Feudal Chen Tai Chi Chuan (Gongfu Jia) is characterized as a sophisticated martial art, utilizing nuanced martial strategy and body mechanics, integrated with complex, multi-segmental movements at the micro and macro levels. The martial strategy of Chen Taijiquan is refined- enhancing natural physics using the leverage of joints and bone structure, coordinated with distinct psychology. Archimedes, the Greek mathematician and physicist once remarked: “Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.” The timeless Law of the Lever, is gratifyingly excessive in this system. The ancients incorporated mechanical advantage thoroughly into the design of ancient Tai Chi knights. Feudal Chen Taijiquan is labeled as Chen Longfist/ Cannonfist- influenced greatly by Taizu Changquan. The motion patterns and footwork of Chen Taijiquan before the 1920s are more dynamic, with agile footwork contrary to the flat-footed modern style. Ancient Taijiquan flows the power and transitions with a tempo, varying greatly from the post 1928 slow-qigong version. The systems trained at Park Front Fighting Arts, emphasize both the Chen Fake and Zhaokui line, which presents an accurate representation of Chen Style Taijiquan before it nearly disappeared in Chen Village in the mid-1900s. And rest assured, this is not the stuff in that Tai Chi vs MMA spectacle.
Bajiquan is revered for its fierce boxing and respected practicality. Liu Yun Qiao is the founder of Wutan Bajiquan Organization in Taiwan. Liu served as a secret agent for the nationalist Kuomintang and instructor of Chiang Kai Shek’s bodyguards. Bajiquan has since acquired a reputation as the bodyguard style… The battering ram retained status as the siege weapon of choice for breaching the fortress in medieval era. If every joint in your body were a battering ram, you would share commonalities with Bajiquan practitioners. The heavy log of the ram allowed attackers to crush doors and gates with extreme ballistic power repeatedly, in order to break or force them open. Now you can do the same to your punching bag or opponents, in the office, or while observing Nature. Bajiquan shines at close combat, as it focuses on elbow, knee, shoulder and hip strikes when an opponent penetrates long-range defenses.
Yin/Cheng Baguazhang (Northern Shaolin) trains the body to generate force from the synergy of breath and momentum, using kinetics of spiraling movements and refined mechanics. Baguazhang motion patterns optimize intent and fascia connectivity, bridging solo training with fluency in usage. The wise Archimedes once quoted “Do not disturb my circles!” These are indeed the words, a Baguazhang fighter lives by. Circle training generates heightened equilibrium and accurate footwork in close quarters, ideal for urban settings and when there is more than one opponent. In feudal times, the Yin Style Eight Animal systems were revered for its butch, yet geometrically intelligent footwork patterns- consisting of four-point dynamic positioning within the circle. Eight Animal tactics “square the circle” so to speak, it has the ability to observe and fight equally in four directions during conflict. As a sidenote, the Eight Animal methodologies are an integrated part of modern combatives branching from “The Fairbairn Method” of William E. Fairbairn. The Interlinking Body systems of Yin/ Cheng Baguazhang aesthetically contradicts the Eight Animal style- in fact they are polar opposites. Interlinking Body is synonomous with the attractive and elegant Bagua popularized in every Baguazhang movie ever made, that you’ve ever seen- and perhaps believe to be what Baguazhang is. Characterized by its fluid (weaving/interlinking) body (serpent/dragon-like) movements with complex coiling and spiraling, the style is more dynamic and smooth externally, with intricate footwork patterns. Close-in fighting, wrestling/ restraint are common Interlinking Body attributes. In modern times, Interlinking systems may appear ballet-like, sometimes odd to the outside observer. However, most today are unaware that Chinese Renaissance masters ballet danced with menacing Halberds while interlinking their body. The Yin Style Bagua Luohan Penetrating Palm system is influenced by military-grade Shaolin Luohanquan, utilized by Imperial Guards, soldier monks, and security forces of the 19th Century. The Luohan styling is what you get if you were to mush together Eight Animals with the Interlinking Bodies, then proceed with integrated muscle, tendon, and ligament destruction capabilites… followed by profound biomechanical knowledge of the short spear.