Adam has been studying bagua zhang for over a decade now. He has been very fortunate to work with teachers who are not only extraordinarily talented, but also very generous and open with their teaching. Like his teachers, Adam's approach to teaching martial arts is to demystify them, by explaining the body mechanics, alignments and principles in great detail.
Liang Zhen Pu Style
Tom has been teaching martial arts for over 30 years. He began his study of the internal arts with Vince Black. He has travelled to China numerous times to study with many of the most well known and respected masters available. His primary teachers of Liang style bagua are Vince Black, Zhang Huasen, Wang Shitong and Zhao Dayuan.
Adam began studying with Tom in 2004. In 2007 he completed a 2 year intensive instructor program, and began teaching as an assistant instructor under Tom. He continues to study with Tom on a weekly basis, refining his understanding of the basics and how those apply to more advanced topics.
More information on Tom can be found at www.internalartsinternational.com.
Gao Jiwu • 高繼武
Beijing Gao Family Style
Gao Jiwu is a 5th generation bagua practitioner from Beijing. He is also the current lineage holder of the Beijing Gao Family Style. His grandfather, Gao Wencheng, studied with Yin Fu and Liu Dekuan, both direct disciples of Dong Haichuan. His father, Gao Ziying, enhanced his Yin style bagua by studying with Guo Gemin. Guo Gemin studied with Liang Zhen Pu and is credited with creating the 64 linear attacks employed by many bagua styles. Beijing Gao Family style is now a blend of Yin style bagua and Liang style bagua.
Adam first studied with Gao Jiwu in 2005 when Gao travelled to NY to teach a workshop. Gao returned a year later to teach a week long seminar on the bagua dao (broadsword), qinna (seizing and locking techniques) and the 64 linear attacks. In 2008, Adam travelled to Beijing to study the straight sword (jian) with Gao. In 2012, Adam began teaching a beginning bagua class of his own, following the material from Tom's curriculum.
More information on Gao can be found at www.wudangdanpai.com.
Gao Yisheng Style
Jan has practiced bagua, xingyi and taiji for over 20 years. She was an active member of the North American Tang Shou Tao Association, studying with Tom Bisio and Vince Black. She participated in multiple trips to China to learn directly from masters there.
Adam began training with Jan in 2002, learning Gao Yisheng style bagua. Starting with foundational training and progressing to the palm changes, linear attacks and weapons. Adam was also fortunate enough to train with three of the most senior Gao Yisheng style practitioners from mainland China - Liu Shuhang, Ge Guoliang, and Li Xueyi.
Gao Yisheng learned his bagua from Cheng Tinghua. The Gao Yisheng style has a preheaven and postheaven set of palm changes, a series of 64 linear attacks, a series of paired attacks known as the dismantling palms and a large variety of weapons including the straight sword (jian), broadsword (dao), cane, and mandarin duck knives.
More information on Jan can be found at www.blueheronhealth.net.
The lineage of the bagua that Adam teaches is primarily Liang Zhenpu style, but various forms have been handed down to us from different masters within the style. We have also drawn some of our material from masters of other lineages. The study of bagua zhang was concentrated in Beijing and many of the masters trained with each other and exchanged ideas. Here is some information on the prominent masters that we have drawn from.
Dong Haichuan • 董海川
Dong was born in Wen'an, Hebei province on October 13, 1797 or 1813, where he studied several martial arts. In his youth he traveled throughout China and is believed to have studied daoist training methods that included some kind of circle walking practice. It is believed that he synthesized this daoist practice with his previous martial arts to create bagua zhang.
Dong later moved to Beijing and was employed in the palace of Prince Su. According to legend, Dong was acting as a server at a party and was able to seamless weave in and around guests while holding trays in each hand. This dexterity enabled his abilities to be noticed and he began teaching his martial art. Later he was employed as a tax collector for the prince and traveled extensively throughout the lands that the Prince controlled.
Dong rarely talked about his teachers and kept much of his past shrouded in mystery. It is likely that he had a criminal past and was reluctant to provide details of his whereabouts or associates.
Dong passed away on October 25, 1882 in Beijing. He was originally buried near The Red Bridge just outside Beijing's East Gate. A single stele was placed there by his students in 1883. A second stone was added by Bagua practitioners in 1905. On March 21, 1930, a group led by Master Ma Gui placed two more steles at the site. Before he died, Master Dong had written a poem to designate the names for the next 20 generations of his lineage. One of these new stones contained the generation names created by Dong. During The Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the monuments were knocked down and buried. They remained underground for 17 years. In 1980, the four steles and his body were moved to the Beijing Wan An Public Cemetery on the city's far westside.
Liu Dekuan • 劉德寬
Liu Dekuan was born in Cangzhou, Hebei province in 1826. Before learning bagua, Liu studied Yue Fei Quan. His teacher, Liu Shijun was famous for his use of the spear and Liu learned the Six Harmonies Large Spear. He was so skilled with the spear that he became known as Daqiang Liu (Big Spear Liu).
Liu wanted to increase his knowledge of martial arts and traveled throughout China to study from highly regarded masters. His desire to train martial arts and study continued when he moved to Beijing and began to study bagua zhang. He made a point of working with many of the other second generation practitioners. It is believed that Liang Zhenpu spent much of his time studying with Liu Dekuan in addition to Dong Haichuan.
Liu is credited with blending his study of taiji with his study of bagua to form taiji bagua. He worked closely with Cheng Tinghua (another second generation bagua zhang practitioner) to increase the popularity of bagua. He is often credited with creating the 64 Linear Attacks of bagua zhang.
Liang Zhenpu • 梁振蒲
Liang was born in Beihaojia Village in Ji County in Hebei province on May 20, 1863. He moved to Beijing in 1863. He began to study with Dong in 1877. Liang was Dong's youngest and last student. As such, he learned from many of the other second generation masters as well as from Dong.
Liang did not have much experience with martial arts prior to studying with Dong. As a result, his style is said to be one of the purest styles. His bagua has the most circular feel, with nearly all of the forms being taught on the circle.
In 1899 Liang was imprisoned for his role in killing gangsters and criminals in the Beijing suburbs, but he escaped prison during the Boxer revolution. He passed away in 1932 and is the only student of Dong's to be buried beside him.
Guo Gu Min • 郭古民
Liang Zhen Pu Style
Guo Gu Min, also known as Guo Enpu or Guo Decang, was originally from Jizhou in Hebei Province. Born in 1887, he was interested in martial arts since childhood. At the age of 14 Guo started to serve an apprenticeship at Liang Zhenpu's secondhand clothes shop and learn Baguazhang from Liang (Liang was one of Dong Haichuan's disciples). At the age of 20 Guo was accepted by Liang Zhenpu as indoor disciple. Since that time martial arts became Guo's profession. As early as in 1920s Guo Gumin was already teaching Baguazhang in many places in Beijing.
Guo was a student of both Liang Zhenpu and Liu Dekuan. He traveled with Guo throughout China to study with various masters and to increase his martial knowledge and ability.
After Japan invited China in 1937 Guo was invited by Japanese Embassy to teach martial arts. He rejected the invitation and had to flee to Jinan in Shandong Province, where he taught martial arts to the army of one of the local warlords, Han Fuju.
Guo is credited with creating the 36 Songs and 48 Methods of bagua zhang. These poems were recited by students during their practice to remind them of the important alignments and strategies relating to bagua zhang.
Li Ziming • 李子鳴
Liang Zhen Pu Style
Li Ziming was born in Lijia Village, Ji County in Hebei province on June 25, 1903. He had a very cultured upbringing including the study of literature and martial arts, and was very talented at calligraphy and painting.
Li studied with Liang Zhenpu and taught many students, including many well known masters. Despite being very literate, Li passed down his bagua primarily in the oral tradition. Li dedicated his life to the preservation and promotion of bagua zhang. He was one of the principle architects involved in the restoration and relocation of Dong's tomb in 1981. He also established the Beijing Baguazhang Research Association and held the role of president until his death in 1993.
Wang Shitong • 王世通
Liang Zhen Pu Style
Wang Shitong was born in Xiao Tong Village in Hebei Province. There were many types of martial art taught in his village. He studied Chang Quan (long fist) when he was 7 years old and later studied Xingyi Quan. As an adult he moved to Beijing where he worked in a factory. After suffering an illness, a friend convinced him to study Taiji Quan in order to improve his health. From 1950 to 1960 he studied and practiced everyday in the Temple of Heaven Park where he was noticed by Guo Gu Min, one of the most famous teachers of Bagua in Beijing.
Wang only taught a few disciples during his lifetime. When people would ask him to teach he would sometimes pretend he had forgotten everything. His forms are characterized by being very practical, with few flashy movements.
More information on Wang Shitong can be found at http://www.internalartsinternational.com/about-wong-shi-tong/.
Zhang Huasen • 張華森
Liang Zhen Pu Style
Zhang Hua Sen was born in 1935 in Shandong province. He was born into a poor family that moved to Beijing to find work. Unsuccessful, they ended up living on the streets. Zhang was ultimately taken in by a Chinese opera school at age seven. Chinese opera training was hard and often brutal. Forced stretching exercises, hours of training, even practicing singing with rocks in the mouth. Students were beaten by the teachers and many did not make it to be performers. To learn Chinese Opera students also had to learn martial art skills as many of the parts required martial arts ability. Eventually Zhang was performing with the opera company, which opened up travel to other countries as he got older.
In 1967 Zhang was introduced to Li Ziming, a disciple of Liang Zhenpu. Li had seen Zhang practicing in the park and saw that he had very good basic skills due to his opera training and previous martial arts background. Li offered to teach Zhang and Zhang studied in private at Li Zi Ming’s home.
More information on Zhang Huasen can be found at http://www.internalartsinternational.com/about-zhang-hua-sen/.