Baji Martial Art: the Art of the Eight Extremities.
A Fox knows many things, but a Hedgehog knows one big thing…
Archilochus, Greek poet
In this article:
- What is Baji Quan
- Baji Quan Course of Study
- Common Questions
- Baji Combat Rules
- Tips for your Baji training
A simple name for a simple principle. Eight Extremities Boxing (Bajiquan 八極拳 – also known in Japan as Hakkyokuken) is a traditional fighting style known for its direct and powerful striking. Unlike other fighting sports such as Kick boxing, Sanshou or Savate, Bajiquan does not require strong physical preparation even though it can turn into a very deadly style if practiced at its highest levels and with proper physical conditioning. Its name originates from the eight strongest extremities the human body naturally provides.
Blending natural armor with martial skills. Everyone would acknowledge that throwing a punch hurts, although specific training such as B.M.C. can make that punch became less sensitive to pain. Baji quan works on a fundamental principle: that human body alone conceals powerful parts that don’t necessarily require training, and can be used in a fight by anyone, even by people without any martial experience. However, the following must be kept in mind:
It’s the set of skills comprising these eight parts that turn “the eight extremities” in a fighter’s best shield and sword.To unleash these skills, Baji martial art is the best way
Baji martial art focuses exactly on these eight naturally-protective extremities to guarantee quick defense and maximum efficiency. It is also beneficial for martial artists who do not want to overly focus on Bone and Muscle Conditioning.
Baji Quan’s place in modern Martial Arts. Baji Quan is actually considered one of the most effective and powerful fighting style in Chinese Martial Arts, as it has been chosen amongst 200 Kung Fu styles for self defense purposes in both China and Taiwan. In fact, it has been used for centuries from the Emperor bodyguards. Without application, its sequences become a perfect routine to keep fit and healthy.
Baji Course of Study.
Baji quan is a complete martial style, as it includes all things a combatant needs to learn to consider himself such. In fact, Baji martial art includes:
Some of Baji martial art patterns include:
八极拳小架 Baji Xiao Jia – Small frame (also known as short pattern). In its shortness, the essence of the style. Baji Xiao jia is the first pattern (dao lu) a Student learns. In the Video below you can see a sample of the Dao lu (please consider that the one performed in the video is Shaolin Baji Xiao jia, and dao lu’s may differ from Master to Master, and from School to School).
八极拳大架 Baji Da Jia – Big frame (also known as long pattern). After mastering Baji xiao jia, this pattern takes the Student to a new, more advanced and demanding set of techniques. This dao lu is based on the Baji principle “advance, advance, advance” and is more challenging than Xiao xia.
八极拳母子拳 Baji Muzi quan – Mother and Son frame. Muzi quan is essential for any Baji fighter, because of the importance of alternating attacking and pulling back.
Following the principle of Yin and Yang is something a Baji Student should always keep in mind: there is a moment to attack, and a moment to block
This alternation of states aims at tuning the Baji Student to a confident, powerful combatant.
八极拳对练 Baji Dui Lian – Parts of the studied forms are used between two opponents in a fighting-set routine, aiming at educating the brain to properly react to a sequence of pre-defined attacks.
八极拳擒拿 Baji Qin na – Joint lock techniques based on Baji quan. Please note that Qin na is a generic term used in Martial Arts to define “locks” with the purpose of neutralizing the opponent’s fighting ability without necessarly harm him. Each style has its own set of “Qin na techniques”, and this Unit of Competency aims at studying only the ones related to this specific style.
COMBAT RULES IN BAJI
Although some of the following rules are valid for many other fighting sports, they will certainly make your Baji training rooted in your heart. You will comprehend its principles deeper, in spite of some characteristics of this style looking pointless on the surface when you begin studying this style.
- Advance, advance, advance: Baji training will make your body etched to advance, rather than moving back.
- Search for short distance. Althoug a Baji expert is trained at both short and long distance, Baji’s efficiency is mostly found in short distance fighting. A Baji expert never forgets that this may have its downside, although real mastery means also getting close to the opponent without giving him a chance to take you down.
- Practice without solution of continuity. When practicing your Baji forms (be it Xiao jia or another dao lu) remember that Baji quan follows the principle of the Dao: black and white, hard and soft, fast and slow, and your techniques should follow this duality as well. Gestures don’t have to look like a continuous ballet, but not even a tense robot-like pattern: preserve your energies in a fast but relaxed movement, but explode and express your full power when the part of the technique/dao lu requires it!
- Your body as a weapon. It’s not a punch. It’s not a kick. It’s not even a shoulder strike. It’s the whole body that impacts. Consider the engine of your car: do you think pistons generate power..? No, it’s the crankshaft that moves them and makes the whole engine be alive.
- Risk. Baji martial art is called the style of courage because it wants you to get that elbow of yours in the ribs of your enemy: not being a punch, this means you have to get closer to your enemy, hence the need to make your Baji guard perfect and, more important, to develop a strategy.
Tips for your Baji training.
- Train daily: like everything in life, the difference is made by people who can win over their mind, over fatigue, over soreness.
- Be careful when you stomp too hard and for too long, as your feet may be very sore next days. I personally recommend Feiyue shoes with proper gel-cushions installed. This may cause a loss of “ground-feeling”, but your feet, calves and joints will benefit from them.
- Always end your training sessions with proper stretching and auto massage.
- Baji routines are indeed a good cardiovascular workout, but don’t forget to blend your Baji training with proper Physical Training.
- Don’t forget that Baji martial art relies on impact, so BMC training must be compulsory in your weekly schedule. Without, it would be kust like being armed with a wooden sword and a wooden shield: surely you are protected, but how long will you last in a fight?
That’s all for today. But it’s not all for Baji: if you are already a practitioner of Baji, sure you already know that words must stop and leave room to training. if you are new to Baji martial art, on the other hand, I hope this will be helpful for you to move your first steps towards this amazing style.