On Joseph Crandall’s Work

It was certainly not a foregone conclusion, when we started this web site, that Bagua would be as popular as it has become.  We thought it would happen. Adam Hsu thought it would happen. And, of course, John Painter and Kumar Frantzis probably felt the same.

Bagua Zhang with Joseph Crandall @ www.plumpub.com


All during the time of Bagua’s growth and acceptance, one person helped by continually translating important Bagua texts into English. It’s a funny side note that this has some direct bearing on us. The first Bagua book I laboriously translated was Jiang Rong Jiao’s text on “New” Bagua. Just as I finished I learned that Joseph Crandall had translated the same book and made it the first offering of his proposed series. So I put my translated book into the drawer and, like many others, waited for his forthcoming work.

Joseph Crandall himself exhibits a humble attitude toward his own efforts. I suspect that, like me, he is mainly self-taught and, when he started, there were few supplementary materials, like Wushu dictionaries and other resources, to consult. Here are a few samples of his endeavors to allow interested readers to get a taste of Crandall’s work for themselves.

Keep it up, Mr. Crandall.


Cheng Family Baguazhang by Ma Youqing & Liu Jingru, Vol. 2, page 7
“Cheng Tinghua was Dong Haichuan’s top student. His skills were phenomenal. Legend says that he always wore a ten-pound vest of iron. To the end of his days, when practicing his skills or in running his business, he never removed the vests, n matter how hot or cold it was. When practicing one form of striking palm, he used a basket of sand weighting three hundred pounds hanging from the ceiling. He practiced striking it day and night. Many boxing masters were amazed at Cheng’s strength and skill. He had a tub of water strung on a rope and he would use one palm to lift it up and down ten times. Then, still holding the tub, he would circle around three times. The water was never spilled, Chen’s face never turned red from exertion, and he never ran out of breath.”

Swimming Body Linked Baguazhang by Wen Zhongshi,
Vol. #8, page 11

“In practicing San Shou, the Post-natal Bagua 64 Palms method is not the only thing used. You must choose naturally and comprehend deeply. Practice to get the understanding. Remember to get firm the techniques to be forged. Common sayings have it, “An accumulation of 1000 techniques is not as good as one technique understood.” Understanding can create skill. The use of skill can defeat 1000 pounds. Be sure not have blind faith in so-called unique skills and unexpected tricky moves, techniques that so not come from speed and power. “Fists are without exception broken, only speed is unbroken.” The quick strikes the slow! Therefore if your “special” technique is wanting in speed, it will be equivalent to zero. Speed and power are what you need to handle the enemy. Special techniques are significant in light of this.”

Bagua Turning Sword by Liu Xinghan & Huang Xin, Vol .15 page 26

“The sword method and sword techniques of the routine must appear bewildering, with the left and right hands continuously exerting. The spirit leaves and a demon descends, catching people unexpected. In fighting, often the enemy has a difficult time predicting the angles that the strikes come from. This makes it difficult for the enemy to defend against it. All parts of the sword are used. No matter which part of the sword, the point, the edge, the back, the handle or the head, every part is a weapon, everything is used to control the enemy. There are many excellent functional sword methods found in this routine. When your training had matured, you will be able to use a wooden sword in place of a steel one.”

Joseph Crandall has translated more than twenty books from the Chinese fighting library including books on Bagua, Xing Yi and MiZong. Check out his work here. Use this discount code when ordering any of his books through November and receive 10% off.  Code: X10 (enter this code on checkout page)


Bagua translations

Xing Yi translations

Mantis & Mizong translations

4 Responses to “On Joseph Crandall’s Work”

  1. Charlie says:

    Dear Sifu Mancuso, thank you for the article on Bagua Zhang, I recently began learning Bagua Zhang last year. Mr. Crandell’s work has helped me, especially the Cheng style book. thier are so many bagua books, I dont know where to begin! Hopefully you will translate a bagua book sometime so people like me can learn it. I look forward to all your work.

  2. Plum Staff says:

    Dear Charlie,
    Thanks for your kind words and you don’t know how close you are to getting your wish fulfilled!

  3. Rick says:

    Well, this November special motivated me to finally order Sun Lu Tang’s book on Bagua (really, two of his books, one on Bagua, the other on Bagua sword).

    So that makes 4 of his 5 books that have been translated into English. Now if only somebody would translate his 5th book, The True Essence of Boxing, into English….

    Hint, hint, anybody?

  4. nunh says:

    I am so excited to have found this site – I cannot believe the wealth of information here and on sale – excited!

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