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Ba Fan Men - The dynamic, unrelenting fists of Northern China

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Taiping Bafan Men


One of the older martial arts of China is known as Ba Fan Men (also referred to as Fan zi quan, Ba Fan Zi Men, Ba Shan Fan and Duan Da). Originally from Shandong, but disseminated through Hebei province. Nowadays, the most common known Fanziquan is from Dongbei and is known for its speed and has often been combined with other martial arts to enhance their effectiveness.

As introduced in the history section, Bafanmen is quite an ancient style with its origins in Song dynasty. Such a long history is difficult to trace so from the available records (the various family Quanpu or Boxing Manuals) we can determine key lineages commencing from the Ming Dynasty.

Early Period (八闪翻门)

1. Wang Zhiyuan (王智远, est. 1517-1556) from Ling County (陵县), Shandong Province - during the Ming Dynasty. Wang Zhiyuan was thought to have been a military commander, involved in many battles in protecting coastlines against pirates and intruders. Later when he left his post a summary of experiences was collated, known as Ba Fan (Eight Rotations/changes) which he passed to a small village group. Wang's spear skills were renowned and thus also part of the skills he taught.
2. Sun Yuenan (孙越南, est 1536-1598) from Kaifeng, Henan Province is the only recorded disciple of Wang Zhiyuan. His boxing techniques were known to contain shifts and dodges and the term "Ba Shan Fan" then depicted the skill.
3. Zhang Sihai (张四海, 1563-1622) Yishan Village, Changping district, Beijing. Zhang was said to have compiled the Ba Fan Shou systematically forming the basis of the future style. The Shi Ba Lan Dao (18 Interfering Broadsword) techniques were added by Zhang.
4. Ma Mou (马某,1604-1678) from Zhangqiu Shandong Province. Ma Mou (also known as Ma Huihui, as he was of the Hui nationalilty) played an Important role in the development of the style, the Zhangqiu Liutanggen set is supposed to be his development - previously mainly techniques and methods but no sets were practiced.
5. Ma Xiangjiu (马祥九, 1633-1695) also of Hui nationality from Dongchang district, Liao Cheng city, Shandong. Ma taught Bafanmen to Wang Shiyou from Hejian.
6. Wang Shi (王士, 1673-1739) taught his sons Wang Xuejun (王学俊) and Wang Xuejie (王学杰) , from Tianshuyou village in Hejian District, Hebei Province. The Wang brothers were pivotal in the development of Ba Fan Men into the system that was spread to this day. The creation of sets for practice including Qi Bu Quan, Meihua Pao etc. were there innovation and this included absorbing techniques of other styles.

Hebei Baoding - Bafan Men (保定 - 八翻门)

7. Wang Xuejun (1721-1796) passed on the skill to Wang Zhiguo (王枝国) , Fa Jing (法静) Feng Keshan), Zhu Xiaode and Chen Qingming (陈庆明)
8. Fa Jing (法静, 1776-1858) taught Guo Laoxi (郭老溪, from Boye county, Hebei) and Song Yuelong ((宋跃隆) from Dezhou, Shandong.
9. Guo Laoxi passed on to Cao Huanan (曹化南) , Cao Laochao (曹老朝) and Cao Laokui (曹老奎) from Zhang village camp.
8. Hebei Gaoyang - Wang Zhiguo (1764-1835) passed on the skills to his son Wang Zhanao (王占鳌) , Zhou Xun (周旬) , Han Luma (韩禄马) and Yang Shenjie (杨沈杰)
9. Zhou Xun (周旬,1802 - 1873) passed it onto Wang Yongxun, Zhang Dongling, Liu Zhentang, Wang Lanting and Zhou Xiande
9. Wang Zhanao passed it onto Zhang Jingtian, Wang Zhongli and Xu Zhaoxiong amongst others and exchanged with Duan Yonghe and Duan Yongqing
10. Zhou Xiande (周宪德, 1859-1946) passed on to Zhou Yuxiang, Ma Jingshan, Li Shuting and Li Xiang.
10. Zhang Dongling (张冬齡) taught Chen Junyi, Wang Shaoqing and Fu Renwu
11. Zhou Yuxiang (周玉祥, 1919-1998) taught Wu Chanlong, Zhao Haowei and Zhao Haoxu.
11. Chen Junyi (陈俊义) popularised the skill in Baoding city and taught many including Li Shan and Fang Yuchang

Hebei Gaoyang - Mianzhang Fanzi (高阳 - 绵掌翻子)

10. Yang Shenjie taught Hu Jiantang (胡建堂) from Gaoyang Xiliao village, who was a master of Duanquan, Hu later combined the styles of Duanquan and BaFanMen to develop Mianzhang Fanziquan.
11. Hu Jiantang taught Wang Lizeng (王立增) and Zhang Delang (张德良)
12. Zhang Delang taught Qiao Xiuchuan (乔秀川)

Dongbei- Fanziquan (东北 - 翻子拳)

11. Xu Zhaoxiong (徐兆熊) studied with Wang Zhanao (or Duan Yonghe) the style and then taught Hao Mingjiu (郝鸣九) and Yang Junfeng (杨俊峰, 1857-1937) who then passed the art on in Shenyang, Liaoning (Dongbei) which in later generations became Dongbei Fanziquan.

Dongbei Masters (1925)
Includes Yu Boqian (seated first from left), Yang Junfeng (seated second from left), Hao Mingjiiu (seated third from left) and Hu Fengshan (fourth from left)

12. Yu Boqian (于伯谦, 1901-1981) Master Yu was instrumental in establishing Dongbei Fanziquan as a key branch. Yu Boqian was from Xia County, Liaoning province. In his youth he studied with the 'San Lao' of Dongbei. Fanzi Masters Hao Mingjiu and Yang Junfeng and Chuojiao expert Hu Fengshan. Upon completing his studies at Dongbei University he became an empoyee of the East Railways. In 1931, he was involved in the Xian incident with Zhang Xueliang. In 1945 he returned to Shengyang, and during those later days he became acquainted with masters such as Chen Zicheng, Bi Yushan, Li Yushan, Ma Fengtu and Ma Yingtu receiving much advise and pointers from them. After the founding of the PRC, he opened a school in Shenyang 'Heping District Wushu School" Some of his key disciples included Shi Chunlin, Bai Guodong, Tong Qinghui, Lin Xinping, Yu Zhenping, Pan Qingfu, Fan Chuiba, Lin Xinwei, Zhang Fusheng, Yu Baocheng, Guo Hongyuan, Zhan Zhenku, Zhao Dianzhong, Liu Baoyuan, Wang Minglian, Zhu Renfa, Chen Qitai, Yu Zhenbo, Dan Rubai, Wang Dexian, Yu Gang and Li Qipeng.

Hebei Sunning - Bashan Fan (肃宁 - 八闪翻)

7. Wang Xuejie (王学杰) taught  Li Gongran (李恭) from Xiong County, Hebei Province.
8. Li Gongran was a key figure in Sunning Bafanquan since the lineage of entering into Sunning commences from his disciples. The set "liahuanjiao jishou" of the style is supposed to have been his development. Li Gongran taught quite a few disciples such as Li Gengyun, Liu Kuishan, Chang Laofang, Feng Zhankun, Guo Yindong, Dong Xianzhou, Facheng, Zhang Yuhe etc..but the two most prominent were his son Li Erlou and Sunnning County's Zhaohuangzhuang's Feng Shengyuan. These two became responsible for the development and spread of the style.
9. Feng Shengyuan (冯声远) in Sunning then passed the style to Sunning Dongbozhuang - Li Jingting ( 李敬亭) and Xu Jinzhao (徐金钊, associated with the Yuan Xun Security Bureau,源顺镖局)
9. Li Erlou (李二楼) in Xiong County, passed on the skill to Yu Laobo (from Sunning).
9. Zhang Yuhe (张玉和, 1863 -1929) in sunning passed it on to Wang Deming from Fu Cheng County who also studied other styles such as Pigua with Yu Zhenjiang from Gu An County , Liuhe with Zhang Hongchang and Chuojiao with Liu Baozhen. He then developed his new essence which the style became Fanzi Chuojiao....as a derivative branch of BaFanMen
10. Li Jingting (李敬亭) passed it onto his son - Li Xiao and disciples - Yan Huitu , Yan Shouchen , Xu Fengshan and others.
10. Wang Deming (王德明, 1893-1967) is from Yihe Village, Fucheng County, Hebei province. After the defeat of the Yi He rebellon, he went to his fathers old village (his father was a meihuazhuang practitioner) and studied some fundamentals. His father however insisted that the go to Zhuozhou and become a disciple of Master Zhang Yuhe where he studied Bafan quan for many years. taught his sons, Wang Shaowu (王少武) and Wang Baoliang (王葆良, 1929-1993) who both resided in Jinzhou, Liaoning Province).
10. Yu Laobo (于老泊) passed on to Bian Laochun (Fengtian Dexun Security Logistics Bureau, 德顺镖局 )
11. The next generation included Li Dechuan (李德川, associated with the Desheng Security Bureau [德胜镖局]),Guo Yuru, Guo Qixun, Zhang Laolian, Li Laoqun and others
11. Bian Laochun (边老春) passed it on to his family and disciples such in Sunning - Bian Wanlin, Bian Faxing, Zhang Mingsheng , Dong Chunlin , Zhou Shihao, Bian Baode, Liu Guangcai, Zhang Tongle, Mia Guashang, Yan San and Yan Erhei from Nanjingkou village.

Hebei Xiongxian - Bashan Fan / Eagle's Claw (雄县 - 八翻子门 / 鹰爪翻子门)

8. Facheng (法成) taught elements of Fanzi to Liu Shijun called Lianquan, who then combined with Yingzhao Chin-na (or Yue Shi Sanshou).

9. Liu Shijun (刘士俊) was from Xiong County, Hebei Province and taught Liu Chengyou, Liu Dekuan, Xu Liu, Ji Zixiu, Ji De, Li Zhengsheng and others. Liu Shijun was responsible for the development of the basic methods of bafanmen including the Yuejiachui being harnessed into the Lianquan (linked fists) methods of Eagle Claw.

10. Liu Chengyou (刘成有) was from Guzhuangtou Village in Xiong County, Hebei Province. When he started trainig he first was introduced to the rudiments of boxing by "Flying Kicks" Yang JIngshan. He later studied with Liu Dekuan and Dong Xianzhou in Bafanzi Quan followed by further studies with Liu Shijun directly.

Through his experiences Liu Chengyou enhanced the system by expanding the 36 locking methods into 108 Qin Na which became the key feature of the Eagle Claw branch. The key disciples of Liu Chengyou were Liu Qiwen, Chen Zicheng and Zhang Zhanwen.

11. Cheng Zicheng (陈子正, 1878-1933) also known as Chen Jiping, was from Lilin Village in Xiong County, Hebei Province. He studied boxing methods since his youth and became a disciple of Liu Chengyou. Cheng Zicheng was known as the "Eagle's Claw King" and became an accomplished martial artist. He joined the Chin Woo Association (Jing Wu) and was sent to Hong Long to teach in their representative branch, he was also later asked to go to Singapore and not longer after his arrival was challenged by some british boxers in competition. After defeating him he was recognized by Indonesia and awarded a dagger with the inscriptions " Chinese Boxing King"/

In addition to teaching, he did much to compile the Fanziquan system, including writings and developments such as compiling the lianquan into a series of Xingquan (moving fists) which were in 10 sequences (now has become 12 and up to 14 in some branches). As an important teacher of the Chin Woo Association it allowed the style to be well promoted and spread globally.

Many new forms were created on the basis of other styles taught at the association and the style became a new system referred to as Ying Zhao Fan Zi Men or simply Ying Zhao Pai (Eagle's Claw). In Hong Kong his key disciple was Liu Fawen (also his martial brother as the nephew of Liu Qiwen) who was responsible for the Chin Woo Activities in Hong Kong after Cheng Zicheng returned to Shanghai.

Students of Cheng Zicheng in practice.




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