The spread of baguazhang
Yin Fu (1840-1909), also named Shoupeng, was short and thin, so was given the nicknamed Thin Yin. He was Dong’s earliest apprentice, and studied under Dong for over twenty years. Yin Fu was with Dong the longest and so naturally learned the most from him.
Before starting baguazhang he had already studied other martial arts, so naturally he further developed what he had learned from Dong with his own personal characteristics. His system is called Yin school baguazhang.
Yin school baguazhang is characterized by small, nimble, light, and quick actions with a compact structure. It emphasizes tanzhang (reaching palm), chuanzhang (piercing palm), pressure points, and grabbing controls. It is also characterized by opening and closing, changing frequently, with many moves to confuse the opponent, light as a butterfly and quick as an eagle.
Yin Fu was very influential, with many students and apprentices. His apprentices include Ma Gui, Liu Qingfu, Gong Baotian, Cao Zhongsheng, Zeng Zengju, Li Yongqing, Ju Qingyuan, Cui Zhendong, He Jinhui, Yang Junfeng, Liu Dongchen, Men Baozhen, and Yin Yuzhang, among others.
Ma Weiqi, of unknown antecedents, operated a coal factory, so was nicknamed ‘Coal Ma’. Ma Weiqi was tall and strongly built, with a rough character. He often hurt people when sparring, which strengthened baguazhang’s reputation but also created some notariety.
Ma Weiqi started learning with Dong Haichuan quite early, and trained for over ten years with him. The system as he passed it on contains a lot of circle walking and palm changes with the palms up. The techniques are strong, heavy and fierce, with a spirit like a charging horse, and energy like a fierce tiger. The Ma school of baguazhang has a hard and fierce character like its teacher had.
Ma Weiqi did not teach many people. The only one that can be found is Yang Luolin, Also named Hanshi.
Cheng Tinghua (1848-1900), also named Yingfang, made eyeglasses for a living. Because of this he was nicknamed ‘Glasses Cheng’.
Cheng had a heroic character, and followed Dong for ten years, developing great skills. He was unsurpassed in sparring matches, which helped give a great reputation to the name of baguazhang. Cheng’s background was in wrestling so his baguazhang reflected that and used a lot of coiling, trapping, and leaning. His baguazhang coiled and rolled like a dragon or a great python, rolling and strong, and very beautiful. As it developed its own character it became called the Cheng school of baguazhang.
Cheng was an invaluable ‘pillar and beam’ of baguazhang, as he took on many students, devoted himself to spreading the skills, and supported and helped out fellow apprentices as much as he could.
His main apprentices were Li Wenbiao, Sun Lutang, Liu Bin,Guo Tongde, Cheng Youlong, Cheng Yougong, Cheng Yousheng,among others.
Among the people in the third generation, only one of them received long term teaching directly from Dong Haichuan, and surpassed all others of his generation, this was Ma Gui.