Neijia: Internal Martial Arts

My practice is focused on the internal martial arts of Bagua Zhang, Hebei Xingyi Quan, and Wu Style Taiji Quan as taught within the North American Yin Cheng Gong Fa (YCGF) organization. I am the 40th chair indoor student of Zhang Yun, who trained extensively under the late grandmaster Wang Peisheng in Beijing.

Bagua Zhang ("Bagua") is known for its smooth and fluid nature, giving practitioners the ability to change spontaneously in response to an opponent's actions. Elements of the curriculum include the 8 Mother Palms (Ba Mu Zhang) and 8 Big Palms (Ba Da Zhang) of Cheng Ting Hua, 64 Circular Changes of Yin Fu, and 64 Linear Bagua Forms of Liu Dekuan.

Xingyi Quan ("Xingyi") is known for its stability, giving practitioners an ability to express sudden and explosive power. Elements of its curriculum include San Ti Shi, 5 Elemental Fists, 12 Animal Forms, 10 Step Elemental Linking Form, and the Mixed Skills Form of Hebei Xingyi Quan.

Taiji Quan ("Taiji") is known for its relaxed character, giving practitioners the ability to off-balance an opponent at first touch by borrowing their force. Wu Style Taiji Quan is known for its focus on combative effectiveness. Elements of its curriculum include the 37 posture Wu Taiji Quan form of Wang Peisheng, Fixed Step Push Hands, Free Step Push Hands, Da Lu, and Neigong.

Hebei Xingyi Quan

YCGF preserves an extensive weapons practice centered around the sabre (one and two-handed dao), straight sword (jian), and spear (qiang). This includes basic drills, solo forms, and partner practices drawn from Bagua, Xingyi, Taiji and Tongbei.

Ba Gua Chun Yang Jian ( 八卦純陽剣 ) or "Bagua Pure Yang Sword" is a straight sword (jian) form likely arranged in the 19th century by Liu Dekuan. Chung ( 純 ) can be read as "pure" or "completely" or "entirely" and Chun Yang ( 純陽 ) is a reference to Lü Dongbin ( 呂洞賓 ) who is revered as one of the members of the group known as the Eight Immortals, and is commonly depicted wearing a sword. Lü Dongbin's literary name is Chunyang Zi ( 純陽子 ) or "Master Pure Yang", which is what the form's name derives from -- pure, complete, entirely transformed.

Shíbā Jie or "Eighteen Interceptions" is an extended Bagua practice performed with the one-handed willow leaf saber. It was a favorite practice of Ma Gui, student of Yin Fu, and is a deep and rewarding practice performed while walking in a circle that helps improve a person's baguazhang. It contains many interesting tactics for use against the spear.

Tian Gang Dao

Tian Gang Dao of "Thirty Six Star Saber" is a practice of the long sabre (miao dao) passed down within Baiyuan Tongbeiquan. It has 36 techniques taught in 13 sections and dates from the mid 18th century. YCGF's Tongbeiquan lineage includes Li Shusen (1902-1975), who trained with Li Zhendong (1882-1977). This Tian Gang Dao form is the form taught by Li Zhendong, who taught members of the Chinese 29th Army sword skills during the Sino-Japanese War.

Wuxing Jian & Dao or "Five Element" sword and saber are simple, direct, and effective methods of using the straight sword and saber within the context of Xingyi Quan. In Xingyi, a much heavier jian can be used than in Taiji, where subtletly and fluidity are prioritized over power.

Taiji Spear practice is an excellent way to develop stability, posture, and power. The experience of relaxing and maintaining internal integration of the mind and body when moving an eight pound wooden spear is something that has to be felt to be understood. Understanding how to relax and remain smooth, yet focused, while manipulating such loads is at times a daunting task, but the repetitive nature of the practice calms the mind even as the body fatigues. Internal martial arts carry their own specific body method governing how you respond to force, how you organize your body, and how you issue force of your own. You need to make sure internal ideas are expressed correctly in your practice. The spear is an excellent vehicle for doing so.

Mark Raugas

Thank you for visiting my site. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at the email address below. Also, please check out the other websites and schools I recommend. There are many good places to train in internal martial arts and classical weapons arts if you know where to look.