Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spearplay in Baguazhang

The spear methods of baguazhang passed down from Dong Haichuan (董海川) are distinct and extraordinary. Although there are many spear methods within the art, many lineages of baguazhang have only preserved the spear skills partially; few are the lines that have kept them all.

Fighting Body Spear (戰身槍) - this spear set, passed down in various forms through the many baguazhang lineages, is a spear set utilizing a single-headed spear. Although each substyle of baguazhang seems to have a different version of this set, all are generally linear spear sets utilizing both right-handed and left-handed methods.

Double-headed Snake Spear (雙頭蛇) - this special spear has two spear heads and is characteristic to the baguazhang method. In general, methods using this spear are practiced while walking on the circle.

The spear methods of Yin Yang Bapanzhang (陰陽八盤掌) (which is said by some to be the baguazhang lineage of Liu Baozhen (劉寶珍), who learned from Dong) is also of the two-headed type, but there are only five techniques total, according to Ren Zhicheng (任志誠):
  • Five Tigers Penetrating the Forest Spear (五虎穿林槍)
  • Tiger Sitting Posture (虎坐式)
  • Tiger Catching Posture (虎捕式)
  • Azure Dragon Swings Head Posture (青龍擺頭式)
  • Azure Dragon Twists Tail Posture (青龍絞尾式)

Liang style has many spear methods intact, with a version of Fighting Body Spear, Double-headed Snake Spear, Eight Spear (basic techniques), two-person sets, and so on.

The movements of the Double-Headed Snake Turning Spear set are given as a rather interesting poem, which is as follows:

Double-Headed Snake Turning Spear (雙頭蛇轉槍)

雙頭槍使世無雙 - Wielder of Double-headed Spear, Unequalled in this World
鳳凰展翅欲朝陽 - Phoenix Spreads Wings, Desiring to Face the Sun
左右鳳凰雙展翅 - Left Right Phoenix, Doubly Spreading Wings
青龍出水進下槍 - Azure Dragon Surfaces from Water, Advancing Low Spear
青龍翻身先掛下 - Azure Dragon Overturns Body, Initially Hangs Down
二郎擔山趕太陽 - Erlang Carries a Mountain, Pursuing the Great Sun
夜叉探海三環棒 - Night Devil Searches for Sea, Three Ringed Club
雙頭再翻劈砸槍 - Double-headed Again Overturns, Chopping Smashing Spear
左右勾開絆馬索 - Left Right Hook Open, Reined Horse's Ropes
老僧擔柴歸四方 - Old Monk Carries Firewood, Returns in Four Directions
太公釣魚陰陽手 - Great Duke Fishes, Yin Yang Hands
蒼龍歸海鎖口槍 - Blue Dragon Returns to Sea, Chained Mouth Spear
仙人指路三方進 - Immortal Points the Way, Three Directions Advancing
烏龍擺尾蓋下槍 - Black Dragon Swings Tail, Covering Low Spear
青龍抖甲左劈勢 - Azure Dragon Shakes Shell, Left Chopping Force
鐵扇閉門左右防 - Iron Fan Closes the Door, Left and Right Defending
偷步擺拿裏外進 - Stealing Step Swinging Clutching, Inside and Outside Advancing
雙蛇吐信不易防 - Double Snake Spits Tongue, Difficult to Defend
撩槍就使急進步 - Raising Spear Utilized Immediately, Hurrying Advancing Step
退步連環掛打強 - Retreating Step Continuous Rings, Hanging Hit Fiercly
要練手眼身法步 - Must Train Hands, Eyes, Body, Method, Steps
八卦第一雙頭槍 - Bagua Number One, Double Headed Spear

Another lineage of baguazhang still retaining the double-headed spear is the Cheng style line of Liu Bin (劉斌) in Beijing.