System Contents

"There are many thousands of moves in Gong Fu, but morality is the first move. One who lacks morality will not learn or even hope to understand true Gong Fu. Therefore one should develop their morality. In so doing, they will develop their character and also their martial skill. Practising this system of Gong Fu will cause you to perspire. It will also give your body a good shape and make you stronger than you would otherwise be. Strength can be of two kinds, firstly muscular strength which is classed as ‘external’, while development of ‘Qi’ increases ‘internal’ strength. Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan is both an internal and external Gong Fu. The system has low order and high order Gong Fu which correspond to Yin and Yang, and the Five Elements. There is a great deal more information that can be given about this system, but it will be held safe until such time that one can prove that they are both ready and worthy of knowing it."

Chief Instructor Mike Farr April 2001

The art of 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong bei Quan' or 'The Fist Through The Back In Every Direction' is a synthesis of 2 highly effective martial systems that have had a very long and interesting history together. The first system is a family system called 'Hong Yuan Gong Fu' which has been passed down from father to son over a recorded history of 1000 years. It is practised with some fist gestures and asks its practitioners to stick to the concepts of Yin and Yang and the principal of "There is no place in the body without Dan Tian". The second system is a very famous system in China called 'Tong Bei Quan' or 'Through-the-back boxing'. It is a system of Gong Fu that dates back to the Ming Period of China (1623 AD) and was originally used by the Chinese Imperial Guards to protect the life of the Emperor. Legend has it that it was so secretive, that anyone caught watching the guards practice would lose their head! Tong Bei Quan is characterised by very fast movements of hand and foot, combined with slapping motions which are both disorientating and confusing for would be aggressors.

Each of these systems are taught in 8 main sections. These sections, like all martial arts (Chinese or otherwise), require a great deal of practice, dedication, motivation and reflection if the Gong Fu is to be successful. Hidden within these various sections, the practitioner will find many more areas of this Gong Fu than is apparent on first inspection. Practice requires plain gestures, not rich and beautiful performances, which ultimately makes this martial art very efficient. It does not require physical strength, but it does require strength of character. Drawing upon the 'internal' elements of this system, this art gives the practitioner 'internal' strength which, unlike physical strength, becomes more powerful with age. It gives the body a good shape, makes it strong and gives it the energy to fight off sickness.

Below is a brief description of the eight sections found in 'Hong Yuan Gong Fu', followed by a brief description about 'Tong Bei Quan':

Hong Quan (Big/Vast Fist):

This is the first fist set that a practitioner will learn. The practice of this fist set builds flexibility, co-ordination and stamina. It gives the foundation for the practitioner to progress further and when perfected can be likened to a fast-flowing river (it is difficult to impede its flow). This is a sound analogy because 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan' makes clever use of the 'Five Elements' which are found at the core of so much of Chinese culture.


Yi Lu (One/First Road/Path):

This is the second fist set learnt by a practitioner of this art. It has been called by two other names in times past. Its original name was 'Long Men Quan' or 'Dragons Gate Fist'. Long Men is located roughly 1 mile from Jun Tun Village in Luoyang where our Gong Fu has been practised for centuries. The second name Yi Lu had was 'Shi Ba Lo Han Quan' or 'Eighteen Lo Han Fist'. This fist set is very deceptive as every movement of the body not only defends against would be adversaries, but these movements can easily break an opponent’s limbs thereby leaving them incapable of continuing their attack. Yi Lu also contains some very effective sweeping techniques and it is at this stage in a practitioners' development that sweeping is learnt.


Er Lu (Two/Second Road/Path):

The third fist set that a practitioner of 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan' or 'The Fist Through The Back In Every Direction' learns is Er Lu. This fist set takes considerably longer to perform than Yi Lu and requires a lot of practice and patience to learn. Er Lu works on the principles of 'Na Fa' and 'Jie Fa', or 'Holding Methods' and 'Separating Methods'. The former is self explanatory, while the latter consists of ripping, tearing and dividing techniques.


Pao Quan (Cannon Fist): 

The fourth fist set learnt in 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan'  or 'The Fist Through The Back In Every Direction' is 'Pao Quan' or 'Cannon Fist'. As the name implies, this is a very powerful fist set and, as such, requires a great deal of concentration and effort on the practitioners' part to learn. 'Pao Quan' is a relatively short fist set to perform, but the movements generated by the body when performing 'Pao Quan' have devastating effects if applied in a combat situation.


Tui Shou (Push Hand):

'Tui Shou' or 'Push Hand' is the fifth section (or component) of 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan'. The 'Tui Shou' found in this system should not be confused with the 'Push Hand' found in Tai Qi Quan even though it might appear to be very similar to the casual observer. Performed slowly, 'Tui Shou' builds sensitivity - performed quickly, it is truly devastating. A great deal of 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan'  or 'The Fist Through The Back In Every Direction' can be found in 'Tui Shou' as it allows the practitioner to apply many of the techniques of the system in a 'controlled' manner. Movements can be circular or linear, but they are all governed by the principles of 'yin' and 'yang' and the opponents' advances. There is a real power to be found in 'Tui Shou', especially in actual combat.


Ba Zi Bu (Eight Character Step):

The sixth section of 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan'  or 'The Fist Through The Back In Every Direction' is 'Ba Zi Bu' or 'Eight Character Step'. On a superficial level, 'Ba Zi Bu' can be compared to Pa Qua. However, there are some important distinctions between the two. Practitioners of Pa Qua walk in circles of varying size either in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. 'Ba Zi Bu' requires one to walk in figures of eight. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the motion of the hands, arms, feet, legs and waist when practising 'Ba Zi Bu' and, when performed, is done so at great speed.


Dui Da (Against Strike/Hit/Break/Smash/Fight):

'Dui Da' is the seventh section of 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan' or 'The Fist Through The Back In Every Direction'. It is by practising this seventh section that practitioners learn how to 'apply' the various techniques learnt in the previous parts. Learning and then practising the movements required to perform the previous sections is one thing, but learning what those movements can do and how they can be applied means the practitioner begins to understand this Gong Fu on a much deeper level. You cannot have 'Yin' without 'Yang' and it is through understanding this seventh section that a 'balanced' view is gained.


Lao Jia (Old/Ward Off/Withstand/Frame):

'Lao Jia' is the eighth and final section of 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan' or 'The Fist Through The Back In Every Direction'. Whereas the other seven sections concentrate on fighting skills, 'Lao Jia' concentrates on 'Nei Qi' or 'Internal Energy'. The superior parts of 'Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan' are 'Hong Yuan Gong Fu' and 'Hong Yuan Qi Gong' (collectively 'Lao Jia'). Practised in unison, this is the pinnacle of Gong Fu achievement within this system. Performed together with some fist gestures, it requires the practitioner to follow the contents of the 'Yi Jin Jing' and the rule: "There is no place in the body without 'Dan Tian'". The practice of 'Lao Jia' keeps the 'male' and the 'female' in harmony within the body and, with great persistence and devotion, a practitioner will ultimately attain 'Iron Clothes' Gong Fu.


Tong Bei Quan (Through-The-Back Boxing):

'Tong Bei Quan' is initially practiced separately to 'Hong Yuan Gong Fu', though through practice, the practitioner is likely to notice how these 2 systems can be integrated to great effect. For this reason, the 8 components of 'Tong Bei Quan' are taught concurrently with the 8 components of 'Hong Yuan Gong Fu' described above. Each one of these components is practised as a set of moves individually and as a set of techniques with a partner. 'Tong Bei Quan' consists of very loose and very fast hand and foot movements and is practised without any tension in the body. It also utilises slapping motions which are performed in order to disorient and confuse an opponent. Performed correctly, the moves are of the "blink and you'll miss it" kind and can also be devastatingly precise.

Chief UK Instructor Mike Farr Jan 2001