Li Chunling is a professional martial arts instructor and the Baguazhang (Cheng style) 5th generation. She started learning Baguazhang and weapons from Grandmaster Sun Zhi Jun in Beijing in 2004. In 2007, she was accepted as his inner-chamber disciple. In 2008 & 2009, she was sent to Singapore and Malaysia to teach Baguazhang. In 2011, Li Chunling was featured together with Grandmaster Sun Zhi Jun in the complete teaching collection of 8 DVDs titled Swimming Body Eight Trigram Palm (this collection was reviewed in one of the issues of The Wushu Herald).
Li Chunling holds 6th Duan in Wushu ranking and was a Gold medallist in several International Wushu Competitions.
Recently, Li Chunling visited Sydney and kindly agreed for a brief interview with The Wushu Herald.
Q: What was it about Bagua that got you interested initially?
A: There are External (hard) and Internal (soft) Martial Arts. I have gone through both of these systems; however, in Bagua I saw a combination of both Hard and Soft, right from the beginning of the training. There is unique balance of Hard and Soft, a balance of Yin and Yang.
Q: What is the most important in Bagua practice?
A: The development of Qi from the integration of all body movements, anchoring your feet to the ground and, at the same time, focusing all movements at your target and being directed by your inner spirit. In combat, this is applicable to both attack and defence.
Q: What was the major reason to quit your previous career and start teaching Bagua?
A: I would say, this is my Destiny. I see it as returning cultural heritage to the society. And teaching Bagua is my way of showing thanks to my master.
Q: How, in your opinion, does Bagua present practical martial arts application?
A: Every martial art has its own practical applications. In Bagua, the uniqueness is in its footwork and body turn (Dragon).
Q: You indicated that you would like to introduce the real Bagua in Australia, what is the difference from the Bagua currently practiced?
A: I am teaching the real Baguazhang as passed down from generations from the original Founder Grandmaster Tung Hai Chuan.
Chunling with Master Sun and Master Sun’s calligraphy: “This calligraphy is presented to Li Chunling who is one of the best disciples of Chinese National Inheritor of Baguazhang (Eight Diagrams Palm) – Master Sun Zhi Jun. It is to certify that she learnt Baguazhang from the direct line of the Master.”
Q: What do you think are the health benefits of practising Bagua?
A: There are both health and martial arts benefits. From martial arts point of view, as Bagua emphasises unified strength and internal breathing, the benefits are apparent in combat applications of attack and defence. As for health benefits, the emphasis on posture and balance can bring a good blood/energy circulation as well as alertness and clarity of the mind.
Q: You train your son yourself. What do you think about other Wushu schools in Singapore?
A: In Wushu training, there are different methods of training even among professionals. If my son practices under different styles, he may adopt habits that would be hard to change as it’s my desire for my son to be the heir to the real Baguazhang.
Q: You have 6th Duan in Wushu. What do you think about this grading system? Does it adequately reflect the qualifications?
A: Grading certificates alone cannot reflect a person’s real skills. However, grading is still necessary as it encourages the student to be better, to improve.
Q: What is your relationship with official representatives of the International Wushu Federation of Singapore?
A: I am a certified coach with the Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation; my school is also a member of this Federation.
Q: Do you and/or your students participate in international competitions?
A: Yes, my students and myself support participation in both local and international competitions. I believe it is a good experience to know your standards and skills.
Many thanks to Li Chunling for this interview! We hope that there will be enough interest among Bagua practitioners in Australia to organise a seminar with a master of such calibre. For expressions of interest, please mailto:email@example.com.