Home Page    BAGUAZHANG     English version  

 LIU DEKUAN and the 64 Hand Techniques 

  In 1990 Master Liu Jingru offered me a new,striking possibility. Until then I had not even suspected that  really it would exist baguazhang linear techniques .Yes, of course I had seen the 16 linear techniques pakuas  (another diction for bagua) existing in the school of my former teacher, Shin Daewong, but, while I had been finding some interesting,some  of them seemed redundant or drawn out ,for ex., from taijiquan. Furthermore I had always thought that  the Bagua techniques existed  only walking the circle. I welcomed therefore with surprise and interest these 64 techniques that then revealed in effects as an incredibly rich technical baggage ,many of them in a logical way being linked  for  fighting, and they introduced themselves therefore as those combinations that every martial Art has to offer: To the question from who these techniques originated, Liu Jingru explained that they originated from a teacher named Liu Dekuan but that after, due to their importance, had been incorporated in the  Cheng Tinghua school. And this  was all!. As the years were passing , meeting other  teachers and  reading chinese books and articles ,I noticed that  almost every bagua school  had  incorporated this system. In the 1994, April,  I could see the 64 hand techniques  of the  Li Ziming school; I ascertained that they were slightly different from those learned by Liu Jingru. Later I was able  to look at the techniques of  Gao Jiwu,a master  of the Yin Fu school that however had  made a name in  Beijing for his ability in the practice of the 64 Hands and for their applications and two-man sets . Finding that the techniques of the Gao Jiwu school were better structuralized, at last  in 1997 I decided  to adopt them. In effects the great majority of the combinations learned by Liu Jingru remained but expecially in  the last form, some change has been done that it makes a great deal the same more effective. Unfortunately in the transmission of the techniques always something must be gone lost and I  had the impression that in the  Liu Jingru school something was lost. In recent years Gao Jiwu has  also published exactly the songs (i.e. that rhyming passages  that traditionally were used for memorizing execution and applications) and I am so able to offer a comment suitable to  the pure sequence of the movements. According to Gao Jiwu “Bagua 64 Shou and the 72 Tecniche(that come from them ) are hidden in the best of the  technical bagua TAOLUs. Every position has  attack and defense possibilities. The 64 Hand Techniques  are divided in  8 Tang, every Tang is formed from 8 positions. Every Tang has as initial position LAO SENG TUO BO “The Old monk Lifts the Bowl". The Tangs can linearly be practiced or walking the circle. When we practice them, it is asked for to arrive to:”While there is nobody in front it is as if there would be someone.” 
The movements have to be rapid and so also the steps, the palms have to be as penetrating spools (zhang ru chuan suo),high and low they have to reciprocally favor , reaching the point that outside and inside are unified and energy and strength go together.... This TAOLU is the most important basic work in the exercise of the Baguazhang".   


Liu Dekuan, also called  Daqiang Liu, that is  “Great Spear Liu”,was born in Cangzhou, Hebei province. As a young he was in love with martial Arts becoming particularly skilled in the use of the long spear and the staff. Since then he roamed the  northern provinces  for many years. Once upon a time, while he was staying in Henan,heard to say that there was a some Hu Tianxiang that  was very skilled in the use of the ji or halberd and he formally submitted to Hu, becoming a student of his. Hu Tianxiang taught him the use of the Fantian hua ji. Subsequently he learned the Taijiquan and  went  to Beijing to make friendship with Cheng Tinghua. After he had found Cheng,that lived in Chongmenwenwai Huashi, as it often happened, there was a kind of challenge, more or less friendly,between Cheng and him in the use of lance and baton and,in the clash that followed, Cheng's staff struck the thumb of Liu that could not shut once anymore the hand on the weapon. One more time Liu  subdued himself to a great master, Cheng, and  so formally he became a student,entering in the  Baguazhang "family". Dong Haichuan had already died from various years,so Liu became direct student of Cheng and after his death in 1900 ,helped his child Cheng Youlong to establish, in  1903, a “martial school" in the  Ximi street of Qianmenwai, in the western sector of Beijing. In the same year he established Liu Zhenlin as help-teacher. So,in that period of confusion, Cheng Youlong, Liu Dekuan and Liu Zhenlin acted as preservers of the Cheng Tinghua's tradition .In that same period they created the 64 Baguazhang Hand Techniques  ,collecting in a simplified, linear form ,the best of the techniques “hidden” in the  taolus. In these techniques are evident the presence of the Xingyiquan and also  influences of Shaolin. Liu,ato whom goes the principal merit for  the creation of the linear tangs ,used again  his own ability with the spear in the creation of a taolu  called Bamian Zhanshen Qiang or more simply Zhanshen Qiang: This taolu is not  properly circular even if the circularity  is present. I still remember as Liu Jingru,who taught me it, told me of this characteristic . Besides this set,Liu Dekuan also handed down the techniques of halberd in six technical  lu. These  are known to  the other my teacher,Zhu Baozhen.

Go to: Liu Dekuan linear Baguazhang : some movements