Ba Gua Zhang History

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Dong Hai Chuan

Yin Fu

Cheng Ting Hua

Men Bao Zhen

Xie Peiqi

He Jinbao


The exact origins of Ba Gua Zhang are not clear. What is clear is that Ba Gua Zhang was made popular by Dong Hai Chuan (1804-1880), and it is probable that he is also its creator. Dong Hai Chuan combined Shaolin and other fist techniques with Daoist meditative circle walking. This new martial art in the 1800s used circle walking to build qi, focus and footwork, while simultaneously developing suppleness and fluid motion with integrated body mechanics.

Dong Hai Chuan's skill as a martial artist brought him fame and eventually to Beijing, China's capital, where he became a trainer of bodyguards at the imperial palace. He had many students but only two, Yin Fu (1841-1909) and Cheng Ting Hua (1848-1900), who taught and passed on his system. Today there are 2 lineages from each of these men, often called Yin Style and Cheng Style respectively. Most Ba Gua Zhang systems today are offshoots having descended from these 2 lines.

The Ba Gua Zhang taught at the Vermont Kung Fu Academy comes from the Yin Fu line through Men Bao Zhen (1873-1958) and Xie Peiqi (1920-2003). We are fortunate to have had Xie Peiqi travel from Beijing and teach at the Vermont Kung Fu Academy, in 1997 and in 1999. Xie Peiqi's top student and successor is He Jinbao (b. 1955).