Internal Kung Fu was traditionally used to increase internal strength and health. In regards to martial arts, internal strength is often regarded as the 'upper hand' against opponents who might otherwise have developed external physical strength and little internal power. Today the numerous health benefits of Internal Kung Fu are widely recognised and researched. The major styles of Internal Kung Fu include XingYi Quan, Bagua Zhang, and the now very popular Tai Chi (Taijiquan).
There is not a black & white distinction between Internal and External styles of KungFu. The experienced practitioner realises that within Internal styles, there is a degree of external; and within External styles, there is a degree of internal - both overlap and exist as the extremities of one system, just like Yin & Yang.
Internal Kung Fu Training Program
In martial arts, it is important to establish a solid foundation so that more advanced skills can be achieved. As such, our training program is designed to deliver just that. Beginners start by learning XingYi Quan and Bagua Zhang 24 Palms to establish a solid foundation in stances, movements, co-ordination, flexibility and understanding how to generate explosive power. Once the foundation is achieved, students can progress to learn other internal or external styles of interest such as Baji Quan, Praying Mantis, Bagua Swimming Dragon and Deer Horn Sword.
About XingYi Quan
Mind and Form Boxing, Xing Yi Quan is an ancient art of fighting that tunes the mind and body to a finely honed degree. Along with Tai Chi and Ba Gua, together the three form the "Wu Tang" or internal system which is most concerned with the cultivation of chi, as opposed to the "external" or Shaolin styles of Wu Shu. The Xing Yi system was derived from the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire and earth) and the movements of twelve animals (dragon, horse, tiger, eagle, bear, snake, swallow, rooster, monkey, fighting chicken, tortoise, and sparrow-hawk) together with their spiritual characteristics. The devastating power of mind and body co-ordination combine to form a powerful fighting style and method of self-defense.
According to historical records, the creator of Xingyi Quan was Ji Jike (1602 - 1682) from the Zuncun village in ShanxiProvince. A resident of the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, Ji Jike was also known as Ji Longfeng. On his trip to the Southern Shaolin Temple, he passed through Luoyang in the Henan Province and Qiupu in Anhui Province, Ji Jikepassed his art on to Zeng Jiwu. During the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, Xingyi Quan was spread inHenan, Hebei and Shanxi provinces. Ma Xueli, a Luoyang resident, Dai Longbang of Qixian, Shanxi Province and LiLuoneng, Dai's disciple from Hebei, all contributed to the dissemination and development of the boxing art. Over the centuries, this school of boxing is now practiced in different styles. The Shanxi style is compact, delicate and yet forceful while the Henan style is powerful, vigorous and substantial.
The Hebei style stresses steadiness, sturdiness and comfort. As regards to routines in fist fights, a similarity is seen between the Shanxi style and the Hebei style, both using three postures of the body, five major movements (splitting, drilling, smashing, pounding and crossing) each corresponding to the five elements and twelve animal forms stated above. The Henan style mainly imitates 10 animal forms (dragon, tiger, chicken, eagle, snake, horse, cat, monkey, hawk and swallow).
Xing Yi Quan Course of Study
• 5 Elements Matching Form
• Anshen Pao Match Pole
• Xing-Yi Stick
• Wudang Sword
• 16 Combination Xing-Yi, Ba Gua and Tai Chi Matching Form
Thanks to Andrea Falk www.thewushucentre.ca who provided us with pictures of Grand Master Zhang Tong.
Andrea lives in Canada graduated from the Beijing Institute of Sport, studied in China for many years and now is 'Handing on the tradition of martial arts from China'.
About Bagua Zhang
Bagua Zhang Origins:
The original name of Bagua Zhang was Zhuan Zhang, which means "Turning Palms". Based on the "I Ching", Ba Gua is one of the most exotic and misunderstood of the Chinese Martial Arts. It has its own mythology, and novel training methods. With emphasis in circular evasion methods and powerful palm strikes, it is one of the most effective of the martial arts. Origins of Ba Gua are shrouded in mystery. Most believe that Dong Hai Chuan was the creator of this internal martial arts Dong Hai Chuan
Benefits of Practising Bagua Zhang:
• To extend muscle and expand bones
• To increase the flexibility of the joints
• To increase the tone of internal muscle
• To increase the strength of four limbs
• To fully fill the entire body with Qi
Learning & Practising Bagua Zhang:
San Cai San Shi San Pan Zhang (24-palm change) Three given gifts, three patterns of posture, three heights of posture palm. The "Fundamental 24 palm change of Bagua" is the basis for training stability, flexibility, change and is the foundation for Mud Stepping.
Bagua Zhang Areas of Study
- Long Xing Bagua Zhang (Dragon shape)
- Swimming Dragon Bagua Zhang
- Bagua Dao (Bagua Broad Sword)
- Emei Bagua Jian (Emei Bagua Straight Sword)
- Bagua Zhang Dui Lian (Bagua Matching Training)
- Chinese Fast Wrestling
- Free Hands Sparing
Health Benefits ‘Ba Gua Zhang, the Kung Fu of the 21st Century.' The value of Ba Gua Zhang can be seen from this adage. Many books have been published about the martial power of Ba Gua Zhang practice. As one of the most powerful internal styles, Ba Gua Zhang training will give you remarkable inner strength while improving your health and level of fitness.
History of Bagua
Dong Hai Chuan
A common myth has it that Dong Hai Chuan founded Ba Gua in the early 1800's, though Ba Gua historians have several conflicting versions. The most popular has Dong learning martial arts as a young boy. Ba Guamaster and historian Kang Gewu has it that another art with a similar name Ba Fan Chuan was studied by Dong with his relative Dong Hsien-Chou.
Kang believes Dong then studied with the Daoist Chuan Chen (Complete Truth) Sect that was part of the Long Men Dragon Gate school of Daoism. Many Daoist meditation methods were based on walking the Tai Chi (Ying/Yang) diagram and Wuchi circle. The Daoists used and exercise based on walking the circle called "zhuan tian zan" (rotating the praise of heaven). Ba Gua is classified as an "Internal Martial Art". It is called an internal art, not because of any mystical internal power, but because internal refers to similar systems developed in China and based on Daoist concepts. The concept of internal arts is said to have been popularized by the writings of Sun Lu-Tang in the early 1900's. In 1894, several famous Tai Chi, Ba Gua andXing Yi Chuan masters formed an Association. Cheng Ting-hua of Ba Gua, Liu De Kuan of Tai Chi and LiCun Yi and Liu Wei Xiang of Xing Yi called their family of arts "nei jia chuan".
"Walking the Circle" is the foundation of Ba Gua Zhang training and most likely is because of Dong's training with the Daoists in Daoist methods, combined with Tai Chi philosophy and old-folk martial arts. The monks encouraged Dong to take the art and expand the system into what he later taught the public. Regardless of which origin is true, clearly Dong is the first known person to teach Ba Gua to the public.
Li Cun Yi
Li Cun Yi was born in 1847 in Hebei province, Shen county.He was from a poor family, becoming a cart driver as a young boy and later opening his own bodyguard service which protected caravan's from bandits.
Li was one of Liu Qi Lan's four most famous Xingyi students. He was also the first high-level Xingyiquanpractitioner to study Baguazhang, learning the art directly from creator Dong Hai Chuan. He is also a friend of Cheng Ting Hua who was also a top student of Dong Hai Chuan. Li, also known as Jeweler Li and Single Saber Li for his expertise with the broadsword, fought in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, killing many American and English foreigners. After the boxers lost the war, Li was forced to flee Beijing because the foreigners put a price on his head. This also caused many corrupt Chinese martial artists to try and hunt him down. He went to Taigu, where famous Xingyi teacher Che Yi Zhai helped hide him and sent his student Li Fu Zhen to act as a bodyguard. Li Fu Zhen killed went and killed them all.
Li Cun Yi believed that up until the time of famous Xingyi master Guo Yun Shen, no practitioners used a double weighted or 50/50 stance in Xingyi - that it was used to make the forms easier to practice. Li died in 1922 at the age of 86.
Huang Bo Nian
The following is by no means complete or justifies the lifetime Master Huang Bo-Nian spent training in Martial Arts. As time goes by more and more information is presenting itself to me, as this happens I become more aware and appreciative of the lineage that I am linked to and what responsibilities that comes with it.
Huang Bo-Nian (1870 - 1954), known as "Huang Fast Hands" famous Baguazhang and Xingyiquan expert, he was a teacher at the Nanjing Central Martial Arts Academy, one of the forms Master Huang learnt was Dragon Form Eight Diagram Palm, which he learnt from his teacher Li Cun Yi. Li Cun Yi inherited another style called Ch'uan Shi Pa Kua Chang, from the creator of Ba Gua Zhang (Dong Hai-Ch'uan).
Master Li had passed this onto Master Huang who continued to pass this knowledge onto his student Master Zhang Tong and thus Master Shao Zhao Ming. After Huang mastered the form he then refined it with the help of three other 1st generation masters from the Nanjing Academy. Together they created a new, extraordinary all-combative-skill called Ch'uan Shi Ba Gua Zhang (Complete System Eight Direction Palm).
Chen Pan Ling
Chen Pan Ling (aka Chen Jun Feng) was a well-known martial artist, educator, hydrolic engineer and national assembly member of the Chinese nationalist government. Born in Henan province in 1892 , Chen began his study of shaolin boxing with his father at age seven. Later, Chen was fortunate to be taught internal martial arts by several of the leading masters of his day. He studied taijiquan with Yang Shaohou, WuJianquan, Ji Zixiu and Xu Yusheng, xingyiquan with Li Cunyi and Liu Caichen, and baguazhang with ChengHaiting and Dong Lianji. In 1938-39 Chen spent more than a year in Chen Family Village researching Chen style taijiquan. Chen also founded the Henan Provincial Martial Arts Academy and was one of the main coaches for the Chinese martial arts demonstration team sent to the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. He was also vice-principal of the Central Martial Arts Academy and in charge of compiling teaching materials on Chinese martial arts.
"The foundation training takes at least three years. Routine (as in forms) training is the basis of all techniques. They have to be practiced skillfully and instinctively, then the essence of the art may be grasped. The high level is combat training and this will test your abilities". - Grand Master Zhang Tong
Grand Master Zhang Tong was born in 1917 in Kaifeng in Henan province.He was a renowned martial artist, a senior coach and a national level competition judge. He had held positions of Committee Member of the National Wushu Association, Vice President of the Shaanxi Provincial Wushu Association, Vice President come Secretary General of the Xian Wushu Association, Founding Member of the Shaanxi Provincial Physical Education Organisation. Grand Master Zhang Tong has devoted his entire life to the promotion of martial arts. He is held in high regards by the martial arts community.