A Brief Discussion of Liu He Ba Fa.
Liu He Ba Fa (Six Harmonies and Eight Methods) is a special internal martial art system passed down by Master Wu Yi-Hui. Master Wu Yi-Hui is a very important figure in Chinese modern martial art history. He had superb skills, taught many students, and dedicated his life to Chinese martial arts education. Thousands of students learned directly from him. Many of his top students such as Zhao Dao-Xin, Zhang Chang-Xin, Han Jiao, Zhang Wen-Guang, He Fu-Sheng, and Jiang Hao-Quan later became famous martial artists in China and in the rest of the world.
In 1936, the head of the Chinese Central Martial Arts Institute, Mr. Zhang Zhi-Jiang, invited Master Wu to become the Dean of Studies in the Chinese Central Martial Arts Institute. In 1948, Mr. Zhang Zhi-Jiang again invited Mr. Wu to be an associate professor and the head of the Martial Arts Department at the Chinese Physical Education Teacher's Institute. These invitations were extended because of Master Wu's deep understanding and mastery of the Chinese martial arts.
The complete name of Liu He Ba Fa is Xin Yi Liu He Ba Fa San Pan Shi Er Shi, that is, Mind Intention Six Harmonies Eight Methods Three Stances Twelve Postures. The most important aspect of this system is one's mind and intention.In other words, one's intention should be sharply focused on each movement, and the movements are led by one's mind and intention.Intention, rather than physical force, is used. As a result, at the connecting points of different postures, although physical strength appears to be momentarily disconnected, one's intention connects the postures and make them a seamless whole.
Six Harmonies include harmonizing the body and heart/mind, heart/mind and intent, intent and Qi/energy, Qi/energy and spirit, spirit and movement, and movement and emptiness. Here, emptiness means wu-ji, that is, void state. It is a quiet, motionless state achieved when one's movement follows the body's automatic reaction to a specific circumstance.
Eight Methods refer to (1) Qi (energy), circulating Qi to concentrate Shen (spirit); (2) Gu (bones), collecting energy inside the bones; (3) Xing (form), incorporating animal forms from nature; (4) Sui (to follow), circular and smooth motion responding to the situation; (5) Ti (lifting), lifting from the crown of one's head to have a floating feeling; (6) Huan (returning), coming and going in a cycle; (7) Le (suspending), being motionless and calm while waiting; and (8) Fu (concealing), looking for an opening while concealing yourself.
The Six Harmonies relate to the unification of the body, and the Eight Methods relate to practical applications. The ancient Taoist Li Dong-Feng said that Òa good method should be adaptable according to different circumstances and a superb technique will allow one to stand above the crowds. The movements of Liu He Ba Fa should be circular and flowing, and fast changing in response to circumstances. The crown of the head should be lifted as if suspended from the ceiling by a rope, and the tail bone is pointed downward in a central position. One moves in many directions, sometimes in high positions and sometimes in low positions, while smoothly connecting different movements. It is difficult for an opponent to predict ones next movement and change of direction. One should be calm when facing an opponent, looking for appropriate openings and changing strategies according to different circumstances. The energy should alternately open and close, rise and sink, and spirally move forward and backward, following oneÕs intention rather than being forced by oneÕs physical exertion. The energy movement is like the silk reeling movement of a spring silkworm, continuing with no breaking point. It is also like water of a river, flowing forward on and on without stopping. We are not referring simply to the external movements. The important aspect is one's intention. Even though one is physically moving, he is calm internally.
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