View Full Version : Lohan kung fu and Baguazhang

03-11-2001, 08:11 PM
does anyone have any experience in training in Lohan style and Baguazhang? Lohan is the original style of dong Hai-Chen who took bagua to Beijing and taught yin fu and cheng ting hwa amoung other people.

I have two friends that dont do bagua but one practice lohan and the other practices mitsung-lohan.

both use the basic wushu training of typical northern longfist sytems. Stretching, stances, moving basics of staight kicks, inside, outside,and side kicks, jump kicks like front jump kick, lotus kick and tornado kick, butterfly and ariel.

also falling techniques like tornado fall, side kick to fall, kip ups, head kick ups, much like ditang (ground shadow fighting) boxing.

so to understand bagua, wouldnt you think it is important to add these elements to your bagua kung fu practice since the founder did? even though bagua is walking the circle, single and double palm changes and the mother palms, isnt it important to have those lohan basics (endurance and stamina) workout to develop the kung fu body before adding the internal aspect to your training?

03-11-2001, 08:42 PM
>>, wouldnt you think it is important to add these elements to your bagua kung fu practice since the founder did? <<<

How is it that come to the conclusion that Dong is the founder of Baguazhang? I'm just curious.


Daniel Madar
03-11-2001, 09:23 PM
It's not.

Bagua is a set off principles, not set techniques. You can take almost any martial arts and apply bagua principles to them.

03-11-2001, 09:23 PM
Ma_Xu_Zha, the basic training you are talking about is similarly taught in all good kung fu schools. I do not think it is an essential part of lohan. Similarly baguazhang is so much more than circle walking. It is a complete set of principles and training methods unique to bagua. However, If you brake down all the components of lohan you will find similar energy in bagua. Lohan is a complete set of all the elements as is bagua or hsing-I. That is why I believe that Dung Hai Chuan incorporated his lohan in the development of his bagua since it is a much older martial system. No one knows who his teachers were though so it is only speculation that he invented bagua. He did have alot to do with it's development and bringing it to the public's attention. I guess you could then consider him a founder?

03-11-2001, 10:26 PM
As has been said, Dong Hai Chuan was probably not the founded of bagua. Also, it is not clear that he actually did study lohan. The centrality of lohan to bagua is most often touted by people in the Yin Fu lineage - many of whose bagua looks very similar to lohan boxing. In some other lineages, there is essentially no discernable relationship to lohan.

Some bagua schools, especially from Yin Fu, work alot on the traditional northern basic training. Yin's and Fu Zhensong's schools often also include tantui. This isn't essential for "good bagua" though.

At my school we do not study the northern stances in the traditional way. We have our own way of going about it, such as using "grinding the millstone palm" to learn about bow and arrow stance and empty stance in a bagua fashion.

As others have said, at the core of bagua is a set of principles and body usage. These can be manifested many ways. Lohan is surely a good vehicle for this manifestation, but it's not the only one.

03-11-2001, 11:52 PM
I never said Dong was the founder, the art goes back thousands of years to India, notice the art of shiva on one leg in a bagua stance?

lohan chuan was dongs art mentioned by several scholars. though bagua is an excellent art for those with other martial arts experience, i find it that a good foundation in an external northern chinese martial art to optimize your bagua, rather than karate, taekwondo,southern like- wing chun or hung gar ect.

Principles are the basis of any art, especially bagua with its infinite possibilites, but the bagua that came to bejing is a northern art, the northern kung fu body is much different than the southern or other martial art style body (japanese, korean, thai) in terms of flexability, mobility, strength.

so my question still stands,do you think its important to add that type of external northern training to your baguazhang when it was an influence of past masters?

why do i bring it up? cause i am young and my teacher thinks internal doesnt do enough workout for your heart like northern basics do. he wants me to sweat and pant and nearly die from northern training and then warm down with some internal , gather some energy to recoperate. He says that in china, internal doesn do much for your heart when you are young, but external does.

03-12-2001, 12:02 AM
Hmmmmm . . . personally, I don't give a **** who the founder of baguazhang was.

We create baguazhang every day in our individual practices, in ways any historical founder could never have imagined. I'm quite serious . . . everyone is different in their physique and physical capabilities and the diligence and correctness of their training.

But to claim the origins lie in the mysteries of Emeishan, the way John Painter's Li stories do, Kevin, is hysterical. I have to give much more credence to Kang Gewu's original and thorough research, as reported in his own manuscript and in the old Pa Kua Chang Journal. Keep in mind, Kevin, this is not a criticism of John Painter's martial art. I know people who have crossed hands with Painter, and I've enjoyed studying some of his videotapes. He's got the moves and the skill. But his history is . . . well, he's just repeating what he says he was told. I'd be interested in looking for the immigration records of his master Li, just for the fun of tracing and substantiating the Li lineage a little more thorougly. And doing the same for Liang Shou-yu's claimed Emei lineage . . . when his form so strongly resembles another, much-more commonly-known and historically documented style. Again, this is not a criticism of Liang's bagua itself, simply of stories told about an art's mystical origins, primarily for marketing purposes.

For an aspiring scholar like yourself, Braden, to simply repeat others' assertions about baguazhang's origins, without critically examining the basis or documentation for those assertions, is disappointing.


03-12-2001, 12:09 AM
Although there is always room for doubt, Professor K'ang Ko-Wu's masters thesis is the most documented study to date on the origins of bagua.

"In ten years since his thesis was published, Professor k'ang Ko-Wu has found no evidence to contradict his conclusion that Tung was the originator of Pa Kua Chang" p. 18
Pa Kua Chang Journal, vol. 3, no. 2, Jan/Feb 1993.

Professor K'ang's research was extensive and involved close examination of over 650 documents from the Ch'ing Palace history bookds and over 230 papers weriten on martial arts. He also examined the situations of 413 teachers in 24 provinces and cities, personally investigating in 16 cities and countries and 9 provinces. K'ang interviewed over 256 people resulting in over 274 documents. Many of the people he interviewed were elderly boxer of the older generation who spoke openly about their martial arts. . . .

In his summary, K'ang concluded that it was Tung Hai-Chuan who originated Pa Kua Chang. I reported that I thought his reasons for discounting some of the other theories were weak in terms of western scholarly logic. . .

In October 1992 Ihad the opportunity to meet with Professor K'ang in Bejing and discuss some of the points I thought were missing from his theis. During this meeting he provided me with additional information that was not printed in his thesis, particulary pertaining to to the Pa Kua Chang of Kao I-Sheng. . . AFTER SEVERAL MEETINGS WITH PROFESSOR K'ANG, I MUST CONCLUDE THAT HIS CONCLUSION CONCERNING PA KUA CHANG'S ORIGIN IS VALID. p 25 The Origins of Pa Kua Chang -Part #
Pa Kua Chang Journal Vol 3, No. 4. May/June 1993.

Professor K'ang goes on to conclude:
"Having found no solid evidence to prove otherwise, K'ang concluded that Tung Hai-Chuan was the originator of Pa Kua Chang. He states that after practicing the circle walk practice with the Taoists, Tung recognized the utility of this footwork and body movement in martial arts. K'ang believes that Tung Hai-Chuan's genius was coming up with a system of martial arts whereby the practitioner could deliver power strikes while remaining in constant motion. Du to Pa Kua Chang's combination of unique footwork and body mechanics, the Pa Kua Chang stylist never has to stop moving. The feet are in continuous motion even when applying a block or strike. K'ang saind that Tung's additon of kou (hooking) and Pai (swinging) footwork in directional changes was also an important addition.

"Through his intense research, K'ang has also discovered Tung did not originally call his art Pa Kua Chang. His art was originally called Chuan Chang (rotating Palm) and then later called Pa Kua Chuan Chang and finally Pa Kua Chang. While conducting hsi research and writing his thesis K'ang relied heavily on the writing of Ts'eng Hsing San. San was a Manchurian scholar who studied with Pa Kua Chang with both Tung Hai-Chuan and Yin Fu in the Palace of Su. When the Ching government was overthrown in 1911, Tseng was out of work and thus had a lot of spare time. Since he had some much free time Tseng began to write down all that he learned from Tung Hai Chaun and Yin Fu. Tseng written work was never made public, however, Kang has Tseng original manuscript. According to Tseng written work, Tung Hai Chuan did not relate his fighting to the Pa Kua until late in his life. It is possible that he was looking for a way to explain the theory of his fighting style in such a manner that his descendents coudl research and improve the artafter he was gone. Kang says that in Tseng's writing he uses many references to the I-Ching in explaining the principlse of the Pa Kua fighing art of . The first published work which related the fighting art of Pa Kua Chang to Pa Kua philosophy was the book published by Sun Lu Tang in 1916.



What we can conclude from the best research is that Tung Hai Chuan was most likely the originator of Ba Gua Zhang. What is really interesting is how did his art develop over his life time. Perhaps the diversity within the system is accounted for by specific time period a Master studied with Tung Hai Chuan.

One thing for certain, it has daoist roots.

03-12-2001, 12:16 AM
Thanks, Bob. I was thinking along the same lines while you were laboriously typing in Dan Miller's text from the old PKC Journal. I wish Dan would authorize that to be online so that it could be a more easily-accessible source for people.

03-12-2001, 12:23 AM
"For an aspiring scholar like yourself, Braden, to simply repeat others' assertions about baguazhang's origins, without critically examining the basis or documentation for those assertions, is disappointing."


I just re-read my post, and it still can't figure out how where you got the idea that I'm doing THAT. In case there was a crossed-wire somewhere in the communication, I have been asserting that the history of baguazhang is largely unknown and largely inconsequential.


I'm sorry. My point was that a complete bagua curriculum will have external training in it. It just might not be lohan-style external training. Regarding the supposed importance of lohan to bagua, all you have to do is look at how evident it is in the various lineages. In most, it's not evident at all. And since I don't believe Yin Fu recieved the only true transmission, there's only one conclusion to draw...

Grinding the millstone palm is a bagua exercise that begins with wuji. You then step out to a bow and arrow stance pointing to your left front corner. You shift your weight back and forth between your feet (the "reverse bow and arrow stance" is called an empty stance? or seated stance? *shrug*). At the same time, your hands are extended similar to a tiger posture, or palms down near the dantien. As you shift backwards and forward, your waist turns. The summation of linear shifting and turning waist creates a circular turning of the palms, as if you were grinding a giant millstone with the force of your whole body.

This is very similar and obviously an adaptation of some traditional northern foundational exercises. All bagua schools that I am familiar with have a regime of such exercises for foundational training.

So it's like I said, the lohan approach is great, but there's other good ones too.

03-12-2001, 12:41 AM

I typed it in primarily to show that the origin of ba gua is NOT largely unknown. Given the best and current research, Tung Hai Chuan is MOST likely the founder of ba gau zhang. Professor Kang work largely demolishes all other explanations. The burden of proof lies with others to show how their conclusions were drawn. Kang's work is rigorous and his conclusions are well supported. This cannot be said of other explanations.

What is unknown is how much comes from taoism and how much is from the Tung's martial art.

Now, you might want to argue that this is largely irrelevant and thats okay. You might even get away with Tung Hai Chuan desire for the systems development beyond his death. If that was his wish, then it sure has developed and branched in many directions.

The origins of bagua are important because if obscured, then many of the so-called masters invent their own mythology and people get taken.

Truth in labeling saves a lot of wasted training time, money, and ego

03-12-2001, 01:32 AM

Ummm . . . I think I said that I agree with you about the import of Kang Gewu's work, as far as establishing the probable origins of baguazhang. Unlike Braden or Kevin, I'm not discounting/disputing Dong Haichuan as probable founder of baguazhang.


I think we agree that the history or legends of baguazhang don't really affect what we need for practice today.

As far as my remark about your repeating of others' historical assertions, I was referring to the following part of your previous post:

>As has been said, Dong Hai Chuan was probably not the founded of bagua. Also, it is not clear that he actually did study lohan.<

Simple repetition without critical examination of those assertions ain't history. I've been under the assumption that your university training included critical thinking.

But, as you've said, it may be irrelevant for actual daily practice.

03-12-2001, 03:06 AM
Sorry Wujudude, it was intended directly to you or commenting on anything you said.

Actually lineage and origins are important but necessarily of value. Some people outside of accepted lineages do better than those in the lineage. Today, we often have to make do---take seminars and practice principles that come from many sources. Hopefully there are enough discussions going on so you can determine when you being taken and when you are really learning.

I hate those teachers who always dress up their arts in the mythology. If its good, you don't have to do it and there are a number of good players out there whose lineage comes from many sources

03-12-2001, 03:59 AM
"Unlike Braden or Kevin, I'm not discounting/disputing Dong Haichuan as probable founder of baguazhang."

I'm not discounting it, I'm just saying it isn't fact. I don't like Mr. Painter's (or Mr. Liang's or Mr. Park's) versions of history any more than you do. If I were in their shoes, I would just say "I don't know who my teacher's teacher was." It's the truth, and alot less misleading. I find the case made by bapanzhang practitioners to be a little more compelling, but I don't know enough about it to really say. Regardless, your assertion that "Dong Hai Chuan was the founded of baguazhang" is not a fact. It may be probable, but it's still just an opinion. My assertion that "We don't know if Dong Hai Chuan was the founder of baguazhang" is a fact. We simply don't know. We can ponder and make suggestions, but we don't know.

"Simple repetition without critical examination of those assertions ain't history."

What critical examination? We don't know. It's all conjecture. As a sidebar, I find it somewhat amusing that the strongest piece of evidence in the thesis (and the only one which might not be considered third-hand and completely circumstantial) you quoted was a manuscript which "cannot be released to the public."

I was overly strong with my use of the word "probably", and I apologize for that. It falsely conveyed my actual opinion.

"I've been under the assumption that your university training included critical thinking."

I don't see that my personal life is a topic for this board at all. But for what it's worth, my training is mostly in neuropsychology and neurobiology, not history.

Furthermore, if I can play a little word game to make a point... I'm not an aspiring scholar, I'm an aspiring scientist. The difference being that when a scholar wants to know how many teeth are in a horse's mouth, he goes and reads as much as he can about horses. When a scientist wants to know, he opens up a horse's mouth and counts.

That is the approach I would like to take with bagua as well. We can use our eyes to look at what presently exists, and this should be the basis of our judgements. If you examine the opinions I have presented on this thread and others, you will discover that this is exactly what I have done.

For example, I have suggested that lohan isn't the essential root of bagua. Why did I do this? Because I read it in a book somewhere? No. Because I have seen the training methods of various lineages of bagua, and a minority of them resemble lohan.

Do I think Dong Hai Chuan was the founder of bagua?

Actually, yes I do. But that's pure unadulterated opinion drawn only from my personal life, and as I said above, I don't see that my personal life should be a topic for discussion here.

So I posted what I know - We're not sure.
And I posted what can be verified objectively - That the idea of lohan as a central root isn't consistent with what we actually see.

I apologize if my wording was misleading. I also apologize if my message is confused to evoke negative feelings. I have the utmost respect for your experiences and opinions, and my own inadequacies.

[This message was edited by Braden on 03-12-01 at 06:19 PM.]

03-12-2001, 06:45 AM
Sorry, Braden . . . for the ****ing contest. Probably too much caffeine on my part.

You are onto something in pointing to a critical difference between the physical and social sciences (I include history here, although "science" may be a stretch). Epistemologically, I can't even prove who did what yesterday, especially to people who weren't there. Historians have a somewhat more liberal set of criteria for evidence ;- ).

Two follow-ups. One is that bapanzhang does have an interesting account of its origins that is at least plausibly independent of Dong Haichuan. Jarek Szymanski deals very briefly with bapanzhang practitioners' historical contentions in an article at his website (maybe you've seen it).

The second is your remark in your previous post, about the "strongest piece of evidence" in Kang Gewu's thesis being a "manuscript that cannot be released to the public". I don't think RAF/Bob's excerpt from the Pa Kua Chang Journal said that. Kang Gewu merely said that Tseng Hsing San's manuscript had not been made public at that point, i.e., published between the time of its composition (circa 1911) and the time of his interview(s) with Dan Miller. Kang at the time had the manuscript in his collection, and it's available for examination.

Even so, Tseng's manuscript is still a second-hand source. The only truly primary source would be Dong's own written statement about his art, and by oral history he was notoriously obtuse about it.

MY personal take on it? I think the art of baguazhang as we know it today, including the Taoist philosophical overlay (e.g., correlation of palm changes with the Yi Jing), was the work of the second and subsequent generations of baguazhang practitioners. I think Dong Haichuan was, like Yang Luchan of taijiquan fame, probably a highly-skilled and physically-talented martial artist who was functionally illiterate.

In my own Cheng lineage, the common story is that Dong taught basically three palm changes: single, double and flowing, plus circlewalking, stepping patterns and scattered techniques. The second generation laid on five more palm changes (which vary according to the style)to make a Yi Jing eight, and catalogued the various techniques into the 64-palm forms (circular and linear). There is some basis for believing this account, in the similarity of the single and double and "flowing" palm changes among the multitude of Cheng Tinghua lineage styles.

Personally, I create baguazhang fresh every day, depending on how my back holds up in "Dragon Rolls Around" . . .

03-12-2001, 05:53 PM
>>I never said Dong was the founder, the art goes back thousands of years to India, notice the art of shiva on one leg in a bagua stance?

before writes Ma_Xu_Zha: wouldnt you think it is important to add these elements to your bagua kung fu practice since the FOUNDER did? <<<<

Not starting a flame war..just showing where I felt you where saying Dong was the founder.

I don't really care who was Baguazhang's founder either. The very Bagua idea existsed for the YiJing(I-Ching) long before the martial art of Baguazhang. Circle walking its self is not a new idea; many, many shamanic and healing rituals of numberous cultures contain dancing an or walking in a circle. Many Daoist Temples had circle walking in a form of worship for over some 1000 years.
With that in mind however I don't feel its to unrealistic to think that maybe with all this Daoist influence over such a huge country and population that mabye certain temples came to the idea of Bagua as a martial art all by themselves without to much outside influence and maybe these temples where hunderds of miles apart.
If you look at the bow and arrow, the spear, the knife, all are a common theme in all cultures, while someone was dreaming these up on one one side of the world, with out direct influence and the need just for survival someone else on the other side of the world was doing the same thing, does Baguazhang as a whole come from just one source.. maybe its more universal.. the art it's self seems to be.
As for Dr.Painter I take no offense, he can speak for himself and has been around for a long time because he does have skill. I will say I have seen the letter that was left to him by his teacher, the characters on the letter and various notes that he left Dr.Painter are very old and it has taken Chinese scholars here in the states and some in China to accurately translate them. As Dr. Painter says Li, Ching Yueng learned from a Daoist Monk who was a very dedicated student of the YiJing and the deep influence of this book can be seen through out the entire system.
I don't think Dr. Painter has once said Bagua came from Omei, but like Dong Hi Chuan said, he learned from a very old Daoist in the mountains, whats to say the idea of Baguazhang didn't spread forth in a Daoist sect and reach Omei.
But seriously to me it doesn't overly matter, let say Dong Hi Chuan did found the system, and lets say Dr.Painter made up this Jiulong sytle, it works, he can use it, he teach others to use it, many people owe and trust their well being to it, many high profile and talented teachers speak highly of him that in and of it's self speaks volumes reguardless of where it came from.

Sam Wiley
03-12-2001, 07:07 PM
If Tung Hai-chuan didn't create Bagua, then who did? There are some people who say a man called Tung Meng-lin created it, but he's pretty much mythological, though perhaps not as much so as Chang San-feng.

I really don't see why one would have to study Lohan simply because the "founder" of the art supposedly did. Bagua is complete, in and of itself, and does not particularly need methods from other arts. The only reason I could see for studying something different would be to have a little variety and crosstrain. If not that, then maybe to have something complimentary. But I can find no reason why anything like that would be necessary.

I personally think the internal should be trained from the beginning. That's the way I began. I don't see any reason why someone absolutely must begin with an external art and later on learn an internal one. Why waste time? Why not start learning the internal art before experimenting with anything else?

Bagua, Taiji, and Hsing-i all start out as being very external anyway. There is a natural progression from external to internal in the arts themselves, and there is really no reason to begin with any other art, even if the founder did study it.

"I put forth my power and he was broken.
I withdrew my power and he was ground into fine dust."
-Aleister Crowley, The Vision and the Voice

03-13-2001, 06:56 AM
Wujidude - :)

04-06-2001, 03:02 AM
Hello Ma_Xu_Zha
I as well am interested in the relationship of Bagua to the martial arts of Shaolin Temple in Honan.
The Shaolin that I practice has Bagua Zhang as one of its sub-systems and is considered part of Shaolin martial arts. My teacher began his training in 1917 in Shanghai. One of his teachers began her training the the early 1800’s and served as a sword bearing body guard in the Forbidden City. Her Bagua included forms that I don’t think are found in Dong Haichuan’s Bagua and conversely forms we do not practice. Circle walking as well as other aspect of what is considered unique to bagua is found in other sub systems of Shaolin. This leads me
to believe that although Dong Haichuan may have expanded Bagua he did not invent it.

04-21-2001, 12:39 AM
Wujidude-can you e-mail me? I have a question to ask , wongfehung @aol.com

04-21-2001, 01:37 AM
Hi All,

fwiw, although walking a circle may have been part of Taoist exercise, I would like to see evidence that someone before Dong Haichuan used it as a fighting method. I think RAF's citation about the core principles of the art are right on target. Circle-walking and constnat change in motion are the hallmarks of the style. Well, I've been taught that bagua is, at base, just another Chinese martial art. That is, it derives from what existed in the past. Are there older Chinese martial arts that were based on circle walking? Are there currently others that are? Well, again fwiw, I've also been taught that, at the highest levels of any Chinese martial art, there is no preset form nor funciton for any movement. Oh well, I guess I'd have to agree with those who might argue that bagua is one of the youngest martial arts, and I also believe that the more forms, exercises, etc., one finds in a particular style, the younger that style probably is. I just don't think that people who actually had the need to fight also had the time or need to learn or practice loads of different forms. Anyway, it also seems to me that there is no such thing that one style is "more complete" than another. The aims are generally the same. This goes to the "internal v external" debate. I mean, it hasn't been shown that "internalists" win more fights or live longer. It seems like a silly civil war among close relatives.

Just my opinions,

Sal Canzonieri
12-01-2005, 12:57 AM
(I train in both Lohan and Bagua)

I think in my research I have found an 8 section Shaolin Lohan form (with 18 moves in each section) that very much resembles Bagua and has some circle walking in it.

I'd like to compare it to someone from Yin Fu Bagua to see how it matches up.

I learned Sun Lu Tang Baqua, so it matches up a little.
What I have seen of Yin Fu style baqua seems to match up a lot more.

Wish I could see the 18 Lohan form that some Yin Fu lineages do and
also do a move by move comparison between this 8 section Shaolin Lohan form and Yin Fu 8 Mother palms (I think that is the oldest bagua form?).

12-01-2005, 08:52 PM

My **** previous post left all of the "nots" out and it looks as though I was arguing with you when in reality we are on the same page:

Sorry Wujudude, it was NOT intended directly to you or commenting on anything you said.

Actually lineage and origins are important but NOT necessarily of value. Some people outside of accepted lineages do better than those in the lineage. Today, we often have to make do---take seminars and practice principles that come from many sources. Hopefully there are enough discussions going on so you can determine when you being taken and when you are really learning.

I hate those teachers who always dress up their arts in the mythology. If its good, you don't have to do it and there are a number of good players out there whose lineage comes from many sources

Sorry fo the late correction

12-01-2005, 10:45 PM
WOW. This is a almost 5 year old thread.

1. Yin Fu learned Lou Han Shou and Tan Tui before Ba Gua lessons with Dong. Other students have other talents or styles than Lou Han. There are more strikes (punches and kicks) in Yin style. Some said it is hard or Ying Ba Gua. In contrast; Cheng Ting Hua knew only shuai Jiao. May be 3 big palms were enough to incorporate throws into the systems. Or the lessons were not complete due to other reasons. Some said Cheng style is soft or Rou Ba Gua.

2. Use or train an external system such as Lou Han 18 Shou or others as a pre-requisite or supplements to Ba Gua practice?

This is a very good question. some would also ask the same about Tai Chi.

There are some believe that you have to have some basic Kung Fu trainings before attempting any Tai Chi or Ba Gua or practice both external and internal at the same time.

Personally, I think it would not be exclusive. Although it is better to focus on one style at a time.

What do y'all think?


12-02-2005, 08:02 AM
Practices of Eagle claws and iron palm were thought to be important by some.

Liu Jing Ru book mentioned about them.

Eagle claws may use just the thumb and one other finger to grab.

Iron palm finger stabs or penetrating palm.

Some said Dong taught muddy walk or Ni Tan Bu to Cheng so as to "lighten" his steps or smooth his steps from Shuai Jiao.

Muddy walk is not practiced by other students or styles.