The information in this article was obtained during interviews with Chang Chun-Feng's wife Hsu Pao-Mei in September, 1992, Chang's students Hung I-Mien and Hung I-Hsiang (September 1992 and March 1993), and a feature article on Chang Chun-Feng written in the 35th issue of Li Yu Mei Magazine. Special thanks to Bill Tucker for translating the interviews and the magazine article.
The farther the transmission of an art form travels in both distance and time from its origin, the greater the probability of that art form undergoing change. The change could be for the better, for the worse, or a combination of both, however; it does change. The more hands the transmission passes through, the more likely it is to change. If those hands happen to be from different cultures, belief systems, social structures and/or physical environments, the changes will most likely be greater. While there will always be special cases, it is safe to say that a fourth generation practitioner teaching Ch'eng T'ing-Hua's Pa Kua Chang today in Beijing will transmit a system which is closer to the original than a sixth or seventh generation American practitioner teaching in New Jersey. If we accept this to be true and we look at the various Pa Kua Chang systems as they spread from Northern China to other parts of the world, it is probably safe to say that of all of the different recognizable "styles" of Pa Kua Chang, the system taught by Kao I-Sheng has remained intact as a complete "system" more than most of the others.
In order to understand why Kao's system of Pa Kua has remained relatively pure, one only need investigate the time and place Kao taught and the activities of his students. The majority of different Pa Kua Chang systems taught today outside of mainland China can be traced to a number of second and third generation practitioners in Tung Hai-Ch'uan's lineage, namely: Yin Fu, Ch'eng T'ing-Hua, Liang Chen-P'u, Chang Chao-Tung, Li Tsun-I, Fu Chen-Sung, Sun Lu-T'ang and Kao I-Sheng. This list is certainly not all inclusive and a number of these systems, like Kao's, are really sub-systems of Ch'eng T'ing-Hua's Pa Kua Chang. With the exception of Fu Chen-Sung, Kao I-Sheng was the only one of these practitioners whose life extended past 1938. Kao was still actively teaching during the Japanese War and was still alive after the change of government in 1949. During this period of time, many people fled Northern China for other parts of China and other parts of the world. Therefore, Kao was the only one of the above mentioned practitioners who studied and taught his Pa Kua Chang system close to its place of origin in Northern China and subsequently had a relatively large number of direct disciples leave Northern China and teach abroad. With his direct disciples taking his teaching to other parts of the world, it would make sense that his teaching system would have remained intact as it left China. During the late 40's, 50's and 60's Kao's teaching spread to Chongqing (in Sichuan Province) with Wu Meng-Hsia and Li Chuang-Fei, to Hong Kong with He K'o-Ts'ai, to the United States with Yu I-Hsien, and to Taiwan with
Chang Chun-Feng (1902-1974)
In the Pa Kua Chang Newsletter Vol. 2, No. 3, we discussed Kao's Pa Kua as it was taught by He K'o-Ts'ai in Hong Kong and Yu I-Hsien in the United States. This issue will focus on the Pa Kua Chang of Kao I-Sheng as taught by Chang Chun-Feng in Taiwan.
Chang Chun-Feng's Training in Tianjin
Chang Chun-Feng was born around 19022 in Shantung Province, Tsou Ping County, Ting Chia Township. At the age of nine he moved to Tianjin to apprentice in the fruit wholesaling business. At the age of 16 Chang became interested in martial arts. It is not known what style of martial art Chang first studied, however, by the time he was 21 he had met and become close with a student of Pa Kua Chang, Wu Meng-Hsia. Wu, who had spent time studying Pa Kua Chang with Han Mu-Hsia and had begun studying with Kao I-Sheng when Kao moved to Tianjin
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