Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cheng Tinghua

Cheng Tinghua was a renowned master of Chinese Neijia martial art Bagua Zhang.


Born in 1848 in the Cheng family village, Shen County, Hebei Province, he was the third of four brothers.

Cheng had pock marks on his face when he was young and thus he was known as “third son with pock marks” Cheng. Cheng Tinghua was fond of martial arts and in his youth he gained skill at wielding a 90 kg broadsword and a large heavy staff.

''Shuai Chiao'' learning in Beijing

When Cheng was still fairly young, he left his hometown and went to Beijing to apprentice with a gentleman who made eyeglasses. Intent on improving his martial arts skill, Cheng also began to study Chinese wrestling when he arrived in Beijing.

In the late 1800s, two wrestling styles were popular in Beijing, Manchurian/Mongolian wrestling and ''Pao Ting'' “fast style” wrestling. The Pao Ting style was quicker than the Manchurian style. As soon as the opponent came in contact with the wrestler, he would be thrown. There was not any grappling, struggling, or tussling as seen in wrestling. This wrestling also combined punching, kicking, joint locking and point striking with its throwing techniques.

Cheng Tinghua was an avid wrestler and studied both of the popular wrestling styles when he was a young man in Beijing. He practiced hard and made a name for himself as a wrestler. He was not a big name in the martial arts world yet, however, most martial artists in Beijing knew of him and knew he was skilled at ''shuai chiao''.

Learning with Dong Haichuan

By 1870, Dong Haichuan had become very well known in Beijing . When Cheng was approximately 28 years old , he sought out Dong in order to improve his skill. Some say that Cheng had become friends with Yin Fu and Shih Chidong and that they had encouraged him to go and meet Tung.

When the two first met, Dong asked Cheng to use his ''shuai chiao'' against him. Cheng made several attempts at attacking Dong but was never able to even lay a hand on him. Cheng knelt down and asked Tung if he could become a student. At this point in time, Dong had not accepted many Bagua Zhang students. Although Dong had taught many people martial arts in the Prince of Su's palace, it is said that he had only taught Bagua to three people prior to teaching Cheng Tinghua. The large majority of his students in the palace were said to have learned something other than Bagua from Dong.

If those who say Dong's original tombstone had his students listed in the order in which he taught them are correct, then Cheng was indeed Dong's fourth disciple, as his name appears fourth on the list. The first name listed on this stele is Yin Fu, followed by Ma Wei-Chi, Shih Chi-Tung, and then Cheng Tinghua. The year Cheng met Dong was approximately 1876. Tung died in 1882, so at best Cheng studied with Tung for 5 or 6 years.

Dong Haichuan was known to have only accepted Bagua Zhang students who were already skilled in another style of martial art. It is said that after laying a Pa Kua foundation with the circle walk practice, single palm change, double palm change, and smooth changing palm, Tung would teach the student Pa Kua Chang based on what the student already knew. Taking this information to be true, we can assume that Dong would have taught Cheng using Chengs knowledge of ''shuai chiao'' as a base.

Sharing his learning

The Pa Kua styles which most notably display a Xingyi Quan flavor are the styles which were taught by Cheng and his friends Li Tsun-I, Liu Te-Kuan, and Chang Chao-Tung. Although all three of these Hsing-I masters are recorded as being Pa Kua Chang students of Dong Haichuan, there is evidence that suggests Li, Liu, and Chang learned their Bagua from Cheng Tinghua, not from Dong Haichuan.

The link between Xingyi Quan and Bagua was most likely forged when Cheng Tinghua and his friends Li Tsun-I, Chang Chao-Tung, Liu Te-Kuan, and Liu Wai-Hsiang got together to compare styles and learn from each other .

Cheng Tinghua was a very open martial artist who would teach his Bagua to anyone who cared to learn it. He enjoyed meeting other martial artist to compare styles and share the and theories of martial arts. He also enjoyed sharing his Bagua Zhang skill with other martial artists. Cheng is said to have been the person responsible for teaching Liu Te-Kuan, Li Tsun-I, and Chang Chao-Tung their Bagua Zhang, however, since they were very skilled in Xingyi Quan and thus were Cheng's peers, he did not feel right calling them his “students.” Therefore, Cheng said that they should say they learned their Bagua from his teacher, Dong Haichuan.


Cheng Tinghua was killed during the Boxer Rebellion when the “eight foreign armies” invaded Beijing . It turns out that a group of soldiers were forcefully recruiting locals for a work detail near Beijing's Chung Wen gate, were Cheng's shop was located. Cheng was on the street at the time and the Germans stopped him and tried to put him in line with the others. Cheng resisted and wanted to fight, he may have beaten a few soldiers during the struggle, but when he pulled out a short knife, the soldiers drew their guns. Cheng tried to run and leap over a nearby wall. As he was jumping over the wall, he was shot.

Partial list of his students

Cheng Yulung , Cheng Youxin , Cheng Yougong, Feng Junyi, Gao Kexing, Gao Yisheng , Geng Jishan, Guo Tongde, Han Qiying, Hon Mu Xi, Kan Lingfeng, Li Cunyi, Li Hanzhang, Li Wenbiao, Liu Bin, Liu Zhenzong, Qin Cheng, Sun Lu-t'ang , Liu Dekuan, Yang Mingshan, Zhang Changfa, Zhang Yongde, Zhang Yukui, Zhou Yu Xiang, Zhang Zhao Dong .

Chang Chun-Feng

Chang Chun-Feng , or Zhang Junfeng was a well-known who specialized in the of baguazhang, xingyiquan and taijiquan.

Chang Chun-Feng was born around 1902 in Shandong Province. At the age of nine he moved to Tianjin to apprentice in the fruit wholesaling business. At the age of 16, Chang became interested in martial arts. He studied Gao Style Baguazhang with founder Gao Yisheng daily at the sports field located in the English concession in Tianjin. Because Chang was busy working all day, he studied with Gao privately in the early morning and at night. Since he was making good money, he helped support Gao. Gao often taught classes at Chang's home. Because Gao worked with Chang privately, his progress was fast. He improved rapidly and gained a reputation in Tianjin.

Chang studied and later taught martial arts in Tianjin from around 1920 until he left in 1948. During that time, Tianjin was a hotbed of internal martial arts activity. Chang also studied xingyiquan with Li Cunyi but only in name. At this time Li was old and Zhang studied with Li’s son Li Bin Tang. He also studied Hao Wei-chen style taijiquan . In Tianjin Chang also became a follower of I-Kuan Tao .

When Chang was around 36 years old he began teaching in Tianjin and later became the chairman of the Tianjin City Martial Arts Association.

In 1948, with the political situation in Mainland China deteriorating rapidly, Chang moved to Taiwan. Financially, Chang had a difficult time making a living in Taiwan. Fortunately, people started to become interested in his martial arts skills. He practiced martial arts in his spare time near the Round Mountain area in the northern part of Taibei. The arts he was practicing were unlike any that the Taiwanese were accustomed to seeing and he would frequently draw a crowd when he was practicing. Local martial artists began coming around to see what he could do. He easily defeated many who tried to test his skill and thereby began to acquire students.

Chang's first group of core students on Round Mountain included the three Hong brothers: Hong Yixiang , Hong Yiwen and Hong Yimian .

Around 1950, Chang began teaching martial arts full time. He held classes in several locations around Taibei. At this time, he also founded the I Tzung Martial Arts School. When Chang started to teach openly there was a lot of opposition to what he was doing. The mainlanders did not want him teaching these arts to the Taiwanese.

Chang was also good friends with Wang Shujin , another master of internal martial arts who immigrated from mainland China to Taiwan. Wang was also a follower of Zhang's religion, I-Kuan Tao. Wang and Chang practiced and researched baguazhang and xingyiquan together quite often.

In the late 1950's, after performing in a martial arts demonstration at the presidential building, Chang was invited by President Chiang Kai-shek to teach him internal martial arts and qigong. Shortly after Chang began teaching Chiang Kai-Chek, he was also invited to teach the staff at the Presidential Building, at the Air Force headquarters, at the Police Headquarters, at the Central Investigation Bureau, and the Intelligence Bureau. In 1961 he began training officers in the Department of Defense and taught a number of famous Generals.

Chang Junfeng's internal arts training program included xingyiquan, baguazhang, Wu style Taijiquan, qigong and weapons. Generally, Zhang's students were required to start out in xingyiquan before learning baguazhang and then after learning baguazhang they could learn taijiquan. Zhang's student Hong Yixiang later continued this traditional teaching sequence in his own Tang Shou Tao school. According to Hung, if the student starts out in taijiquan it is very difficult to develop and understand internal power. Following his teacher, he suggests that students learn Shaolin kung fu when they are very young, progress to xingyiquan to learn how to develop internal power and then progress to baguazhang and taijiquan to learn how to refine the power.

Chang had an extensive knowledge of bone setting, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese herbs for traumatology. He knew that in the practice of martial arts, injuries were unavoidable and thought that students should have fundamental training in how to heal injuries.

Chang Chun-Feng died on the 16th day of the 5th lunar month in 1974. On the day Chang was buried there were more than 3000 people in attendance, many were high ranking government officials.

Xie Peiqi

Dr. Xie Pieqi was the 4th generation lineage holder of Yin Style Baguazhang. He was succeeded in the art by his student, He Jinbao.


Dr. Xie learned Baguazhang from Men Baozhen, who was a student of Yin Fu. Xie was very young when compared with most of Men's other's students - based on age alone, he would actually be considered Men's grand-disciple. He was fortunate to have lived next door to Men in 1935, when Men decided to take him on as a pupil. At the time, challenges from other martial artists were common, and a master was forced to keep much of their system to themselves, even as they attempted to pass on their martial knowledge. This was not the case with Men and Xie, as Xie viewed Men more like a surrogate father, and Men had nothing to fear from Xie, as he was only a child in comparison.

Dr. Xie's first chosen successor in Yin Style Baguazhang died in the 1980s, thus creating the same type of relationship with his new successor, He Jinbao, as he had had with his own master.

Towards the end of his life, Dr. Xie worked with He Jinbao to document the entire Yin Style Baguazhang system on a series of instructional DVDs, in an effort to ensure the survival of the complete Yin Style system.


Web resources

* [ USA Irving, TX

Sun Lu-t'ang

Sun Lu-t'ang was a renowned master of Chinese Neijia martial arts and was the progenitor of the syncretic art of Sun style Tai Chi Chuan . He was also considered an accomplished Neo-Confucian and Taoist scholar , and was a distinguished contributor to the theory of internal martial arts through his many published works.


When born in 1861 in Hebei province he was named Sun Fuquan by his parents, and was later given the name Sun Lutang by Cheng Tinghua , his baguazhang teacher, years later. . He continued to use his original name in some areas, including the publishing of his books.

He was first noted as an expert in two other styles: and before he came to study T'ai Chi. Sun learned from Hao Wei-chen.

Sun started studying with Hao relatively late in his life, but his accomplishments in the other two internal arts led him to develop his T'ai Chi abilities to a high standard .

He subsequently was invited by Yang Shao-hou, Yang Ch'eng-fu and Wu Chien-ch'üan to join them on the faculty of the Beijing Physical Education Research Institute where they taught T'ai Chi to the public after 1914. Sun taught there until 1928, a seminal period in the development of modern , and Sun style T'ai Chi Ch'uan.


In 1891 he married Zhang Zhouxian, with whom he had three sons and a daughter.
* First son, Sun Xingyi
* Second son, Sun Cunzhou
* Third son, Sun Huanmin
* Daughter, Sun Jianyun


* Xingyiquan from Li Kuiyuan , and later from Guo Yunshen .
* Baguazhang from Cheng Tinghua .
* Wu Yuxiang style Taijiquan from Hao Weizhen .


In later life, he published five martial arts texts:

*''Xingyiquan xue'' 1915
*''Baguaquan xue'' 1916
*''Taijiquan xue'' 1921
*''Baguajian xue'' 1927
*''Quanyi Shuzhen''

He also wrote a study of Xingyi , though this was never published.

T'ai Chi family tree

This family tree is not comprehensive.

Zhang Sanfeng*
circa 12th century

Wang Zongyue*
Chen Wangting
1600-1680 9th generation Chen

| |
Chen Changxing Chen Youben
1771-1853 14th generation Chen circa 1800s 14th generation Chen
Chen Old Frame Chen New Frame
| |
Yang Lu-ch'an Chen Qingping
1799–1872 1795–1868
Chen Small Frame,
| |
+---------------------------------+-----------------------------+ |
| | | |
Yang Pan-hou Yang Chien-hou Wu Yu-hsiang
1837–92 1839–1917 1812–80
Yang Small Frame |
| +-----------------+ |
| | | |
Wu Ch'uan-yü Yang Shao-hou Yang Ch'eng-fu Li I-yü
1834–1902 1862–1930 1883–1936 1832–92
| Yang Small Frame |
Wu Chien-ch'üan | Hao Wei-chen
1870–1942 Yang Shou-chung 1849–1920
| Sun Lu-t'ang
Wu Kung-i 1861–1932
| |
Wu Ta-kuei Sun Hsing-i
1923–72 1891–1929

Note to Family tree table

Names denoted by an asterisk are legendary or semilegendary figures in the lineage, which means their involvement in the lineage, while accepted by most of the major schools, isn't independently verifiable from known historical records.

Song Changrong

Song Changrong was a disciple of Dong Haichuan. Song was one of the first teachers of Gao Yisheng. His style of Baguazhang is extremely rare outside of Beijing.

Song Changrong style of baguazhang

The Song Changrong style of baguazhang is an inner door pre-heaven style.

What this means is that one will not learn any supplementary movements other than the "single palm change" for even three years of repetitive practice. Without a foundation being laid, further studies are not needed.

The applications and routines in such a style are unavailable to the practitioner without a solid neigong foundation, validated by the master.

For the student wanting to express mobility and outer changebility in external shapes and palms, frustration is inevitible, as well as departure from the style. For students having the resolve to obey with no restriction, the manifestations of the single palm become mysterious. If one has not the patience, one will search for more elongated bagua choreography.

In our commercial generation, it is difficult to comprehend that s remembered situations when they adapted successfully to particular combatitive contexts, and afterward shared them in sets for future generations.

However, with the plethora of solid neigong routines, one can eventually reinforce any choreographies with inner skill. With this awareness, we can see why Song Yongxiang bagua doesn't really leave Beijing.

Without the obedient contexts provided by traditional Chinese culture, most students find looped repetition redundant and boring. Boring is the essence of skill, and a trait in bagua.

This is why many masters faces look dull externally, but radiate energy from that glint in their eyes.

Ma Weiqi

Ma Weiqi was also a disciple of Dong Haichuan in the martial art of Baguazhang.
He owned a shop in Beijing selling coal and briquettes and he was therefore nicknamed "Mei Ma" or Coal Ma".

When Dong Haiquan became famous, Ma visited him in order to compare skills. Ma was easily defeated by Dong. Ma then threw himself down in front of Dong's school and begged to be taught. Among the students of the Bagua Zhang school, Ma was known as a person of outstanding talent. However, he had a fiery temper, was arrogant and liked to challenge people to test his skills. He had no respect for others except for his teacher and thus he was little liked in martial arts circles.

Ma was an expert in Baguazhang, Baguadao, and Bagua Turning Spear. He was famous for his spear technique. Many stories exist describe the adventures of Ma. In one story, the coal-heap-walking caught the attention of an itinerant acrobatic entertainer called Hu San who wondered if Ma was in his right mind. When Ma told him he was practicing kung fu, Hu San laughed with scorn and decided to teach Ma the real meaning of kung fu. They decided to have a trial of strength. Hu tried to come to grips with Ma but couldn't even touch him. Ma simply walked in circles around his opponent, and Hu began to feel dizzy and gradually lost control. Before Hu knew what was happening, Ma had caught hold of Hu's hands and threw him to the ground some three meters away. Hu San got up, acknowledged defeat and expressed his admiration for Baguazhang. According to another story, the Su Wang Palace advertised for martial arts teachers. Ma applied and was ordered him to demonstrate his martial skills. Ma picked up a Big Spear and moved into the prince's practice hall to begin. In the hall were many antiques and precious wall hangings. Ma took his spear in hand and performed flawlessly and did not break anything. Su Wang wanted to give him the appointment but he felt that if this man were to get angry and violent, he couldn't be controlled. He awarded Ma 1000 double silvers, and ordered him to return home. In another story, a famous caravan escort named Zhao Keli from the North East played tribute to Ma. During the meeting, Ma only heaped insults on Zhao. This angered Zhao and he challenged Ma. Ma used a heavy hand to wound Zhao but did not kill him. Those stories illustrates some of the character of the man.

Ma died when he was only 29 years old. One story suggest that he died from complications due to injuries inquired while he was training a jumping technique and hurt his back. In other story, Ma died because of injuries suffered after a competition. He went to Dong for healing, but the poison from the wounds had entered his bones. He couldn't be cured with acupuncture or herbs. Xie Peiqi consider Ma to be one of Dong's best students.

Luo Dexiu

Luo Dexiu , or Lo Te-Hsiu is a Taiwanese martial artist who specializes in the of Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, and Taijiquan.

He was born in 1956 in Taipei, Taiwan. Wife: Beth Snowberger; one son.

Luo Dexiu entered the of Hong Yixiang in 1971, where he began his study of the Internal Martial Arts, devoting himself in the beginning to the use of these arts for fighting, with particular emphasis on Xingyiquan. He became one of Hong Yixiang's best fighters.

He later became deeply interested in Baguazhang, which was at the core of the skills taught by Hong Yixiang, having been passed directly from Zhang Junfeng, who trained under Gao Yisheng, a master in the Cheng Tinghua branch of Baguazhang who had brought the to Taiwan. This lineage and school is called Yizong. Luo Dexiu studied Gao style Baguazhang with Hong Yixiang, and with many of Zhang's other students as well, including Hong Yixiang's brothers Hong Yiwen and Hong Yimian. He later continued his intensive studies of Baguazhang with Liu Qian, an early student of .

Luo Dexiu currently teaches Gao style Baguazhang and Hebei Xingyiquan, carrying on the Yizong tradition through his classes in Taipei, Taiwan, and holds seminar tours annually throughout Europe, America, and the Middle East.