What About Baji?

…I am extremely interested in baji quan (Li ShuWen in particular) as well as Pigua. My question is, since i have no formal training in kung fu prior I’m not sure how good of an idea it is to try and teach my self a style. I neither speak any dialect or read any chinese characters so I’m afraid of teaching my self incorrectly and missing out on some major and subtle principles of both styles. I know this is a difficult question to answer but as instuctors and martial arts do you feel it wiser to try and look for texts to complement my current background or would I be relatively safe in trying to train in these new styles?

I will talk to you straight because you seem to have a sincere desire to learn. I was one of the first people in America to learn BajiQuan, it is a great style. However, and I would NOT say this about many other styles, Baji is like an old Kung Fu movie style: you can hurt yourself by improper practice. I know a top notch martial practitioner who caused serious damage to himself and some of us think it was due to his Baji. Of course if your practice is too carefully nothing will happen but your Baji will not go very high.


Please remember, that despite the wide variety of styles good Kung Fu is 90% the same from style to style. My advice is to pick a strong Northern style (don’t even waste your time on Shaolin at this point) and learn it. We call this “starting with water” because from water you can make hot chocolate, coffee or tea but once you have these drinks you can’t go back. Get good with some water style and then find a Baji instructor. I studied within the Liu Yun Chiao lineage myself and you can’t do better, not because of this or that style but because Liu taught his people to think. Hope this helps,

Yours in the arts,
Ted Mancuso

One Response to “What About Baji?”

  1. patrick hodges says:

    Excellent advice. In 1973/4 I learned this form from my classmates after formal classes were over. I was told this system was on its way out because too many practitioners had injuries due to erroneous practice. Shrfu Shen Mo Hui was not happy that I picked up this form after class. The routine was Da Paji Ch’uan or large Paji fist. I brought it back to Hawaii and only one of my friends cared to learn it.
    Of course, we had to only imagine the stomps and drop the weight a little as to not sustain injuries.
    BTW, in Hawaii, the style taught by the late Sifu Lum Dai Yong had a routine filled with stomps like Paji but the “Shen Fa” body methods were different. Now, of course, it has become well known.

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