The Great Master Of Pa Kua School

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No one could relate the exact history of this mysterious man, He only came into prominence when he was an eunuch in the palace of the Ching Emperor. Prior to that he was relatively unknown.

On one occasion, the Emperor entertained his guests to a great feast. The palatial grounds were crowded with people at that time and entrance and exit was a herculean task. Tung Hai-chuan however could maneuver himself in and out of the palace grounds with comparative ease. The Emperor was much surprised by Tung's agility and questioned him. It was then that Tung first revealed himself to be a Master of Pa Kua Chang. He was then obliged to give a display of his skill. His performance was so unique and so impressed the Emperor that he was at once made the pugilistic teacher of the palace guards. After this, Tung's fame spread far and wide. Tung only had a few students, as few could reach him in the closely-guarded palace. It was only after his retirement when he lived outside the palace that he gained more followers.

Among them were many pugilists of great repute.

Many anecdotes were given of Tung's ability. One day, Tung was meditating in a sitting posture beside a wall. In the same room were his students. Suddenly, the wall collapsed and the students who were sitting at a distance were so frozen with fright that they could only gape and stare at the site of the accident. To their amazement, Tung was unharmed, for on looking around they found Tung sitting quietly in a chair in another corner of the room.

Another incident occurred on a cold winter day. Tung was asleep on a couch. A student wanted to cover him with a blanket. But, no sooner had he placed the blanket on the teacher, than the latter suddenly disappeared. Looking around, the student was amazed to see the teacher sitting in another corner of the room.

Master Tung seldom discussed the origin of the art with his pupils. Only after a visit paid him by Tsung Wei-i ) did he say that Tsung's teacher and his teacher were fellow students. As Tsung was a master swordsman, it was surmised by Tung's pupils that there is possibly a historical connection between the two schools (note 1). In fact it was learned from a reliable source that Tung in reality, was formerly a notorious bandit and was wanted by the law. He then became a monk to go into hiding but was later expelled from the monastery for intemperance.

Tung Hai Chuan

Tung Hai-chuan could maneuver himself in and out of the palace grounds with comparative ease.

As a last resort, he ended up as an eunuch in the Emperor's palace.

Tung had many pupils and the most famous were Yin Fu (F'iKa, 1842-191 l)and Ch'eng T'ing-hwa(®g£?|i. ?-1900). Tung died in the sixth year of the Emperor Kwong Hsu (;)££&, 1875-1908) at the age of 84 and was buried a mile away from the East Gate of Peking.

Photos Old Kua Schools
Tung Hai-chuan's tomb MM 'II $


The origin of Pa Kua is still unknown, no one knows who the founder of this school of martial arts was.

Regarding the master from whom Tung learned his arts, there were two different versions.

1. One source claimed that the founder of Pa Kua Chang had two prominent students 'Pi Yueh Hsia' (man without shadow unden the moon) and 'Pi Teng Hsia' (man without shadow under the lamp). Tung acquired his art from 'Pi Teng Hsia' while Tsung Wei-i the famous swordsman learned his skill from 'Pi Yueli Hsia'. In 1949, the writer Lee Ying-arng was learning fencing with Master Kuo Chi-fung ([email protected] fig 26). According to Master Kuo his arts came from Master Tsung Wei-i. However, Master Kuo's fencing and pugilistic arts are quite different from those of Tung Hai - chuan's. In view of this difference, it can be surmised that the validity of this historical version is open to doubt. The following table summarizes this version of the story.

2. Another version came from Master Jen Chi-ch'eng (tE$c3£, fig 27) who wrote a book called Yin Yang Pa Pan Chang (Pa Kua Palm Maneu-vres with Yin and Yang). According to this book jen's teacher Master Lee Chen-Ch'ing's (^Ifiirf) Eight Palm Maneuvres and Tung Hai-chitan's Eight Palm Maneuvres were both learned from Master Tung Meng-lin (It Indeed there were many similarities between Lee's Pa P'an Chang and Tung's Pa Kua Chang. However, there is no concrete proof of master jen's version, Table two outlines what Master Jen believed.

Lee Ying Arng
Kuo Chi-fung Vlil&Iijl (?- 1951 ) Jen Chih-ch'eng if ft .M

Master Yin Fu (1842-1911)

Yin Fu (fig 28) was a native of Ch'i district, Hopeh Province. When he first arrived at Peking, he worked as an apprentice in a cutlery shop. Later, he became a hawker selling hot cakes.

Yin was particularly fond of the martial arts. He had heard of Tung Hai-chuan's reputation and longed very much to study under the master. He therefore set out to sell cakes day after day in front of the palace gates. By this means, he ultimately contacted the master who rewarded his sincerity and persistence by accepting him as a pupil. Yin began to practise his newly learned art with untiring energy and soon came to master whatever his teacher could impart.

Yin Fu (1842-1911)

Although Yin was thin, earning the nickname 'skinny', his outward appearance belied his true worth. In 1900, he was responsible for escorting the Empress Dowager out of Peking when the city was besieged by foreign troops. After this, he became famous and many pupils studied under him.

Yin was the first person to popularize the 'Ox tongue Palm' (fig 29) and the 64 changes of the Pa Kua art.

His most famous pupils were Ma Kuei (M£t), Ts'ui Chen-tung (ti!$gJJ0. Kung Pao-t'ien('gJ5ffl)and his own son, Yin Yu-chang ( fig 30).

Master Yin Fu died in 1911 at the age of 69.

Yin Yu-chang f* EE fft Ox tongue palm ^ § % T&

Master Ch'eng was a native of Ch'eng village of Sun district, Hopeh Province, He opened a spectacle shop in Peking and was popularly known as 'Spectacle Ch'eng. Spectacle Ch'eng was very fond of the martial arts. At first. He studied under various schools of Chinese Boxing for a couple of years/but achieved little progress.

Finally, he was recommended to Master Tung Hai-chuan under whom he studied for a few more years. By persistent practice, he became an expert himself. It was known that many famous fighters had challenged Ch'eng but no one thus far could defeat him.

Ch'eng had an impulsive nature. He was short but strong. In all his fights, he was particularly fond of using the 'Single Pounding Palm' and was always successful in throwing his opponents in a single movement. In contrast to Yin Fu, who popularized the 'Ox tongue palm' ¿MS'iJS, Ch'eng was known for his 'Dragon Claw Palm' (fig.3l). Though both of these men studied under Tung Hai-chuan, the difference in style between them could be attributed to the difference in their nature and their degree of intelligence.

In July 1900, foreign troops entered Peking ransacking the city. Looting, raping and other acts of barbarism were everywhere to be seen. Master Ch'eng was so angered by these atrocities that he resolved to take vengeance on the foreign troops. At the sight of a dozen or so soldiers, he set forth to meet them with only two daggers. His pupils tried to stop his folly, but to no avail. It was learned later that Ch'eng single-handedly killed ten or more soldiers, but in the ensuing struggle, he died of multiple bullet wounds.

His most famous pupil was Sun Lu-t'ang

Ch'eng had two sons. The elder, Ch'eng Yu-lung (ig^ffii 1875 -1928) was also a master of Pa Kua Chang. He was responsible for spreading the art in Peking and Tientsin.

Sun Lu-tan g (I860-1932)
Ck'eng Yu-lung Utf H (1875-1928)

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