Though almost unknown in the western world, Ba Men or Eight Gates style is popular in China particularly in the North-West.
When was Ba Men Boxing was created? By who?, On what is based its original principles and theory? Conclusions have not yet been reached. Some have speculated that it was Wen Tuo Suo, though the system’s lineage is usually associated with Yan Shan (Yan Mountain): it is not settled. The separate data are just now being analyzed.
Other sources say that this boxing form originated in Lan Zhou, Capitol of Gansu province, then spread to Qing Hai. Some theories link this styles with Yue Boxing and therefore attribute it to Yue Fei and Xiong County, HeBei. This idea is that the “eight words” formula was simplified for troop training purposes. During the Qing dynasty a Kung Fu expert from Hebei, one Liu Shi Jun taught this at the Imperial Guard camp and developed the Eight Gates method to simplify instruction. Another name in BaMen history from Yue Mountain where much BaMen originates (and during festival people shout “Ba Ba!”) is that of Li Wen Xi who learned martial arts at an early age from his grandfather and also became a famous BaMen instructor.
Though the Qing Hai region has had miliary Wushu since the time of the Western Han, some say it’s Kung Fu vastly improved in the 20th century with the acquisition of Si Yi BaMen, a teaching which created a number of important names in BaMen boxing such as: Yang XueHai. Ma XingLong, Luo ShiQing, Ma WenHai, and Ma HengYun.
Ba Men Boxing’s fundamental theory and principles
There is a Ba Men Boxing Manual in existence. It gives many classic correlations such as the Eight Trigrams, Chien, Kun, Zhen, Kan, Gen, Dui, Xun and Li. These are said to correspond to the Eight Military Tactics developed by Zhu Ge Liang, and concealing the Ten heavenly Stems, 12 Earthly Stems, Five Elements and Six Cycles. Also, according to Ba Men’s theory, Emperor Huang Di created Eight Battle Arrays: Heaven, Earth, Wind, Cloud, Flying (Dragon) , Martial (Tiger), Bird and Snake. An eight pattern is also seen correlated to weapons: Whip, Mace, Hammer, Claw, Hook, Sickle, Spear and Stick.
The practice of Ba Men Quan has some of the following characteristics: its movements are fast and strong; long and short motions are mixed with many changes, it is practical but fluid with numerous angle changes and lively footwork.
Single hand forms include:
Ten Heavenly Stems,
Ten Row Hands
Tong Bei Quan
Jin Gang Fist
Seven Star Fist
Eight Tigers Boxing
Mei Hua Boxing
Shi Tzi Tan (a very famous form in many systems)
Ba Men Fighting theory is based on the phrase “Yi Fan Wu”, one attack becomes five. It uses many classic skills all incorporated into its wide base of movements: