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Water Boxing


Water Boxing
Original Poster: WushuPadawan001
Forum: Kung Fu Styles, Chinese Martial Arts
Posted On: 29-06-2006, 18:16

Orginal Post: WushuPadawan001: Has anyone heard of, know about, or seen a Kung Fu style called ?Water Boxing?? It came up in conversation among me and some classmates a while ago and of late I have started wondering about it. All I know about the style is its English name and that it is allegedly very rare.

Anywho, if anyone knows anything about the style I?d love to hear from yah. In the mean time I?ll be hitting the books to see what I can find.

Post: dojutsu:

I know a veeery little bit about it. It is called something like “liu he ba fa” in chinese, and as you said is a VERY rare, 6 harmony based internal style (dont know how much you know about 6 harmony styles; theres a few like 6 harmony mantis, and iva heard of a 6 harmony spear form i it and there’ll be loads).

As far as i know it contains strikes similar to taiji and xingyi, and follows some of the principles of the bagua stepping method. It seems to be about as “soft” as taiji.

Dont know how much of that is new to you but its all i can remember lol!>

Post: Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn:

I agree with dojutsu. ‘Fist of Flowing Water’ is one of the epithets of Liu He Ba Fa, which isn’t related per se to other styles with ‘Liu He’ (Six Harmonies) in their names aside maybe from Xinyi Liuhe Quan through its descendant style, Xingyiquan. Liu He Ba Fa is purportedly an amalgam of Xingyiquan, Baguazhang and Taijiquan – don’t ask me exactly which variants of the above three styles, because I don’t know for sure. I’ve only seen it performed once or twice and it seems to be primarily a revised form of Taijiquan with some Bagua circling thrown in. The Xingyi influence is more subtle, but can be seen in certain sections.>

Post: WushuPadawan001:

I found this on It is the description for a Water Boxing instructional DVD done by Helen Liang (Liang Shouyu?s daughter).

?Liu He Ba Fa
Water Boxing is one of the highest forms of internal martial arts, originally passed down from generation to generation only to a handful of gifted and chosen students with exemplary courage and moral character. Its formal title, Liu He Ba Fa, literally means Six Harmonies and Eight Principles. It is often compared to the three major internal styles for possessing Tai Chi?s neutralizing skills, Bagua?s elusive footwork, and Xingyi?s power, but in truth, it is a style on to its own. Its movements resemble floating clouds and flowing water, sometimes calm, sometimes surging. As an internal art, not only serves as a system of self defense; it also benefits health, strengthens the body, dispels sickness and increases longevity.?

This kind of clears things up, but it is not as specific as I?d like. Maybe I?ll check out one of Ms. Liang?s DVDs.>

Post: Bloodybirds:

Wushu, Helen is the daughter of Liang Shouyou, the Canadian master that both our Sifu and Sigung (Jeff Bolt and Dr. Yang) respect so well. I have seen Water Boxing also performed by Grace Wu and Helen Wu at Taiji Legacy and at Jeff’s tourney in Houston in 1990. It is a beautiful combo of the three main internal styles (Hsing I, Taiji, and Ba Gua) with specific 8 palm and 6 harmony movements. It incorporates alot of Ba Gua footwork while using the subtle explosiveness of Ba Gua with the more obvious Hsing I linear movements at the end.

Helen’s Water Boxing videos are like butter and will make you fall in love!!! Nothing like a beautiful woman doing martial arts well!!!>

Post: Bloodybirds:

One other thing about Water Boxing….during and shortly after the Cultural revolution, it was used to hide the more advanced Ba Gua and Hsing I fighting techniques from PLA officials and informants. It was performed as a special category in the 70s and early 80s in Wushu contests. However, it has clear martial applications that are hidden in the subtlety of its movements.>

Post: Gazelle:

Why is it called water boxing?>

Post: Bloodybirds:

Without getting too technical, the esoteric answer to your query Gazelle would be, if you watch someone like Helen Liang or Grace Wu do it (also some interesting connection to another similar internal/external style called baji), the water boxing comes from the use of this particular element (of the five elements) and the way through the 6 harmonies and 8 postures that the practitioner flows through his/her form and during fighting. This person will use the water element and its characteristics (yielding seamlessly, filling the exposed gaps, never resisting, and absorbing and then propelling an opponents’ energy)to move through combative situations. The chi is very internal, and the breathing is what internal practitioners will refer to as both reverse and embryotic breathing. If you want further detail, Helen’s father, Liang Shouyu, wrote a great encyclopaedia of kung fu/internal forms and techniques called “Kung Fu Elements” that detail more about this beautiful and deadly art.

Hope this helps.>

Post: Gazelle:

Thank you. You don’t have to know much about kung fu to read it do you?>

Post: Bloodybirds:

Gazelle, no you don’t!! It is like a wonderful dictionary of technique followed by an index of styles and major practitioners with photos. Liang Shouyou is one of the truly amazing martial artists that escaped persecution during the Cultural Revolution and migrated to Canada. His daughter Helen had a severe case of I believe ovarian or some other form of cancer and, besides Western medicine, employed extensive qigong and other Eastern healing methods to force the cancer into remission currently. He and his partner clearly define their techniques and the stuff at the back is very informative. My current sifu, Jeff Bolt, is mentioned in two sections. long fist and white crane, and has pics in both areas. Dr. Yang Jwing Ming and Master Liang are very close friends and Dr. Yang holds him in great esteem. He reminds me alot of my Ying Jow sifu, Leung Shum…both are very kind and very deadly (always an interesting conundrum…but then, when you are that good you can afford to be kind…lol).>

Post: Gazelle:

I’ll have to wait now until i get back to UK now, but i’ll definately look at getting it. It probably won’t get here in time if i order it.>

Post: Stazzy:

After I read the title, I was expecting to see a bunch of drunkards fighting in a swimming pool. <— Not a bad idea. I’ll have to convince some of my friends to try that.>

Post: Hengest:

Bloodybirds, thanks for the heads-up on Kung Fu Elements. I’ve been looking for a book like this for years, a solid overview of the various styles of kung fu. I’ve ordered it already! Cheers.>

Post: Bloodybirds:

You welcome Hengest….I owed you and others one after the fascinating stuff I learned about European martial arts. You will enjoy the book alot. The first 2/3 are really good kung fu techniques, practical apps, etc, with Master Liang and his senior Wen. The last 1/3 is an encyclopaedia of martial arts styles defintions and listings of top masters with their biographies and skills listed. My current sifu, Jeff Bolt, has a pic and bio under both White Crane and Long fist. Unfortunately, neither my Ying Jow master or Shaolin master are in there but that is okay. It is a good desk reference for Kung fu and the internal arts. One particular note, read all the stuff about Madame Wong Ju Rong, her dad Wong Ji Ping, and their three daughters Helen, Grace, and Xiao Ping Wu. The big joke in Houston before the great Madame Wong died recently was that if someone broke into their house during a family reunion, who would get up to take care of it? Madame Wong and her husband, ChengdeWu are heroes to me for going into hiding and teaching the real art during the Cultural Revolution. My current Sifu, Jeff, sponsored them to the US in 1989.

Sorry, I digressed but Liangshouyu went through the same thing and was almost killed because of it before making it to Canada to settle. Very few left who will literally die to preserve a great art.>

Post: Bloodybirds:

Stazzy, my young brother, remind me to bring the book to class to show you when I am next in class. I get my son Saturday morning when I return from Atlanta Friday night so the next time I will be in class is the following Saturday. Besides, I am tired from working out all this week at night with my eagle claw bro and his students. Definitely different than Sifu’s class. My Shaolin master is in Las Vegas with some of my Shaolin classmates for a major open tournament there this weekend. Good luck to my younger brothers and sisters there this week.

Have not done this in awhile but shout out to my teachers Sifu Bolt, Sigung Shum, and Sigung Anderson….love all three of you and thanks for all of your knowledge and wisdom to me over all of this time. Without you, I would not be who I am!!! Sorry, friends, using this forum for that but every once in awhile I believe one should recognize and acknowledge your fathers.>

Post: Gazelle:

That’s very sweet!>


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