History of Ba Kua

Dong Hai-Chuan, (1796-1880), is the founder of the internal system of Pa Kua. It was developed during the mid 1800s. Dong was born in Ju Jia Wu Township of Wen An in Hebei Province in northeastern China. During his youth he studied Lo Han Northern Shaolin, Ba Faquan, Hung Guan Xing, and Men Quan which was widely practiced in Wen An. Because of his proficiency, he became quite well known and is said to travel to Jiansu Anhui Zheji and the Da Ba mountains along the Shanxi and Szechwan province. This is where some believe Dong became a member of the Quan Zhen Complete Truth sect of Taoism, where the practitioners would walk in a circle called "Zhuan Tian Zun" rotating in worship of heaven. There the Taoist would walk the circle while repeating one or two mantras. From these exercises and previous training methods Dong created his new art of Pa Kua.

Pa Kua became known to the outside world when Dong became a servant for Prince Su's household. It was during a large banquet that he was noticed for his ability to move in and out of the tables and people effortlessly. After a demonstration of his skills, the prince made Dong in charge of training the palace guards. Two of Dong's most famous students were Yin Fu (1842-1911) and Chen Ting Hua ( ? -1900).

Chang Chan Kuei, (1859-1940), also known as (Chang Chao Tung), was born in He Chien county in the village of Ho Hung Yan in Hebei Province. His first martial art training began with Mi Tsung Chuang also known as Yen Chen Fist. He soon became a student of Liu Chi Lan. Chang met his master while still a teenager, after being very natural in his training he became one of Liu's inner door students, therefore readily receiving the essence of his teacher art. Chang later became a bounty hunter. It was during this time he met the famous Pa Kwa teacher, Chen Ting Hua. Since the two were from the same area, they became friends. It was shortly after that Chang suggested he would like to learn Pa Kua, and since Cheng felt the two were brothers he would introduce him to his teacher Dong Hai Chuan.

While traveling Chang became quite famous for demonstrating and fighting in (Lei Tai) matches against foreign opponents on a raised platform. He is said to have once killed a horse by strangling it with one hand and is also credited with defeating several Japanese fighters and a German strongman. One of his more famous students was Chiang Jung Chiao.

Chiang Jung Chiao, (1890-1971), also known as Chiang Kuan Wu, was born in Hebei Province in Chang Chou County. During his youth he learned Mi Tsung Chuan from his grandfather and uncle. He started his internal art training from a friend, Tang Shih Lin, who taught Tai Chi. He then met and trained with one of Chang Chao Tung students, Yao Fu Chun. He later traveled to Tianjin to study from the top masters of the era of Chang Chao Tung's and Li Tsun I (Hsing I). He also trained under the famous Wu Tang swordsman Li Ching Lin. During the 1920's Chiang began writing a series of martial art books, compiling twenty-five books to his credit, making him one of the most prolific writers of his time. Some of the titles were; Tiger Tail Whip, Chi Men Spear, Tai Chi Long Form, Seven Star Sword, Shaolin Staff, Hsing I Chuan, Pa Kua Chang and Pa Kua Spear. He would later be invited to The Chung Yang Kuo Shu Kuan - Central Martial Arts Academy in Nanking, in charge of organizing and standardizing information, as Director of Programs. It was there he met Wu Yik Fan's top student Chan Yik Yan.