Combat Application in Baguazhang


I was also hoping to ask Sifu for his advice on what he considers the most important combat applications for several sets. To be honest, I have been floundering a little bit with the sheer amount of material I have learnt over the years and want to make sure I am getting the most important lessons from the sets I have learnt.

Could Sifu give his recommendation on what he believes are the most important or characteristic applications from the following sets? Likewise, if Sifu were to pick just one combat sequence or series of applications from each of the following sets to use in a modern sparring competition, which would he recommend?

- The basic Shaolin kung fu combat sequences
- Cross Road at Four Gates
- Twelve Sequences of Tantui
- Swimming Dragon Baguazhang
- Cosmos Palm

-- Dr Frederick Chu, USA


I really don't mean to be boastful, but I defeated masters and professional fighters in free sparring. I acquired my combat efficiency the long, hard way in more than 30 years.

At first, I fought smart. I picked opponents whom I knew I could defeat, and I practiced sequences in anticipation of how they would fight.

After many years, especially after learning from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, I could defeat opponents off-hand because I was accurate, forceful and fast. I have summarized my more than 30 years of fighting experience into the 30-opponent programme and an ever-winning strategy.

Basically, the 30-opponent programme is to line up your opponents in order of their combat efficiency where you have 95% chance of beating the first opponent, and the last opponent has 95% chance of beating you if you fight him at the start of the programme. If you fight him at the end of your programme when your combat skills have improved tremendously, you will have 95% chance of beating him.

The ever-winning strategy is to apply your learnt combat sequence relentlessly on your opponent, taking care to cover yourself adequately. This strategy is ever-winning against opponents whom you can technically beat. If your opponents are very skillful, like masters from Shaolin Wahnam, they can stop you.

But if you also practice the 30-opponent programme, by the time you meet masters and professional fighters, you will be more skillful than them. You will be more accurate, more powerful and faster. Hence, you will also be able to beat them comfortably.

You can use any combat sequences you like. Eventually, it is skills, not techniques, that are more important in combat. As you specialize in Baguazhang, choose combat sequences from Baguazhang, or compose them on your own. Baguazhang is very sophisticated. Most opponents will find it hard to fight you. Right now you can defeat most opponents, including masters.

But I shall still answer your question on the most important or characteristic applications from the following sets. I shall answer the question on the spot; my answer may change with time.

The sequence that comes to mind in the 16 Basic Shaolin Kungfu Combat Sequence is Sequence 10, which is Single Tiger, Fierce Tiger, Thrust Kick and Poisonous Snake. Many years ago I taught Douglas in about 5 minutes, and every time he applied it he drove a free sparring expert who taught combat to commanders, to a wall.

The combat sequence of Four Gates that comes to mind is the first one, which is Amithaba Palm, Fierce Tiger, Emerges Pit, Precious Duck and Black Crow. The other sequences are too sophisticated for your opponents.

The first combat sequence of Tantui is ever-winning. When you have the right skills, you can apply it no matter how your opponent responds! I learn its combat efficiency many, many years ago from a junior classmate, who later became the Grandmaster of Georgetown Chin Woo Association in Penang. A karate master was badly beaten by a senior student who just applied this sequence. The senior student did not have any sparring experience before!

There are 8 effective combat sequences in Swimming Dragon Baguazhang. Choose any one you like. The first one is excellent. It will strike an opponent by surprise.

The combat sequence in four directions of the Cosmos Palm set after force training, which consists of Single Tiger, Green Dragon, Fierce Dragon and Dark Dragon, looks simple but are very effective if you have the combat skills. The starting Single Tiger may be used to close an opponent before striking him.

If I were to pick just one pattern, I would pick the famous Shaolin Butterfly Palms in the pattern, Double Butterflies Flying Together. It strikes an opponent as soon as he makes a move! Interestingly, I have never used it in my combat. You will learn the famous Shaolin Butterfly Palms, amongst other miraculous techniques, in the coming Essence of Shaolin course. (This question was asked before the Essence of Shaolin course in December 2017.)

Reproduced from January 2019 Part 1 in Selection of Question-Answer Series


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