Liu He Ba Fa
Liu He Ba Fa is also known as six harmonies and 8 methods boxing or "water boxing“. I will go into these harmonies and methods at greater depth in future articles.
The origins of Liu He Ba Fa are just as vague and shrouded in mystery as those of Tai Chi Chuan. Legend would have it that it is over 900 years old and its initiator was a certain high-ranking general of one of the early Chinese emperors. Having served the emperor for many years, he turned his back on worldly things and invented Liu He Ba Fa after seeing it in a dream. It is said that this high dignitary was inspired and taught by masters from another dimension.
Others claim that in Shanghai and Peking at the beginning of the 20th Century there were meetings between members of several schools of the three classic internal martial arts Bagua, Xingyi and Tai Chi, during which attempts were made to extract the essence from each of these three systems and combine them into a single, two-part form. This theory is not as unlikely as it may seem, for anyone aquainted with the other three systems will recognize typical elements from each system in Liu He Ba Fa. Perhaps this art has two different origins.
My teacher for this system is Master Wei Lun Huang, who lives in Florida. Early on in my training he told me that Liu He Ba Fa gives you a kind of elevated overall view, enabling you to select the optimum technique application (from amongst all three classical internal martial arts) for any given situation. This is achieved using your knowledge of "Ba Fa", as he often calls it for short. My long years of Liu He Ba Fa training have taught me to value more than ever all the other internal systems which I also practise. The "overview" thing certainly works for me.
It is called Water Boxing because it is supposed to symbolize the three possible physical states of water:
- the fast, explosive movements of Xingyi Quan stand for the rigidity of solid ice.
- the soft, flowing movements of Tai Chi Chuan stand for gently flowing water in its unfrozen state.
- the whirling, quickly revolving, flowing and often unfathomable, snake-like movements of Bagua Zhang stand for the fleeting, translucent, virtually formless nature of steam.
I have personal experience of several very good warm-up exercises, an 8-fold Liu He Ba Fa-Qi Gong with 8 different arm positions to lower energy rapidly and powerfully at the end of training, and the two part long Liu He Ba Fa form. It is possible that there are also Liu He Ba Fa weapons forms, but at present I know of no-one who can teach these. Master Huang concentrates mainly on the practice and teaching of the long form. This is beautiful to watch and is a real highlight of any internal martial arts demonstration. The whole of the form part 1 is on our video on the internal martial arts of China (title: "Master Volker Jung presents internal martial arts"). Here you can see me perform Form 1 live on stage.
If your interest in Liu He Ba Fa has been awakened, please contact us.