Baguazhang in Tainan

Saturday morning Sharon Lee came to my hotel with her young friend Kevin (a tri-athlete) and his girl friend Yixian. They took me to his bagua class. I guess we were a little early because instead of going straight to the park we went to his teacher’s house. He and his wife were selling breakfast in sealed plastic cups (like they use for bubble tea). We got to try both types of breakfast, one was a pearl barley wolf berry (gojizi) thing, and the other was a more fruity beanie thing. They were both good. I concentrated on the barley one because pearl barley is known to “drain damp,” and believe me, I got damp. (For those of you who don’t know any Chinese Medicine, damp is how you feel after eating fried food with beer.)

Meeting Master Lin Miaohua I was immediately struck by his long neck relaxed shoulders and open chest. He had the same drum I use in his house and he had a lot of weapons. Next door was his painting studio, all traditional, lots of great looking flower scrolls and calligraphy. He is 71 years old.

He took us to the park and we did a little warm up. Then he demonstrated his Baguazhang. He is a student of Zhang Cilong who was a student of Sun Lutang (1861-1933). So this was great stuff to see. Sun Lutang was famous for his fighting ability, for creating a synthesis of Baguazhang, Xingyiquan and Taijiquan. He taught with "Yang Shao-hou, Yang Shao-hou, Yang Ch'eng-fu, and Wu Chien-ch'üan on the faculty of the Physical Education Research Institute where they taught T'ai Chi to the public after 1914. Sun taught there until 1928, a seminal period in the development of modern Yang, Wu and Sun style T'ai Chi Ch'uan. (quote from Wikipedia) Man, even I’d go back to school for that!

Master Lin is a master of hard and soft. Feeling him attack is like fighting with an electric switch. If he touches you he is sure to give you a shock. He specializes in two legs off the ground fajing explosive power. He has shaking power too. He showed me a whole bunch of forms including some Shaolin and a low ground fighting system called Diliang (I think, it means lay down on the ground). His baguazhang uses small steps and focuses on explosive power. The key to his power is in making the torso like a vacuum which can suddenly suck in the limbs and then cause them to pop out like a fire cracker. Here is a quick video with more to come.