing the eight mother palms, there are two changes that are utilized. He Jin Han says that, "the change between palms should be slow and smooth. A sudden change will not be natural and can hurt the body, therefore, we should avoid a sudden change between yin and yang, left and right, high and
Gong Bao Tian

He Jin Han demonstrates lower piercing palm posture at the Chiang Kai Chek memorial in Taibei Taiwan where he teaches classes

low, etc." The first change, called "lower piercing palm" (Tf* -xia chaun zhang - see photo above) is a simple change used to move qi while changing directions. The movement is from high to low and then back to high again.
While the student can utilize the lower piercing palm when changing directions on the circle, the more formal method of changing directions is a bit more complex. This change is appropriately called "four posture changing form" - huan zhang si shi)
and, as the name suggests, consists of four movements. These movements are: The "green dragon turns its head," also called the "green dragon sweeps its tail," "the python turns its body," "the black bear stretches its claws," and the "white snake winds its body." He Jin Han says that these four movements form a complete transition and change the body from any situation to another safely and fluidly.
Each of the eight mother palms is related to one of the eight trigrams and, as we have discussed previously, has a direct relationship to a part of the body. Obtaining an experiential feeling for the energy of the palm and its relationship to the body is an important part of understanding the ba mu zhang.
When walking the circle, Gong's students step utilizing a heel-toe rolling step in a low stance. As the student steps, the stepping foot is picked up to about knee height. This high stepping method is utilized while maintaining a low stance so that the practitioner will develop strong legs, stability in movement, and good balance. Later the student will not lift the foot so high when stepping but will continue using the heel-toe step. This step, which is sometimes called the "lion step," is very characteristic of the Yin Fu style of Ba Gua.
One interesting note is that all of the palm names as depicted on the chart are identical to the names of the eight mother palms which are practiced by Xie Pei Qi (nr^^f*) in Beijing (see Pa Kua Chang Journal Vol 4, No. 1), however, except for the Qian Gua, the postures are all different. Xie Pei Qi's teacher Men Bao Zhen (Hand Gong Bao Tian were classmates under Yin Fu.
Ba Zhang Quart (^ % - In the ba mu zhang the eight postures are not moving, but are held static. When the practitioner begins to practice the linear form ba zhang quan (also called ba gua zhang - ^^h he will begin to execute changing movements between these postures and become aware of the relationships the postures and changing movements from one posture to the next have with each other. In other words, in this form the postures which were studied in the ba mu zhang now begin to flow together in a form sequence in the ba zhang quan practice. This set teaches the practitioner to form a connection between each of the eight holding palms (ba mu zhang). The eight palms change their static appearance in this linear form because the ba zhang quan is the dynamic feature of the eight palms. The emphasis is on the flow of qi while practicing these movements. Gong Bao Tian says that it is important that the practitioner does not confuse the qi and the li - strength) when changing the palms.
This form, and the other linear forms of Gong Bao Tian's Ba Gua system, have the "flavor" of Lohan Shaolin (W- This flavor in Ba Gua linear forms movements is very characteristic of all branches of Yin Fu Ba Gua. When Gong Bao Zhai's senior student, He Jin Han, was asked if there was a Lohan Shaolin influence in Yin Fu's Ba Gua, he relied, "Lohan Shaolin is in Ba Gua."
Although all of the straight-line forms in Gong Bao Zhai's system have a strong Lohan Shaolin flavor, when these same forms are later combined with the eight mother palms and practiced on the circle, the Lohan flavor almost seems to disappear. The circular walking, kuo bu ifr) and bai bu footwork, turning and twisting body movements and directional changes which are executed on the circle give the otherwise Shaolin style movements the Ba Gua characteristics. Witnessing He Jin Han practice one of the straight-line forms on the circle in combination with the eight holding palms gives one insight into the development of Ba Gua. It is easy to see how Dong Hai Chuan combined his Shaolin arts with the Daoist philosophy and circle walking practice to form the art of Ba Gua Zhang. He Jin Han said that Ba Gua's originator chose to use the movements of Lohan, and other schools of martial arts, which appropriately expressed the philosophy of ba gua to create the Ba Gua Quan system.
Liang Yi The Hang yi is another linear form. The movements and emphasis of this form give one a very clear understanding of the connection between the Ba Gua philosophy and physical practice. In philosophy Hang yi is derived from the division of the one (tai ji) into two (the yin yi and the yang yi). In the boxing these two aspects are represented by left/right, up/down, and inside/outside. Consequently the movements of this form teach the student how to focus and move left and right, up and down, and relate inside and outside.

Si Xiang - The si xiang is also a linear form.

In philosophy the si xiang is derived from the Hang yi. Whereas the Hang yi symbology is a representation of the two distinct opposites, yin and yang, the symbology of the si xiang forms the simplest combination of the yin yi and yang yi. Si xiang is the combination of two to make four. In the martial art form the "four" are represented by the two arms and two legs. Therefore the movements and sequences of the si xiang form are specifically designed to train the practitioner to use the arms and legs effectively in Ba Gua. He Jin Han, states that most people think that the arm starts at the shoulder, however, the long, flexible movements and the intention of this form teach the student to think about the arm originating from the scapula.
Ba Gua Pao Chui ^b - The ba gua pao chui set consists of eight sections (a total of 64 movements) and is derived from Lohan Shaolin. He Jin Han, states that the pao chui form is the most important linear form in the system because within it can be found the principles and movements of the Hang yi, si xiang, and ba zhang quan forms and it contains the changes of the eight palms. This set is performed in the formation of the ba gua diagram (eight directions). It is an important form in this system as it helps develop the body and fighting skill.
Ba Gong Quan The ba gong quan practice consists of eight linear forms. Each of the eight forms comes from the corresponding mother palm and relate to the same gua. In this practice each of the eight palms has its own separate linear form so that the practitioner can develop the feeling and energy of each of the eight palms. Therefore, in each of these eight sets the characteristics of one of the eight palms is emphasized.
Weapons - In Gong Bao Zhai's Ba Gua system there are four primary weapons. Two, the sword and the spear, are related to the "internal" side of the practice and two, the staff and saber, are related to the "external" side of the practice. Students start learning weapons only after they demonstrate that they can use their body effectively. This means that their body can follow the movements of the bare hand forms naturally and correctly no matter how fast, slow, big, or small. The spear and the staff are long weapons and the saber and sword are short weapons. Students will typically start with the saber and staff as they are simple compared to the sword and spear. The sword is practiced last because it is the most complex.
He Jin Han says that each form in this Ba Gua system "tells the practitioner something." It is the practitioner's job to practice the form and "read it carefully" to find out exactly what the form has to teach. These forms are organized so that they convey the principles of the Ba Gua. The principles that the forms try to teach all relate to how the human body should work at its optimum. He states, "The value of traditional forms is that they have something to say beyond movements for fighting. There is something each form has to teach. This is why each traditional system of martial arts has so many forms. They all have a different principle or idea to convey." In executing the forms, the practitioner should try to understand how the internal body is associated with each of the external movements. When teaching students, Gong Bao Zhai is very particular about the students executing the postures and movements of the form exactly. If the postural alignments and the transitions are not correct, then the student will not be able to understand the principle and meaning of the forms.
He Jin Han explains further by saying that every posture or movement has a main direction or, in some cases, two main directions of energy movement. The practitioner must try to understand where the energy of each posture or movement is originating and what path through the body that energy is following in order to reach its destination in the most effective and efficient manner. "The right power comes from the right rule and the right movement. The right posture gives you the right road," He Jin Han says. To illustrate what he meant, He Jin Han took out a magazine that had photographs of various martial artists. In one article
He Jin Han demonstrates the "sideways palm" posture which is part of the "white snake winding its body" movement over his head. In another photo the old master's son was holding a similar posture and in still another photo one of the son's students was holding a similar posture. He Jin Han said, "Look at the alignments of the old man. All of his body alignments are such that the energy in his posture is in a direct line with the balance point of the sword." With that in mind we looked at the postures of the old man's son and the son's student. With each generation the alignment of the practitioner's body in relationship with the sword was farther away from the correct path. He Jin Han said that if the alignment and energy movement of a posture are not right, the correct power will not be present.
While other martial artists might study the human body in relation to how to effectively hurt the opponent, Gong Bao Zhai said that Ba Gua practitioners are more concerned with what is happening inside their own bodies. Different external movements effect the body in different ways internally and the practitioner should strive to understand the internal effects of external movements and vice-versa. Additionally, Gong says that every movement produces two forces. One force is expressed outside of the body and the other is expressed inside the body. The force which goes out during a fight could have a damaging effect inside if the body is not aligned properly or the force is directed improperly. This is one reason why the Ba Gua practitioner should be very concerned about concentrating on correct postures and alignment early in the training process. If the movements and postures are not practiced correctly from the beginning, the body may be damaged later.

Martial Arts Principles

Gong Bao Zhai believes that the important part of the martial arts are the concepts behind the art, not the development of external strength. He says that if the practitioner has clear concepts, it does not matter how physically strong they are. He calls it wu 1 -martial strength) versus wu li - martial principle). When using martial principle, the application of the correct principle, not strength, causes the force. If a practitioner has a sound knowledge of point attacks, he does not need a lot of strength. Having a sound strategy, knowing how to apply the strategy, and knowing where to apply the attack is what gives you the power over the opponent, not your muscle strength. Gong firmly believes that refined skill and superior knowledge is more important than muscular strength.
Most young people today are in too much of a hurry to see benefits. They have no patience.
Superior knowledge includes the knowledge of how to defend yourself so that the defense is also an attack and the attack is executed in the such a manner that the opponent has little chance to counterattack. Gong says that there are many ways to defend yourself against an attack like a throat grab. However, in the study of Ba Gua we learn how to defend so that you can continue to change and your opponent cannot. In applying your defense, it is also an attack and in applying that attack, you lock out your opponent's opportunities for effective counterattack. These skills do not come from forms, but come from a knowledge of the human body, the principles of Ba Gua, and the patterns which facilitate change.
In developing skill and knowledge, Gong Bao Zhai teaches his students to understand two important concepts. One is understanding cause and effect (yin guo - and the other is knowing how to adapt and change with unknown factors (shu li -The study of cause and effect involves knowledge of predictable patterns in combat. In other words, the practitioner studies how an opponent will most likely respond or react to any given offensive or defensive move he is presented with. Shu li involves being able to respond to unpredictable maneuvers and changes the opponent might present. Gong states that in the study of Ba Gua, the practitioner begins to develop an intuitive response to unknown variables. These responses seem to be outside of simple cause and effect and come from an intuitive level of understanding of unknown factors. In practicing Ba Gua, the practitioner wants to study change in accordance with predictable patterns as well as unpredictable patterns and circumstances.
Gong Bao Zhai says that in the application of Ba Gua, the gestures that you practice in the forms are
Gong Bao Zai Bagua
He Jin Han Xie Pei Qi Huang Zhi Cheng
He Jin Han Xie Pei Qi Huang Zhi Cheng
Yin Fu Style Ba Gua Postural Alignments
One of the main characteristic differences between the Yin Fu and Cheng Ting Huastyles of Ba Gua are the general postural alignments of the body. As we stated in Pa Kua Chang Journal Vol. 3, No. 2, page 13, the Yin Fu style practitioners tend to have a very "closed" body. The stances are low and they bend forward at the hips. The spine remains straight, however, the body is bent. The Cheng Ting Hua style practitioner tend to have a higher stance and a more vertical spine. Illustrating the Yin Fu style body posture above are three Yin style practitioners. On the far left is He Jin Han of Taipei, Taiwan, a student of Gong Bao Tian's student Gong Bao Zhai; in the middle is Xie Pei Qi of Beijing, China, a student of Yin Fu's student Men Bao Zhen; and on the right is Huang Zhi Cheng of Shanghai, China, a student of Gong Bao Tian's student Sun Ru Wen.
not necessarily what will come out in the fight. The patterns that are studied in the Ba Gua forms facilitate change. The forms train the body to move correctly, efficiently and naturally, once the body has been trained to move in this manner, Gong says that you should "forget" everything you learned before and simply learn how to change appropriately with whatever your opponent does.

The Four Character Secret

Gong Bao Zhai says that there are four characters that a martial artist should keep in his or her heart. He states, "Creating an intelligent mind and strong body comes down to four words: Ping (level), Hong (balanced), Tang (connected), Shun (smooth)." He continues by saying, "These are only common words so some might laugh when they hear these words. But most average people cannot live up to these words and it is easy for martial artists to get off track. The worst thing is a martial artist who does not keep to the principles of these four words. They practice without these principles in mind and continue to get further off track." Gong believes that if a martial arts practitioner disturbs the natural balance of the body by overtraining one area, the body will not be connected and will not function smoothly. Once the body is off balance, continued training will only throw it further off balance and the practitioner can easily become sick or injure themselves.
To keep his students "on track" Gong teaches them three principles to correct practice. The first is diligence in understanding the principles behind the art. The second is a deep understanding of medicine. The third is an understanding of physiology, which in Chinese translates literally to mean "the principles of life." Of the three, Gong believes that the "principles of life" are the most important. He says, "If you do not understand physiology and you obtain a lot of strength, you will not know how to use it correctly."
Gong encourages his students to continually seek out deeper meaning in Ba Guaand use the four characters as a guide at all times. He says, "In life the
10,000 changes never leave these four words. If you want to understand Ba Gua you must continually try to improve. This way you will naturally develop your martial arts and martial character until you have no self-desires and place no demands on other people. Never try to force a situation. Most young people today are in too much of a hurry to see benefits. They have no patience."
The purpose of studying martial arts is simple. It is to change useless people into useful people.
Gong Bao Zhai says that he hopes young people will continue to study martial arts so that martial culture will not be lost. Although his martial arts practice has certainly helped his longevity (he is now nearly 90), he does not place much emphasis on longevity as a goal for martial training. He says, "People say that it is great that I have lived to be nearly 90 years old. My reply is 'What is so good about it?' My only hope is that I do not live to be 100. That would be real trouble!" as he laughs loudly in his deep booming voice.

He Jin Han 1993 Bagua Video

He Jin Han began studying with Gong Bao Zhai in 1979 when he was 24 years old. He had started his martial arts career when he was 19, studying Tai Ji Quan with Yang Qing Yu for five years while also studying Xing Yi Quan with Chen Pan Ling's nephew, Chen Tian Yi for three years. He Jin Han said that he was interested in Ba Gua because it was more refined. He was interested in the Ba Gua's use of angles and body positioning. A mutual friend introduced him to his teacher.
He Jin Han studied very hard and by 1985 his teacher had given him permission to teach on his own. He now teaches Ba Gua at two different locations in Taipei and has about 40 students. Currently He Jin Han is an officer in the Taiwanese Army and so he has not had as much time to dedicate to teaching martial arts as he would like. However, he has periodically appeared on television in Taiwan teaching fitness exercises which he based on the principles of Ba Gua. Because Ba Gua teaches the practitioner about how to use the body in the most efficient way possible, the principles of Ba Gua can be applied to any physical activity.
In 1993 He Jin Han shot a series of four video tapes in which he demonstrates several of the forms from his teacher's Ba Gua system. At the beginning of each tape, He illustrates the relationships between the ba gua and the body, shows basic palms shapes, basic fist shapes, basic stepping movements, and the three basic holding postures (see photos on page 7) with the transitions between the left and right positions. On the first tape, Basic Eight Mother Palms, He demonstrates two simple change of direction maneuvers ("pushing palm change" and the "lower piercing palm") when walking the circle and then shows a more complex change (the "four form changing palms"). He then shows all eight of the mother palms one at a time and finally he finishes the video by showing all the mother palms linked together in one fluid form.
In the second tape, Ba Gua Zhang, He shows the linear ba gua zhang form, which is also called ba zhang quan. This is shown five times on the tape. The first time it is shown at a normal pace. The second time it is shown at a slow pace from various angles combined with freeze frame stills. Through the use of the freeze frame images and cut-aways to clips from the eight mother palms video, He clearly illustrates where all of the mother palms appear in this form. The third and fourth demonstrations of the form are shown again in slow motion, once from a front view and once from the back view. The fifth time the form is shown it is performed once again at a normal pace.
In the third tape, Liang Yi Skill, He Jin Han demonstrates the Hang yi form five times. Like the previous tape, the first time through is at normal pace, the second time through is in slow motion combined with freeze frame. During this performance the names of each of the moves are given and the relationships of the movements to the eight gua and the eight mother palms are illustrated. The third time through is a continuous slow motion front view, the fourth time is a slow motion view from the rear, and the fifth time is a normal pace execution of the form.
In the fourth tape, Examples of the Changes of Ba Gua, He Jin Han demonstrates how the ba zhang quan straight form, which is shown on tape number two, can be put on the circle in combination with the eight mother palms. The tape first shows the linked ba mu zhang set and then the ba zhang quan set, both performed at normal pace. Next He demonstrates a slow motion version of a form which shows the ba zhang quan form performed on a circle in combination with the ba mu zhang holding postures. The movements of the ba zhang quart set make up the directional changes between the holding postures. He Jin Han says that the same combination of forms can be performed using the ba mu zhang and Hang yi sets.
Next the video combines a slow motion performance of the set with freeze frame in order to illustrate the names of the movements. The name of the movement appears in Chinese on the screen during the freeze frame video shot. Finally, the form is performed once again at normal pace.
The production quality on all the video tapes is very high and the movements all shown very clearly. All four of these tapes are available from High View Publications. Please write for details (or see insert.)
In October of this year He Jin Han will be retiring from the military and says that he hopes to have more time for "martial arts things." We are hoping that this will include trips to the United States to spread some of his teacher's Ba Gua in this country.
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