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General Introduction to Ba Ji

Ba Ji, or Eight Extremes, is said to be about 300 years old as a Kung Fu style and has an impressive history. Yung Zheng, an emperor of China during the Qing Dynasty, started a trend, that lead to almost every succeeding emperor studying Ba Ji as well as employing Ba Ji practitioners as bodyguards or as trainers for high-level military officers. Another emperor, Qian Lung, once said: "For peace and soft style, we have Tai Chi, but for fighting and conquesting, we have Ba Ji." Ba Ji seems to be known for its violent, sudden release of explosive power combined with its simple, yet very efficient techniques. This style is still very popular in northern China, especially among the young people. To the untrained eye, it is difficult to differentiate between Ba Ji and other styles such as Long Fist.

The Origin of Ba Ji

There are several different versions of Baji's origin, but most agree on a Mr. Zhung Wu. There even exists several versions of the Quan Pu(the secret book of each style that is handed down generation by generation). The original "Quan Pu"(delivered by a grandmaster from "Ba Ji Village" who served the last emperor, Pu Yi, as his bodyguard and Sifu) recorded a very detailed story...

According to this account, Wu was born in the Shantung Province of China to a rich family. As all legends go, this Wu was interested in Kung Fu as a boy, and sought out every master he could to study under. After a while of training, he begin to find dificulty in finding a good teacher that could best him. He then made an announcement that if someone could beat him and show something special, he would give his property to that person and would become his student.

One day, a couple came in and showed something very special. Wu was amazed and that he had found the right people and so he became their student. During a routine visit to the couple's house while the husband was away, the man's wife wanted to test Wu's Kung Fu. During the confrontation, the woman threw Wu to the ground with only one action. The woman felt very sorry for Wu because her husband had taught Wu for many years, yet Wu's Kung Fu was still not good enough. So she decided to show Wu some secret things. The next day, when the man returned and saw Wu's practice, he was surprised. He asked his wife about Wu and she told him what happened, so then the man said that they no longer had anything to teach Wu, for his Kung Fu was now better than theirs. And the couple disappeared into antiquity.

Later, Wu went to the famous Shaolin Temple for three years to study Qi Gong from the chief monk. After he left Shaolin Temple, Wu happened to meet another monk, Kui-Yuan Lai, and learned the spear technique from him for another three years. Then, he worked as a transportation-guard. He traveled around the country and met no competitor. Some time later, he went to Peking and showed his Ba Ji and spear . His special Kung Fu surprised everybody including the Emperor and earned his reputation as "Magic Spear Wu". In his later life, he stayed in Meng Chun with his daughter, Wu Rong, and his first student, Wu Yung who came from Meng Chun, and taught Ba Ji there. Today people call Meng Chun the Ba Ji Village.

Ba Ji Training

In the original Ba Ji system, there were not as many routines or forms as found today. Many new Ba Ji students, who had previously become accomplished in other styles, brought many additional routines to present day Ba Ji. The original forms (excluding the weapons forms): Jin Gang Ba Shi (gold-steal eight forms), Ba Ji Xiao Jia (Ba Ji Short Form), Ba Ji(Ba Ji Long form), Ba Ji Two Person Routine(application), and Liou Da Kai(six big open). Ba Ji training includes spirit training, external body build-up, internal Qi Gong and applications training. The spirit training develops eight different kinds of spirits. The external movement and technique training teaches to move like eight different kind of animals and builds eight different kinds of skills. And the Qi Gong training combined with spirit training enables people to release the special explosive Ba Ji power.

The training procedure of Ba Ji system includes three stages. The first stage includes: (a)Zhang Zhuang(stance) or Di Pen Bu; (b) Jin Gang Ba Shi and; (c) Ba Ji Xiao Jia. The stance helps to build leg strength, strengthen the spirit, and sink the Qi, and is the most difficult training for the Ba Ji students. Jin Gang Ba Shi is used to develop Ba Ji power. Ba Ji Xiao Jia is for the training of body movement, basic techniques and body strength. The first stage usually takes one to three years. After finishing the first stage, it can be said that the Ba Ji student has a small completion.

The second stage includes: Ba Ji, Ba Ji Two-Man Routine, and Liou Da Ka. All of them are for the training of the body's internal and external movement and technique. This stage takes about 3 years. After this stage, one's external strength, internal feeling, and Qi Gong power should be great.

The final stage is dedicated to the internal training. It includes: Xu Xi Gong (Qi Gong, number counting style to enhance the inside-body), Nei Dong Gong (Qi Gong, internal movement style, for feeling and health) and Kou Qi Gung (Qi Gung, mouth-gas style [don't ask me what that means] for power). It is believed that all these Qi Gong styles originated from Shaolin Temple.

As common in Kung Fu, there is a common saying: "After ten years of serious training, people can claim to have a big completion."