Baguazhang is one of the three famous Chinese internal martial arts. The other two are Taijiquan and Xingyiquan. Baguazhang is based on the “Eight Trigrams” of the Yijing. It is renowned for its agile and varied footwork and its flexible and graceful body movements. Unlike Taijiquan and Xingyiquan, which use both fist and palm, Baguazhang deals mainly with the use of the palm. The style of Baguazhang taught by Dr. Wu is the Guang Hua Shan Baguazhang.
The lineage of our style of Bagua is as follows. Dr. Wu received private instruction from Sun Xi Kun in 1937 in Nanjing. Sun had been a student of Cheng Ting Hua’s eldest son, Cheng You Lung (Cheng Hai Ting). In 1940, Dr. Wu began studying with his second Bagua teacher, Li Zhuang Fei in Chongqing. Li Zhuang Fei was a student of Gao Yi Sheng and Han Mu Xia. Both them were very famous Baguazhang martial artists in the early 20th century in China. Dr. Wu studied Guang Hua Shan Baguazhang with Li Zhuang Fei from 1941 until 1946.
According to his teacher, this style of Bagua originated from the Guang Hua Shan area of Jiangsi province. The Guang Hua Mountain Bagua consists of basic qi and footwork training, Fuxi (eight circle walking postures), single and double palm changes, Xiantian (eight big body turning), Wu Long Bai Wei (black dragon waves its tail), Houtian (64 fighting palms), and weaponry.
In the practice of Bagua, the emphasis is on the footwork. Footwork training includes circle walking patterns, angular stepping patterns, and linear stepping patterns. These stepping patterns acclimate the individual to the key footwork components of the style. Two fundamental methods of stepping are one for power development and one for speed development. With extensive footwork training, the development of stability, mobility, and endurance can be achieved, establishing a solid foundation of Bagua practice.
Exercises that develop flexibility, leg strength, and power include moving and stationary drills. Circle forms include Fuxi, which is one set of 8 circles that hold static postures while walking the circle. The next group of circle forms are the palm changes of Xiantian.
Solo techniques of Houtian include 64 fighting palms, each with its own characteristic principle of application. Two-person sets teach the individual the importance of proper distancing, angle, timing, power, and speed in applying the techniques. After learning individual and two-man sets, weapons are introduced. To conclude the instruction, a history and lineage is presented along with related philosophy of the Guang Hua Shan Baguazhang.