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A brief summary of water-style and LiuHe BaFa principles and martial applications.  An attempt to simplify and distinguish.

  It is most often simply described as :
(1) a 3-way union of exercises in series of taiji xingyi + bagua. [ CIMA ]
                          太極拳,     形意拳,    八卦掌
This is correct in principle only; these three named MA's are all relatively modern; older principles did exist before the Song Dynasty and before Shao Lin temple. 
(2) interpreted and diasected and compared  in practice to these usual three 'internal' martial arts. [ there is philosphically an intermedial art called the 'four images' also. ]
(3) There are also other ways of defining 'internal' beyond the usual selections.
This would be as either an 'external' martial art that has been reworked to conform
to 'internal' principles; there is also the aspect of composite exercises not known or definable under the 'standard' of 'basic internal three'.
    All are partially true, but also missing aspects unique to LHBF also; in reverse, LHBF is missing some methodologies typical of the usual IMA three.

IMA and LHBF : 
    Firstly it should be said that forms and martial techniques between almost all Chinese martial arts are almost identical.  Thus Shaolin forms can be found basically in non-Shaolin forms. In reverse, there are notable non-Shaolin exercises
that are absorbed into the study sets of Shaolin..and thereafter are known by the same name, but with 'Shaolin' prefixed; this topic needs better differentiation.
    Secondly, there is a practice to separate styles due to vanities; which still results in the often heard 'we do that one too'.
    Specifically, LHBF is 'odd' in comparison to the usual '3-IMA' internal martial arts [there are more if we proceed with this definition ]. Simple to say that LHBF is somewhat opposite or backwards to the usually seen series of Tai-Chi-, Xing-Yi-, or of Ba-Gua-.  Too often, students who later become teachers tend to rely on what they already know to interpret LHBF and this results in striking applications.
   As I have had three teachers, each also knowing Yi-chuan, mind-intuitive boxing, each had a different take on LHBF; one was also adept at a differing 'water' boxing, and another would differentiale it with WingChun which he was fond of.
   Addending to points of view, I can utilize my knowledge of Kuang-ping, an earlier version of Yang Family Tai-chi- and also the fundamentals as supported by the Cheng Man-ching Yang Tai-chi-.  Although most have attempted to compare current Ba-gua-exercises with LHBF, to myself, this is misleading as qi-aikido-would be a better fit.

LHBF to Water-boxing :
    Firstly it should be said that forms and martial techniques between LHBF and 'water' boxing can be similar to almost identical.  This is either by choice or it is as it was taught and the student complied. Within this idea, is the obvious fact that the first half of the Nanjing-66 form series is somewhat more confined and martial like; whereas the second half is more flowing and multi-directional.
[Note: the dual term naming considered by some to be the complete, traditional name:
 HuaYue XiYi Sect 華嶽希夷門 [with] Core Ideas of LiuHeBaFa  心意六合八法 are actually a literal composite statement of two source names.
   Secondly, the 'water' boxing, as taught to a student of Sun Lu-tang is obviously different in form-series, and significantly more dynamic as a flowing continuum; some observers have commented that it is more 'electric' or 'energetic' or 'fills the air' with an energy field.
   Having learned both [but not the Nanjing-LHBF] water boxing is more interesting and more healthy; it does however require better balance and more following rhythm and tempo without thought.
[ Note: there is also the newly revealed topic of the 96- and the 104-form series which, besides being longer than the Nanjing-66 form series, includes additional conceptual applications. ]

Waterspirit-exercise : 
1.  It has the flowing traits of water-boxing, but more applications of an arm-throwing and momentum-throwing nature.  Qi-aikido would be the closest known art. The reasoning behind this viewpoint is that the body is fundamentally the source of appendage released force pulses and that against a greatly, larger adversary, it is more expedient to use gravity and terra firma.
2.   Parts this render themselves easily to aspects of minimal 'door' swinging similar to what is usually considered 'wing-chun' but somewhat differently. My last teacher, Moon-chow Jiu and also my college in Denmark, Erik Matthiesen, both have applied it already.
3.   Aspects of waterspirit blend well with Guang Ping TaiChi- 廣平太極拳 and with epee foil and sabre sword fencing. ..meaning spiraling and avoiding of any physical contacts.  
   This also fits well into qi-projection and with 'intuitive' awareness development;
and also into pivotal door-like swinging.

Wrestler Andre the Giant
7ft 4 and 424 lb

Russian Heavy Weight Boxer Nikolai Valuev
defeated John Ruiz by unanimous decision

References :
More complete data can be found in my publication