Originally Posted by The Deacon
Warning: If long laborious, semi-vain, admittedly underinformed posts annoy you, please skip this one. Otherwise, read it and respond if you like. The dialogue can be helpful. I'm always open to receiving constructive feedback.
I've studied chinese martial arts for the past 18 years. A chinese art I sampled that no one's mentioned is shuai chiao which is mongolian wrestling and is combat focused. It includes neck breaking techniques and other cripplers.
The Grandmaster was Chang Tung Shen and he taught here in the US(Ohio) toward the end of his life and was still strong as a bull, crisp and proficient til the end, rep was that he was undefeated in 100's of challenge matches against all comers and styles in China. He was into studying Chinese arts from the renowned masters and distilling what he felt worked martially and discarding flowery form.
As a result he formed Hsing-Jin,the essence of Hsing i, and Tai Chi Jin, the essence of tai chi, and Bagua Jin etc. This is in a Black Belt magazine from the eighties.He was extremely brutal except in casual settings and would introduce himself at seminars by dinging your balls or plum flower fisting the acu point above your lip drawing a drop of blood, true. I studied various shaolin arts like long fist and white crane, Shaolin animals but didn't need to be proficient to outspar upper level students because of athleticism.
Later l learned numerous chinese weapons, chin na, lohan training exercises, qigongs, Bagua chang or 8 diagram palm and Hsing i and tai chi but for forms purposes from someone who was not invested in teaching martially due to liability fears. This got me interested enough to research more and finally track down masters who wanted to teach MARTIAL and who learned directly from then living Grandmasters in given styles.
I learned some cheng bagua which is a grappling, joint lock oriented bagua but have happily ended up studying Yin Fu Bagua with He Jinbao from Beijing. In the 1880's Yin Fu was the senior most student of the art's founder Dong Hai Chuan and together they formed a protection company to protect rich people during trips, they also were the men who trained the Emperor's palace guard. Bagua protected the Emperor.
Yin Fu Bagua is not pretty, it is not flowing and flowery, it breaks bones, mangles and cripples it's opponent in a similar fashion as kajukempo. We use elbows, fists, backfist(wrist) forearms, palms, backs, butts, knees, heads, ankles, heels, shins, the whole body is trained to be a weapon. It is very clearly evident in the forms and drills we do. Everything is combat related, not a flower or non fighting move to be found.
From my earlier martial experiences, I understand how earlier posters who've seen other Bagua schools and non martial tai chi and hsingi schools can lump us all in one soft bag but that is a narrow and short sighted/ underinformed? position.
Generally an art and students proficiency depends on the schools focus and the work put in by the students. I challenge anyone to sample NY's hardnosed, well trained, Bagua expert Novell Bell and say he can't fight or He Jinbao. Jinbao accepts challenge matches in Beijing at his home. And when a foreigner wants to sample China's best fighter, that fighter is pointed towards Jinbao's door.
Not much ink for him but when the rubber hits the road, all other Chinese Beijing fighters take a step back for this guy. Special forces guys love sparring against him when he's here because they can go all out and know that they can't hurt him and he'll only tweak and bounce them. So many of my fellow Yin Style Bagua brothers used to teach Kenpo and TKD and are pissed that they wasted so much time because YSB has an answer for all that stuff.
Some of us have mixed martial arts experience and we like that stuff too and do not denigrate it because it's also for real and has effective ground stuff. We go to see the matches and there is a school down the block from us. Conversly,the head of the school drops by often and sees the merits of our approach.
If your style works against what you'll likely face, it's fine. I've seen a(then 20+ age) wrestler face off against an accomplished (then 20+) tai chi player and short of dropping chest to mat the wrestler could not drop lower than or gain any advantage over the tai chi player who happened to have highly developed rooting ability, speed, balance, strength,technique and knowledge of other styles.
you are living in a fantasy world.