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Baji Quan (Eight Extremes Fist)
Baji Quan is a powerful infighting style that relies on the sudden use of explosive force, or Fa Jin, to shatter the opponent's defense, destroy his root and achieve a quick and decisive victory. The style is simple to learn but requires diligent study to master the underlying skills. Elbow and shoulder techniques are outstanding and are masterfully combined with stamping footwork and waist work to deliver devastating strikes.
The style developed and spread around the Cang Zhou Prefecture of Hebei Province in Northern China, an area famous for its martial arts. It was first mentioned in writing during the Ming Dynasty and became popularized in the Qing Dynasty. The name, Baji Quan, is best translated as "Eight Extremes" and refers to the usage of power that is administered through eight major body parts: the head, the shoulders, the elbows, the hands, the buttocks, the waist, the knees and the feet. It is also known as the "Bodyguard Style," since many of its exponents served to protect the Chinese Emperors and other members of the Imperial Family.
Baji training includes Zhan Zhuang or Zhuang Gong (Post Standing) training to develop the Qi (Vital Energy) and different types of Jin (Force). Various stances and footwork patterns, and eight fundamental fists are practiced individually and with a partner. The style emphasizes several empty hand and weapons routines that are designed to advance the trainees' knowledge and overall skill. The key empty hand forms in our Baiji lineage are Xiao Baji (Small Baji), Da Baji (Big Baji) and Liu Da Kai (Six Big Openings). The primary weapons are the saber, sword, staff and spear.
Baji Quan is a very effective and direct style that combines both hard and soft elements. While many kicking techniques are evident in the style, they are generally kept to the opponent's low extremities in combat and are used less frequently than the shoulder, elbow and hand techniques.
Our Baji Quan lineage derives from the famous master Li Shu Wen who was nicknamed Magic Spear Li and God Spear Li for his superb skill and fighting prowess with the spear. He was also an expert in Pigua Zhang (Split Deflect Palm). Allegedly, Master Li learned the styles from two different teachers and integrated them into his own teaching style. These two systems complement each other. In Baji Quan, the emphasis is more "Yang" and its characteristics implement infighting with fists and elbows that emit a kind of battering and pounding power. Pigua, on the other hand, stresses "Yin" type power and uses long-range techniques that emphasize open palms and knife-hand strikes through swift combinations.
One of the advanced routines is the "Baji-Pigua combination form" which stresses the integration and blending of both styles. It was most certainly compiled by Li Shu Wen and based on his experience of the two styles. The development of Fa Jin (Explosive Power) is very important and one of the training methods requires the students to practice Liu He Da Qiang, or Six Harmony Big Spear. The spear is at least 10 to 12 feet long and quite heavy. It is kept close to the body while practicing different techniques; this encourages the development of whole body power.
Baji Quan, like Xing Yi Quan (Hsing I Chuan), is an ideal system to study for people who want to learn a dynamic style of martial art but are not able to practice Eagle Claw Kung Fu or Mizong Luohan either because of age or body type. Baji and Xing Yi are easy to learn, provide challenging training and offer practical applications for self defense.
"Even the Gods fear the Masters of Baji" is a popular saying that signifies the effectiveness of the style.