translated by Joseph Crandall
Over the past four years, Ba Gua Zhang instructor Joseph Crandall of Pinole, California, has made available six translated works from Ba Gua Zhang and Xing Yi Quan as follows: Ba Gua Zhang Practice Method by Jiang Rong Chiao, Cheng Style Ba Gua Zhang by Ma You Qing and Liu Jing Ru, Ba Gua Saber by Guo Zhen Ya, Wu Dong Ba Gua Zhang by Fei Yin Tao and Fei Yu Liang, and Yin Style Ba Gua Zhang by Zhang Lie (these works are all now available from High View Publications, please write for information). His latest work (Volume 5 in the Ba Gua series) is the Yin Style Ba Gua Zhang by Zhang Lie &). In this article we will print excerpts from the introduction to give the reader an idea about the lineage of this branch of Yin style Ba Gua, and then we will print the section titled "A General Narration on the Function of the 64 Forms." This section describes the prominent hand techniques, or opening techniques, for each of the eight sections of the form.
Crandall's translation of Zhang's book is 250 translated pages printed on standard size white xerox paper (all of Crandall's translations are xeroxed and velo bound). The majority of the book consists of illustrations and narration on the 64 form movements of Cao Zhong Sheng's (# M branch of Yin style Ba Gua Zhang. This style consists of an eight section, 64 form routine. Along with the illustration and explanation of all of the 64 forms, the author also provides narration pertaining to the main application, or "chief functional method," of each of the 64 forms.
Cao Zhong Sheng was from Cao Jia Village, Wu Cheng County, in Shandong Province. He was an apprentice in a jade store when he first came to Beijing at the age of 15. At that time he was weak and in poor health. To boost his strength he began studying martial arts with Fu Wen Yuan who also worked at the same store. Fu was a student of Ba Gua Zhang instructor Ma Gui («% if) and often went to Yin Fu's ) home to practice. When he went to see Yin Fu,
Yin Style Ba Gua Zhang instructor Cao Zhong Sheng (1875 - 1949)
Cao Zhong Sheng's student, Chi Shi Xin (1882 - 1974)
he often took Cao with him. Cao studied Ba Gua with both Ma Gui and Yin Fu.
Later, Cao went back to his hometown in Shandong and received Chi Shi Xin it) and Cui Yun Qing ( as students. In 1934, Cao led his students to participate in a martial arts fighting competition in Shandong and his student won the gold medal. In 1936, at the invitation of Tang Yu Lin ffi^M), the governor of Chahaier Province under the rule of the Guo Ming Dang, Cao went back to Beijing to teach Tang Yu Lin and his son. While in Beijing, he also accepted Zhang Ding Chen (ifc^fe), Zhang Jin Chen (Sfef £), and Zhang Shu Tang (Jfcii'i:) as students.
In 1938, Cao went to Tianjin with Tang Yu Lin. In Tainjin, Cao received another student, Lu Jing Gui ( In 1942, Lu Jing Gui wrote a book titled Cao Style Ba Gua Zhang according to the oral transmission of Cao Zhang Sheng. Cao Zhong Sheng died in 1949 at the age of 74.
Chi Shi Xin was from Shandong Province, Wu Cheng County, Xue Guan Village. Chi Shi Xin received the full extent of what Cao had to teach and later traveled to many areas in Shandong and Hebei Provinces teaching martial arts. Chi died on New Years Day, 1974, at the age of 92. The authors of the book Yin Style Ba Gua Zhang were students of Chi Shi Xin.
When engaged in bare-handed fighting, in going to meet the enemy, give priority to using the side of the body to face the enemy's posture. The side body facing the enemy's posture in the beginning form is "Embracing Coiling Turning the Circle," (see illustration 1*) or perhaps both hands naturally hang down. In general, one should allow the two feet to point nearly perpendicular to the enemy's advancing and attacking direction. This requires that my actions be adjusted in passing. Allow the enemy's place to be imagined as in the center of my turning circle. Suppose one wishes to use techniques from the Fourth Section. One can use the "swinging-turning front hand." Allow that the enemy's attacking hand should be at the palm side of my front hand (see illustration 2). Should one wish to use techniques from the other sections (many use the swinging-turning front hand), allow that the enemy's attacking hand be at the back side of my front hand.
When beginning bare-handed fighting, or perhaps in the process of it, there are times when one has the side of the body facing towards the enemy's posture. This can be divided into two types. One type is walking the circle towards the side/rear of the enemy. Simultaneously use the hand to split up the enemy's hands and watch for one's chance to advance and attack, like the "Grinding Palm," (see illustration 3)
* Note: The illustrations shown in this article do not appear with the text in this section but have been taken out of the form section of the book to provide clarity to this exerpt
"Embracing Coiling Turning the Circle" Posture
"Embracing Coiling Turning the Circle" Posture
Illustration 2: The "Swinging-Turning Front Hand" Sequence
Illustration 3: The "Grinding Palm" Sequence etc. The palm form advances along the circle. Another type is that one steps up as the enemy attacks in a perpendicular line. One would normally use turning body, a swing step, and a step up. Use the foot that steps up to step on the enemy's front foot or drop in front of it. Simultaneously, one can use hand methods like "separating the hands," or "leading the wrist," etc. to block, intercept, or lead open the enemy's front hand. In Section Three, many postures are accomplished using these types of methods.
When beginning bare-handed fighting or perhaps in the process of it, many of the forms use the "True Body Face the Enemy Posture." The True Body Face the Enemy Posture is: One faces towards the enemy's hands. The body is slightly to the side. The positions of the two feet are directed towards the true face of the enemy. One steps up or does a withdraw step similar to the enemy's withdraw step or advance step. There is no difference. Use the True Body to Face the Enemy Posture when one steps up. One ought to advance the
front foot forwards towards the enemy's groin. Allow the enemy's front foot to be positioned by the big toe of one's front foot. Sections 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 have many hand positions that use this type of stepping up method.
The hand method that is common throughout the eight forms in Section I is "cutting the wrist" followed by a front pierce (see illustration 4). This is a trait of the Qian Gua Palm. When the enemy uses a straight punch towards my chest, I can, on the basis of different circumstances, choose to use one of the eight forms which all use the front hand. With the little finger side facing downwards, I cut the enemy's front wrist, followed instantly by using the rear hand to attack the enemy. When I take the initiative to attack the enemy, I can use my front hand to cut the enemy's front wrist. I can also use the fingertips to jab towards the enemy. I then use the rear hand to do a pierce attack towards the enemy. The eight forms of Section I use the piercing palm to make the principle attacking and defending palm method. Particularly there is the Three Piercing Palms method. When fighting, one can draw support from the body's rising high and crouching low to unleash a high degree of unbroken, continuously changing piercing attacks. Use them to strengthen one's menacing nature. The agile motions of the Three Piercing Palms method can be used in the 64 Forms wherever there are piercing palm actions in the routines. The Piercing Palm, in defensive usage, uses the back of the palm to make contact with the enemy's attacking arm, and then makes use of the front pierce posture to use "grinding" to open the enemy's arm.
The hand method that is common throughout the eight forms in Section 2 is the intercepting wrist (see illustration 5). This is the specialty of the Kan Gua Palm. When the enemy uses his hand to attack my head, my front hand turns inward, and using the little finger side to make the strong point, intercepts and chops the enemy's wrist. Then, on the basis of different circumstances, I can choose to use later techniques from the eight forms to follow the intercepting wrist.
The hand method that is common throughout the eight forms in Section 3 is "turning the body, separating the hands, and leading the wrist" (see illustration 6). This is Gan Gua's specialty. Should the enemy attack towards my head or chest, my body can respond by spinning and turning. Many of the forms use the side of the body facing the enemy posture where the front foot steps up and makes a swing step. Simultaneously, I can use the back of my hand or forearm towards the outside to move and draw open the enemy's hand. Maybe I can use the open tiger's mouth to hook and pull the enemy's wrist. This is followed instantly by, according to circumstance, choosing to use a separating hands and leading the wrist technique from the eight forms.
The hand method that is common throughout the eight forms in Section 4 is the front hand swinging towards the front of the chest and depressing downwards (see illustration 7). Traditionally this is called a "covering hand." This is Zhen Gua Palm's specialty. Suppose the enemy, from inside my arms, strikes towards my face or chest I can choose to use an appropriate technique from the eight forms of covering hand. Suppose the enemy, form the back side of my front hand, comes hooking, pulling or doing an intercepting strike at my front hand. I can use, from the root section, the actions of the first or sixth form to struggle to escape from, or evade the enemy's hand.
The hand method that is common throughout the eight forms in Section 5 is the joining hand with a front pierce (see illustration 8). This is Sun Gua Palm's specialty. Suppose the enemy strikes at my head from the outside of my front hand. I can use the back of my front hand to block and knock the enemy's hand or arm towards the outside. Then I bai step up and use my rear hand to do a piercing strike towards the enemy. Then, according to circumstances, I can choose to use finishing techniques from the eight forms of "joint hand with a front pierce." Pay attention. When you should use this section in fighting, usually one will transform the front pierce into Three Pierces to take advantage and for successful usage of the techniques.
The hand method that is common throughout the eight forms in Section 6 is the "stroking wrist" (see illustration 9). This is Li Gua Palm's specialty. Suppose the enemy strikes towards my head or my chest from outside my front hand. I can, according to circumstances, choose to use the appropriate actions from the eight forms of the hooking and stroking the enemy's hand or wrist. It does not matter if you cannot hook or if the pull gets stopped. One ought to choose to use the follow-up techniques of the stroking wrist eight forms.
The hand method that is common throughout the eight forms in Section 7 is "defending the lower regions" (see illustration 10). This is Kun Gua Palm's specialty.
Suppose the enemy uses the lower parts position to advance and attack towards my breast and waist area. I can, as required, use the techniques from these eight forms as is appropriate.
The hand method that is common throughout the eight forms in Section 8 is the "rolling wrist reverse inserting" or "reverse opening up" actions (see illustration 11). One can watch for one's chance and choose to use the appropriate reverse insertion or reverse opening up technique from these eight forms.
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