Waist needs to turn Buttocks needs to wrap Hips need to clip Anus needs to lift

Knees need to contract Groin needs to be tight Toes need to cling

The Five Element energies are part of the "Summary of Three Basins For Practice and Application" and are as follows (the basins are described by the illustrations below):

Duckbill Knife Elevator

Stand Basin

Flat Basin


1. Stand Basin

(Body Method)

2. Flat Basin

(Step Method)

3. Slope Basin

(Hand Method)

1. Chicken Leg

2.Dragon Body

3. Bear Shoulder

4. Ape Back

5. Tiger/Leopard Head

8 Body components

1. Split Step

2. Toe Out Step

3. Jostle Step

4. Throw Step

5. Slip Step

1. Sink energy 2.Implicit energy

3. Bottom energy

4. Inside energy

5. Whole energy

Steps in 8 directions

8 Hand Techniques

He Ke Cai in Hong Kong, 1992

Stand Basin

Flat Basin


He Ke Cai in Hong Kong, 1992


14 Back needs to be round

15 Chest needs to stretch

16 Abdomen needs to be full

17 Ribs need to sit

C.S. Tang practicing staff fighting with his teacher, He Ke Cai, Hong Kong, 1973

on alternative nights. I went to two different classes every night to fulfill my curiosity. But I still always went to my teacher's school during the week.

Who were some of your teacher's best students?

Well, we could say 'Distinguished', since the students are so many and they came and left at different stages. They are as follows:

1st stage: Yue Lan Lok, Wong Tung Chuen, Yum Wing & Wong Chi Ling, 2nd stage: Ho Yuk Chuen, Ho Chan Chung, Lui Yue Lam, Ng Po Chuen, Tang Cheong Shing, Tsui Kwok Leung, Woo Sim Sum, Chan Wing Woo, Wai Fu, Wong Cheung Kun, Tsui Woon Kwong, Lee Po, Yu Chung Chiu, Tsang Kee, Fung Sum Yuen

3rd stage: Tsui Bui, Wu Wai Ming, Ko Man Yuen, Issa R. Sadiq, Tsoi Lung Sang etc.

What was the learning progression in your teacher's Ba Gua?

Ho taught similar to the way Gao had taught. The progression is as follows:

Bare Hands

1st stage:

Was traditional philosophy or traditional medicine taught by your teacher in conjunction with the Ba Gua training?

1. Traditional philosophy

He emphasized one who practiced Ba Gua must understand the 'Yi Ching' (Book of Changes). So when we rested and discussed theories and principles, he always taught us the relationships and the theories of the changes.

a) single exercise, single form b) Post Heaven Changes c) Pre Heaven Changes & Head and Tail d) single exercises and linking form

2nd stage: two men set sparring and application a) single forms for Post & Pre Heaven Changes b) linking forms for both (student A & B, named as Yin and Yang, then the routine called: Yin and Yang Ba Gua linking Zhang.

c) Push hands

2. Traditional medicine

He liked herbs, so he always talked about how he discovered the plants on the mountain, and how those herbs helped him to cure himself and we shared and learned from him. He was also a Chinese bone setter.

How many years did you study with your teacher?

I spent five nights a week on forms and general practice and every Saturday evening on weapons nonstop for eight years. After that, I began to practice other schools. I studied Northern Shaolin, Chin Woo forms, Tan Tui, and Fong Style Southern Mantis,

3rd stage: Changes a) 64 palms practice

- in the circle

- into and across the center of the circle b) 8 palms practice

- in straight lines and

- into and across the center of the circle c) Pre & Post Heaven as a whole

- 1 pre + 8 post and meet at the center, 8 times to be global.


1. Board sword

2. Sword

3. Cudgel (Staff)

4. Spear

5. Stick with hook

All have set forms of eight routines in straight line and the 10 pre and 64 post heaven single and linking forms.

How did your teacher teach you Ba Gua fighting application?

He taught each student independently and separately. There was no group study or a team practicing the same forms at the same time. At the second stage, after you could exercise and perform the pre and post heaven palms yourself, it was time to learn applications. This was accomplished as follows:

1. How to attack:

Ho never employed an assistant and always taught applications himself. He would perform the attack on you and then ask you to do the same, but performing the attack on him. He used his own body to accept your attack so that the student could gradually feel the strength and he could adjust your attack and judge your correctness.

We had a long straight line on the floor, so Ho acted on you first along the line and then at the end of the line, we acted back on him until the end of the other side. Ho would silently bear our attack on him. A senior student had hung a sand bag for us to push and practice the five element energy (not for punching). However actually feeling the attack on the body is of the utmost importance. Ho would ask you to grasp his hand and showed how easily he could unlock by keeping 24 essences.

2. How to discharge:

Ho would teach how to vanish or discharge ones strong push attack by either changing direction using the waist or swallow by the stomach.

3. The link circle:

How to attack by using the same form of your enemy after you discharged his attack. After you know how to attack effectively and efficiency and discharge safely, its time for your counter attack practice. Its a short form of discharge that when the attack reached your guarding area and his action was completed by two thirds, you discharge immediately and using the same attack form that your enemy had just used. Its was wonderful because we had sometimes heard of this before, but we had never actually practiced it continuously. Ba Gua has this unique practice.

4. The Change

Ho would show you how to apply the form you just learn (i.e.. one of the 64 forms) to attack your enemy, when he is holding a guarding position, in six directions. The directions are front, back, left, right, top and bottom. These changes, once again, coincide to the change theories of the Yi Ching (64 x 6 = 384). However, its not talking, we actually practiced the changes every lesson as a set series.

What differences and similarities did you find between your teacher's Ba Gua and Zhang Jun Feng's Ba Gua when you visited with him in Taiwan?

I worked in a travel agency and I had the chance to use quarter fare for travel. One day, May 7, 1973, I

He Ke Cai demonstrates Ba Gua's guard posture
Gua Elbow Knife Set
C.S. Tang with Zhang Jun Feng in Taiwan, 1973

visited Taiwan without any preparation or planning. On the second morning of my arrival in Taipei, I came to Taipei botanical garden at six o'clock. I saw many different Chinese Martial arts that we didn't have chance to know in Hong Kong. At 8:30 am, I took a taxi and came to Zhang's studio.

I knocked the door, Mrs. Zhang opened and let me in. Zhang was sitting on a chair. He stayed in the chair until I left. Mrs. Zhang said Zhang had a problem with his leg. When I said I came from Ho Ho Choy (He Ke Cai) of Hong Kong, Mrs. Zhang was very surprised and let me sit down in front of Zhang. Zhang was so eager to enquiry about my teacher and talk about lots of things.

Zhang's language was still in a Shangtong accent, not pure Mandarin and difficult for me to understand. Mrs. Zhang asked me whether we had the five element step? Whether we had 64 straight palms, etc. She then immediately demonstrated most of the forms, especially static standing, five element walking and the 'move' exercise of the "Ten Heavenly Stems". I demonstrated my style of the 64 palms in a linking form. She was so curious because she had never done these before.

To compared their style with our style,


- use more strength and explicit

- all in single form, no linking in 8 series routines


- we do all have pre and post heaven in similar format

After the meeting, Zhang gave me a hanging diagram of all 64 palms, a photo of his family and one of himself bearing the long "moon teeth Spade" on his back.

When you visited Zhang Jun Feng, what other things did you talk about and what impressions did you have of him?

Zhang's eyes opened very big like an eagle, his palms were large and powerful. He sat with his back straight. The first time you saw him, you would feel immediately that he is a Master of the martial arts. During my visit Zhang said:

1. I never met with your teacher in Tianjin.

2. Tell your teacher that I was the boss of a famous fruit distributor 'Ho Kun Chow', he must of heard that.

3. Did your teacher tell you the essential thing of Ba Gua, its the "Cross Tie." He then held my right hand in contact with his right hand making a cross like the letter 'X' and explained the application. All the time he was sitting, like the way Xing Yi master Kwok Yeun Sum (Guo Yun Shen) taught Wang Hsuen Chai (Wang Xiang Zhai). His hand was big and strong. When he grasped my wrist, I felt as if it was an eagle claw that I could hardly escape.

I asked him, "Which palm in 64 do you think are most useful and effective?'" He said, "Well, the Open (Koi), Hide (Chong) and Elude (Sim) etc. Do you know that Master Gao had combat with a Tai Ji teacher? He struck at his stomach. The strike was so strong that the Tai Ji teacher died three days after the fight because of a broken bladder."

Zhang sent me two rhyme manuscripts after I returned to Hong Kong. It was the "Wu Chi Win Yuen Rhyme" and the "Five Word Truth Scripture Rhyme." He mentioned that he kept these manuscripts secretly and would not easily pass them to students. I studied them and raised questions. He did answer me concerning the theories and the twelve animal forms in Ba Gua. The next year, I engraved a stone seal and sent it to him. He replied that he was staying in the hospital and liked the seal very much. He further explained the rhyme again. He died soon afterward.

I returned to Taipei in 1983. I went up to Zhang's home again. I knocked on the door, but no body answered. Meanwhile, a lady came up and seemed as though she was returning from the market. She was Mrs. Zhang. I told her, "I am C.S. Tang." She was very surprised and said, "Are you really CS!" We sat down and talked. I bought along a photocopy of Zhang's book which my friend had taken photocopies of in a sport library in Tokyo and asked whether there were remaining copies. She said when Zhang died, they burnt some of his manuscript as ceremony, including 'Dim Muk Book', 'Chai Mui Stick' and Ba Gua Qi Kuen' etc. She had to search to see if there were more and asked me to come again the next day. I came back again the next day and there were several students waiting there. Mrs. Zhang said there were no more books left, except a manuscript of Xing Yi, did I practise this? She gave it to me as a souvenir.

What differences and similarities did you find between your teacher's Ba Gua and what Tim Cartmell showed you during our visit to Hong Kong?

What would you say is the main difference between your style of Ba Gua and the other styles you have seen? What makes it unique?

1. Historical background:

Gao's style emphasizes that their origin came from 'Guang Hua' Mountain. The founder, Bi Cheng Xia taught Song Yi Ren and Ying Wen Tien, and later Dong Hai Chuan, on that mountain. The inner door students kept a secret scripture stating the history and the essence poem. They kept the story of why Dong left the mountain and said that Dong promised not to speak to others about who had taught him. Interesting enough, Ying Wen Tien became a monk when he taught Han Mu Xia. This information also acts as important confirmation between indoor students of the same school so that they can identify themselves with each other as a direct and indoor student. This is a tradition in ancient martial arts society.

I had met some students of Zhang's after I had visited with him. Tim's work is quite similar, except Zhang's earlier stage students practiced with more strength instead of in a relaxed way. As I was told, Zhang taught entirely two different forms but with the same 64 names in two different stages. His first stage teaching was very similar with Ho's style. While his later stage teaching was entirely a copy of Wu Meng Xia's techniques.

2. Scripture:

Gao's system inheritors claimed that they maintained a written book from Bi Cheng Xia and Dong Hai Chuan.

3. System:

The Gao system is well organized and linked closely with the Yi Ching. Therefore it has a clear and detailed method divided into two sections:

When Liu Shu Hang visited you in Hong Kong, did you compare your Ba Gua systems? If so, what similarities and differences did you note?


Names are nearly the same for 64 & 8 palms, and the movements are very similar.


The big difference is that their attack posture is in an empty stance (ie. weight on rear leg) instead of a front bow step. I never think of a Ba Gua attack as being similar or exactly like Xing Yi. But their attack stance was similar to that of Xing Yi.

We had dinner with Liu. A student of Zhang's school had just landed from Taipei. I invited him to this dinner as well and we three compared forms. Its was so amazing that we have quite a lot of similarities. It was a gathering of Gao's family.

Zhang Jun Feng gave this picture of himself to C.S. Tang when Tang visited Taiwan in 1973.

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