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Study the Kung Fu style, Baji Quan. Get more understanding of this style that is traditionally passed on to generations of masters. Learn the basics, theory, and the history of Baji Quan. Be exposed to everything Baji, the school's Qigong and traditional Chinese medicine. Study at MengCun Baji Quan Training Center, where training you well is a must!
The center includes 4 high quality, clean and comfortable rooms for 2 persons with private toilet and shower, satellite TV, air conditioning, and drinkable water supply. Standard dormitory rooms for 6 persons are also available. The rooms are located in the main accommodation building and in an outside building, across the courtyard.
Both of the rooms are comfortable, with perhaps the rooms in the main accommodation building being slightly more comfortable. The rooms are hotel style, with air conditioning, TVs, internet and en-suite Western style bathrooms. Typically two students share a room.
At MengCun Baji Quan Training Center, you will train in Baji Quan basics, theory, and the history of Baji, assault methods of Bajiquan as well as tactics for Baji competition. You will learn a comprehensive system of attack, defense, and wrestling. You will also be exposed to Dazhuang and Kaozhuang as well as the schools Qi Gong and traditional Chinese medicine. Training for students is at least 6 hours per day.
Most international students will train in the training hall. Training hours are from 09:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 17:00, but die hard Baji fanatics will be pleased to know that you can also participate in the early (06:00 - 07:30) and evening trainings (20:00 - 21:30).
The origins of Baji Quan are obscure and cannot be traced back exactly. The main problem is that most of the information concerning Baji Quan that has been transmitted so far relies greatly on oral transmission.
Reliable written documents pre-dating the cultural revolution are very scarce, because many documents got lost or destroyed during the civil war or during the periods when the practice or martial arts was forbidden. However, some of the documents have survived.
Some writers see the first written reference to Baji Quan in a military treaty called "Jixiao Xin Shu" (, new practical treaty on military discipline) written during the Ming dynasty by the famous general Qi JiGuang (, 1528 - 1588).
In this treaty, Qi JiGuang gives a list of the martial styles of his time and writes the following sentence: "The spear method of the Yang family and the staffs of PaziQuan are both famous now". It is reported by some authors that in the Cangzhou region, Baji Quan was also known under the name of Pazi Quan () or BaziQuan ().
The term Pazi Quan could be a deformation in the local dialect of the word Baji Quan or the word "Pazi" (meaning "rake") could be referring to the typical shape of the fist used in the style, held loosely open when not striking. As a consequence, some people consider the reference made by Qi JiGuang as an indication that Baji Quan already existed during the 16th century.
However, except from the similarity in the pronunciation, there are no elements that connect the PaziQuan cited by Qi JiGuang to Baji Quan, and one should note that : there is no indication given by Qi JiGuang about the content and specificities of PaziQuan that could justify that Baji Quan and PaziQuan are identical styles, and nowadays nobody knows what PaziQuan staff could look like,
Another note is, according to the Wu family records, the name Baji Quan has been given to the style by Wu Ying in 1790, before this date, the style was called YiShu (, unusual style) or Wu Jia Quan ( Wu family style), and the early records about Baji Quan mention the spear as a reference weapon of the style, rather than staff.
There is presently no record allowing tracing any transmission of Baji Quan from Qi Ji Guang's era through the next two centuries. The oldest documents giving some historical information about Baji Quan date back to around 1930. The most ancient Baji Quan practitioner recorded in these written documents is Wu Zhong (1712 - 1802), a Hui minority member of the Wu family.
According to the majority of these documents, Wu Zhong would have been taught Baji Quan by two wandering monks called Lai () and Pi (), the second being a disciple of the first. No specific information is given about Lai and Pi in the records, and it is very likely that both these names are nicknames (Lai means leprosy and Pi means craving).
After the end of the cultural revolution, the practice of martial arts has been gradually encouraged again by the Chinese authorities, and Baji Quan rose back from oblivion at the beginning of the 80s, especially due to the interest of some Japanese martial artists who started to visit mainland China at this period.
Hence, starting from the mid-eighties, there was a bloom of publications about Baji Quan. Many of these publications have tried to address the question of the origins of Baji Quan and of the real identity of Lai and Pi.
As a consequence, some authors have tried to relate the origin of Baji Quan either to the famous Song mountain Shaolin temple, or to the Yueshan temple of Bohai county in Henan province, or to the Daoist temples of Wudang Mountains of Hubei Province, or even to Ding Faxiang (, 1615 1694), a famous martial artist from the 17th century originating from MengCun Village.
Even if all this suppositions represent some interesting hypotheses, they however rely only on oral information, and none of them is supported by any written document pre-dating the 50s. Moreover, it is hard to omit the fact that the development of Baji Quan represents an economical potential which greatly influenced some historical claims about the origin of this style.
Based on these considerations, the most reasonable option is to acknowledge that if Wu Zhong had ever wanted to unveil the identity of Lai and Pi and the origins of his skills, he would have done so. So far, only Wu Zhong knows who Lai and Pi really are, and maybe these to names simply symbolize the knowledge that Wu Zhong had acquired during all his life.
Recently, some debates have also emerged concerning which place should be considered as the birthplace of Baji Quan. Here again, the main problem is that the details concerning the life of Wu Zhong and his teaching also greatly depend on oral transmission or on a few martial manuals that were written around 1930. For instance, the family manual of Hou Zhuangke village only records the name of Wu Zhong, without the slightest indication about his life.
Based on the oldest martial manuals, Wu Zhong only had three recorded disciples representing the third generation of Baji Quan : his daughter and only child Wurong (), Wu Zhong Yu () and WuYing () two members of the MengCun Wu family, and all these 3 persons are recorded as living in MengCun. Those 3 persons were the initiators of the spreading of Baji Quan for the next generations and to the nearby villages and cities.
It should be noted that up to now, there is no record of any Baji practitioner who does not relate to one of these three disciples. One important factor is that it can be noticed that, excepting big cities like Tianjin and Cangzhou, all the villages where Baji Quan has developed significantly after the 3rd generation are all located inside a 15 km circle around MengCun.
Concerning Hou Zhuangke, the birthplace of Wu Zhong, there is no record of any Baji Quan development in this place, and more strikingly, there has never been any Baji Quan activity in the places located in a 15 km circle around Hou Zhuangke. Moreover, Hou Zhuangke is an isolated hamlet of about 1 000 inhabitants, located about 45 km south east of MengCun, which at the time of Wu Zhong represented at least a half day of travelling distance from MengCun.
Hence, this implies that Wu Zhong had to reside in MengCun permanently during the time when he was teaching there. Moreover, the isolated nature of Hou Zhuangke makes it difficult to understand how Wu Zhong could have gained some literary and martial culture without leaving his birthplace, whereas the region of Cangzhou, MengCun and Yan Shan has always been a place of intense cultural and martial activity since the 12th century.
As a consequence, it should be acknowledged that if Hou Zhuangke can be considered as the birthplace of Wu Zhong, MengCun is definitely the birthplace of Baji Quan. It is impossible to describe here in details the subsequent development of Baji Quan after the 3rd generation, the names of places and famous practitioners would be enough to fill 200 pages.
It can however be mentioned that, starting from MengCun, Baji Quan has been gradually transmitted to the nearby villages and cities. Among these places, one can however give the following non exhaustive list of places and families that have played a significant role in the development of Baji Quan.
The history of the Wu family starts in the early Ming dynasty. During the first year of the Ming dynasty Jianwen Emperor (i.e. 1399), ZhuDi (the prince of Yan kingdom raised troops in order to take Jian Wen emperor's throne by force.
Cangzhou and its vicinity suffered from the turmoil caused by war, a large part of the land was bared, and only one percent of the people did survive. In 1402, ZhuDi accessed the throne and became the famous YongLe) Emperor of Ming dynasty. He then ordered people to be massively deported in order to reclaim the bared land.
As a consequence, during the first year of Yongle's reign (i.e. 1403), the respectable Wu Zuo Yong (), a Hui minority ancestor of the Wu Family, received a specific imperial order requesting him to serve as an employee at the Cangzhou's salt transport service of the government office of Hejian city, Hebei (at that time called Zhili) Province.
He moved his whole family from Anhui Province, Huizhou Prefecture, Xi County, to Cangzhou, and settled in the south of Cangzhou. From then on, the Wu Family developed in Cangzhou and went rich and prosperous.
One after another, the Wu family descendants purchased properties in the actual Mengcun Town, MengCun County; in HeLDian Hamlet, Xiao Lu Village; Haixing County, Baoguantun Village, Nanpi County; Wu Zhuang Zi Hamlet, Huang Hua City; and in the Hou Zhuangke Village, Qingyun County of Shandong Province (at that time belongs to Cangzhou) and a large number of places.
Among the ancestors of the Wu family, an ancestor of the fourth generation (considering Wu Zuo Yong as the first generation), the venerable Wu Cai,got four children named Wu An (), Wu Tai () , Wu Ping () and Wu Lian () who had trouble living together in Cangzhou.
As a consequence, Wu Tai and his children called Wu SanTong (), Wu SanHuai () and Wu SanShan () moved to MengCun town, whereas Wu Lian and his family moved to He L Dian (, a hamlet located 4 km north-east of MengCun Town).
From this time, Wu Tai and his descendants founded the MengCun town branch of the Wu family, whereas Wu Lian and his descendants established their families in HeLDian and in Mengcun Dong Zhuang (Mengcun east hamlet).
Later, one of the grandson of Wu Lian, called Wu Shi Meng (), moved from the HeLDian / MengCun area to Hou Zhuangke, and founded the Hou Zhuangke sub-branch of the Wu family. As a consequence, all the people living in MengCun, HeLDian and Hou Zhangke and bearing the Wu family name are the descendent of the fourth generation ancestor Wu Cai.
Among the descendant of Wu Shi Meng, there was a great grandson (tenth generation) called Wu Zhong (, nicknamed Hong Sheng (), son of Wu Tian Shun () and born in the 51th year of KangXi (i.e. 1712), who represents the most ancient Baji Quan practitioner from the Wu family known at this time.
Although Baji Quan was mainly developed during the first generations by members of the Hui minority who are traditionally of Moslem confession, the theoretical and philosophical concepts of this martial art are based on the Chinese traditional thought, and more particularly on Taoism.
This is due to the fact that through the centuries, the major part the Hui did fully integrate culturally into the Chinese society, and thus they have adopted a large amount of basic principles in their daily life and religious practice.
For this reason, it can be noted that most ancient Hui frequently studied some Chinese classics from Confucianism and other schools of thought, such as the Book of the changes (YiJing, ) or the Annals of springs and the autumns (Chun Qiu, ) along with the Koran (Gulan Jing, ).
Consequently, Baji Quan, like many other styles practiced by the Hui (Xing Yi Quan, Xin Yi Liu He Quan, etc.) constantly refers to some principles classically encountered in Chinese martial arts. This influence can be found in the name of the style.
The term Baji (, literally 8 extremes) which in Chinese indicates an infinitely remote place or the very ends of the earth comes from a Chinese classic dating from the 2nd century (the Huai Nan Zi, ), which is strongly influenced by Taoism.
In addition, the practice of Baji Quan constantly refers to classical concepts of internal Chinese martial arts, such as : the alternation of Yin & Yang, the respect of the 6 internal and external harmonies of the body, the circulation of the internal energy (called Qi, ), etc.
Moreover, the names of many moves in Baji Quan are referring to Chinese traditional deities, like ErLang Dan Shan (): ErLang wears a mountain on his shoulders, Yan Wang San Dian Shou () and etc.
Stance training: one of the training fundamentals implies immobile training of the LiangYi Ding () stance, known as the two principles (Yin and Yang) stance. This position is the trademark of Baji Quan, and is probably inspired by the traditional Chinese character corresponding for the Wu () family name of the MengCun Wu family. This stance allows a perfect equilibrium of the body, and harmony between the sky (Yang) and the earth (Yin) and favours various essential components of the training: rooting, reinforcement of the lower limbs, circulation of internal energy in the principal meridians of the body and its accumulation in the Dan Tian point.
Explosive power: Baji Quan is a style famous for its powerful strikes, which make use of the explosive power (, BaoFali). This power is obtained from a specific biomechanics of Baji Quan movements which is based on the 6 big openings (Liu DaKai, ), which are 6 types of fundamental forces (Ding, Bao, Dan, Ti, Kua, Chan: thrusting, gathering, whipping, raising, hips rotation, and twining), and not 6 techniques as it is frequently incorrectly interpreted; the 3 internal forces associated to footwork (Chen, Chuang, Nian: sinking, rushing, crushing) and the circulation of Qi, called Xing Qi (), its accumulation and release from the DanTian via specific breathing processes (cf below). When all these elements are perfectly synchronized on the shortest time-lapse, one can generate the Explosive Power which is characteristic for Baji Quan. However, this can only be achieved after a long training based on: the acquisition of basic techniques (i.e. JiBenGong, ), the combination of these techniques in sequences or preset forms (i.e. Taolus, ), and finally their applications in free fighting.
Internal training: As indicated above, Baji Quan makes use of various internal exercises in order to improve the control of Qi. These exercises can be used either for martial applications (generation of the Explosive Power) or for therapeutic purposes. Baji Quan uses classical respiratory exercises (natural and contrary abdominal breathing), but it focuses more especially on an explosive technique of Qi circulation (called Xing Qi), which is based on the use of the Heng and Ha sounds punctuating the power releases.
Fighting techniques: Baji Quan is a style with simple appearance, with uncluttered techniques and where acrobatics are proscribed. The footwork is based on 5 fundamental positions, and it reflects the characteristics of 10 animals (dragon, tiger, bear, etc.). One of the style characteristics is to use the 8 extremities of the body for striking: head, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, feet, coccyx and finally elbows which are a characteristic of Baji Quan. The hand techniques are based on the use of 10 traditional agricultural tools (hatchet, hammer, fork, etc.) and the kicks are limited to the lower level in order to avoid exposing the crotch.
Fighting tactics: Baji Quan is a close range fighting style, which objective is to enter the opponents guard according to the principles Ai, Bang, Ji, Kao (, , , : getting close, pushing with the shoulder, hustling and leaning on the adversary), and to simultaneously strike the lower, medium, and upper range of the opponent (San Pan Heji, ). Concerning defenses, movements of small amplitudes and close to the body are used in order to protect the central axis of the body. A simple principle is then followed: The hands protect the head, the elbows protect the body, the knees protect the crotch, the feet protect the legs.
At the time of Wu Zhong, Baji Quan was only made of three forms: Xiaojia (the small structure), DanDa (, single form) and its 2 persons set called DuiDa, and SiLang Kuan ( SiLangs extensions).
XiaoJia is the fundamental form of Baji Quan and it uses the LiangYi Ding position as basic structure. The DanDa form is based on the vertical transformations of the LiangYi Ding position. Its 2 person set, called DuiDa, allows the practitioners to get familiar with hand to hand fighting.
The SiLangKuan form is the longest and most refined form of Baji Quan, it is based on the horizontal transformations of the LiangYi Ding position. Until in the Fifties, its teachings was reserved to old families originating from MengCun, only a public form made of the first movements of the full form was taught outside the village.
When Wu Zhongs daughter got married with a ChangQuan expert, the style was enriched with 5 additional forms containing some elements of long fist mixed with Baji Quan. At present, only 2 of these forms have survived and are still practiced in MengCun: TaiZong Quan ( TaiZong Emperor fist) and Fei HuQuan (, flying tiger fist).
Starting from the beginning of the 20th century, Wu HuiQing and his son Wu Xiu Feng (cf Masters) extended the content of Baji Quan by creating new forms (Xing Pi, Bao Xing, Luohan Gong, etc.) based on his exchanges with experts of various styles.
At the origin, the weapon training in Baji Quan was based on: three types of spear, of various sizes, the Willow leaf broadsword, the Spring and autumn halberd and of the Wanderer stick. Thereafter, the style integrated different kind of straight sword, three section whips, and other types of broadsword practiced in the area of Cangzhou.
However, the spear remains the reference weapon for Bajiquan, and more particularly the 6 harmony big spear (, LiuHe Da Qiang) which is a more than 3 m long spear which allows to the practitioner to develop the power release characteristic of the Bajiquan style.
Born on August 13, 1947, Master Wu (also called Honghe) is the second son of Master Wu Xiufeng. He is a 7th generation practitioner of Baji Quan (Eight Extremes Fist). Having studied Baji Quan for much of his life, he began teaching at the age of 18 with a huge amount of success. His students have won a number of gold and silver medals in both national and International competitions.
He is now the Deputy Chairman of the Hebei Province Wushu Association, the Deputy Chairman of the Cangzhou Wushu Association and an 8th level senior national Wushu coach. Master Wu is a guest professor at the Hebei University of Physical Education and since 1982 has given more than 40 speeches around the world, in places such as Italy, Korea and Japan.
Master Wu is a published author on the subject of Baji Quan, having had three books published, entitled, Bajiquan Founded by Wu Shi, Chinese Traditional Wushu and Regulated Actions of Bajiquan. He has also produced a large quantity of Baji Quan teaching material. Unfortunately it is only currently available in Chinese and Japanese. Master Wu Lianzhi is currently one of the most influential people in the Wushu circle.
Master Wu Dawei, is Master Wu Lianzhis son and an 8th generation Kaimen Bajiquan practitioner. Born on the 20th of November, 1971, has been learning Baji Quan from his father since his earliest days. Like his father, Master Wu Dawei has traveled and taught internationally.
He is regarded as one of the greatest among the eighth generation heirs in current Mengcun, having assisted his father in the creation of a much of his teaching material. He is a proficient challenge fighter, performing with distinction in a number of national Baji Quan invitations only matches.
Master Yang Jie, born on the 13th of December, 1953, has been training under Master Wu Lianzhi since he was 15 years old. He is of Hui ethnicity as is common in Mengcun. He has been competing, representing Mengcun, Cangzhou and Hebei province in a number of martial arts competitions.
Over his competitive career, he achieved 2 gold medals, 6 silvers and 8 bronze. Like Master Wu Dawei, he has assisted Master Wu Lianzhi in creating a number of publications on the subject of Baji Quan and is himself a twice published author on the subject. Master Li Junyi - Master Li was born on the 5th of March, 1952 and is the grandson of Wu Xiufeng. He has trained under both Wu Xiufeng and later under his uncle, Master Wu Lianzhi.
When he was just 16 years old he began teaching and has since taught over a thousand students, with a huge degree of success, with a number of his students going to achieve great things and becoming famous in their own right. He has assisted his uncle, Wu Lianzhi, in publishing books and giving international lectures. His instructional DVDs have been released in over ten countries.
The MengCun Baji Quan international training center () was built in 2006. It spreads over 6660 square meters, with a huge outside training ground and an indoor training hall that covers 520 square meters. The center includes 4 high quality, clean and comfortable rooms for 2 persons with private toilet and shower, satellite TV, air conditioning and drinkable water supply.
A new building is currently being built to welcome more foreign students. Standard dormitory rooms for 6 persons are also available, along with a common dining room, a couple of offices with internet access and a small shop where you will find everything you need during your stay (drinks, food, training clothes and shoes, weapons, etc.). You can also find some shops in Mengcun city center itself, only a short walk away from the training center.
MengCun (literally meaning "Meng village" in Chinese) is a small town of Hebei province, located about 250 km south-east of the Chinese capital Beijing and 60 kilometers from the Bohai sea. The nearest big city is Cangzhou, about 40 km north-west of Mengcun.
Mengcun was originally belonging to Cang county, but in 1955, MengCun and its vicinity became an autonomous Hui county. The Hui minority people are Muslims and are famous in China for having a great influence in the development of specific martial art styles like ChaQuan, XingYi / XinYi LiuHe Quan, Pigua Zhang and of course Baji Quan.
The population of Mengcun is about 10 000 people, about 50% of them belonging to the Hui minority. Originally a 100% rural area, Mengcun has seen the development of a small local industry since the 70s. Mengcun is famous for its local agricultural products such as cattle (MengCun beef), crop (radish, cereals, etc.) and fruits (jujube, pear, etc.).
Local specific food includes the Mengcun pizza and the Mengcun beef hot pot. The main challenge for foreigners stopping in MengCun is the famous "Lao Cangzhou" and other strong white liquor which are served in all restaurants when welcoming guests (both Hui and non Hui people in MengCun are hard alcohol drinkers, so get ready).
The Mencun city center comprises a few restaurants, some local shops, two banks with cash dispensers accepting major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, etc.), a hotel, some administrative buildings, a local hospital, a Muslim steam bath and massage center and a big mosque.
The atmosphere in Mengcun is rather quiet, far away from Chinese big cities agitation. Different religions are practiced in a quite moderated way and there are no tensions between the different ethnic groups.
The school provides all of your meals for you. The food will be typical Chinese cuisine, usually consisting of rice, noodles and various meat and vegetable dishes. There will typically be a Muslim lunch served during the day.
You can drive a car from Beijing to Cangzhou directly via the Beijing-Shanghai expressway and route no. G104.
The nearest airport is Tianjin. The Tianjin Airport offers connections to China's biggest cities (Beijing, Shanghai, and others) and some international flights to Japan and Korea. From the airport you can transfer to Tianjin railway station that has regular trains to Cangzhou, or you can rent a Taxi from the Airport to Cangzhou. Travel time takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
You can take a public transit bus from Zhaogongkou () Station in Beijing. There are buses about every hour. It will take about 3 hours to travel from Beijing to Cangzhou by bus.
Cangzhou lies on several main railway routes, and it can easily be reached from Beijing via fast trains that leave from "Beijing south" brand new railway station (this trip takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes). You can take the China High-speed Railway (CRH) from Beijing South Station to Cangzhou. Here is the schedule.