Yin Eight Diagram Palm System (Yin Baguazhang)
Yin style baguazhang was founded by Dong Haichuan’s senior student, Yin Fu. It has precise theory and methods, a well-knit structure, abundant content and a strong technical quality. The fighting theory, postures, usage, outward appearance, and internal developmental methods all originate from and accord with the Book of Changes. Yin style bagua is well known amongst all bagua styles as the “hard palm.” Its movements are fierce and vigorous, utilizing penetrating palm point striking methods. Emphasizing direct force and having an abundant shaking strength, when the hands go out, Yin style is said to be “cold, crisp, and fast.” The primary hand form used in Yin style is known as the “ox tongue palm” (four fingers held out together, thumb tucked in). A natural stepping method is used. The main training methods are embodied in the four areas of “standing” (strengthening postures), “turning” (circle turning), “striking” (fighting techniques), and “changing.” Bagua stepping methods are emphasized along with single action and combined strike practice. Upon this foundation, set forms and weapons are trained. Yin style bagua, according to the symbolism and meaning of the eight trigrams, has eight animal systems. Each animal system has eight attack methods. Emphasis is placed on practicing in strict accord with the meaning and intent of the attack method. Each attack method has three foundational single action strikes and seven set forms with seven movements each.
According to Orthodox Bagua Penetrating Palm by Men Baozhen, the attack methods and characteristics of the eight animal systems are as follows:
Qian trigram lion system interlocking palm:
sweeping, cutting, chopping, hooking, shocking, blocking, seizing, grasping
Kun trigram unicorn system reversing the body palm:
sticking, adhering, soft, following, hip, striking, chopping, cutting
Zhen trigram dragon system holding and lifting palm:
pushing, lifting, carrying, leading, moving, capturing, chopping, entering
Xun trigram phoenix system windmill palm:
dodging, extending, chopping, shocking, transforming, removing, curling in, cutting
Kan trigram snake system moving with the force palm:
shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, shooting, binding, entrapping, grasping
Li trigram rooster system lying step palm:
dodging, extending, rising, shifting, entering, whipping, rushing, stabbing
Gen trigram bear system turning the back palm:
rushing, penetrating, withdrawing, carrying, leaning, shocking, soft, following
Dui trigram monkey system enfolding palm:
bending, stomping, springing, hip, chopping, swinging, stamping, ending
The monkey system emphasizes leg and kicking methods over all else, the other animals all emphasize hand techniques. The lion system is vigorous and fierce. The strength is straight and its force violent. Its techniques are used in interlocked fashion. Both arms extend out, resembling a lion opening his mouth to roar. It has the presence of the king of the beasts. In the unicorn system, the arms twist and the body turns. When it meets strength, it might walk, change, or turn. It spins like a top on a sheet of ice. It has countless changes in the midst of whirling and turning around and emphasizes moving with the opponent’s force. The dragon system has fast attacks and well-knit defenses. Its methods are very refined and detailed and are fast like a bolt of lightning. The phoenix system uses a whipping strength, with the arm wheeling around at the shoulder. The hands are swift like the wind. It can take control of the enemy in the wink of an eye. The snake system has no fixed stepping pattern. It uses a constricting binding strength and coiling around methods to choke the opponent. The rooster system attacks in the midst of dodging out of the way. It has a stomping crashing strength that is hard yet crisp, like being scorched by flame. The bear system uses the back to strike; its strength is dangerous in close quarters. In the midst of a losing situation, it lures the opponent in to snatch victory from defeat. The kicks and leg methods of the monkey system are contained in the hand techniques. It uses interlocked leg techniques with a straight on and reversing strength to prevent the opponent from attack or defense. Each animal system uses a different part of the body to emit force. Lion uses the waist; dragon uses the feet; phoenix uses the shoulder; rooster uses the elbow; bear uses the back; monkey uses the legs; snake can employ any part of the body; unicorn uses the waist to remove the opponent’s force. Yin style bagua weapons originate from the palm practices of the eight animal systems. They are dashing, energetic, intelligent and come in all variety of shapes and sizes.
Yin style bagua circle turning is smooth and agile, even and flowing, natural and comfortable. When practicing, emphasis is placed on the following: The arms should “roll out, wrap back in, pull back away, and drill out.” The waist should “twist, whirl, walk, and turn.” The feet should “lift, fall, swing, and hook.” The waist being the director is stressed as the hands follow the turning of the waist, the feet follow the waist’s movement, the waist strikes and the waist removes. This art contains many technical skill movements, among them are “rubbing, filing, rolling, turning over, shrinking, small, flexible, soft, artful, et cetera.” Each technique has many ways to be used, and all are easily changed. The strength can have qualities of moving with and against, hardness and pliancy, roundness and fullness. The techniques of each of the eight animal systems can be used by themselves or mixed in with those of other animal systems. Although each animal system stands on its own as a complete system, there are opportunities for them to be intermixed.
Yin style bagua is a very special traditional internal martial art. The study of this art should begin with the study of the lion and unicorn systems. Once the concepts of hardness and pliancy are understood, the study of the remaining six animal systems will come easily. A long period of training can increase strength and pliancy, improve reaction ability, and speed of movements. It can also improve musculature, skeletal structure, the nervous system and functions of the internal organs. In addition, it can improve your fighting ability, ability to resist attack, and your state of mind. In all, it is beneficial for health, fighting ability and aesthetic value.