Variant curricula

Most martial artists at the turn of the century had little if any education. On the whole most pugilists, and this includes those practicing Ba Gua, were illiterate common laborers who were not interested in the deeper meanings of yogic practice. Typically they studied martial arts to acquire employable skills with the aim of becoming a bodyguard. Those who did bring deeper thought to bear on their martial arts, particularly in Beijing and Tien Jin, wrere a relatively small number of literate martial artists in the cultural centers of northern China during the late 1800s and the early 1900s. This small number of researchers, including Liu Bin (see page xvii) and Sun Lu-Tang (see pages 18-19), were going to impact the arts in significant ways. It is interesting to look at parallel development occurring in T'ai Chi Ch'uan during the same period. Douglas Wile has made an extensive examination of the historicity of the Yang style. In discussing Ch'en Hsin's writings made between 1908 and 1919 he called it "the only work comparable in the scope and detail of its medical, metaphysical, and medita-tional content." Wile's analysis includes an extensive discussion on the possible nexus that produced the T'ai Chi "Forty Chapters" mix of martial arts, medicine and meditation which has become synonymous with internal martial arts.44 "In the case of Ba Gua as in select T'ai Chi and Hsing I circles, a genre of martial-intellectuals emerged who sought to merge their art with ultimate principles of health and life. They developed ideas that supported a grand philosophy congruent with their martial art merging with Taoist yogic practices.

Drawing of a Taoist yogi taken from an ancient text.

nei chia

HL/v chen ren

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