Longstryke Bagua Zhang
- Self defense, exercise, energy building, and meditation.
The Art of Bagua Zhang was developed during the mid-1800’s by Dong Hai Chuan. However, the circle walking practice which he used for his art was developed by Daoists centuries before. Little is actually know about Dong Hai Chuan’s life. He was born in 1813 in the Hun Dong County of Shanxi Province, China. It’s assumed, based on the threats of the time, and his families history, that he did study martial arts while growing up. In 1853, due to a problem with another clan, he left his home and began to travel. No one knows exactly where all he traveled; somewhere along the way it is known that he became a member of a Daoist order known as Quan Zhen – Complete Truth. This order practiced circle walking they called Zhuan Tian Zun – Rotating in the Worship of Heaven (not our Western idea of Heaven, but rather the idea of walking under The Greatness).
“Training martial arts ceaselessly is inferior to walking the circle.”- Dong Hai Chuan
In 1870, Dong appeared in Bejing, the capital of China. Bejing, like us, had their mixed martial arts competitions. A winner of these competitions would become famous, and have many students. The competition was fierce, yet Dong won all challengers. after this, he taught many students, each to their abilities, until his death in 1882. As it so filled a need, Bagua Zhang spread far and wide. Outside major cities, China was considered to be lawless; this was China’s “Wild West” time. Roving bands of marauders were common. Every town, village, merchant, and wealthy homeowner had to hire their own protection to guard against this continual threat. With Bagua Zhang’s emphasis on mobility, footwork, dealing with multiple opponents, and staying upright, it was ideally suited for the hired guardians of this time. And, as it was based on concepts, it could be adapted to any martial art the guardian may already know; it was open to any/all other forms of martial study. Due to this openness, there are well over 150 styles of Bagua Zhang in the world today, and more every year.
1) Pak Kua Chang Journal Editor Dan Miller. Magazine series from the early 1990's. Available on DVD at pakuachangjournal.com. Excellent source of information about Pak Kua (Bagua Zhang)
2) Baguazhang - Emei Baguazhang by Master Liang Shou-Yu 1994
3) Bagua Linked Palms by Wang Shujin, translated by Kent Howard 2009
4) Bagua and Taichi by Bruce Frantzis 2010
5) Learning Bagua Zhang by Ted Mancuso 2012