What is Bajiquan?
Bājíquán 八極拳 also known by its full name, Kai Men Ba Ji Quan 開門八極拳, is a Chinese martial art that features explosive, short range power and is particularly famous for its elbow strikes. It originated amongst the Hui people in Hebei Province in Northern China, but has since spread globally, particularly to Taiwan and to Japan, where it is known as Hakkyokuken.
The name Bājíquán 八極拳 translates literally as "Eight Extremes Boxing", with the character Ji 極 being the same as in Taijiquan meaning "extreme" or "furthest point". The full name, Kai Men Ba Ji Quan 開門八極拳 translates literally as "Open-Gate Eight Extremes Boxing", with 開門 referring to the idea of smashing through the target's defensive "gates", highlighting the aggressive nature of the martial art.
"In Chinese martial arts, the posture that is held first, and from which skills are executed is usually called a gate. The use of an effective defense skill - one that neutralizes the opponent's attack - is referred to as "closing the gate." "Opening the gate" refers to an effective offensive skill that opens the opponent to an attack. The term "Kai Men" indicates that the skills of this style can open any gate and that no defense skill can be effective against them"
The term "BaJi" (八極) can be found in the Huainanzi (淮南子, Book of the Prince of Huai Nan by Liu An c. 140 BC), an ancient taoist book which states that between the Heavens and the Earth there are nine 'Jio' (regions) and eight 'Ji' (spaces). Futher, beyond the eight 'Ji' there are also eight 'Yan' (stretching or extensions into the far distance) and beyond the eight 'Yan' there are eight 'Hong' (breadth or limits). Therefore the word "BaJi" could be said to refer to something which extends and spreads out to infinity. The Huainanzi also note: "Big roads stretch far, reach eight limits" which is a concept that can be seen in the way that force in BaJi Quan is explosive pushing outwards in all directions. Baji practitioners can take advantage of both the force of gravity (重力) and torque (旋力) to generate the applied force of sinking jing (沉坠劲) and crossing jing (十字劲), for example, in Ma Bu and Gong Bu stances.
In other languages
- Arabic: باجيتشوان
- Hebrew: באג׳יצ׳ואן (Transliteration)
- Japanese: 八極拳(Same as in Chinese)
- Korean: 팔극권
- Mongolian: ᠪᠠᠵᠢᠺᠦ᠋ᠠᠨ (Бажикуан)
- Persian: بای چی چوان
- Russian: Кулак восьми пределов (literal)
- Russian: Бацзицюань (transliteration)
Bajiquan is best known for its elbow strikes, and fast, short range strikes. Similar to Muay Thai's "Eight Limbs", Bajiquan uses "Eight Weapons" to strike - Feet, Knees, Hips, Body, Shoulders, Elbows, Arms and Head. It is built around close, in-fighting, engaging aggressively from a longer range with its Chuang Bu (charging step) footwork and the characteristic sound of Zhen Jiao (foot stamp and sinking). Its horse stance is higher than that of typical Long Fist styles, and it also makes use of many other common Chinese martial arts stances such as xūbù 虚步 (empty stance). Baji has six major characteristic Jin 勁 (power issuing methods) which are:
- Sinking (Xia Chen 下沉 or Chen Zhui 沉墜)
- Thrusting (Chong 沖)
- Extending (Cheng 撑)
- Entangling (Chan 纏)
- Cross (Shi Zi 十字)
- Inch (Cun 寸)
Rather than making use of a wind up/swinging motion to create momentum, most of Bajiquan's moves rely on short range explosive force, dealing damage through a combination of the momentary acceleration travelling from the waist to the striking limb and multiplied by Zhen Jiao. A good example can be seen in this video.
- An Family
- Baji Association
- Ding Family
- Fu Family
- Han Family
- Huo Family
- Ma Family Tongbei
- Wang Family
- Wu Family
- WuDang Dan Pai
- WuDang Principles
- WuDang San Feng Pai
- (PoBei) Zhang Family
Bajiquan In Popular Culture
- The Grandmaster (2013) - features a Bajiquan practitioner named Yixiantian played by Chang Chen.
- The Matrix - Agent Smith, played by Hugo Weaving, exhibits basic Bajiquan techniques in the film.
- Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance - Li Mei uses Bajiquan as one of her fighting styles.
- Yīdài xīnbīng zhī bā jí shàonián (一代新兵之八極少年, eng. Baji Teenagers) a Taiwanese idol drama featuring Chiu Pin Cheng (alias Leo Chiu)
- A Fist Within Four Walls -(Hong Kong TV Drama) In 1945, Bajiquan masters Duen Tung-tin and Chiu Mang-san form a brief alliance to protect the once-peaceful Kowloon Walled City from falling into the hands of ruthless gangs.
Manga & Comics
- Air Master
- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple
- Kengan Ashura - Several "Niko Style" techniques bear strong resemblence to Bajiquan techniques such as "Flashing Steel"
- Kengan Omega - The fighter Liu DongCheng appears to use a number of Bajiquan techniques in his fights including variations of cheung chui (dubbed "FaJin") and explicitly uses TiShanKao.
- Kenji - Perhaps the most famous and influential instance of Bajiquan appearing in popular media. It is thought to have been one of the most important factors in the spread of Bajiquan in Japan.
- Type-MOON - Several characters in the franchise make use of Bajiquan
- Fate: Stay/Night - The character Kirei Kotomine uses a magically enhanced version of Bajiquan to fight with.
- Fate/Zero - Kirei Kotomine also appears in this series using Bajiquan in combat
- Fist of the Blue Sky
- Love Hina
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi
- Virtua Fighter series by Sega, used by Akira Yuki
- Tekken by Namco, mainly used by Leo Kliesen and secondarily by Michelle Chang and Julia Chang
- Street Fighter by Capcom, twins Yun and Yang as well as by Karin Kanzuki
- RumbleFighter by Ijji Games / RedFox. Players can purchase "Scrolls" to fight in over 90 Martial Arts styles, "Pakuakwon" is the fictional name for the original 2005 "Baji-Pigua" scroll. The "Bajiquan" scroll was later added 13 years later by Redfox as an updated version.
- Rival Schools also by Capcom, used by Akira Kazama who also guest stars in Street Fighter V as a DLC character
- Dead or Alive series by Tecmo, used by Kokoro
- Fatal Fury by SNK, used by Tung Fu Rue
- The King of Fighters also by SNK, used by Sie Kensou
- Fighter's History by Data East, used by Li Noritoku
- Tobal 2 by Square, used by Chaco Utani
- Melty Blood and Fate franchise by Type-Moon, used by Miyako Arima in the former, and Kirei Kotomine, Rin Tohsaka, and Li Shuwen in the latter.
- Combat Techniques of Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua: Principles and Practices of Internal Martial Arts p111 - Shengli Lu , 2006, Berkeley, Calif. : Blue Snake Books