BHA GUA CHANG
Around the same time as Hsing I appearing in Beijing the Bha Gua Chang debuted in the Forbidden City. Tung Hai Chuan taught the art and used it to collect taxes for his master, Prince Su Wang. He claimed to have learnt it from an old Taoist master in the mountains. This claim seems very likely as the Wudang Taoist masters were well known for traveling throughout China and the world obtaining and sharing knowledge. A further confirmation was in the clear circle walking Taoist meditation presence, in its movements.
Bha Gua Chang is a physical manifestation of the Chinese Classic of Change, as described in the book of I CHING.
Tung’s top students Yin Fu and Cheng Ting Hwa both became famous during the boxer rebellion. Cheng is famous for dying in a battle with German troops, who were rampaging through his neighbourhood in Beijing. Yin Fu was the chief bodyguard who led the Empress Dowager’s escape from the capital. It is because of these two masters that the Bha Gua style was known as the best body guarding system in China.
Tung Hai Chuan and his students made Bha Gua Chang famous but he can’t really be seen as the founder of the style. He clearly documented his relationship with an illusive old Taoist master and it becomes very difficult to trace the style back any further. Among the Wudang masters the Tai Ji, Bha Gua Chang and Hsing I systems have always been feeding off and influencing each other over the years. The Wudang Kung fu always includes all three. A slight inter-pollination of these three styles even though they have strongly maintained their independent identities is quite evident.
The principles that govern the yin yang, Bha Gua (8 trigrams) and Wu Hsing (5 elements) all play a significant role in the Bha Gua Chang, Hsing I Boxing and Tai Ji Chuan styles of Wudang martial arts.
Bha Gua boxers spend hours walking the circle with many footwork patterns constantly changing direction. Within these constant changes lie a variety of hand strikes, kicks, locks and throws. It is with this in mind that the famous saying – “A BHA GUA CHANG BOXER NEVER STOPS MOVING” – comes from.