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The origins of civilization in China began in the northern provinces and as such, so did most of the Chinese Martial Arts. Baji quan or "Eight Ultimate Boxing" originated in the southeastern villages of Cang county, Hebei, a northern province. It is one of the oldest systems of martial arts dating back 5000 years to the Huang Di Dynasty. During the Ching dynasty it was the official system of the Emperor's Court, while modern-day masters of the style such as Master Li Shu-Wen, trained students who later served as personal bodyguards to Mao Tse-Tung, Chiang Kai-Shek, and the last Emperor, Pu-Yi.

Baji quan is a very practical, powerful and efficient system focusing mainly on the movements of the bear and tiger and designed to kill with one strike. An explosive energy is projected in a direct path much like a cannon. In Baji there is no holding back of energy. Every technique is based on the principle of "All or nothing". The practitioner must have the capacity of reaching an opponent from a long-range distance very quickly and, once having done so, must be powerful enough to overpower. The focus is not on the deflection of an opponent's blows but on neutralizing and overwhelming the attacker by launching a counter offensive maneuver while still protecting oneself.

Though appearing simplistic in movement, the internal body mechanics are quite sophisticated. The training is quite harsh and students spend long periods of time maintaining proper stances to develop power and Baji's notorious internal power [jing]. One of the main features of this style is its loud foot stomps, which accentuates its discharging of energy.

The name " Baji" is interpreted as eight primary locations of the body (head, shoulders, elbows, hands, buttock, kua, knees, and feet) to be continuously used in all attacks. All eight functions should be trained to perfection and with every corresponding technique becoming faster and more powerful than the previous ones.

Another interpretation of "Baji" is to denote the unique characteristics of the style's internal strength, or jing, where the jings generated are always extended to the eight extreme directions. The original name of this style seems to be "Baziquan", meaning, "rake fist", possibly due to the typical shape of the fist formed when practicing this style.


The first person that can be historically linked to the lineage of the Baji quan is Wu Zhong, a Chinese Muslim from Cang county, Hebei province. During Wu Zhong's time, it seemed that Baji quan and Piqua zhang (Splitting Deflecting Palm Style) were taught together as one integrated system. Piqua zhang is a soft, circular, and long-range style which teaches primarily palm strikes. The jings taught in Piqua are long and continuous. Its movements are wide and circular, which is the total opposite of Baji quan, which is a hard, linear and close quartered style.

Starting from the generation after Wu Zhong, Wu Zhong's daughter, Wu Rong split the style into two separate systems. Wu Rong found that Piqua zhang's soft movements were more useful to her than Baji quan's forceful movements. This could be the reason why after Wu Zhong's death, she only taught Piqua zhang to her students in the Luo Tong village. However, in the home village of Wu Zhong, Mong Village, the Baji style was only taught. The two styles were taught separately until Grandmaster Li Shu Wen (1864-1934) reunited them.

To illustrate the effectiveness of Baji quan and Piqua zhang, there is a famous saying in China: "When Piqua is added to Baji, demons and spirits will be terrified" and "When the Baji is added to the Piqua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it."