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Lu Shui-Tian

Lu Shui-Tian

Born in 1894, Lu Shui-Tian (Lu Shui-T'ien) was from the city of Ching Tao in Shantung Province, China. He studied the "farmer style" martial arts when he was young, these "family style" martial arts were practiced in the remote towns and villages because there was no police protection. A village would hire an experienced martial artist to live there for a time and teach them how to fight.

Lu wanted to learn more, he heard that the best of the fighting arts was Ba Gua Zhang so he sought a teacher. The teacher that he found was Li Qing-Wu (Li Ching-Wu). Not much is known about Li Qing-Wu, and so far, no one has been able to determine who his teacher was.

What is also known is that Li Qing-Wu was so selective about who he taught that he only had ten Ba Gua Zhang students. Li taught each student individually based on the student's body type and aptitude, Li would teach each student the one aspect of the art to specialize in that suited him best.

After Li Qing-Wu died, Lu Shui-Tian sought out other Ba Gua Zhang instructors. There is evidence that he spent some time with a Fourth Generation practitioner from Dong Hai-Chuan's lineage. Master Park does not know the name of Lu Shui-Tian's second teacher because Lu Shui-Tian seldom spoke of his background. Whenever Master Park happened to ask a question that related to Lu's background, Lu Shui-Tian would always respond "That question will not help your practice." Since Master Park knew that Lu Shui-Tian's Ba Gua Zhang was very good, he was not particularly concerned about where his Ba Gua Zhang had come from and did not press the question.

Lu Shui-Tian practiced, refined, and utilized his Ba Gua Zhang fighting skills during the Sino-Japanese War (1931-1945) as a member of a band of expert guerrilla fighters. They would hide in the mountains during the day and infiltrate Japanese camps at night. Due to the covert nature of their operations, they couldn't kill the enemy with firearms, they could only use traditional bare hand techniques and silent weapons.

Lu Shui-Tian killed many Japanese soldiers and became so well known for his fighting skill that the Japanese put a price on his head, this forced him to leave China for Inchon, Korea. However Lu and his wife returned repeatedly to carry on the fight, until his wife was killed and Lu never went back. He remained in the Chinatown community of Inchon for the rest of his life, where he began teaching his Ba Gua Zhang method and eventually took on Park Bok-Nam as his student.

Though still very strong and healthy, Lu died tragically and accidentally in 1978, at the age of 83, when he was overcome in his sleep by a malfunctioning gas heater.

Park Bok Nam

Park Bok Nam

Master Park is one of the most skilled practitioners and instructors of the art alive today.

He studied the art of Ba Gua Zhang for 17 years under his teacher Lu Shui-Tian. Park started training with Lu in 1960, when he was 18 years old. From 1960 to 1978, the only thing that Park did was study and practice Ba Gua.

Park Bok-Nam excelled under the rigorous training regimen imposed by his teacher, and was ultimately chosen by Lu Shui-Tian to be his successor. Through his experiences as a student under Lu's watchful eye, Park developed a very sound and thorough Ba Gua Zhang training program.

Park began teaching Ba Gua in Korea in 1970. He continued in the tradition of Lu Shui-Tian and became widely-acknowledged for his high level of skill as a Ba Gua practitioner and instructor. From 1979 to 1986, Park took many students to fighting tournaments in Hong Kong and Taiwan. His teams always performed very well in these full contact events. In 1987, Park moved to the United States and opened a school in Richmond, Virginia - where he established his first school.

See resources for information about his books, videos, website and an interview with Park Bok Nam.

Read about becoming a student and the art of Ba Gua Zhang.

Go to one of Park Bok Nam's seminars in the UK.

Jason Reardon

Jason leads the UK student group, he has been a student of Park Bok Nam for 14 years, and has over 20 years experience in the internal arts.

Many people learn Ba Gua forms and techniques but don't know how to apply it in a real fight. This leads some people to question how effective the art is rather than the practitioner.

Jason has practical experience of various fighting arts, and is always keen to give a friendly demonstration of just how brutally effective Ba Gua is for self defence.