Baji quan
Master Wu Lian-Zhi in the typical stance of Baji Quan style.
Also known asKai Men Bajiquan (開門八極拳) – Gate-Opening Eight Extremities Fist
Country of originGreater China
CreatorUnknown. Multiple theories have been postulated.[1]
Famous practitionersLi Shuwen, Liu Yun Qiao, , Su Yu-chang, Ryuchi Matsuda, Li Jianwu, , Wu Yue (actor)
Olympic sportNo

Bajiquan (Chinese: 八極拳; pinyin: Bājíquán) is a Chinese martial art that features explosive, short-range power and is famous for its elbow and shoulder strikes.[2] Its full name is kai men baji quan (開門八極拳), which means "open-gate eight-extremities fist".


Baji quan was originally called bazi quan (巴子拳 or 鈀子拳) or "rake fist" because the fists, held loosely and slightly open, are used to strike downwards in a rake-like fashion. The name was considered to be rather crude in its native tongue, so it was changed to baji quan. The term baji comes from the Chinese classic, the Yijing (I-Ching), and signifies an “extension of all directions”. In this case, it means “including everything” or “the universe”.

The first recorded baji quan teacher was Wu Zhong (吳鍾) (1712–1802). Other notable teachers included Wu Xiufeng (吳秀峰) and Li Shuwen (李書文) (1864–1934). The latter was from Cangzhou (滄州), Hebei, and acquired the nickname "God of Spear Li".[3] A Beijing opera Wu Shen (martial male character) by training, he was also an expert fighter. His most famous quote is, "I do not know what it's like to hit a man twice."[4] Li Shuwen's students included Huo Dian Ge (霍殿閣) (bodyguard to Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China), Li Chenwu (bodyguard to Mao Zedong), and Liu Yunqiao (劉雲樵) (secret agent for the nationalist Kuomintang and instructor of the Chiang Kai-shek's bodyguards).[5] Baji quan has since acquired a reputation as the "bodyguard style".[6][7] Ma Feng Tu (馬鳳圖) and Ma Yin Tu (馬英圖) introduced baji into the Central Guoshu Institute (Nanjing Guoshu Guan 南京國術館) where it is required for all students.[8]

Baji quan shares roots with another Hebei martial art, Piguazhang. It is said that Wu Zhong, the oldest traceable master in the baji lineage, taught both arts together as an integrated fighting system.[9] They eventually split apart, only to be recombined by Li Shuwen in the late 18th to early 19th century. As a testament to the complementary nature of these two styles, a proverb states: "When pigua is added to baji, gods and demons will all be terrified. When baji is added to pigua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it." (八極參劈掛,神鬼都害怕。劈掛參八極,英雄嘆莫及)[9][10]

Branches and lineages

Prominent branches and lineages of the art survived to modern times, including Han family Baji, Huo family, Ji family, Li family, Ma family, Qiang family, Wu family (from Wu Xiefeng), Wutan Baji Quan and Yin Yang Baji Quan. Each has a unique element while sharing core practices. Some lineages are more common or only exist in Mainland China, while others have spread to Western countries.

Wutan Baji

Wutan Baji[11] is the most common lineage in the West today. Originally from Taiwan, where its founder, Liu Yunqiao, lived. This lineage includes additional arts that are taught alongside Baji, such as Piguaquan and Baguazhang.

Jian Diansheng[12] >> Li Shuwen[13] >> Liu Yunqiao >> ,[14] Su Yuchang, and Tony Yang[15] >> Many students in Taiwan and abroad (taught by one or more of them).[16]

Nanjing Baji

Baji of Nanjing was introduced to the Guoshu Institute by students of Zhang Jingxing, Han Huiqing, and Ma Yingtu. Han had a great influence on the spread of Baji in southern China, to the point that there was a saying ‘bei li nan han’ meaning ‘Li [Shuwen] in the north and Han [Huachen] in the south’.[17]

Mengcun Baji

Meng Village (Mengcun) is said to be the original birthplace of Baji Quan, or at least the modern versions of the art.[18] Baji is still widely practiced there.

Wu Xiufeng

Wu Xiufeng[19] (1908–1976) is the "grandfather" of many modern Baji lineages. The following lineages came down from him.


A branch of the art which has mutual influences from Jingang Bashi—the second art practiced by Tian Jinzhong.

Wu Xiufeng >> Tian Jinzhong >> Shen Jiarui[20] >> Zhou Jingxuan[21][22] >> Many students in China and abroad.[23]


The creation of Zhao Fujiang, who combined his knowledge of Baji, Xingyiquan and Yiquan to create a new art form.[24]

Wu Xiufeng >> Zhao Fujiang >> Many students in China.


Tactics and strategy

Baji quan opens the opponent's arms forcibly (qiang kai men 強開門) and mount attacks at high, mid, and low levels of the body (san pan lian ji 三盤連擊). It is most useful in close combat, as it focuses on elbow, knee, shoulder and hip strikes. When blocking an attack or nearing an opponent, baji quan techniques emphasize striking major points of vulnerability, namely the thorax (trunk of the body), legs and neck.

Zhou Jingxuan of Tianjin, holding a typical Baji Quan posture. The sideways-protruding elbow is often used for striking in this art.

The "six big ways of opening" (liu da kai 六大開) are:[25]

  • Ding : using the fist, elbow or shoulder to push forward and upward.
  • Bao : putting arms together as if hugging someone. It is usually followed by Pi (splitting).[26]
  • Ti : elevating the knee to hit the thigh of the opponent, or elevating the foot to hit the shin of the opponent, etc.
  • Dan : using a single move.
  • Kua : using the hip.
  • Chan : entanglement with rotation around the wrist, elbow and shoulder.

Stepping and body methods

Footwork in baji quan has three special features:

  • Zhen Jiao
  • Nian Bu
  • Chuang Bu[27]

These striking techniques are related to traditional Chinese medicine, which states that all parts of the body are connected, either physically or spiritually.


The forms of baji are divided into armed and unarmed routines. There are twenty fist forms, which include twelve Baji Small Structure Fists, Baji Black Tiger Fist, Baji Dan Zhai, Baji Dan Da/Dui Da, Baji Luohan Gong, and Baji Si Lang Kuan. There are eight weapons forms, including Liu He Da Qiang (spear), Chun Yang Jian (sword), San Yin Dao (sabre), Xing Zhe Bang (staff), Pudao, and Chun Qiu Da Dao (a long two-handed heavy blade, used by Generals sitting on their horses).

Most schools focus on a much smaller curriculum. Standard across almost all groups are Xiaobaji and Dabaji; two weapons forms, the sabre and the spear; a two-man training routine called Baji Duijie or Baji Duida and a series of 8 short attacking methods called the "Ba Shi" (Eight Postures), which are derived from the art of Shaolin Jingang Bashi.

Power generation and expression

The major features of baji include elbow strikes, arm/fist punches, hip checks and strikes with the shoulder. All techniques are executed with a short power, developed through training; among Chinese martial artists, baji is known for its fast movements. Baji focuses on infighting, entering from a longer range with a distinctive charging step (zhen jiao).

The essence of baji quan lies in jin, or power-issuing methods, particularly fa jin (explosive power). The style contains six types of jin, eight different ways to hit and several principles of power usage. Most of baji quan's moves utilize a one-hit push-strike method from very close range. The bulk of the damage is dealt through the momentary acceleration that travels up from the waist to the limb and further magnified by the charging step known as zhen jiao.

The mechanics of jin are developed through many years of practice and baji quan is known for its strenuous lower-body training and its emphasis on the horse stance.[4] Its horse stance is higher than that of typical Long Fist styles. Like other styles, there is also "the arrow-bow stance", "the one-leg stance", "the empty stance" (虛步; xūbù), "the drop stance" (仆步; pūbù), etc. There are eight different hand poses, in addition to different types of breathing and zhen jiao.


Baji focuses on being more direct, culminating in powerful, fast strikes that will render an opponent unable to continue. Even so, there are some styles that are derived from Baji's main principles or concepts on how to hit the opponent:

  • Eight postures (Ba shi)
  • Eight movements method (Ba shi gong)
  • Eight movements method (Ba shi chui)
  • Double Eight Postures (Shuang ba shi)
  • Eight postures of the dragon style (Longxing ba shi)

Many of these forms are also based or mixed with Luohan fist, a Shaolin style.[citation needed] The term ba shi may also refer to baji. The term is also used in xingyi quan.

Notable people

In popular culture

Bajiquan is a staple in martial arts media, appearing in various movies and video games.

In China, it was featured in the 2013 movie, The Grandmaster (film) where it was used by character Yixiantian played by Chang Chen. There is also a Taiwanese idol drama Yīdài xīnbīng zhī bā jí shàonián (一代新兵之八極少年, eng. Baji Teenagers) and showcased by actor Chiu Pin Cheng (alias Leo Chiu).

In Western world, it was featured in The Matrix. Smith, played by Hugo Weaving, exhibits basic Bajiquan techniques in the film.[citation needed] Li Mei from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance uses Bajiquan as one of her fighting styles.


Bajiquan has hugely impacted the Japanese pop culture. Bajiquan's impact would begin with Kenji (manga), a manga series written by Ryuchi Matsuda and illustrated by Yoshihide Fujiwara. It follows a teenage practitioner of Bajiquan and is supposedly based on Ryuichi Matsuda's own journey in Chinese martial arts.[31]

In 1993, Yu Suzuki - who got interested in martial arts because of the manga, Kenji - would direct Virtua Fighter, a groundbreaking 3D fighting game. The game was hugely successful in Japan and amongst the roster was a Bajiquan practitioner Akira Yuki, solidifying Bajiquan's stay in Japanese pop-culture. Bajiquan is also central to Yu Suzuki's Shenmue, a "sister" game to Virtua Fighter series.

Bajiquan is featured in manga/anime series: Air Master, Gantz, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Fist of the Blue Sky, Love Hina[citation needed], Negima! Magister Negi Magi[citation needed] and Beelzebub (manga)[citation needed].

In Japanese video games, it is featured in:

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ma Mingda; Zhao Shiqing; Deng Changyou; Stanley E. Henning; Ma Lianzhen, eds. (2009). Journal of Chinese Martial Studies. Chinese Martial Studies.
  3. ^ Frank Allen & Tina Chunna Zhang (2007). The Whirling Circles of Ba Gua Zhang: The Art and Legends of the Eight Trigram Palm. Blue Snake Books. ISBN 15-839-4189-4.
  4. ^ a b "". Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  5. ^ Nick Wong (4 February 2016). "Wu Tang and the Three Levels of Martial Artist". Vice Sports. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  6. ^ Randell Stroud (2010). SanshouXingYiQuan: & Commentaries on Modern Martial Arts. ISBN 05-575-8753-0.
  7. ^ Chris Crudelli (2008). The Way of the Warrior. Dorling Kindersley Ltd. ISBN 14-053-3750-8.
  8. ^ Ba Zi Jie Xi: a talk on rake fist 耙子解析
  9. ^ a b "". Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  10. ^ Su Yuchang, Pachi Tanglang Chuan: Eight Ultimate Praying Mantis, 2014, p. 175ff.
  11. ^ Named after the (武壇國術推廣中心), not to be confused with the Wudang 武當 of the Wudang Mountains.
  12. ^ "Li Shu Wen". Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  13. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2018-11-18. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  14. ^ "AHKFS Home Page". Archived from the original on 2017-05-12. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  15. ^ "Tony Yang's Wu Tang Center For Martial Arts". Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  16. ^ Su Yuchang, Pachi Tanglang Chuan: Eight Ultimate Praying Mantis, 2014, pp. 11, 37, 42.
  17. ^ "2 Heroes of the Central Guoshu Institute". Masters of the IMA. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  18. ^ "Brief history of Baji Quan". Wu Family BajiQuan. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  19. ^ [1] Archived January 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Grandmaster Shen jiarui - Bajiquan Black Tiger form. YouTube. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  21. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  22. ^ "Cook Ding's Kitchen: Master Zhou: The Man, The Artist, The Teacher". Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  23. ^ "Shang Wu Zhai שאנג וו ג'אי - ביס לאמנויות לחימה". Shang Wu Zhai שאנג וו ג'אי - ביס לאמנויות לחימה. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  24. ^ YouTube. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  25. ^ Jaw, Peter (2004). The Treasure Book of Chinese Martial Arts. 1. Authorhouse. ISBN 978-1-4140-7573-0.
  26. ^ "Xingyi". Perry Lo and the Shou-Yu Liang Wushu Taiji Qigong Institute. Archived from the original on 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  27. ^ Su Yuchang, Pachi Tanglang Chuan: Eight Ultimate Praying Mantis, 2014, p. 131ff.
  28. ^ Matsuda, Ryuchi (1986). Zhōngguó wǔshù shǐlüè 中國武術史略 (in Chinese). Taipei 臺北: Danqing tushu.
  29. ^ Tokitsu, Kenji (1990-03-29). "L'histoire du karaté 19 : Le regard dans le combat du kisémé" (in French). Tokitsu-Ryu. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-27. R. Matsuda est connu au Japon pour avoir introduit et fait connaître par de nombreuses publications différents arts de combat chinois dans le milieu des arts martiaux contemporains.
  30. ^ Kennedy, Brian & Elizabeth Guo (2005). Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. pp. 61–62. ISBN 1-55643-557-6.
  31. ^ Tokitsu, Kenji (1990-03-29). "L'histoire du karaté 19 : Le regard dans le combat du kisémé" (in French). Tokitsu-Ryu. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-27.

External links

Google Translate »