Contacts, exchanges, and influences : verified lineage
Essay from Li Dao-Lee who followed Wu for more than
25 years :
Msr Lee accurately tells the true history of teachers
History of LiuHe BaFa
六合八法拳, Wu Yi-hui 吳翼翬 by Li Dao-li
(CYY First Name)在上海虯江路開設酒店，極仰慕先師，托姜容樵，張之江兩位老前輩引薦拜師為弟子。他勤學苦練，不負先師之訓教，深得六合八法之奧秘。
1985 August 1
李道立謹述 Li Dao-li 'wrote' the above
and Xi-Yi Sect meets LH8 :
Yi-hui is known to have learned a Shaolin related boxing style called variously
as Lu Hong Ba
Shi 呂紅八勢拳 or
simply as Lu Hong Boxing 呂紅拳
In itself this is not a surprise and technically
it would not matter which learning came first, the patterns of LHBF or those of LH8. What is significant is that the
'final' product of Wu, the Nanjing-66 form series of two 33-form parts does show the imprinting of the Lu Hong patterns. Thus,
even if a student where to only learn the 66-form series, they would also have learned the embedded LH8 patterns.
Some of the possible chronolgies that could
exit have been examined which would result in a detailed event history as follows :
0>Fan Gu Guo 范固國, a match-maker, introducing Wu to teachers.
1>Yan Guo-xing --- 閻國興 -from Henan ===>> 華嶽希夷門
Old Official Street (Laoguan Jie 老官街). Beijing
2>Chen Guang-di --- 陳光第 -from Hebei ===>> 華嶽希夷門
[ Song Qing Wen 宋清文 -from Kaifeng taught >>> 呂紅八勢 Lu
3> Chen He-lu --- 陳鶴侣 -from Beijing ===>>心意六合八法拳
Collective teachings >>>>to Wu Yi -hui 吴翼翚
Symbolically as : [ 華嶽希夷門 + 心意六合八法
+ 呂紅八勢 ]
華嶽 心意 六合八法 HuaYo=HwaYu 'central ideas' + LiuHe BaFa-boxing
[ note that taoist XiYi 希夷 phonetically mimics the xinyi- 心意 principles ]
Thus, although currently, this martial exercise is simply called 'LHBF' its' content
is derived from the knowledge of prior teachers knowledge:
華嶽希夷門 [ Fan Gu-guo and Chen Guang-di ] combined with
心意六合八法拳 [ Chen He-lu ] and also aspects of
呂紅八勢 Lu Hong Ba Shi, Lu Hong's 8 innate potentials
[ Comment: Some students/ teachers insist that the verbose
is the 'only' 'school' name that should be 'correctly' used; which few use. As a lengthy history name it does carry
much information ]
Unfortunately, even with a longer name that gives two namings for two aspects of the exercise, this does not offer the
inputs that went into them; this seems to be derivations of TaiZu's 'Chang Quan (太祖长拳, Long Boxing)
of the Song Dynasty and possible aspects of non-Shaolin ...LiuHe 六合拳 and BaFa 八法拳.
This aspect has received some attention by some notable martial scholars, who strongly noted the absorption of prior martial
arts into the later Chen Village exercises.
of Tai-zu principles 'rocks the boat' :
In the martial forum:
rumsoakedfist.org, Dr. Kenneth Fish unveils the discovery of a long surmised buried history [30 Aug 2011, Rocking
the boat on LHBF]
" I was in a very small town in the middle of nowhere,
Hebei, for a bit about a week ago. The town, called duliu, is about an hour and change from Tianjin.
Its very well known for tough martial artists, and a very complete kind of Tongbei, called Duliu Taizu Tongbei-quan
(The Taizu is not the
same as the Song-taizu - it is a local term referring to this kind of Tongbei ) martial arts family.
" I was
introduced to one of the top people in the area, and visited him and the teacher is my age, and there were a couple of his
elder classmates too - they also demonstrated a bit, and were spry and powerful in their 70's."
"Things took a turn for the unexpected late in the day - we were watching some films that they had made of the system,
and some footage of other systems was on the disc as well - Luhong Bashi, Bafa Quan, and Liuhe Quan,
all native to the general area. "
"I was very interested in what I saw - the BaFa Quan and the LiuHe Quan (not the Shaolin Temple Liuhe) [ Non-shaolin 非少林拳:
非少林六合拳 , 非少林心意六合拳,
非少林八法拳 ] had several very long forms - and they bore a very
strong resemblance to major sections of LHBF - with very similar mechanics, but with much more visible force and exertion,
like old style Lohan or Weito Shaolin. (There was also some Erlang Quan, but thats another story).
"So I asked about the Bafa Quan and the Liuhe Quan - and this was what I was told (which, btw, is consistent with both
Wu Yihui's writings and the historical research done on LHBF by the local government) -
"These are systems that have been practiced in this area for a long time - probably going back to late Ming or early Qing
dynasty. They are well known here and throughout Hebei."
"That teacher (indicating a gent on the CD) is the grandson
of one of Wu Yihui's teachers." [Comment: his son, Wu Yinghua 吴英华 ; VCD by
"Yes, we know about Wu Yihui and LHBF. LHBF was developed by Wu Yihui and his teachers. It was developed from these two
systems, and other things that Wu Yihui learned "
是由 六合拳和八法拳 这两个拳法变化出来的
"We don't know where the whole Daoist myth came from - its a myth. This was developed
here (meaning rural Hebei), and Wu Yihui was the person who developed and spread it."
"Which, as far as I am concerned,
makes a hell of a lot more sense than the general LHBF mythology we are all familiar with - and it explains why the system
seems to have changed over time while Wu Yihui was still alive and teaching - he was stll working on it and changing it throughout
"Duliu Tongbei does not resemble what most people think of as Tongbei - it is not an "ape system". The Tongbei
still refers to power transmitted through the back and into the limbs (which is part of what I was talking about in terms
"As for Wu having a teacher for each of the separate systems - Wu said as much in his writings. When
I get back to the States I will translate and post what Wu had to say about Lu Hong Ba Shi and his various teachers.
LiuHe Quan had a very long form that, properly practiced, takes about an hour to run through. There were a lot of succesions
of movements that looked like they had been taken from both parts of what you are calling the Zuji Quan.
also had a teacher who only taught San Pan Shi Er Shi. [ Comment: Wu only had one teacher (of his 3
Liuhebafa teachers) who taught San Pan Shi Er Shi. That was Yan Guo Xing 閻國興.]
koujue (5 character secrets and rhymes of the system) are very much like the ones of the Liu He and Ba Fa systems, and these
are fairly common in type and content throughout northern systems."
"...on the Tongbei system - Duliu Tongbei and Hongdong Tongbei are not related to Baiyuan, Wuxing, Qi Jia,
or Ruyi Tongbei - those are 'ape movement' based systems and are basically similar in many respects, and share a common origin.
Duliu Tongbei is more like "old" Shaolin - training power from body and kua, involving the legs, transmitted and in part generated
from the spine and deep core muscles. The people I saw let me touch their chests, back, and legs as they demonstrated some
of the movements - and also demonstrated some things on me - I was very pleasantly surprised to feel precisely what I know
from all of my previous training was there in terms of mechanics - both obvious and hidden. The same was true for the Liu
He and Ba Fa techniques.
"As for the one hour long form - I asked "does anyone actually do that every day?" - "Nah,
we practice it in sections- its broken up that way - sometimes we try to see how far we can go, but its gruelling. A couple
of guys get through the whole thing a few times a week".
"For comparison, think Chen Taiji on steroids - all of these systems I saw in Duliu "grind out" the details of the movements
as they practice - it was amazing to see one 72 year old do the forms with no less exertion than a 30 year old.
[ Comment: the township of 独流 Duliu in Hebei and its' developed variant
of duliu taizu tongbei quan 独流太祖通背拳 with non-shaolin variants of BaFa Quan
八法拳 and LiuHe Quan 六合拳 is not entirely unexpected given the ambituity and mythology
that is usually presented. ie. teacher Wu Yi-hui politely accepting the two names his teachers gave: 華嶽希夷門
+ 心意六合八法 being place-myth cojoined to a theoretical-martial verse, HuaYue-XiYi-Sect
+ Core-Ideas LHBF. The liuhe- and the bafa-boxing have similarity but not equivalency to LHBF. The corrected pinyin
to traditional characters with separated concept-phrases becomes :
這個拳 是由 六合拳 和 八法拳 這兩個拳法
An adendum, on
Tai-zu principles :
by Jarek Szymanski within 'rocking the boat'
"Mr Wu [Yinghua] is the main promoter of the system in Mainland China,
head of the int'l LHBFQ research association with headquarters in Huainan in Anhui Province. He organizes regular meetings
of LHBF pactitioners from all over the world in his hometown.
" Re Duliu Tongbei, it is
a very respected system in Shanghai. Wu Maogui definitively has decent skill, and while his flavour reflects his Taiji experience
under Chu Guiting, Wu's Tongbei comes from pure source - Mr Bao Guanyuan, by some considered the sole inheritor of the system.
BTW Mr Qian Zhaohong, XYLHQ practitioner from Shanghai and known to some board members, is also Mr Bao's disciple.
"Mr Bao's main principle is that every practitioner should make the art his very own. One of the highest levels of the system is called -Dream Fighting" 梦打 - when one
does not rely on thinking, just pure reflexes, when the art becomes deeply integrated into one's nervous system. On the road
to that level personal character and preferences may influence the outside expression of the techniques, however the mechanics
"BTW Duliu Tongbei is also know as Tongbei in 24 Postures (通背24势),
Integrated Tongbei (合一通背) or Lotus Leave Tongbei (荷叶通背).
Nanjing Academy Cross Overs :
Wu Yi-hui [Yik-fan], 吴翼翚 Dean
of Studies, ( Liu Ho Ba Fa Founder )
Chiang Jung-ch'aio , 張之江 Director of Programs, ( Pa Kua,
Hsing-I, Tai Chi ),
Ch'u Kuei-ting, 袺桂亭 ( Hsing-I, Pa Kua )
The relationships and interactions among the martial teachers is significant as there will be a blending and mixing
influence; sometimes beneficial and/ or not. It remains quite surprising that all other commentaries omit this topic.
It is also known that Wu took an interest in a cluster of external boxing exercises [ believed to be of
southern China ] and reworked to adapt them for use as a teaching aid. The exercises are NOT intrinsically part of nor necessary
to the core of LHBF. Note that the emphasis of these exercises is upon swimming and coiling. Most teachers agree that aspects
of these exercises are imbedded within the LHBF long form.
[ Comment: the majority of 'LHBF' teachers may learn or do not teach these addended exercises
due to their bulk of or their being considered as extraneous from the Nanjing Academy.]
Long Hu Zhan - Dragon and Tiger Fighting
螫龍遊 Zhe Long You - Coiled Dragon Swimming
Zhe Long Chuan - Coiled Dragon Fist
Note: each of these exercises are derived from prior external types
that were reworked by Wu to render them a internal types. Their input is generally assumed to be from the Nanjing Academy
period as they were not used by Wu before.
Founder.. meets Yi Chuan Founder :
LHBF Founder Wu Yi-hui meets YQ founder Wang Xiang-zhai
at the Third All-China Wushu Game held
in Hangzhou City, in 1928.
[ Note: both were military officers at the time,
Republic of China]
Wu Yik Fai (1887-1958) 吳翼翬 <=> Wang Xiang-zhai Yik (1886-1963) 王薌齋
[ Note : Wu was 1yrs older and died 5yrs before Wang, the
vital statistics do not show that Wu died earlier due to medical TCM malpractice.]
It is serendipity that these two teachers met, Wang already had a great reputation in the Beijing-Tianjin area as
teacher, innovator, and referee.
[ Comment: There exists no evidence that they
met earlier; both were in the military. Wang most likely saw a compatible exercise in the LHBF of Wu, respected Wu's knowledge,
and was likely benevolent in promoting Wu's knowledge.]
The Yi Quan of Wang offers a verifiable and simple
foundation void of archaic theory;
The 'flowing' or 'swimming' methodology of Wu brings
a continuum which offered a 'dance' which in time was later developed into the Yi Quan. Wu's stepping and turning
patterns were easily compatible with Wang's Yi Quan; Wang already had teacher friends in Tai Chi- [the Yang brothers Shaohou
and Chengfu], but thought that it TaiChi- had become distorted by excess postures; Wang believed that xinyi-types of exercise
should be done 'as Taichi-', and that the only usefullness of Chuang Zhang [Ba Gua-palms] was the Single and Double turnings.
Student Exchange/ Enrichment : The Four Diamonds
The Four Top students of Yi Quan ( 意拳 ) founder Wang Xiang-Zhai
王薌齋 were called the Four Diamonds. Perhaps out of respect or to enrich Wang's
Yi-Quan creation they were sent to the Central Academy in Nanjing to study LHBF with Wu Yi-hui 吳翼翬 [Nanjing-66
Han Xing Qiao 韓星橋, [the older of the two Han Brothers]
2> Zhang Chang Xin 張長信,
3> Zhao Dao Xin 趙道新 [generally the best combat fighter]
4> Gao Zhen Dong
高振東. [more well-known for Gao style Ba Gua]
[ Note : teachers
Liang Zhi-peng, Li Chung, and others also made the YQ-LHBF cross over and better integrations. Each of these teachers used
the original Yiquan of Wang Xiang-zhai or his student Han Xing-yuan...not the YQ as formulated by the Yao Family. It also
should be mentioned that Liang and Li Chung were both fully trained in three variations of LHBF which some have vindictively
claimed were not...a 'school talk story' ]
Teacher Exchanges :
Some may not be aware that teachers are also social
and that during contacts do exchange ideas. This is also true of teachers teaching together at the Nanjing Academy :
Wu Yi-hui would socialize with celebrated teacher Sun Lu-tang 孫祿堂
[first named as Sun Fu-quan 孫福全, which he continued to use].
Sun and Wu would meet almost daily for afternoon 'tea' and exchange ideas, each was academically oriented;
many of the current classifications of Chinese martial arts derive from Sun. Msr. Sun was open-minded and permitted
Msr Wu to teach his knowledge of 'water' boxing to one of Sun's students; [my second teacher Msr Ho] the differences
between Wu's various teachings become evident from this exchange.
[Comment: Msr Ho insisted that Wu only referred to the exercise as 'Shanghai water style boxing'
and at no time did he say it was LiuHe BaFa or Nanjing boxing; Ho's own teacher, Msr. Sun more than likely knew of its' relation
to the LHBF being taught by Wu but said nothing on this. The variation and modality differs greatly from the Nanjing-66 form
series commonly seen.]
of Grandmaster Sun Lu Tang (1861-1933) Garofalo
|Mr. Ho LingTze
|St.Marys' Park, San Francisco
While teaching in San Francisco, Mr. Ho was also
a 'tea' friend of Msr Kuo. Khan Foxx was the student of both Msr. Ho 何星子 and Msr. Kuo Lien-ying 國鏈鄞,
learning both adaptions of Yi Quan-Zhan Zhuang Qigong, Sun-style San-Ti-qigong, and Msr. Kuo's 'universal post' either his
own or that from Wang Xiang-Zhai. [Note: there are many other exercise cross-overs that have occured,
[Comment : Msr. Kuo, after finishing
his usual early morning class in Portsmouth Square would walk over to Msr.Ho's class in St.Mary's Park to view students and
wonder about the variant of LiuHe BaFa that I would practice.]
Msr Ho is reputed also to be the story
source for the Deng Ming-Dao Wandering Taoist series: [also, of influence on StarWars themes; he was the closest
in personality to a Master Yoda that I have met; thus the Starwars movie character was already well known to myself.]
Teacher animosity :
Sun Lu-tang and Wang Xiang-zhai were the next-last and last students of GMsr.
Guo Yun-shen 郭雲深,
Sun fully learning xinyi-boxing and Wang learning only the inner powers core which he futhered by study and combat with other
Although it would seem that fellow classmates would be on social terms, a 'testing' exchange by one of Wang's students,
Zhao Dao-Xin who was 40yrs Sun's junior...resulted
in Sun losing the match, losing 'public esteem', and likely chilling his relationship with Wang. [ Comment: the possilility
of Sun 'throwing' the match can also be considered.] The event brings a question about Wang's vanity and his motives for allowing
this match or of Zhao doing it.
[ Translated Andrzej Kaliscz ]
Late Changes : Lost Enrichments :
Msr Wu Yi-hui, in the last 5 years of his life sought to addend his Nanjing-66 form styling with two changes :
> an 88 form
series, was to have included additional forms
> a doubling
of the existing 66-form Nanjing series to 132-forms to more fully exercise equally both right and left sides; the Nanjing-66
form tends to exercise the right side while attacking an opponents left and weaker side.
Neither of these ambitions seems to have come together.
Choices : Lineages
It has been often speculated as to why founder Wu Yi-hui chose Chen Yik-yan as his lineage successor?
Although there were longer students with more knowledge and also those more capable in martial ability, the choice was Chen.
An answer to this may have to
do with China becoming 'red', communist, and their repression of traditions and martial exercises..and the imprisonment of
teachers, ie Lui Gui-yao. Some teachers
'disappeared' from Red China's view, while others relocated to Hong Kong, which until recently was a 'free' colony of England.
Both Liang Zhi-peng and Chen Yik-yan took refuge there. Liang was open to evolution of the style, Chen adhered to strict conservation.
Thus, by this reasoning, Chen was chosen for his conservation of the style, and was free of red China while he remained in
Hong Kong. Now that Chen is dead, the arguments continue for a school successor and there is also some pressure to direct
this to themselves. Some of the continuing argument eminate from Chen's attacks upon any 'break-away' teacher as being
disloyal or as being only 'half learned' and unqualified to teach.
Note: there does exist a learning principle embedded here : Evolve