An Introduction to Tang Shou Tao Internal Martial Arts

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Investigating the history of Ba Gua and Xing Yi's instruction in the United States, one will find that during the 1960's and 1970's, when these arts we first being introduced in this country outside of small groups practicing in the Chinese communities, the majority of what was being taught in the United States was being brought back by servicemen, government employees, and various other martial arts enthusiasts who had studied in Taiwan. A large portion of these individuals (starting with Robert W. Smith, whose written work played a very important role in introducing these arts to the American martial arts community) gained knowledge from studying the Tang Shou Tao system of internal Chinese martial arts in Taipei. The majority of these practitioners were either taught by Tang Shou Tao's founder, Hong Yi Xiang - also romanized Hung

I-Hsiang), or his student Xu Hong Ji ffi'MS- - also romanized Hsu Hung-Chi).

One need only look at a list of martial arts instructors, who have taught or are teaching in the United States, who have been influenced by this system of internal martial arts instruction to recognize how many internal martial artists in this country have been exposed to Hong Yi Xiang's system, or that of his teacher Zhang Jun Feng (SMJf'f): Robert Smith, Ken Fish, Kumar Frantzis, Luo De Xiu, Robert Lin-I Yu, Allen Pittman, Mike Bingo, John Price, Vince Black, Tom Bisio, Tim Cartmell, Marc Brinkman, Daniel Reid, James MacNiel, and Mike Patterson, to name just a few. The catalog of written and videotaped material offered by many amongst this group of instructors, not to mention the personal instruction they have given to students over the years, has had a big influence on the way Americans think about the internal martial arts of Xing Yi Quan and Ba Gua Zhang.

As editor of the Pa Kua Chang Journal, I have received numerous letters over the years from subscribers who have wanted me to include more material about Xing Yi Quan and its relationship with Ba Gua. I can think of no better way to discuss this relationship than to address the Tang Shou Tao system and how it was developed and taught. This system contains a very practical, step-by-step, pragmatic approach to learning internal martial arts and developing highly refined levels of skill. Although the system itself was formed and founded by Hong Yi Xiang during the 1950's and 1960's, the roots of using the commonalities of Ba Gua and Xing Yi in practice and application can easily be traced back through Zhang Jun Feng to his teachers, Li Cun Yi fâfe A) and GaoYiSheng(S*,â).

The lineage and method we will be examining in this issue starts with Li Cun Yi (see Pa Kua Chang Journal , Vol. 4, No. 3) and Gao Yi Sheng (see Pa Kua Chang Journal Vol 2, No. 3, Vol. 3, No. 5, and Vol. 4, No. 2). Although Li Cun Yi is primarily known as a Xing Yi man and Gao Yi Sheng is primarily known as a Ba Gua man, both of these gentleman practiced and taught both Xing Yi Quan and Ba Gua Zhang. A close examination of the method and style of both the Ba Gua and Xing Yi taught by these gentleman indicates that their instruction of one art was definitely influenced by the other.

Tang Shou Tao

Hong Yi Xiang's Tang Shou Tao School in Taipei, Taiwan, 1993

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The Lineage of Tang

Tang Shou Tao HsingXing Quan Self Defense

Gao Yi Sheng

1866 - 1951

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