Orgins Baji Quan's orgins are difficult to treace as most information about it is oral, and any reliable written information is very scarce as many were destroyed. But, some writers believe the first reference to the style was in the military treaty, Jixiao Xin Shu, written by famous Ming general, Qi Jiguang. Qi gives a list of martial art styles that existed during his time, and writes the sentence: "The spear method of the Yang family and the Staff of PaziQuan are both famous now.". Some author report that in the CangZhou region, Baji Quan was called by Pazi Quan or Bazi Quan. Pazi Quan may be a deformation of Baji Quan, or Pazi (which translates into rake) and may mean the shape of the loosely open fist that is used in the style. Because of this many people believe that Qi Jiguang reference to Pazi Quan indicated that the style existed during the sixteenth century but, beside the similiarites between the words, Baji Quan and Pazi Quan, there is no indication by Qi Jiguang that the two are identical to each other.
The first recorded teacher of Baji Quan was Wu Zhong, who was taught two monks named Lai and Pai, though no specific information about them has been found. After the cultural revolution, the pratice of martial arts came back along with Baji Quan in the 80's, and there was a large wave of publications about Baji Quan in the mid 80's. Many authors attempted to adress the orgins of Baji Quan and the true names of Lai and Pai but, because of this some authors try to relate Baji Quan's orgins to Song Mountain Temple, or Yuehan Temple, or daoist temples of Wudang Mountain. Authors even tried to related Baji Quan's orgin to famous seventeenth century martial artist, Ding Faxiang.
The birthplace and spreading of Baji QuanEdit
Debates have arisened about the birthplace of Baji Quan but, the problem is that any info about Wu Zhong concerning his lifetime, depends on oral teachings and 1930's martial arts manuals. The family manual of the Hou Zhangke Village is an example of this but, only states his name without any indication of his life. But, info from old manual tells that Wu Zhong had three disciples that represented the third generation of Baji Quan. His Disciples were his only child and daughter, WuRong, and two other Wu family members, Wu Zhong Yu and Wu Ling, all lived in MengCun. These three are responsible for the spreading of Baji Quan into the generations and to villages and cities. All the villages that Baji Quan was significant after the 3rd generation are locations in 15km circle around MengCun. But, strangely there is no recorded Baji Quan activity in Hou Zhangke, the birthplace of Wu Zhong, and the village was isolated, located southeast from MengCun. So it can be reasoned that because of his birthplace's isolated nature, Wu Zhong moved to MengCun to teach, so in actuality MengCun is the birthplace of Baji Quan.
Baji Quan trains the student to fight in close quarters combat. Training their stance and stepping will help them be able to eventually perform quick and continous attacks. Baji Quan's movements are brief, using both short and long body movements that start sharp and conise finishing with an elbow, and the same time keeping the lower body stable.
The stances in Baji Quan are much more lower and wider, when compared to their shaolin counterparts. The four stances in stance training are: Horse, Bow and Arrow, Half Horse, and Empty. The Horse stance's wider stance will allow the practioner to get more momentum for a punch. The Bow and Arrow stance is similiar to its shaolin counterpart though, 60% on the weight is put on the front leg, and back leg issues all the power when shifting from Horse to Bow and Arrow. In Half Horse 60% of the weight is shifted to the back leg, and in Empty stance the majority of the weight is put on the back leg. Intially Stance training is used for distributing weight throughout the body but, later it is used together with hand technique training.
In Baji Quan, stepping is best described as a bear moving with the spirit of the tiger. During this kind of training, the practioner will learn how to change their center of gravity quickly and effectively in order to cover a distance and execute a technique better. Bear Step is slow crouching stepping technique, and body weight in this step should always be on the front leg. The student should keep his back straight and their upper body naturally relaxed. This is the Bear Stance, because as the student sway their hands lightly as they move to look like a bear. The Bear's movement may also be performed diagonally, and the student moves from side to side and maintains their weight distribution and body posture. Tiger Arm requires the student to perform a punch with both hands stretched out and at the same time lunge forward. This technique needs power from the twisting of the hip and stretching of the shoulder. While practicing this technique both arms should be relaxed and slight bent at all times.
The main rule to Baji Quan forms is to keep the body straight and use the spine as an axis. Every form in Baji Quan uses the movement of the shoulders, back, elbows, and pelvis. The form sets are short but are very enriching to the student in their understanding of the combat principles: Da (hit), Shuai (throw arm), Na (grasp, catch), and Tui (push). Every form is built on the following principles:
- Ai (push through)
- Bang (arm lean)
- Beng (collapse)
- Chuo (thrust in)
- Chuankunjing (force of winding round and tie)
- Han (shake)
- Ji (hit,hand quick push)
- Jian (shouldering)
- Kao (lean on)
- Kua (hip twist) for colliding
- Kwa (push using body weight)
- Tu (break through)
- Xi (kneeing)
- Zhou (elbowing)
- Zhuangkaojing (force of pushing and leaning)\
A more traditional form in Baji Quan is Ba Ji Xiao Jia, which, requires the practioner to be stable and firm in their stance and at the same time practice their grappling and striking techniques. Other traditional forms are:
- Liuzhoutou ("6 ends of elbows")
- Jin Gang Ba Shi (gold-steal eight forms) is the basic routine
- Dai Ba Ji(Ba Ji Long form): teaches how to be quick and easily manuever, and the same time using a hard step to increase the power of a move greatly, allowing the student to use their entire body's power for one technique.
- Baji duijie: two-man sparring routine which explains application of some of the techniques
- Liudakai ("6 big openings" or "making 6 holes") - means ding (thrust by elbow or knee), bao (embrace), dan (carry on the pole or yoke), ti (hold, carry), kua (step over) and chan (wind round)
- Badaizhou ("8 big methods"): advanced forms containing the most specialized techniques
- Yingshouquan ("fist of answering hands", contains 48 big blocks and 64 hand methods)
- Gonggong baji ("bajiquan of steel working")
- Baji shuanggui ("2 ruts of bajiquan")
Weapon forms include:
- yezhan dao ("broadsword of night fighting")
- ti liu piaoyao dao ("carring the broadsword of fluttering willow")
- liuhe daqiang ("big spear of six coordinations")
- liuhe huaqiang ("blossom spear of six coordinations")
- lianhuan jian ("continuous sword")
- jiugong chunyan jian ("sword og nine palaces of pure yang")
- danzhi gou ("sole hook")
- baji jian ("sword of baji")
- duizha daliuheqiang ("mutual thrusts by big spears of six coordinations")
- yezhan jiumen shisan daodian ("thrusts of 13 broadswords of 9 gates of night fighting")
There are a total of twenty four hand methods in Baji Quan, each described by a chinese character. Hand methods are both offensive and defensive, and all 24 character put together make up a boxing song or poem. The four character put together form a sentece, six in total, they are:
- Sentence 1: Cover (Pu), Climb (Pa), Lift (Qi), Press (An)
- Sentence 2: Cloud (Yun), Guide (Dai), Hook (Diao), Snatch (Kuo)
- Sentence 3: Intercept (Lan), Swing (Gua), Rise (Ti), Circle (Huan)
- Sentence 4: Plant (Cha), Upward (Liao), Seperate (Fen), Uphold (Peng)
- Sentence 5: Stagger (Die), Extend (Zhan), Upward (Tiao), Slide(Hua)
- Sentence 6: Pierce (Ci), Fan (Shan), Roll (Yao), Penetrate (Chuan)
Pu is used by the practioner to strike the head, chest, and face of their opponent while, Pa is used to defend the chest and abdomen by "raking" down their opponent's arm. The rake hand can first be used to move down the opponents then strike their face with Pu. Qi is used to hold up their chin or strike their neck area, and can be used to strike their face when "raking" the opponent's arm. An is used push the enemy's arm down, and if Qi misses, turn the palm in counter-clockwise direction. An can also be used hit the foe's face of upper chest.
When using Pu push both hands forward and downward, and the same time lowering your body. Pu Mian Zhang (Face Pushing Palm) is an application to Pu, in which one hand pushes the opponent's defending, and the other pushes their face. Another application is Hu Pu (Tiger Jumping Palm), this requires the student to use their forearms to "brush away" their opponent's defending arms then, with both hands, push their chest.
When using Pa both hands should be formed to look like rakes, and they are pulled backwards and downwards, making a climbing motion. Pa can be used to grab an opponent's offensive arm or wrist, and the practioner can also rotate their own forearm to entangle their opponent's. It can also be used to protect the head, using the elbow of one hand, and using the other to protect the chest.
|Low Swooping Arm|
|Upward Palm Strike|
|Circling Arm Strike|
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