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Kung Fu/Tai Chi vs. Bagua vs. Xing Yi


Rick Laoshi wrote at 2009-06-29 05:26:34
Chen family martial arts are the oldest recorded. Chen Tai Chi Chuan was originally much more like what westerners call kung fu, powerful and combat oriented. When political climates dictated, the Chen artists began to hide the techniques in abbreviated and slow forms, which in time became meditative. The Wu Dang styles are the most meditative of all.  Bagua chuan is a sophisticated martial art, effective, highly meditative, often called the gentlemen's martial art. It can work in real situations if the practitioner is of the highest level.

Chen family arts led to Choy Lay Fut, a true war fighting art, and Choy Lay Ho Fut Hung, the most brutally effective art of all and the grandfather of Jujitsu, Hwarangdo and all modern military commando fighting arts.

All martial arts have some deadly techniques, and all offer great personal development. Figure out what you are seeking to gain from martial arts, mesh that with your age and physical condition, and then make a choice.

Sport oriented arts are challenging and demanding disciplines, true combat arts are always practiced with life and death reality in mind.

Good luck in your quest!

Rick Laoshi

kelly wrote at 2010-09-23 06:29:47
I began studying the Chinese arts in 1980 and continue to find new depth, in the internal arts xing yi chuan was the fist and oldest, seconded was tai chi chuan, and third was ba qua Chang being the the study of these arts it is impotent to remember that in  those arts you are not doing three deferent things rather doing the same thing three deferent ways.xing yi focuses on direct explosive force, ba gua works on circle energy and tai chi works on both however focuses on rooting energy.the study of each can be vary valuable.

thank you for your time

hope this was useful


alan wrote at 2011-01-07 18:12:16
As to "Chen tai chi is the basis of it all" I can add that there is no basis in fact in such a statement. Simply check the history of all three arts..and you will uncover that xing yi is the oldest of the three. On the surface...with xing yi having  but "five simple fists (moves)" it is so easy to dismiss the art as being but a shadow of something as obviously complex as bagua or the long-form tai chi set. However, as is true with most things..what appears (on the surface) to be simplehides a  reality of infinite complexity. It is not for nothing that someone who truly studies xing yi, and not  what is referred to as "the basics" but the reality of the art..will do little more than stand in santi for a full year..and then devote a full year to learning/practicing each of the five fists. Do not believe what you are told by anyone about any of this. Even me.  

Joshua wrote at 2015-08-25 12:48:33
No. In fact it is quite the opposite. It is Taiji that encompasses and eclipses the other two arts. Xingyi ad Bagua do not use "root," a concept and skill developed in Push Hands. This is also something Xingyi and Bagua borrowed from Taijiquan, the exercise of Tui Shou/Push Hands.

The Neigong and even the application of softness is more advanced, and furthermore, more complete within Taiji. Internal softness is achieved in all three at mastery level. But it is only Taiji that uses softness as an answer to every question. Hence its moniker, Grand Ultimate, or Two Poles/Two Extremes Fist. This is a reference to the Taijitu/Yin Yang symbol which illustrates how all things are divided into two energies. Bagua is an Eight Path system, and Xingyi is a Five Path system. Meaning, they each have designated "responses" to certain forces enacted on them; bagua having eight of them, and xingyi having five. While Taiji is only two. This allows greater sophistication within every movement at every moment. Don't confuse this with the 13 postures, the 13 energies or the animals of Taiji, or of the other arts. The terminology gets confusing, but I assure you, the differentiation is present.

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Ken Gullette


I am a senior level (black sash) instructor in the American Tao System of Internal Arts. We study and practice the internal arts of Chen Tai Chi, Hsing-I Chuan, and Baguazhang. I also study and teach Chi Kung (Qigong) and Chin-Na. I began studying martial arts in 1973. I was 20 years old, a college student, and was inspired by Bruce Lee and the Kung-Fu TV show. My first teacher was Grandmaster Sin The in Lexington, Kentucky. I studied Shaolin with him. During the 1970's I also studied Taekwondo with Master Randy Chambliss. In the early 80's, I studied Tien Shan Pai Kung-Fu (wushu) with Karen Vaughn in Cincinnati. I met Sifu Phillip Starr in 1987 when I moved to Omaha, and earned a black sash in his Yiliquan system. He taught me the basics of Hsing-I, Tai Chi and Bagua. In 1998, I began studying Chen Tai Chi with Jim and Angela Criscimagna. They are indoor disciples of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang. I've also learned from Grandmaster Chen and his brother, Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing, the head of tai chi training in the Chen village, Henan Province. Their ancestor, Chen Wangting, created tai chi about 350 years ago. I have also learned from Mike Sigman and other very good instructors. I have a website,, where I teach all three internal arts online to students around the world. The site is very video intense. Eastern philosophy, especially Zen and Taoism, are very important to me. I am developing a means of explaining these philosophies to Americans in plain English so they can apply them to daily life in the 21st Century USA. I call it American Tao. I am 55 years old and enjoy competing in tournaments, often sparring young black belts (and even winning occasionally). I can answer questions about the internal arts, chi kung, tournament competition, philosophy, and keeping fit after the age of 40 or 50.


Winner of two gold medals at the 1990 AAU Kung Fu Nationals. Continue to compete. My students also are very successful in tournaments. Becoming a teacher and winning the respect and frienship of my students. Teaching chi kung (qigong) and centering techniques that have helped many students deal with stress and illness.

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