Popular Martial Styles of Qigong Training

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There are two categories of Qigong training: martial arts Qigong and Qigong for health, longevity, and spiritual attainment. Within each category there are many styles. The most popular non-martial Qigong methods are the Yi Jin Jing (ft ffi & ) attributed to Da Mo (¿£ ft ) and Ba Duan Jin (Eight Pieces of Brocade, a& ). These are discussed in chapter 2.

The most popular martial arts used for Qigong are Taiji Xingyi

( $ & ), Liu He Ba Fa ( * a ), and Bagua ( a # ). Here we will give only a brief review of the history and theory; you should refer to a book or instructor of each style for deeper study. If you would like to know about Taiji, Xingyi, and Baguazhang, please refer to the books: The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung—Hsing Yi Chuan and Baguazhang, available from YMAA Publication Center.


Taiji means "Grand Ultimate," and refers to the Yin—Yang concept in Chinese philosophy. Quan means "fist," "boxing," or "style." This boxing style is noted for its slow, relaxed movements. The forms are martial movements, but are performed very slowly, so they appear more like dance than like a martial art. Taiji is also know as Shi San Shi (+ 3. or Thirteen Postures, Mian Quan or Soft Sequence, and Changquan or Long Sequence. "Thirteen

Postures" refers to the thirteen principle techniques in Taijiquan that correspond to the eight trigrams combined with the five phases. These techniques are: Wardoff, Rollback, Press (or Squeeze), Push, Pluck, Rend, Elbow, and Bump for the eight trigrams, and Advance, Retreat, Dodge and Beware of the Left, Dodge and Beware of the Right, and Hold the Center for the five phases. "Soft Sequence" refers to the relaxed and gentle way in which the movements are performed. "Long Sequence" refers to the fact that the Taiji barehand sequence takes much longer to perform and contains a greater number of techniques than most other martial styles.

While there is little documentary evidence concerning the origins of Taijiquan, Zhang, San-Feng (illif) is generally credited with creating it at Wudang Mountain (¿(.iJj) during the Song dynasty (960-1280 A.D., £ to ), basing it on the fighting techniques of the snake and crane combined with internal power. Until the mid-nineteenth century, Taijiquan was a closely guarded secret of the Chen family (f* £). At that time Yang, Lu-Shan (1780-1873 A.D.)(# & # ) learned Taiji from Chen, Chang-Xing (Bit & ff ), the grandmaster of that time. Yang went to Beijing and became famous as a martial artist, and passed the system on to his sons, who in turn passed it on to the public. Yang, Lu-Shan's second son, Yang, Ban-Hou (1837-1890 A.D.)( # * ft) taught the style to a number of people, including Wu, Quan-You whose son Wu, Jian-Quan ( k Ht ) (Figure 1-4) modified the style and founded the Wu Style of Taijiquan which is especially popular in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. A grandson of Yang, Lu-Shan, Yang, Cheng-Fu (1883-1935 A.D.)

ift) (Figure 1-5) formed the distinctive characteristics of what is now known as Yang Style Taijiquan fc ■#■).

Concerning Qigong, Taiji has two aspects. One is moving meditation which consists of seventy-two to one hundred and twenty-eight martial forms (depending on the style and manner of counting) which are practiced in slow motion. During practice, the body is relaxed and the Qi generated at the Dan Tian is continuously guided by the will to circulate throughout the whole body. The second aspect is still meditation. Taiji meditation is a form of Daoist meditation, which will be explained in detail in chapter 3. Today the best known Taiji

Emei Shi Zhuang
Figure 1-4. Wu, Jian-Quan Figure 1-5. Yang, Chen-Fu

styles are Chen, Yang, and Wu. Each of these styles has subdivisions which emphasize different postures and applications.

Taijiquan also includes training with the sword, saber, spear, and staff to extend the Qi.


Baguazhang (The Eight Trigrams Palm, a t[ also known as Baguaquan (The Eight Trigrams Fist, has a short history. It was created in Beijing by Dong, Hai-Chuan ( $ # )i\ )(Figures 1-6 and 1-7), a native of Wen An district of Hebei province (>T lb t # ), sometime between 1866 and 1880 A.D. According to several historical records, Dong learned his martial arts on Jiu Hua Mountain ( & # -M ) from Bi, Cheng-Xia ( ^ ft ff J. The style is a combination of the best features of the Shaolin (Buddhist) and Wudang (Daoist) martial arts. Baguazhang emphasizes the application of palm techniques and circular movements. It lays stress on the stability and consolidation of the stances and the flexibility of the waist, which is complimented by the swiftness of the arms and palms. When practicing, the devotee's mind controls the waist, and the waist controls the movement of the body in coordination with circular walking around an imagined center point. The movements of the three levels (low, center, and high) increase the practitioner's coordination, strength, and vigor.

The system includes two sets of palm techniques, Yin and Yang. The highest level of Baguazhang practice is called the Dragon Form. In this form the student moves not only in a circle around an imaginary center, but also rotates, twisting and turning, wheeling and moving vertically in combinations. The circular

Dong Hai Chaun
Figure 1-6. Dong, Hai-Chuan
Baguazhang Moves


movements of Baguazhang are different from the straight line attack of Xingyiquan, but its fast motion and internal power training are the same, although both are different from Taijiquan and Liu He Ba Fa. If you are interested in studying more about Baguazhang, please refer to the book Baguazhang— Emei Baguazhang, available from YMAA Publication Center.


Xingyiquan (ft* £ •$■) (also spelled as Hsing Yi Chuan) consists of a set of fast punching movements. There are five basic punches based on the five basic motions: splitting (Pi, drilling (Zuan, #), expanding (Beng, 5«), exploding (Pao, crossing (Heng, They are performed with the muscles first relaxed and then tensed, and the practitioner usually steps in a straight line while striking. In Chinese, Xing ($) means "shape" and Yi (&) means "mind," so Xingyi means "using the mind to determine the form." Marshal Yue Fei (& (1103-1141 A.D.) is popularly credited with creating Xingyiquan, although there is no documentary evidence to support the claim. It was not until the end of the Ming dynasty (1644 AD., fy 43) that the documented history of Xingyiquan began. A martial artist named Ji, Long-Feng («ft f ) of Shanxi province (^ ® % ) claimed to have obtained a book, Quan Jing (#-&) or Fist Fighting Classic, written by Yue Fei when he visited a hermit on Zhong Nan Mountain (.*?• ii The book describes martial techniques imitating the Dragon (ft), Tiger ), Monkey (*), Horse (%), Water Lizard (*), Chicken (#), Harrier (tt), Swallow (*), Snake (*fc), Chinese Ostrich (.&), Eagle and Bear (A » /&). After studying this book, Ji used his knowledge to develop the art and make a more complete style. In the three hundred years since then, other styles of Xingyiquan have been developed and practiced. Xingyiquan masters were frequently employed as caravan guards beginning in the 19th century.

Today there are at least ten sequences of Xingyiquan popularly practiced: Wu Xing Quan *), Shi Da Xing (+**), Shi Er Xing (+-#), Ba Shi (a A,), Za Shi Chui Shi Er Heng Chui (+ — #«), Chu Ru Dong

(ifcAiW), An Shen Pao (££*&), Jiao Shan Pao and Wu Hua Pao

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