Wu Li Zhi – Xiao Baji
Language: ChineseBājíquán (traditional Chinese: pinyin, Japanese: Hakkyokuken) is a Chinese martial art that features explosive, short-range power and is famous for its elbow strikes.
It originated in Hebei Province in Northern China, but is also well-known in other places today, especially Taiwan.
Its full name is kai men baji quan , which means “open-gate eight-extremities fist”OriginsBaji quan was originally called bazi quan or “rake fist” because the fist, held loosely and slightly open, are used to strike downwards in a rake-like fashion.
The name was considered to be rather crude in its native tongue, so it was changed to baji quan.
The term baji comes from the Daoist classic, the Yijing (I-Ching), and signifies an “extension of all directions”.
In this case, it means “including everything” or “the universe.
“The first recorded baji quan teacher was Wu Zhong (1712–1802).
Famous teachers that promoted the style included Wu Xiufeng and Li Shuwen (1864–1934).
The latter was from Cangzhou, Hebei, and earned himself the nickname “God of Spear Li”.
A Peking opera Wu Shen (martial male character) by training, he was also an expert fighter.
His most famous quote is, “I do not know what it’s like to hit a man twice.
” Li Shuwen’s students included Huo Dian Ge (bodyguard to Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China), Li Chenwu (bodyguard to Mao Zedong), and Liu Yun Qiao (secret agent for the nationalist Kuomintang and instructor of the bodyguards of Chiang Kai Shek).
Baji quan has since acquired a reputation as the “bodyguard style”.
Ma Feng Tu and Ma Yin Tu introduced baji into the Central Guoshu Institute (Nanjing Guoshu Guan) where it is required for all students.
Baji quan shares roots with another Hebei martial art, Piguazhang.
It is said that Wu Zhong, the oldest traceable master in the baji lineage, taught both arts together as an integrated fighting system.
They eventually split apart, only to be recombined by Li Shuwen in the late 18th to early 19th century.
As a testament to the complementary nature of these two styles, there is a proverb that goes: “When pigua is added to baji, gods and demons will all be terrified.
When baji is added to pigua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it.
“Today there are several families of baji quan, including Han, Huo, Ji, Li, Ma, Qiang, Wu and the Wu-Tan branch from master Liu Yunqiao.
There are some differences in the training between the variants, but the core is the same.
The lineage holder of Wu family baji quan in China is Wu Lian Zhi.
Through more than 50 years of training, he collected material and records which were passed down from generation to generation.
FeaturesTactics and strategyBaji fist is known to open the opponent’s arms forcibly (qiang kai men) and mount attacks at high, mid, and low levels of the body (san pan lian ji).
It is most useful in close combat, as it focuses on elbow, knee, shoulder and hip strikes.
When blocking an attack or nearing an opponent, baji quan techniques emphasize striking major points of vulnerability, namely the thorax (trunk of the body), legs and neck.
The “six big ways of opening” (liu da kai) are:Ding: using the fist, elbow or shoulder to push forward and upward.
Bao: putting arms together as if hugging someone.It is usually followed by Pi (splitting).Ti: elevating the knee to hit the thigh of the opponent, or elevating the foot to hit the shin of the opponent, etc.
Dan: using a single move.Kua: using the hip.Chan: entanglement with rotation around the wrist, elbow and shoulderStepping and body methodsFootwork in baji quan has three special features:Zhen Jiao Nian Bu Chuang Bu These striking techniques are related to traditional Chinese medicine, which states that all parts of the body are connected, either physically or spiritually.
FormsThe forms of baji are divided into armed and unarmed routines.
There are 20 fist forms, which include 12 Baji Small Structure Fists, Baji Black Tiger Fist, Baji Dan Zhai, Baji Dan Da/Dui Da, Baji Luohan Gong, and Baji Si Lang Kuan.
There are eight weapons forms, including Liu He Da Qiang (spear), Chun Yang Jian (sword), San Yin Dao (sabre), Xing Zhe Bang (staff), Pudao, and Chun Qiu Da Dao (a long two-handed heavy blade, used by Generals sitting on their horses).
Power generation and expression methodsThe major features of baji include elbow strikes, arm/fist punches, hip checks, and strikes with the shoulder.
All techniques are executed with a short power, developed through training; among Chinese martial artists, baji is famous for its fast movements.
Baji focuses on in-fighting, entering from a longer range with a distinctive charging step (zhen jiao).
The essence of baji quan lies in jin, or power-issuing methods, particularly fa jing (explosive power).
The style contains six types of jin, eight different ways to hit and several principles of power usage.
Most of baji quan’s moves utilize a one-hit push-strike method from very close range.
The bulk of the damage is dealt through the momentary acceleration that travels up from the waist to the limb and further magnified by the charging step known as zhen jiao.
The mechanics of jin are developed through many years of practice and baji quan is known for its strenuous lower-body training and its emphasis on the horse stance.
Its horse stance is higher than that of typical Long Fist styles.
Like other styles, there is also “the arrow-bow stance”, “the one-leg stance”, “the empty stance” (xūbù), “the drop stance” (pūbù), etc.
There are eight different hand poses, in addition to different types of breathing and zhen jiao.
The six Major Characteristic Powers are:Sinking (Xia Chen or Chen Zhui)Thrusting (Chong)Extending (Cheng)Entangling (Chan)Cross (Shi Zi)Inch (Cun)InfluencesBaji focuses on being more direct, culminating in powerful, fast strikes that will render an opponent unable to continue.
Even so, there are some styles that are derived from baji quan’s main principles or concepts on how to hit the opponent:Eight postures (Ba shi)Eight movements method (Ba shi gong)Eight movements method (Ba shi chui)Double Eight Postures (Shuang ba shi)Eight postures of the Buddha Guards (Jingang ba shi)Eight postures of the dragon style (Longxing ba shi)Many of these forms are also based or mixed with Luohan fist, a Shaolin style.
The term ba shi may also refer to baji, but it can also be noted that the term is also used in xingyi quan.
Kai Men Ba Ji Quan Xie Xiao Jia Yi Lu & Shi Zhan Ying YongThis VCD contains demonstration and breakdown of Baji Quan techniques: Small Baji (Xiao Baji), performed by Wu Li Zhi (Wu LianZhi), seventh generation of Kai Men Baji Quan (Open Gate Baji Fist).
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