Martial Arts in Hebei Martial Arts, various kinds of fighting arts, with or without weapons. Most styles share common physical techniques which include striking or grappling. Striking technique is percussive, using blows with the hands, elbows, feet, knees, and head. Such popular martial arts as karate, kung fu, and tae kwon do fall under this category. Kung Fu, uses open-hand techniques and many Kung Fu styles use such weapons as swords or staffs. Kung Fu is believed to have originated in China more than 2000 years ago. Karate is an unarmed method of self-defense in which a person punches, strikes, kicks or blocks. Karate was directly influenced by the earlier methods of Chinese kung fu. About 100 million people participate in martial arts as a means of self-defense, physical fitness, mental tranquility, and competition. The following performance descriptions are some of the acts featured in shows presented by the Chinese Acrobats of Hebei.
Bajiquan (Chinese: 八極拳; pinyin: Bājíquán) is a Chinese martial art that features explosive, short-range power and is famous for its elbow and shoulder strikes. It originated in the Hebei Province in Northern China, but spread to Taiwan and other places. Its full name is kai men baji quan (開門八極拳), which means "open-gate eight-extremities fist".
Baji quan was originally called bazi quan (巴子拳 or 鈀子拳) or "rake fist" because the fists, held loosely and slightly open, are used to strike downwards in a rake-like fashion. The name was considered to be rather crude in its native tongue, so it was changed to baji quan. The term baji comes from the Chinese classic, the Yijing (I-Ching), and signifies an "extension of all directions". In this case, it means "including everything" or "the universe". The first recorded baji quan teacher was Wu Zhong (吳鍾) (1712–1802). Other notable teachers included Wu Xiufeng (吳秀峰) and Li Shuwen (李書文) (1864–1934). The latter was from Cangzhou (滄州), Hebei, and acquired the nickname "God of Spear Li". A Beijing opera Wu Shen (martial male character) by training, he was also an expert fighter. His most famous quote is, "I do not know what it's like to hit a man twice." Li Shuwen's students included Huo Dian Ge (霍殿閣) (bodyguard to Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China), Li Chenwu (bodyguard to Mao Zedong), and Liu Yun Qiao (劉雲樵) (secret agent for the nationalist Kuomintang and instructor of the Chiang Kai Shek's bodyguards). Baji quan has since acquired a reputation as the "bodyguard style". Ma Feng Tu (馬鳳圖) and Ma Yin Tu (馬英圖) introduced baji into the Central Guoshu Institute (Nanjing Guoshu Guan 南京國術館) where it is required for all students. Baji quan shares roots with another Hebei martial art, Piguazhang. It is said that Wu Zhong, the oldest traceable master in the baji lineage, taught both arts together as an integrated fighting system. They eventually split apart, only to be recombined by Li Shuwen in the late 18th to early 19th century. As a testament to the complementary nature of these two styles, a proverb states: "When pigua is added to baji, gods and demons will all be terrified. When baji is added to pigua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it." (八極參劈掛，神鬼都害怕。劈掛參八極，英雄嘆莫及)
Yongnian, Hebei 河北永年 Located in Handan City of Hebei Province, Yongnian County is the hometown of Tai Chi Chuan, and about 70 percent of the population practices this form of Chinese martial arts.
Located in Handan City of Hebei Province, Yongnian County is the hometown of Tai Chi Chuan, and about 70 percent of the population practices this form of Chinese martial arts. The county is especially famous for Guangfu Ancient Town, which is recognized worldwide as a place of pilgrimage for Tai Chi devotees. Surrounded by an artificial river, the town is known as the cradle of both the Yang and Wu Tai Chi schools. Yang Tai Chi, created by Yang Luchan during the reign of the Daoguang Emperor (1820-1850) in the Qing Dynasty, has been handed down for five generations over more than 180 years. It's the most influential and popular Tai Chi style in the world. Other Tai Chi masters in Yongnian include Wu Yuxiang, Li Yishe, Yang Banhou and Hao Weizhen.
#3 Cangzhou, Hebei 河北沧州
Located in southeast Hebei Province, Cangzhou City is historically renowned for both its Kung Fu practitioners and acrobats. Located in southeast Hebei Province, Cangzhou City is historically renowned for both its Kung Fu practitioners and acrobats. Living in a place of strategic importance which was frequently involved in wars in ancient times, the local people had to learn Kung Fu for self-defense and survival. As a result, the tradition of practicing Kung Fu prevailed in Cangzhou. Cangzhou Kung Fu dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC - 476 BC). It rose in popularity during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and was renowned at home and abroad by the end of the Qing Dynasty (1645-1911). It includes 53 schools of boxing and weapons, accounting for 40 percent of China's total number of 129. Cangzhou has been home to a great number of established Kung Fu masters, including Ding Faxiang, Huo Diange and Zhang Zhijiang.