Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bagua Zhang - "The life of Dong Haichuan" by Yin Fu

When Dong Haichuan, the founder of Baguazhang, died in winter 1882, Yinfu with other disciples buried him in a cemetery based at the south of Xiao Niu Fang village, beside the Red Bridge ouside Dong Zhi Men in Beijing. On his burial site were written all the major facts of his life. However as time passed, the burial site suffered progressively from wind and rain erosion first and more recently heavily damaged during the Cultural Revolution, the epitaph becoming barely readable.
In 1981 under the authority of the Third Generation Baguazhang Great master Li Ziming, a group of practitioners decided to move Dong Haichuan tomb and its four steles to the west of Beijing in Wan’an Public Cemetery, in order to preserve for the posterity the invaluable information written on these steles.

I The first stele (1883):  "The life of Dong Haichuan" by Yin Fu and by Li Zhiming (1981)

Front side of  first stele (Fig.1)

On the front side of this stele is written “For the following generations”. The epitaph was written with cursive characters.

Here is the translation of the epitaph:
“His family name Dong and his given name was Haichuan, originated from the village of South Niujiawu in Wen An county. When he was young he was not inclined to do countryside works, but rather to help the poor and defend the weak against robbers and injustice. He was very fond of hunting and used to pass all the day long in the forest. He was very fond of travelling which brought him to visit many places around China but especially Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces, crossing mountains and rivers to enlarge his vision of the world and meet more adventures. Later he met a Taoist who taught him a very special style of martial art which he will confer him invincibility in combat. Unexpectedly reaching middle age, he will be forced to follow the unorthodox way of Si Maqian (famous Chinese historian and poet who was submitted to castration), to serve as an eunuch servant inside a palace. Facing injustice as his main enemy, he had no choice but hide his skills and patriotic beliefs while serving obediently in the Prince Su palace. Reaching an advanced age and requesting further care, decided to move in one of his disciples house. This time he can spend all his time to teach his large number of disciples, around several thousands… among them were some illustrious and influential officials but also scholars and merchants, personalizing his teaching to each of them.He demonstrated once his talents on the Great Wall surrounded by numerous opponents all armed with weapons and trying to pierce or hit him. Stirring in all directions, Dong was counterattacking in all angles, rotating rapidly like a hurricane, to the stupefaction of all spectators, all recognizing the phenomenal level which Dong Haichuan has reached in martial arts.
Before dying, many followers came to touch his hands and feet, he stayed three days sitting before joining the immortals. The day of his funerals all his disciples with several hundreds of people all dressed in white, followed the funeral cortege bringing Dong to his grave site several miles away from Beijing’s Dong Zhimen Gate. He will leave to everyone a deep sorrow. In order to commemorate him this stele was erected to preserve his memory for the coming generations.

Stele was erected in February 1883.” (Fig. 1).

On the rear of the first stele was written the following epitaph.

On its top: “To be preserved for the coming generations”.

The main text: “He was a very loyal man and who can bear comparison to his life’s dedication?
Coming from poverty then joining the army with his sword skills, how can we really know what was his real task? Suffering from his most intimate part of the body, loosing his male organs, how can he continue to serve with the wall of the city? He is the symbol of all those who endure private mutilation and continue to serve a secret cause.”

Names of Dong Haiquan’s disciples written of his tomb.

Rear side of  first stele (Fig.2)
Names of Dong Haiquan’s disciples written of his tomb.

Senior disciples (56):
Yin Fu, Ma Weiqi, Shi Jidong, Cheng Tinghua, Song Changrong,
Sun Tianzhang, Liu Dengke, Jiao Yulong, Gu Yushan, Ma Chunzhi,
Zhangyun, Qin Yukuan, Liu Dianjia, Lu Chengde, An Fen,
Xia Mingde, Geng Yongshan, Wei Jixiang, Yangkun, Wang Xinsheng
Wang Huaiqing, Shen Changshou, Wang Deyi, Zhu Ziyun, Song Yongxiang,
Li Wanyou, Pan Zhiyong, Song Longhai, Wang Yongtai, Peng Liangui,
Fu Zhenhai, Wang Hongbin, Gu Buyun, Chen Chunlin, Wang Tingju,
Shuang Fu, Li Changsheng, Xu Zhaoxiang, Liu Baozhen, Liang Zhenpu,
Zhang Yingshan, Guo Yuting, Zhao Yunxiang, Zhang quankui, Jiao Chunfang
Liu Fengchun, Si Yuangong, Zhang Ze, Qing Shan, He Wu,
He Liu, Guo Tonghai, Xu Henian, Feng Guanglian, Li Chunnian, Chen Pan.

(12) Junior disciples:
Qian Benshan, Zhang Yimin, Ma Gui, Yang Junfeng, Liu Jinyin
Wen Zhi, Kui Yu, Wang Zhi, Shi Ting, Ju Qingyuan
Liu Yinzhang, Geng Yulin

Composed in Qing Dynasty 10th generation (1883) by Cen Guirong and graved by Qing
Shan from Shenyang (fig. 2).

These following disciples did not figure originally on Dong’s stele but was included by Li Zhiming after relocation of the site (1981).

(9) additional disciples:
Quan Kaiting, Ruan Zhengu, Liang Shizhen, Zhang Huaishan, Zhong Xianglin,
Wu Maoting, Li Yungui, Liu Deguan, Liang Le.


Bagua Zhang - "The life of Dong Haichuan" by Yin Fu

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