The Origins of Pa Kua Chang Part

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In the Pa Kua Chang Journal, Volume 3, Number 1, we began a serial article which explores the origins of the art of Pa Kua Chang. In the first installment (Vol. 3, No. 1, p. 14-20), we reported that there are four main theories relating to Pa Kua's origins. These theories are as follows:

1) Tung Hai-Ch'uan developed Pa Kua Chang after learning Yin Yang Pa P'an Chang from Tung Men-Lin. This version of Pa Kua's origin was published in the 1937 text Yin Yang Pa P'an Chang Fa written by Jen Chih-Ch'eng.

2) The Unauthorized History of the Indigo Pavilion (published in 1818) talks about eight direction stepping, Li Kua and Kan Kua as Pa Kua that was popular prior to Tung Hai-Ch'uan (as early as 1813). From the writing in this text, some have deduced that this Pa Kua was the predecessor to the Pa Kua Chang taught by Tung.

3) Tung Hai-Ch'uan learned his art from Pi Ch'eng-Hsia on Chou Hua (Nine Flower) Mountain in An Hui Province. A discussion of this theory would also include any of the various stories about Tung learning from a "Taoist in the mountains."

4) Tung Hai-Ch'uan was the founder of Pa Kua Chang. The individuals who subscribe to this theory believe that Tung spent his youth learning other martial arts, learned a circle walking meditation method from a Taoist, and then combined the two to invent Pa Kua Chang.

In the first part of this article (Vol. 3, No. 1 p. 14-20), we examined the first two theories listed above and concluded that these two theories had no basis in fact. The primary source of this information was taken from the work of Professor K'ang Ko-Wu of Beijing. While working on his master's degree in 1980-81, Professor K'ang wrote his thesis on the "Origins of Pa Kua Chang." When I visited with K'ang in 1991 in Beijing, he gave me a copy of his findings and the translation of his report has formed the foundation of this article.

Professor K'ang's research was extensive and involved close examination of over 650 documents from the Ch'ing Palace history books and over 230 papers written on martial arts. He also examined the situations of 413 teachers in 24 provinces and cities, personally investigating in 16 cities and counties and 9 provinces. K'ang interviewed over 256 people resulting in over 274 documents. Many of the people he interviewed were elderly boxers of the older generation who spoke openly about their martial arts. While conducting his research, K'ang was a motivating force in the effort to restore Tung Hai-Ch'uan's tomb and participated with 371 others in the unearthing and moving of the tomb.

In the first part of this article (Vol. 3, No. 1 p. 14-20) I reported that, although the research conducted by K'ang Ko-Wu was fairly thorough, I thought there were some conclusions he made in his final analysis that I would not have been so quick to make. In his summary, K'ang concluded that it was Tung Hai-Ch'uan who originated Pa Kua Chang. I reported that I thought his reasons for discounting some of the other theories were weak in terms of western scholarly logic.

In October 1992 I had the opportunity to meet with Professor K'ang in Beijing and discuss some of the points I thought were missing from his thesis. During this meeting he provided me with additional information that was not printed in his thesis, particularly pertaining to the Pa Kua Chang of Kao I-Sheng, and answered other questions I had concerning his thesis work and the life of Tung Hai-Ch'uan. After several meetings with Professor K'ang, I must say that I have been convinced that his conclusion concerning Pa Kua Chang's origin is valid. In the second part of this article (Vol. 3, No. 2 p. 14-22) we explored theory number three above. We explored this theory in some detail and did not find any supporting evidence for this theory. In this issue we will conclude this serial article by examining the fourth theory of Pa Kua Chang's origin.

Was Tung Hai-Ch'uan the Originator of Pa Kua Chang?

To say that Professor K'ang Ko-Wu has been thorough in his investigation of the origins of Pa Kua Chang is an understatement. K'ang, who will turn 45 this year, has been a martial arts enthusiast since the age of eight when he started studying E Mei style martial arts in

Professor K'ang Ko-Wu wrote his master's degree thesis on the origins of Pa Kua Chang

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After leaving his home in Hebei, Tung was said to have traveled to Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, and to the Ta Pa mountian area somewhere along the border of Shaanxi and Sichuan his native Yunnan Province. In 1964, at the age of 16, K'ang began studying Pa Kua Chang with the famous teacher Sha Kuo-Cheng. When K'ang was still young and studying with Sha in Kunming, Yunnan Province, he sat for hours and copied all of his teacher's books by hand. Almost thirty years have passed since that time and K'ang still maintains the same interest and intensity. He has literally reviewed thousands of documents on Chinese martial arts, most of which are inaccessible to the public. He has interviewed hundreds of martial artists and traveled to dozens of cities all over China conducting research for the Chinese government. He has authored or edited numerous books on Chinese martial arts in the ten years since he received his masters degree in Chinese martial arts history. Aside from his thesis on the origins of Pa Kua Chang, his most notable works include a dictionary of Chinese martial arts which outlines the characteristics of hundreds of different Chinese martial arts styles, and a book on the history of Cha Ch'uan for which he won an award. Presently he is completing an extensive work on the history of Chinese martial arts.

In 1973 K'ang Ko-Wu passed the entrance exam and was admitted to the Beijing Sports Academy as a Chinese Martial Arts major. In 1974 he toured the United States, Hong Kong, and Mexico as the captain of a Chinese martial arts demonstration team. He states that this was pre-contemporary Wushu, what his team demonstrated was traditional martial arts. In 1976 he went back to Yunnan to coach the Yunnan martial arts team. In 1978 he was accepted as a graduate student of martial arts history at Beijing College. For two years (1980-81) K'ang intensely researched the origins of Pa Kua Chang in order to prepare his master's degree thesis. He spent weeks with members of Tung Hai-Ch'uan's family, visited every mountain top Tung was reported to have crossed, read every martial arts book in every library in Beijing and even dug up Tung Hai-Ch'uan's body and meticulously measured and weighed each and every bone. The man even kept one of Tung Hai-Ch'uan's teeth as a souvenir. The result of his life long study and research concerning Pa Kua Chang's origins boils down to this: Tung Hai-Ch'uan was the sole originator of the Pa Kua Chang system.

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Martial Arts An Introduction

Martial Arts An Introduction

Anytime an individual decides to learn how to protect themselves, learn self defense, or become a better person, one thing comes to mind - Martial Arts. Martial Arts are now being practiced all over the world.

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