Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby Formosa Neijia on Mon May 09, 2022 9:31 am

Below is a reference that Chen Pan-ling made to a form that is supposedly the predecessor to baguazhang which helps explain the style. It's called lian wu zhang 連五掌 and it's from the shaolin 少林羅漢掌 which clearly shows CPL thought BGZ was from shaolin, not from a Daoist source. Interestingly enough, two teachers from CPL lineage have the actual form in their curriculum -- 黃裕盛 Huang Zhun-shen and 陳金寶 Chen Jin-bao.
Image
https://www.easyatm.com.tw/wiki/%E9%BE% ... B%E6%8E%8C
Here's a brief translation: bagua's 8 palms use a circular method, also known as pre-heaven palms. The pre-heaven is a circular method used to train the body, the post-heaven (houtian) palms are direct and used to train usage. For the single palm change, you can refer back to shaolin's connected 5 palms (lian wuzhang) from luohanquan. By putting the straight-style luohanquan on a circle, you get the single palm change. (note: he actually uses chengwei-- becomes. So the connection is clear)

So here's what the form looks like:
Huang Zhun-shen version, very crisp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXuDOi65zR4
Second version from Chen Jin-bao


Here is an article about it:
https://blog.xuite.net/taichi99/99taichi/365799821#

In general, the form is praised for having very flexible stepping, hidden usage, and very applicable palm work -- sounds like BGZ.

So the lian wuzhang comes from 地功拳 digongquan version of luo han 羅漢 and is listed as the fifth form in the style in some curriculums.

Here is a version from China:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-3EIMPIS58
There is also a two-man version of the form.

P.S. and yes, I need a blog again
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby Doc Stier on Mon May 09, 2022 9:58 am

The alleged connection there between Baguazhang and those Shaolin forms seems like an improbable stretch of hypothetical conjecture, imo. I don't see the supposed connection. Sorry! ::)
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby GrahamB on Mon May 09, 2022 9:59 am

Having watched one of these videos I'm not convinced it's the origin of bagua Zhang? What evidence does Chen Pan Ling produce?

To be honest, at this point I'm pretty much convinced that all origin stories of Chinese martial arts are made up of half truths, whispers and outright lies. From 'Shaolin warrior monks' to 'taoist martial arts hermits' - I don't believe any of it :)
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby Quigga on Mon May 09, 2022 10:10 am

For me it's also ok to just believe people were fighting since forever and ever, then they just got better at it. Like with everything :-)
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby Quigga on Mon May 09, 2022 10:11 am

I can't tell if I'm being sarcastic here or not, sorry :D
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby Tom on Mon May 09, 2022 10:35 am

Thanks for posting this, Dave. It's something interesting to consider. CPL made a systematic study across styles with leading CMA exponents of the time. It's too bad he never talked to Sal C. here on the forum. ;D

The distinction between xiantian training for body/connection and houtian straight-line application/usage forms is a common one in baguazhang.

Kang Ge Wu is perhaps the most well-known proponent of the thesis of a Daoist connection with the circle-walking practice, noting references in both the Daoist canon and Quanzhen tradition to circle-walking as a meditative/worship practice in certain sects: https://pakuachangjournal.com/circleWalk.php?page=2.

But it is interesting that the 36 Songs and 48 Methods attributed to Dong Haichuan's direct verbal instructions do not provide any real detail on circle-walking--despite the emphasis on the practice in writings of later-generation students like Sun Lutang. IIRC the 36/48 do not contain any specific Daoist references either.

"Half truths, whispers and outright lies" . . . et tu, Graham? Even xingyiquan? ;D
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby GrahamB on Mon May 09, 2022 11:24 am

Tom - it's hard to find another martial art as afflicted by branding as Xingyiquan. Oh, hadn't you heard? I know the REAL SHANXI! 8-)
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby wayne hansen on Mon May 09, 2022 11:44 am

I have an apple that looks like an orange but it tastes different
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby salcanzonieri on Mon May 09, 2022 12:07 pm

Well, I have a whole chapter in my book that deals with Louhan Quan origin of Bagua Zhang.
It has always been said that in the palace Dong Hai Chuan taught Shaolin Louhan Quan. and some BGZ styles still contact some Louhan Quan forms.

All he did was invert the stepping patterns. Shaolin moves in a circle along a straight line. BGZ moves in a straight line along a circle.
Some BGZ lines teach this difference, using the first way when early training and then shifting to the second way when teaching the three palm change forms.

Shaolin Louhan 8 Palms form, explained in my book, uses only the flat palm, not fists, in all the moves. Also it is the only Shaolin form that features the same animals as used in Yin Fu BGZ, such as unicorn, bear, phoenix, lion, and the usual dragon, snake, monkey, sparrow hawk, etc, etc.
The first 3 BGZ palms changes can be seen within the first form (of 8) of this Shaolin Louhan 8 Palms set.
Dong Hai Chuan never taught anyone any palms other than the first 3. After those, he just used whatever style the student already practiced.

When doing my book, had a copy of Kang Ge Wu's book. Independently of him, I found the same info about who taught what to how and when in the area where Dong Hai Chuan was from and the styles that his relatives practiced contain elements that are in BGZ. Then once I read his thesis, I saw we both had the same set of info and conclusion, which was that Dong Hai Chuan studied martial arts with his elder cousin and others, he learned:

* Ba Fan Quan (八翻拳) - Eight Rotations Boxing of Ba Fan Men (八翻門) - Eight Rotations System
• Xing Quan (行拳) - Traveling / Walking in a Line / Row Boxing of Liuhe Men (六合門) - Six Harmony System’
• Jingang Quan (金剛拳) - Diamond / Vajra Boxing of Chuojiao Men (戳腳門) - Foot Poking System
• Hong Quan (红拳) - Red Fist (洪拳) / Flooding Fist of Shaolin Luohan Men (羅漢門)- Saints System.

After learning these routines, Dong was sent by his parents at age twelve to Cangzhou to learn Liuhe Quan. Professor Kang Gewu investigated these local routines and postural movements and compared them with those of elderly Bagua Zhang practitioners of recent times. In doing so, he discovered that their hand techniques relied heavily on the use of open palm striking; he also found that many of the postural movements in these routines were identical to those seen in Bagua Zhang. Kang’s thesis showed photographs of their practitioners’ postures being compared to
analogous postures exhibited in Bagua Zhang books by such third generation practitioners as Guo Gumin, Sun Lutang, Sun Xikun, and Huang Bonian. He concluded that many of the Bagua Zhang postural movements are identical to those found in Ba Fan Quan, Xing Quan, Jingang Quan, and Hong Quan. Photos in Kang Gewu’s thesis, showi how Bagua Zhang postures were very similar to or at least derivative from foundational postures found in his village martial arts of Jingang Quan, Hong Quan, and so on.
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby Bao on Mon May 09, 2022 12:44 pm

I would suspect that Mr Canzonieri is correct. There is no reason trying to link Baguazhang to Daoist arts as there is the Shaolin 8 Lohan palms that follows the same patterns and shares the same animal names.

Late historian William Hu meant that according to his own studies, the name baguazhang was already in use by the time of Dong Haichuan, and that Dong was only one of several teachers who already taught the art at this time.

Also, he meant that Baguazhang was a short version of a longer, original name: "Longying bagua yu shen lian huan zhang" or "Revolving circular body movements taking the shape of a dragon weaving into the Eight Diagram pattern". I don't know about this. It could be an alternative name of the Cheng style I guess, as it is said that Cheng Style is based on the Dragon. But focusing solely on the dragon would leave out the other 7 animals. However, the character "lian" in this longer name is found in the name mentioned in the OP as well. Maybe there is some connection here?

You can find his old article here. I am not perfectly sure, but from what I can find so far, this should be the first article ever written about Baguazhang in an American magazine:
https://books.google.se/books?id=QM4DAA ... &q&f=false
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby Formosa Neijia on Mon May 09, 2022 1:04 pm

Tom wrote:Thanks for posting this, Dave. It's something interesting to consider. CPL made a systematic study across styles with leading CMA exponents of the time. It's too bad he never talked to Sal C. here on the forum. ;D

The distinction between xiantian training for body/connection and houtian straight-line application/usage forms is a common one in baguazhang.
...
But it is interesting that the 36 Songs and 48 Methods attributed to Dong Haichuan's direct verbal instructions do not provide any real detail on circle-walking--despite the emphasis on the practice in writings of later-generation students like Sun Lutang. IIRC the 36/48 do not contain any specific Daoist references either.


Glad to see someone appreciated it. I have come to the conclusion that Sal is often right even though most of his analysis comes from comparing video clips, which I find problematic. CPL studied from a lot of serious people and i think I saw a reference yesterday to him actually doing luohanquan with a high level teacher in his youth, which would likely make this a form in the CPL lineage that apparently isn't widely taught.
Thanks for the reminder that 36/48 don't contain any specific daoist references or much in the way of circle-walking.
salcanzonieri wrote:Well, I have a whole chapter in my book that deals with Louhan Quan origin of Bagua Zhang.
It has always been said that in the palace Dong Hai Chuan taught Shaolin Louhan Quan. and some BGZ styles still contact some Louhan Quan forms...

Shaolin Louhan 8 Palms form, explained in my book, uses only the flat palm, not fists, in all the moves.


As I said before, most of my teachers have confirmed your thesis that almost all of this stuff is from shaolin and if it wasn't for the early taiji marketing experts like Wu Tu-nan disparaging it, shaolin might be seen in the broader light it deserves. I thought of you specifically when I saw this because this is straight from CPL himself and he was in a position to know. I take his assertion seriously.

As to most people not being able to see a connection, I'm constantly amazed at how people perceive things. They expect a predecessor style to appear 99% similar in appearance but what if this is the "lianhuan" version (the hint is "lian" in lian wuzhang) of a larger practice of proto-houtian baguazhang? It's straight-line in origin, nothing but palm strikes and kicks, has a "stretched out" position shaolin is known for (Gao style, anyone?), CPL points out that houtian BGZ is straight and for application, and get this: CPL thought this was important enough to preserve for a reason.

This is actually why I sometimes cringe when I read your assertions occasionally because you often draw tight connections between two things based on what two videos look like when I've seen people change how something looks in the blink of an eye. XYQ people make their stuff look like baji when they see judges from a baji background judge XYQ at a forms competition, etc. An actual statement like this is a bit more concrete, making me more likely to hang my hat on it than "the way this guy his form looks like X."

Anyway, I thought you'd appreciate the validation. Keep digging. You're going in the right direction.
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby windwalker on Mon May 09, 2022 1:15 pm


Eventually he grew tired of the Li’s games and decided to leave Wen An in about 1853. At this point in Dong’s life, the story becomes vague. He most likely went from Wen An to Kai Ko to live with his relatives.

Remember Dong Xian Zhou? It turns out that he was also a martial arts enthusiast and had become very well known in and around his village for his skill at

Ba Fan Quan.

He was so well known that bandits in the area avoided his village so they would not have to confront him.

It is very possible that while in Kai Ko, Dong Hai Chuan studied Ba Fan Quan with his relative Dong Xian Zhou.

Professor Kang’s investigation of Ba Fan Quan revealed that many of the movements and techniques of this style can be found in Dong Hai Chuan’s Ba Gua Zhang



Pa Kua Chang. Vol. 4, No. 6
Sept/Oct 1994


An old magazine no longer in print



When doing my book, had a copy of Kang Ge Wu's book. Independently of him, I found the same info about who taught what to how and when in the area where Dong Hai Chuan was from and the styles that his relatives practiced contain elements that are in BGZ. Then once I read his thesis, I saw we both had the same set of info and conclusion, which was that Dong Hai Chuan studied martial arts with his elder cousin and others, he learned:

* Ba Fan Quan (八翻拳) - Eight Rotations Boxing of Ba Fan Men (八翻門) - Eight Rotations System


• Xing Quan (行拳) - Traveling / Walking in a Line / Row Boxing of Liuhe Men (六合門) - Six Harmony System’
• Jingang Quan (金剛拳) - Diamond / Vajra Boxing of Chuojiao Men (戳腳門) - Foot Poking System
• Hong Quan (红拳) - Red Fist (洪拳) / Flooding Fist of Shaolin Luohan Men (羅漢門)- Saints System.



History is interesting

In my teachers group in China, there was a guy who practiced Bagua in a square pattern
It looked very different....
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby salcanzonieri on Mon May 09, 2022 1:19 pm

No no no, I don't base my assumptions on videos.
I ONLY show the videos to illustrate what I am talking about, that's all. I have no other way to show people what I mean unless I show it to them in person.
Which I have always said I am willing to do an online or in person seminar to who ever wants to.

No, I spend 40 years doing research by translating Chinese books and magazines and then running it by various old master I knew.
Also, interviewing people, or people who talked as an intermediary with their teachers.

AND, I went out and learned everything I wrote about. All the forms for decades, before I finished my notes and put together the book.
I even learned that Lian Wu Zhang form, 20 years ago.

Nope, everything I wrote about I tested physically and compared how to do their moves saw the connection and then read the supporting material and interviewed lots of old people who did the stuff.

The videos I post here, since people here don't seem to have my book in hand (they should though, ha ha).

Don't assume what you are assuming about me. I have academic background. Three BA degrees and a Master's in Psychology (I am a board certified psychologist, retired. Before 2008 I worked at Bell Labs doing process analysis and technical writing. Worked in the department that developed 1G to 3G Wireless and more.
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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby johnwang on Mon May 09, 2022 2:39 pm

When I was 11, my Luohan system brother-in-law (from Baoding, Hebei) tought me a form called Bagua Quan (not Bagua Zhang). The starting move is to

- Use both hands to draw a 3 dimension circle.
- Strike both arms back.
- Left palm hit right fist.
- Left arm pull bow, right hand pull arrow.

Even today, I still don't know why a Louhan system instructor would taught me a form that use the Bagua name. I was too young to ask that question. My brother-in-law had passed away many years ago. Today, I still cannot find any Bagua Quan video online.

Also the Lian Wuzhang that I have learned is a 2 men form. Some moves are:

- jab, cross, right hook, left hook combo.
- elbow lock leg spring.
- jump double crescent kicks counter foot sweep.
- ...

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Re: Chen Pan-ling: Baguazhang comes from shaolin luohanquan

Postby Formosa Neijia on Mon May 09, 2022 2:46 pm

This brings up an important distinction for me: how something could be very relevant to the style if you're in it (I'm part of CPL lineage) and yet get scoffed at by people outside of it. I think a lot of people look at this stuff and want all their personal doubts about something answered in one fell swoop and CPL's statement isn't meant to satisfy that. Most seem to think an ancestor style to BGZ will walk around in circles while probably wearing WuDang robes and a dork knob while carrying a fly whisk and then maybe they'll consider it because that's the only thing they want to see. Again, that's exactly WHY I'm so skeptical when I see exactly that. Take bapanzhang or as it seems to be -- re-worked BGZ that was made into the ancestor style of BGZ. I see lots of people do this as marketing, especially in Yang style taiji with the Ban-hou and Shao-hou forms. They take an existing form, re-work it based on expectations and then "hey! look at me!"

The more I look at this, I think CPL considered this very important and his statement was part of something larger, perhaps pointing in a certain direction. Others in my lineage seem to agree and that's enough to keep looking.

salcanzonieri wrote:No no no, I don't base my assumptions on videos.
I ONLY show the videos to illustrate what I am talking about, that's all.


Well that's what it seemed like based on your posts. I'm glad you started posting on your youtube channel as I think that's a better medium to get your point across.
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