Xing Yi Hands, Bagua Feet

Xing Yi Hands, Bagua Feet

The internal martial arts of Xing Yi Chuan (Hsing I) and Ba Gua Zhang (Pakua) compliment each other in many ways. In fact these arts are so compatible that some people think they share a common neijia origin art. First generation Ba Gua masters like Chen Ting Hua down to 3rd generation masters like Gao Yi Sheng, studied Xing Yi before, during and/or after they began training in bagua and this tradition carried on to later generations. The same think went for  several prominent Xing Yi masters, who practiced palm changes. Many of us have heard of the bagua and xing yi master who fought each other to a stand still and agreed to teach the arts side by side from then on. Whatever the reasons these arts have been trained side by side for generations in the neijia schools of mainland China and later on in Taiwan.

Li Cun Yi’s text, Xingyi Lianhu Quan states:

“For generations the inner family fists (neijia quan) have been transmitted together with Daoism as a whole piece. Only recently has it been separated into branches, e.g. Xingyi and Bagua…”

The tradition of training these two arts together was kept at the Yi Zong school where Gao style bagua was trained with Hebei, Li Cun Yi style, Xing Yi. In the combined curriculum of these two arts there is enough material to accommodate any training goal; including push hands, health improvement of fighting ability.

Here is an interesting excerpt from Lu Shengli’s excellent book that sheds a bit of light on the origins of cross training these arts;

“One interesting story relates a fight between Dong (Haichuan) and Guo Yunshan, the Xingyi master. The fight went on for three days, at which point Guo decided that Dong was the better fighter. After discussing their respective techniques, they decided that Xingyi and Bagua should be taught concomitantly; everyone who studied Xingyi would have to study Bagua, and vice versa.  As a result, Xingyi and Bagua are said to be one family.”

This story points to the original reasoning for the combining or cross training of these two styles. The motivation was clearly to create the most effective martial art possible. Also in the above book the author states that a student can train in Xing Yi first to achieve a good foundation that can be built on later.

Some of the famous masters who trained in both styles:

  1. Chen Ting Hua
  2. Sun Lu Tang
  3. Li Cun Yi
  4. Gao Yi Sheng
  5. Liang Ke Quan
  6. Wang Pei Sheng


So while it is true that Xing Yi is linear and Bagua circular, both of these arts begin in stillness with Zhuang Fa practice.

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