Liu Feng Chun (1855-1922)  - Liu De Kuan (1826 - 1911)  - Song Chang Rong

Liu Feng Chun

Liu De Kuan

Song Chang Rong
Liu Feng Chun (1855-1922) 
    Liu Feng Chu was also known as "Zhuozhou Liu" ("Liu from Zhuozhou") and cuihua Liu" ("turquoise Liu"). He was born in Zhuozhou, Hebei province. When he was 9 years, he started to study mizongquan and luohan shiba shou. In 1872, he moved to Beijing and began to study baguazhang from Cheng Tinghua. He was later introduced and study with Dong Haichuan. He taught baguazhang at the Beijing Sport institute.

        Fu Huaqiu, Li Jianhua, Liu Wenhua, Tiao Chunxiu, Wang Zhongxian, Xu Yusheng, Zhou                 Yuxiang

 Liu De Kuan (1826 - 1911)
    Liu De Kuan was originally from Cangzhou, Hebei province. He was interested in the martial arts for most of his life and learned from many famous martial artists of the time. Liu Dekuan's original style was Yueh Style San Shou (also called Yueh Style Eagle Hand or Yueh Style Connected Fists). His teacher in this style was Liu Shijun, Xiong County, Hebei. De Kuan first studied with Shijun's student "Metal spear" Xu Liu and then later he studied with Shijun. Both Xu Liu and Shijun's excel in spear play anf they taught him "big spear of six co-ordinations". Using this big spear, he earned a reputation and the nickname "Daqiang Liu" ("Big spear Liu").
    "All the elder teachers got along with Mister Liu Dekuan. In the course of time, all was made clear to him, and he ultimately was enriched. ... He toiled to get pointers from the older generations"
    Guo Gumin student of Liang Zhenpo

    Liu De Kuan travelled throught out China seeking out new challenges and studied from different masters. In Hubei province he studied six sets of fangtian huaji (drawed pole-axe of square heaven). From the famous bandit, Lu Lin, he studied "18 devil's methods of using hands" and using the secret weapon "half-moon dart". In Beijing, he meet and studied with Chang Ting Hua before being introduced to Dong Haichuan. In addition, his friends such as Li Cunyi and Zhang Zhaodong taught him the fundamentals of Xingyi. He also learn and practice Yang style taijiquan from Xia Guoxun, Yang Luchan's son-in-law .
    "Guo Gumin followed Liu Dekuan around, thus searched to get secrets of the Bagua martial arts."
    Li Ziming

    Liu De Kuan provided many orginal contributions to the martial arts. De Kuan helped Cheng Tinghua to increase the popularity of the Bagua System. Liu De Kuan also contributed to the practice of Bagua. Cheng Style Bagua students train in "the Six Lines of the Halberd" - techniques that are directly attributed to Liu De Kuan. He also share the credit as one of the originator of Bagua Taijiquan - a style that is being practise in Jinan (capital of Shandong Province). [3]

    There are many stories describing the skills of Liu DeKuan. In one story, Cheng Tinghua's eldest son,Cheng Haiting, was teaching the art in a field outside the Suiwen Gate on Ximo Street. Famous practitioners from both Yin Style and Cheng Style Bagua often came in their free time to sit and linger. Big Spear Liu, in his old age, suffered form an eye disease. Both of his eyes were not bright. However numerous students still wanted to compare skills with him. They only needed to bring the shaft of their weapon in contact with Liu's spear shaft to try to lift it up. Liu would stick to their spear shaft and advance. The opponent would lose his weapon and be thrown by his strike.

“Flying legs” Song Chang Rong
From a noble family, Song Chang Rong was born one of these healthy mansions of Beijing, so it was quite natural that his destiny would be related with Dong Hai Chuan, himself living in the Prince Su Mansion, as these both noble families were keeping a very close relationship.
During Qing dynasty, martial arts were very popular since emperors used to travelled incognito (for example emperor Qianlong was an experts in martial arts) in order to have first-hand knowledge about his subjects and the country that he rules. Song family was an important allied of Prince Su Family and both families were successfully collaborating in business. And naturally Dong Hai Chuan who was holding an important function in Prince Wu Mansion, was always welcomed in Song family being particularly admired for his martial skills. Later Dong will be especially invited to be the Song’s family official martial arts instructor: from this very auspicious environment the young Song Chang Rong will benefit from the direct teachings of Dong, later Song will bring his art to such a summit that he will create his own style: the Song Style Baguazhang.

The Baguazhang prodigy child
At the very young age of 6 or 7, Dong Hai Chuan started to play a kind of game with the little Song. In Song Mansion there was a large garden where Dong asked the Song family to place several large jars and asked the young Song to walk on the edges of these jars. In the beginning he need some help being supported by others when walking, but progressively, Song will be able to walk by himself and even to jump for one jar to another, just walking on the edge and without touching ground. This was the unique exercise suggested by Dong until Song reached the age of 12 to 13 years old. It is only at that time that Dong accepted to teach Song the real techniques of Baguazhang, excelling particularly in the “Lower Basin Palm”: he mastered this martial art of “lightness” taught by Dong called the “Eight steps Catching Cicada”.

Seven Stars Pole catching White Snake
After studying nearly 5 to6 years with DHC, his martial skills improved considerably, but there was still Song Chang Rong could not resolve: each time he finished his training in the garden, there was a little white snake which was appearing from a cavity, separated from Song for about ten to twenty meters, dancing around with a natural fluidity which gave Song a kind of competitor in gaining more suppleness. Song tried to use his martial skills to catch this snake, but each time that Song was approaching a few meters from the snake, it will easily run away from his reach. Finally when Song will be close to be catch it then snake will swiftly regain his hole. This was a real good motivating objective to catch is up but even after two months of hard training Song was still not able to catch it.
Then one day, when DHC came in the garden to give as usual his lesson of martial arts, Song reported him this matter. Dong stood immediately and looked for a wooden pole and taught him a combination of techniques from Seven Stars pole. After one month of hard training he became full proficient.  This day when Dong came again in the mansion’s garden to supervise Song’s training, this white snake appeared again. But this time Song was holding his Seven Stars Pole in his hands and each time the snake wanted to gain back his hole, Song was blocking it with his pole. He hope that he could say to this snake: “Who is now the fastest one, you or me?” As a result the snake being defeated and unable to gain back its hole, became even less vigorous in his to escape: Song was able to catch it easily and bring it down on the ground. From that time, this little white snake the snake will never show again but the techniques of Seven Stars pole were definitively integrated in Baguazhang system.

The outstanding circling demonstration on a rope
The main skill in Baguazhang is coming from the “walking in circle” exercise. Although round and straight lines are opposed in theory but they are excellent guiding tools to develop their skills: once they reach a sufficient advanced level, at any circumstances, they will be able to generate a silk reeling strength, opposing wrapping power as well as a huge explosive power. After a successful training the body becomes as light as a swallow, mastering what some experts would call the “Skill of Lightness”. These skills are very uncommon due to the very hard training requested but Song Chang Rong was among those who could demonstrate them during his lifetime.
 One day ZCR was drinking tea with Master Zhong (a younger boxing bother of Dong Hai Chuan), then as everyone was having a nice time altogether, Song was asked to perform Baguazhang in front of them. In this occasion as it was an in-door demonstration, Song did not need to refuse and find any excuse to reject it; he took a rope in his hands and gave its two extremities to people of this meeting, asking them to stretch it. Song started to twist swiftly his body, performing all the sixty four movements on this rope, everyone was amazed by this demonstration and could just applaud very loudly. There were a few people who tried to perform as well, but none could demonstrate such stability and lightness. This was the moment where his reputation grew as an outstanding disciple of Dong, with his special skills and the beginning of a new style: the Song style Baguazhang.

As his immediate environment was limiting his contacts with external people, Song could hardly accept students. As a result many techniques has probably been lost, following the lack of surviving inheritors of Song style Baguazhang.

1. Yin Fu
2. Cheng Ting Hua
3. Zhang Chan Kuei
4. Ma Gui
5. Ma Wei Qi
6. Liu Feng Chun
7. Liu De Kuan
8. Song Chang Rong

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