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Great Grandmaster Liu Yun-Qiao

Great Grandmaster Liu Yun Qiao

Founder of Wu-Tan and master of styles such as Bajiquan, Piguazhang and Baguazhang.
Grandmaster Kurt Wong

Grandmaster Kurt Wong

Our instructor's shifu teaches traditional guoshu in the city of Anchorage, Alaska.
Sifu Paolo Castaneda

Shifu Paolo Castaneda

Wu-Tan's proud tradition was brought to Oslo by Shifu Paolo Castaneda, head instructor at Oslo Wu-Tan.

About Bajiquan

Bajiquan, or “8 extremities boxing", is a ruthless and direct style that teaches a person to defeat an attacker with one single technique. One of the main features of the baji is its loud stomps, which punctuates discharging of power. The name baji implies that the style uses the 8 extremities of the body (head, shoulders, elbows, hands, feet, back, hips (kua), and knees) to issue explosive strikes. Bajiquan specializes in close range combat, making use of elbow and shoulder strikes. The essence of bajiquan is taken after the bear and tiger. Baji utilizes the bear’s heavy footwork and tiger’s aggressiveness. It is a complete style in that it contains the four major combat usages da (striking), ti (kicking), shuai (wrestling), and na (controlling). Bajiquan is a physically demanding style with an “all or nothing” attitude.

Baji fist

The original name of the style was baziquan (rake fist), because the formation of the fist was similar to that of a rake. In later years, the name was changed to bajiquan as the name baziquan was considered “ugly.”

The first mention of bajiquan can be found in the famous Ming Dynasty general, Qi Ji.Guang’s military manual called “New Book of Effective Techniques.” The book was first published in 1568 and listed bajiquan as one of the effective and known styles of the time. Aside from the mention in General Qi’s book, it is not known who actually created bajiquan. A Chinese Muslim from Cang County, Hebei province, Wu Zhong, is attributed as the first generation practitioner of the baji style. He lived during the turbulent Qing era and was active in the anti-Qing movement.

According to oral transmission, two Daoist monks, Lai and Pi, had taught Wu bajiquan and piguazhang (splitting and deflecting palm). According to James Guo, a bajiquan pracitioner and historian, it could be that Lai and Pi were also part of the anti-Qing movement and used their cover as Daoist monks to hide their true identity from the Qing. In turn, Wu-Zhong passed the art on to members of his family and also the townspeople of Cang County. The villagers became quite proficient at the style, so much that caravans would lower their flags when passing through Cang County in respect for the villagers. It is even said that “if the men are in the fields, the women of Cang County would be happy to fight you.”

Baji takedown

However, bajiquan’s fame would be catapulted to another level several generations later by the famous Li Shu Wen (1864-1934) of Zhang Sha Village, Cang County. Li Shu Wen was famous for not ever “tasting” the feeling of a second punch and would often defeat his attackers with his first strike. Li had developed his skill level to such a high level, a second attack was not necessary. He also earned fame for his abilities with the 6 harmony long spear and was nicknamed “God of Spear” for his prowess in spear fighting. Often times before fighting, he would boast where he would strike and which technique he would use to defeat his attacker. Because of this, Li had many jealous enemies and was killed by poison.

There were many well-accomplished martial artists who sought out Li Shu Wen’s instruction in bajiquan and piguazhang. Among Li’s students, three would teach the bodyguards of China’s most influential leaders of the 20th century. The first was Huo Dian Ge, the instructor of the bodyguards of the last Qing Emperor, Henry Pu Yi. Huo was also the instructor of the emperor himself. The second was Li Chen Wu, who taught the secret police of Chairman Mao Ze Dong. The last and final closed door student of Li Shu Wen was Liu Yun Qiao, who taught the bodyguards of Chang Kai Shek. Through Liu Yun Qiao’s teachings, bajiquan would spread from China to Southeast Asia, Japan, North and South America, and Europe.