Shi Jidong

 Shi Jidong Biography

[this is from Rand Cardwell] (1837-1909) - was the third disciple of Dong Haichuan. He was from Cheng Si Shao Zhai village, Ji County in Hebei Province. Liu Sui, in his book Orthodox Baguazhang, states that his direct ancestor, Shi Jidong, was the third disciple of Dong Haichuan. He became Dong’s adopted son-in-law, when Dong adopted his wife, who was reportedly a relative. After leaving service with the Imperial Family, Dong taught his art in the homes of many of his students. Shi Jidong offered Dong to stay with his family and he accepted. It was custom of that time for people without relatives to adopt an adult person to enable them to be cared for and attended as they aged. They would live with the adoptive family and the family would supply their clothes, food, and expenses. It was customary for them to ensure that they received a proper burial as well. This relationship allowed Shi Jidong to learn a high level of art from Dong Haichuan, one that was greater than many of the other disciples. Shi Jidong was a cousin of Yin Fu, the top disciple of Dong Haichuan. Sometime between 1875 and 1882, Yang Janfeng, a disciple of Yin Fu, got into a fight with Yin Fu’s cousin, Shi Jidong, and beat him badly. The beaten Shi came to Yin Fu and asked if he could become one of his students and study Baguazhang. Yin thought that it would not be right for Shi to kowtow to him, since they were cousins, and instead took Shi to meet Dong Haichuan. At the request of Yin Fu, Shi was accepted as Dong Haichaun’s third disciple. His branch of the art is known as Shi Style Baguazhang. Shi Jidong had several disciples to include Yang Rongben and Han Fushun .

[this is from Wulinmingshi]    In this article, I would like to introduce a style of baguazhang not so well-known in the west: Shi style baguazhang, named after its founder, Shi Jidong. Shi style baguazhang is known for its many and varied leg techniques and rare weapons sets. The following article is taken from this web page.

“M Shi Jidong (1837-1909), styled Shi Zhenbang, was from Xiaozhai village in Ji county in Hebei. Because he was the sixth child in his family, people called him Shi Liu (six). He was honest and upright and a fine speaker. By nature he was a peacemaker; whenever there was some internal dispute, he would intervene and make peace. He ran a sawmill in the east of Beijing. Whenever there were labour disputes in the timber industry, he would be regularly called in to act as a mediator.

In his youth, he studied tantui with the famous master, ‘Iron legs’ Qin Fengyi. He was painstaking in his training – he would kick the 10 li (5km) to and from M Qin’s house. In just a few years, he learnt the whole art from M Qin. Later on, Yin Fu started studying under M Qin, which is how Shi and Yin became friends. After M Qin’s death, Yin became Dong Haichuan’s disciple. When Shi found out, he also bowed to Dong as his master. Because Yin had entered the door earlier, he was Dong’s senior disciple, with Ma Weiqi second and Shi Jidong third. His ‘bagua name’ was Shi Liqing. At that time, Dong’s martial prowess was already well-known in the capital. His art, baguazhang, became particularly known for its agile footwork and rapid changes. Martial arts experts from all over the country came to challenge Dong, but none managed to best him. Prince Su once inscribed a plaque in his honour, writing ‘First among the Qing empire’ (da qing yi ren).

Shi was dedicated and painstaking in his training, training year-round whatever the weather, and habitually walked the circle with his knees bent so that his buttocks were lower than his knees. He often trained until beads of sweat poured off him. He was a skilled fighter, especially his leg attacks, which were almost impossible to anticipate. Other martial artists gave him the nickname ‘zei tui Shi liu’ (sneaky legs Shi Six) and his kungfu brothers all admired his skill. M Dong was fond of Shi too, and took Shi’s wife as his adopted daughter. In Dong’s old age, Shi took Dong into his home and looked after him personally. M Dong treated him like his own son-in-law. M Dong was moved by Shi’s devotion and passed on his art unreservedly. After M Dong’s passing, Shi organized his funeral and erected a stele to commemorate him.

Every morning, M Shi would practice at the foot of the eastern city walls. In his house, he hid a slingshot in the rafters. He was extremely accurate in its use, never missing his shot. A band of robbers hidden in the hills near Beijing were plundering the caravans that passed by. Local officials were unable to capture the robbers and invited M Shi to assist. M Shi captured 11 of the leaders and razed the robbers’ camp. The Qing government awarded Shi with ‘liu pin ding dai’ (honorary rank of the 6th grade), causing his fame to spread. One day, a master of ‘iron-sand palm’ came to visit. Shi and his disciples greeted him at the door and led him into the house. The iron-sand master, intending to show off his skills, brushed his hands against a stele next to the door. The students behind him gawked at the stele: the master’s touch had crushed all its bricks. Afterwards, the two masters introduced themselves, and the visitor asked to cross hands. M Shi ordered his student Yang Rongben to accept the challenge. Yang assented, saluted his opponent and took up a ready position. The visitor attacked with a straight punch, only for Yang to spin round with a baibu and sweep the man’s leg’s out from under him, felling him. M Shi bade his students to help the man up. The man went on his way, ashamed. Afterwards, the eyewitnesses told M Shi about the incident with the stele. M Shi said ‘These methods [like iron-sand palm] to increase striking power and toughen up the skin have their place. It is difficult to win against such an opponent unless we rely on skill [rather than power].’

M Shi was involved in many such contests, there were too many to mention. In 1909, M Shi fell severely ill and decided to return to his hometown. His students accompanied him to the rail station. Back then, medicine wasn’t as advanced as it is now, M Shi was unable to be saved. M Shi had no sons, but took his nephew as his inheritor. Thousands of mourners came to M Shi’s funeral. Prior to his illness, M Shi was one of the organizers of Tianjin’s Wushu Hui, whose purpose was to strengthen the physique of the Chinese people, and urged his friends and disciples to join. Although in the end, for various reasons the Wushu Hui never got founded, M Shi’s patriotism was admirable.

In his teaching, M Shi emphasised martial morality (Wu De) and was very strict. The material that M Shi passed down included bagua 64 palms, as well as various kicking methods and weapons. Amongst his Beijing disciples, the more well-known were Han Fushun, Zhang Dexiu (aka Zhang Shanting), Yu Qingjin, Yang Rongben, Shou Shan, etc. M Shi’s bagua was called ‘East City Bagua’ because he lived in the east of Beijing.

In terms of palm shape, the characteristic palm shape of Shi style bagua is the ’sickle’ palm, with the index and middle fingers held together, the ‘tiger’s mouth’ [the gap between the thumb and index finger] held open and the other two fingers are slightly twisted inwards. The stepping consists of ‘tang ni bu’ [mud-wading step] and the ‘chicken step’. Shi style lays stress on the ‘5 shapes and 5 postures’ [wu xing wu shi] and the ‘8 characters and 8 methods’ [ba zi ba fa]. Shi style excels at the use of the legs, making its footwork and kicking particularly speedy and agile.



Shi Jidong's Students


Characteristics of Shi Style Baguazhang

   36 Song

   48 Methods Song


Examples of Shi Style Baguazhang Yang Rongben line

Examples of Shi Style Baguazhang Han Fushun line