Dong Haichuan, the originator of Baguazhang.
Baguazhang has a history of about 160 years. Towards the end of the Qing dynasty(1855-1882) the first grandmaster of baguazhang, Dong Haichuan, started teaching openly in Beijing. The life experiences of the first grandmaster Dong Haichuan essentially reflect the history of the origins of baguazhang. Dong Haichuan (1813-1882) was born in Wen’an in Hebei province. His life experiences can be divided into the following stages. His adolescence (from about ten to twenty years old): Dong was naturally courageous, with surpassing strength, an enjoyment of fighting, and a straightforward character. He behaved as the heroes in upholding justice, and was disinclined to work. His young adulthood (about twenty years old): Dong sought out teachers and met with friends, traveling all over China seeking experiences among the martial world,discussing and sparring with martial artists. His time spent in secret training in the mountains (from 20+ years old to 30+ years old): Dong met the Daoist master Yun Pan in the deep mountains, with whom he studied for fifteen years. There he learned of things he had never heard of before, saw techniques and moving methods he had never seen before, and trained deep techniques of qi cultivation. A period of wandering after his deep skills were formed (from 30+ years to 40+ years old): Dong traveled around with no set itinerary, traveling frequently to Beijing. During this time he made full use of his strange deep skills and outstanding techniques. His time living at the emperor’s palace (from 40+ to 60 years old): Dong worked at the palace, and while there, his outstanding skills were discovered and he gradually started to take on apprentices. His time living in ordinary Beijing (from 60 to 69): In his later years Dong started to teach many more people and take on many apprentices. People from many walks of life sought him out, and he taught over a thousand people. Through this one person, baguazhang took Chinese martial arts to the highest level. Dong became one of China’s greatest teachers of all time. For more details on the lineage of baguazhang, please see the pages on each person.