Pa Kua Chang is a rather recent creation. Historical records indicate that the founder of this art is Tong Hai Chuan (1796-1880). His grave site is located outside Beijing. Engraved into the large grave stones is a list of his top students and the lineage of succeeding generations of practitioners. Our teacher Grandmaster Lu Hung Bin appears on this list as the fourth generation of practitioners, which makes us the fifth generation of Pa Kua Chang practitioners. Even though there are historical records about Tong Hai Chuan there is no clear cut explanation as to whether he created this art himself or learned it from someone else. One story attributes his learning of this art to an old Taoist monk who lived on a mountain and taught it to him over a period of time. Such stories while interesting to read are often created to add mysticism to the development of the art.
Tai Chi Chuan is characterized by its soft movements that go corner to corner, back and forth, and are circular. Pa Kua Chang enhances this circularity with the circular movements of this martial art done while walking a circle. In essence there is circularity of movement within a circle. The movements of Pa Kua Chang are more demanding than Tai Chi Chuan and there is a definite emphasis placed on the martial arts aspect of the art. It is the perfect art to be learned by those already familiar with another martial art. Major stress is placed on balance and postural alignment to enhance ones internal energy. It is a very close in fighting art that utilizes joint locks, throws and take down techniques. All the techniques are centered around the ability to turn and coil the waist to develop internal energy. Open palm techniques are favored over closed fist techniques.