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Eight Great Students of Dong Hai Chang
Seventy-two names was recorded at the grave of Dong Hai Chang (Tung Hai-Chuan). Among them was famous practioners and teachers that went on to found their own style and training methods. In the Martial arts world, it is generally recognized that Dong has eight great students each with exceptional abilities. They are:
 

 

Yin Fu (1842–1909)

Yin Fu was also known as Te An Shou P'eng and "Shou Yin" ("Little Yin") because of his size. He was born in Zhang Huai Village, Qi district, Jixian county, Hebei province. His father, Yin Lao Shan was a farmer. When he was young, he might have studied the following styles: Mei Hua Quan (Plum Flower Boxing), Lian Huan Tui (Chain Kicking) and / or She Xin Quan (Snake Tongue Boxing). A series of natural disasters (drought followed by floods) drove him out of his home village and he moved to Beijing. He eventually moved to Beijing and worked as an apprentice in a cutlery (scissors) shop. A short time later he gave up the scissor business and began selling pancakes and "fried-dough twists." In his early years in Beijing he picked up the nick name "Fried Dough Twist" Yin. Since he was tall and slim, people also called him 'Thin" Yin.

There are several versions of the story concerning Yin Fu's introduction to Dong Hai Chuan. In the first version, Yin Fu did not know any martial arts. Yang Kun, a third generation Yin style practioner, tells how Yin was extremely diligent about his job. He would arrive very early at the baker's, pick up the first batch of baked and fried goods and then quickly run out to sell them, thus getting a jump on his competition. It is said that Dong took an early morning walk every day and frequently witnessed the young man frantically making his morning rounds near Prince Su's palace. On one morning Yin Fu was robbed while making his rounds. Determined that he would not let this happen again, Yin began to practice martial arts on his own in the woods. Tung saw him practicing one day and was highly impressed with Yin's determination and drive. He approached Yin and asked if Yin would like to study martial arts.

Yet another version of the story, as told by Xie Pei Qi, states when Yin Fu came to Beijing he was already skilled at "Snake's Tongue" Boxing (She Xin Quan), which he had practiced since childhood. Shortly after he arrived in Beijing he heard of Tung Hai Chuan's reputation and went to the palace to challenge him. When Yin met Tung and initiated the challenge, Tung was holding a tobacco pouch in his left hand. Tung stretched out his right hand with the palm facing up (yang palm) and said, "You start first." Yin squared off with Tung and extended his hand in attack. As soon as Yin's hand met Tung's arm, Tung turned his palm over and pressed on Yin's arm. Yin Fu moved to block up and when he did Tung speared straight in and struck him in the mouth with his fingertips, knocking out his two front teeth. Tung never dropped the tobacco pouch. Realizing that he had been outclassed, Yin knelt and asked Tung to be his teacher. Tung refused. Yin said, "If you do not take me as your student, I will kneel here and die in front of you." Prince Su was passing by and observed what was happening. He noticed that Yin was very thin and had a "unique look." The prince told Tung to please accept this young man as his disciple. He said, "I will be the one to make the introduction between teacher and student." At this, Tung accepted as his disciple.

The last version, often found in Chinese marital art books, tells that Yin was experienced in the arts of Mei Hua Quan and Lian Huan Tui before meeting Tung. When he came to Beijing, Yin heard about the great teacher Tung Hai Chuan and was determined to meet him. In an effort to be noticed by Tung, Yin purposely chose his business route near the palace of Prince Su. Yin constantly asked people who worked and lived near the palace about Tung Hai Chuan. Tung received word of this persistent young man and eventually agreed to teach him.

Yin started studying with Dong in the mid 1860’s. Dong first taught Yin Fu Luo Han Quan because this was the style being taught at the palace before training in Bagua. He spent twenty years with Dong. For ten years, he was collecting taxes for the Court in Inner Mongolia. History records that the teacher and student practiced morning, noon, and night, and it was during that time that Yin learned the entire system. He popularized the Tornado Palm and Ox Tongue Palm techniques of the Bagua system. He was Dong’s first and by far his longest serving student.

When Yin Fu became proficient in Bagua, he started a protection and bodyguard agency. His students worked for him, guarding the homes and bodies of the well-to-do and the elite of Beijing. The success of the agency was due to the fact that each and every guard was backed by the reputation of Yin Fu. Each of these guard/students learned Lohan Shaolin, Pao Chui and Kung Li before learning Pa Kua Chang, making each of them effective fighters in their own right. As he became wealthy from his two businesses, Yin Fu began to send food and clothing back to his home village every month. [1]

In 1900, during the evacuation of the capital due to the Boxer's Rebellion, he was appointed the head bodyguard of the Empress Dowager and the Guang Xu emperor. After government returned to Beijing, Yin continued in the employ as head of the royal guard. When he retired, he was succeeded in his position by Gong Baotian, one of his more accomplished disciples. He died when he was 70 years old. His two sons later moved to Shandong province.

The style and flavour of Bagua that Yin Fu began to teach became known as Yin Style Bagua.

Students
Cao Zhongsheng, Cui Zhendong,Geng Jishan, Gao Wencheng, Gong Baotian, He Jinkui, Jiu Qingyuan, Li Yong Qing, Liu Yinliang, Lu Zijian, Ma Gui, Men Baozhen (1870-1957), Rong Shi, Wan Tongli, Yang Junfeng,Yin Yuzhang (his son), Zeng Zengqi, Zhang Shouheng .


   

Chen Ting Hua (1848-1900)

Cheng Ting Hua was from Cheng village of Sun district, Hebei Province. He opened a spectacle shop in Beijing and thus earned the nickname "Yanjing Cheng" (Spectacle Cheng). Cheng was very fond of the martial arts and studied many different styles. He was particularly proficient at Chinese Shuai Jiao (wrestling) before studying with Dong Haichuan. He started to train with Dong Haichuan when he was 28 years old. He trained in Bagua for 10 years before reaching a certain level of proficiency.

Cheng was short but strong and was described as having an impulsive nature. It is said that many famous fighters challenged Cheng but no one could defeat him. There are many stories concerning the challenges to Cheng. One story describes the visit "The Divine Crushing Fist", Hsing-I master, Kuo Yun-Shen. Kuo was the famous master of Half-Step Crushing Fist who was undefeated at the time. Kuo had spent time in prison for killing an opponent without first checking his political connections. During his confinement, Kuo practiced his Half-Step Crushing Fist while dragging his ball and chain along. When he was released his primary technique was more powerful than ever. Now he wanted to test his skill against the famous Pa Kua of Dong Hai Chuan, but first he wanted to talk to Cheng, a fellow Hebei resident. Over dinner, Kuo expounded his theory that Half-Step Crushing Fist could defeat everyone under heaven. Cheng begged to differ and suggest that Dong Hai Chuan was not like ordinary men. Kuo tried to demonstrate his hand speed, but found his hand pinned to the table by Cheng's chopsticks. Infuriated, Kuo marched out into Cheng's garden and challenged Cheng to come out and taste the power of his Crushing Fist. As Cheng cleared the door, Kuo exploded at him. Cheng was suddenly behind him. Kuo wheeled and again exploded with crushing fist. Cheng effortlessly circled behind him and calmly went back in the house. He then called for Kuo to come in and finish dinner with him. His rage spent, Kuo complied. As they finished dinner Cheng explained that he didn't want to really fight the famous Kuo Yun Shen, but that if he could avoid two of Kuo's blows, perhaps Kuo shouldn't risk his unbeaten record on Master Tung. It was only because they were all from Hebei province that he didn't want to see anyone's reputation tarnished. Kuo thanked him, rethought his position and returned to Hebei province.

In July 1900, foreign troops entered Beijing. Legends has it that Cheng took the responsiblity for defending the people from the invasion. He tried to defend himself agaisnt a dozen soldiers armed with only two daggers. His pupils tried to stop him, but to no avail. It was later found that Cheng single-handedly killed ten or more soldiers, but he died of multiple bullet wounds. Another story described how Cheng was killed by German Soldiers in 1900 during the boxer rebellion. In this story, Cheng was being work press ganged into a work detail so he pulled a short knife and was shot jumping over a wall in an attempt to escape.

Students
Cheng Yulung (eldest son, 1875-1928), Cheng Youxin (2nd son),Cheng Yougong, Feng Junyi, Gao Kexing, Gao Yi Sheng (1866-1951), Geng Jishan, Guo Tongde, Han Qiying, Hon Mu Xi, Kan Lingfeng, Li Cunyi, Li Hanzhang, Li Wenbiao, Liu Bin, Liu Zhenzong, Qin Cheng, Sun Lu Tang (1861-1932), Liu Dekuan, Yang Mingshan, Zhang Changfa, Zhang Yongde, Zhang Yukui, Zhou Yu Xiang, Zhang Zhao Dong (1859-1940).


Chang Chan Kuei

Chang Chan KueiChang Chan Kuei (1859-1940, Zhang Zhankui), was also known as Chang Chao Tung (Zhang Zhao Dong). He was born in He Chien county in the village of Ho Hung Yan in Hebei Province. He first trained in Mi Tsung Chuang (Lost track style also known as Yen Chen Fist). Later, he studied Hsing Yi with Liu Chi Lan and obtained a very high level of proficiency. In one story, Chang defeated a tax collector trying to exploit the villagers. From his exploits, he gained the reputation of being a straight man and is known as a "people hero". Later on he left the village and found a job catching criminals in Tianjin. It was during this time he first met and studied with Chen Ting Hua. Chen later introduce him to his teacher Dong Hai Chuan and Chang later studied directly with Dong. He trained hard and earned the nickname "Zhaodong" (Little North). At 1911, Li Cunyi, together with Ye Yunbiao, Zhang Zhankui, Ma Fengtu and others, established the "Zhonghua wushi hui" ("Chinese Martial Arts Association") in Tianjin.

On September, 1918, he entered the "Tournament of Powermen from 10.000 countries" with Li Cuiyi, Han Muxia and Li Jianqiu. He easly defeated a Russian competitor, KangTaiEr.

Chang earned his reputation by demonstrating and fighting in matches against foreign opponents on a raised platform (Lei Tai). He is said to have once killed a horse by strangling it with one hand and is also credited with defeating several Japanese fighters and a German strongman. One of his more famous students was Chiang Jung Chiao.

Students
Chiang Jung Chiao, Han Muxia, Jiang Rongqiao, Li Jianqiu, Liu Huhai, Wang Juncheng, Wang Shu Jin (1904-1981), Zhang Daoxin, Zhang Yutin

 


Ma Gui (1857-1941)

Ma Gui (Ma Kuei, 1857 -1941) was from Shandong. He was also known as Ma Shr Ching (Shiqing) and earned the nicknamed "Short Ma" and "Wooden Ma" because of his physique and where he worked. He was also known for his strength. He was able to lift heavy rock by one hand and could execute very strong elbow strike. Thus, he also earned another nickname "Iron elbow". Other favourite techniques for Ma Gui is the wrist. In one story, he used his cutting wrist in the Langong Palace to break the arm of a martial arts teacher and he became the head of the palace's martial arts instructors. Ma Gui was also skilled at Crab Palm, Dian Xue (Pressure-Point Fighting) and practiced the Unicorn style of Bagua. He became famous in the capitol and people called him "Little Kunlun Ma Gui".

He originally worked as a servant before meeting Yin Fu when he was 18 years old. Through Yin Fu, he was introduced to Dong Haichuan. Dong also taught Ma the back the fist system. This falls outside the main structure of Bagua Zhang. When he was 23 (1880), he started a business as a lumber merchant. He set up a studio where Bagua practitioners could exchange skills. At that time Cheng Tinghua's and Liu Fengchun's men were in the capitol and would come to the Lumber shop to practice. Ma Gui was able to train with and learned with them.

After the Revolution of 1911, he worked as teacher in new military school. Since 1928 - consultant of Hebei guoshu institute. Ma Gui loved to fight and challenge and defeated many famous masters. He didn't like to teach and thus he had only a few students.

Students
Cao Zhong Sheng (wrote a book with a chapter on Ma's life in 1932), Fu Zhen Song, Wang Peishang, Xie Peiqi (1920 - )


Ma Wei Chi (1851-1886)

Ma Wei Chi (1851 - 1886) owned a shop in Beijing selling coal and briquettes and he was therefore nicknamed "Mei Ma" or Coal Ma". As a young man he liked to fight. When Dong Haiquan became famous, Ma visited him in order to compare skills. Ma was easily defeated by Dong. Ma then threw himself down in front of Dong's school and begged to be taught. Among the students of the Bagua Zhang school, Ma was known as a person of outstanding talent. However, he had a fiery temper, was arrogant and liked to challenge people to test his skills. He had no respect for others except for his teacher and thus he was no liked within the martial arts circle.

Ma was an expert in Baguazhang, Baguadao, and Bagua Turning Spear. He was famous for his spear technique. Many stories exist describe the adventures of Ma. In one story, the coal-heap-walking caught the attention of an itinerant acrobatic entertainer called Hu San who wondered if Ma was in his right mind. When Ma told him he was practicing kung fu, Hu San laughed with scorn and decided to teach Ma the real meaning of kung fu. They decided to have a trial of strength. Hu tried to come to grips with Ma but couldn't even touch him. Ma simply walked in circles around his opponent, and Hu began to feel dizzy and gradually lost control. Before Hu knew what was happening, Ma had caught hold of Hu's hands and threw him to the ground some three meters away. Hu San got up, acknowledged defeat and expressed his admiration for Baguazhang. [2] According to another story, the Su Wang Palace advertised for martial arts teachers. Ma applied and was ordered him to demonstrate his martial skills. Ma picked up a Big Spear and moved into the prince's practice hall to begin. In the hall were many antiques and precious wall hangings. Ma took his spear in hand and performed flawlessly and did not break anything. Su Wang wanted to give him the appointment but he felt that if this man were to get angry and violent, he couldn't be controlled. He awarded Ma 1000 double silvers, and ordered him to return home. In another story, a famous caravan escort named Zhao Keli from the North East played tribute to Ma. During the meeting, Ma only heaped insults on Zhao. This angered Zhao and he challenged Ma. Ma used a heavy hand to wound Zhao but did not kill him. Those stories illustrates some of the character of the man.

Ma died when he was only 29 years old. One story suggest that he died from complications due to injuries inquired while he was training a jumping technique and hurt his back. In other story, Ma died because of injuries suffered after a competition. He went to Dong for healing, but the poison from the wounds had entered his bones. He couldn't be cured with accupuncture or herbs. Xie Peiqi consider Ma to be one of Dong's best students.

Students
He had only ten students among them are Liu Zipei, Yan Ju-Lin.


   

Liu Feng Chun (1855-1922)

Liu Feng Chun (1855 - 1922) was also known as "Zhuozhou Liu" ("Liu from Zhuozhou") and "cuihua Liu" ("turquoise Liu"). He was born in Zhuozhou, Hebei province. When he was 9 years, he started to study mizongquan and luohan shiba shou. In 1872, he moved to Beijing and began to study baguazhang from Cheng Tinghua. He was later introduced and study with Dong Haichuan. He taught baguazhang at the Beijing Sport institute.

Students
Fu Huaqiu, Li Jianhua, Liu Wenhua, Tiao Chunxiu, Wang Zhongxian, Xu Yusheng, Zhou Yuxiang


   

Liu De Kuan (? - 1911)

Liu De Kuan (?-1911) was originally from Cangzhou, Hebei province. He was interested in the martial arts for most of his life and learned from many famous martial artists of the time. Liu Dekuan's original style was Yueh Style San Shou (also called Yueh Style Eagle Hand or Yueh Style Connected Fists). His teacher in this style was Liu Shijun, Xiong County, Hebei. De Kuan first studied with Shijun's student "Metal spear" Xu Liu and then later he studied with Shijun. Both Xu Liu and Shijun's excel in spear play anf they taught him "big spear of six co-ordinations". Using this big spear, he earned a reputation and the nickname "Daqiang Liu" ("Big spear Liu").

"All the elder teachers got along with Mister Liu Dekuan. In the course of time, all was made clear to him, and he ultimately was enriched. ... He toiled to get pointers from the older generations"
Guo Gumin student of Liang Zhenpo

Liu De Kuan travelled throught out China seeking out new challenges and studied from different masters. In Hubei province he studied six sets of fangtian huaji (drawed pole-axe of square heaven). From the famous bandit, Lu Lin, he studied "18 devil's methods of using hands" and using the secret weapon "half-moon dart". In Beijing, he meet and studied with Chang Ting Hua before being introduced to Dong Haichuan. In addition, his friends such as Li Cunyi and Zhang Zhaodong taught him the fundamentals of Xingyi. He also learn and practice Yang style taijiquan from Xia Guoxun, Yang Luchan's son-in-law .

"Guo Gumin followed Liu Dekuan around, thus searched to get secrets of the Bagua martial arts."
Li Ziming

Liu De Kuan provided many orginal contributions to the martial arts. De Kuan helped Cheng Tinghua to increase the popularity of the Bagua System. Liu De Kuan also contributed to the practice of Bagua. Cheng Style Bagua students train in "the Six Lines of the Halberd" - techniques that are directly attributed to Liu De Kuan. He also share the credit as one of the originator of Bagua Taijiquan - a style that is being practise in Jinan (capital of Shandong Province). [3]

There are many stories describing the skills of Liu DeKuan. In one story, Cheng Tinghua's eldest son,Cheng Haiting, was teaching the art in a field outside the Suiwen Gate on Ximo Street. Famous practitioners from both Yin Style and Cheng Style Bagua often came in their free time to sit and linger. Big Spear Liu, in his old age, suffered form an eye disease. Both of his eyes were not bright. However numerous students still wanted to compare skills with him. They only needed to bring the shaft of their weapon in contact with Liu's spear shaft to try to lift it up. Liu would stick to their spear shaft and advance. The opponent would lose his weapon and be thrown by his strike.


   

Song Chang Rong

Song Chang Rong was one of the first teacher of Gao Yi Sheng. His style of Bagua is extremely rare outside of Beijing.


   

References

[1]The Legend of Yin Fu and Cheng Ting Hwa, Frank Allen & Clarence Lu. [04/2002] - BACK

[2] Baguazhang History and Lineage - Ma Weiqi, Bagua Productions, 1999. [04/2002] - BACK

[3] Origins and Features of Bagua Taijiquan, J.Szymanski, 1999. [04/2002] - BACK

[4] Origins And Characteristics of Fan Family Baguazhang By Wen Dasheng, J.Szymanski, 1999. [04/2002] - BACK

[5] Baguazhang History and Lineage - Liang Zhen Pu, Bagua Productions, 1999. [04/2002] - BACK

 

 

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Last update: 12/13/2003