What is the difference between Baji Quan and Shaolin Kung Fu?

Chinese martial arts, commonly referred to as Kung Fu, encompass a variety of fighting styles developed over centuries. Both Baji Quan and Shaolin Kung Fu are traditional Chinese martial arts, but they have distinct characteristics, histories, and techniques.

Ba Ji Quan

Bajiquan, also known as “Eight Limbs Fist”, or “Eight Extremes” refers to the eight body parts of the body attack method; head, shoulder, elbow, hand, hip, hip, knee, foot. “Hundred Extremes” refers to the extension in all directions. Originated in Hebei Province during the Ming Dynasty. Bajiquan is favored by bodyguards and military personnel for its effectiveness in close combat.

Shaolin Kung Fu

Shaolin Kung Fu, on the other hand, is perhaps the most famous of all Chinese martial arts. It originated in the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, where Buddhist monks developed and refined the art over centuries. The style incorporates a vast array of techniques, forms, and philosophies, blending physical training with spiritual practice.

Overview of the Differences between Ba Ji Quan and Shaolin Kung Fu


Baji Quan

Shaolin Kung Fu


Hebei Province, Ming Dynasty

Shaolin Monastery, 5th century


Wu Zhong

Bodhidharma (attributed)


Close-range combat, explosive power

Versatile techniques, physical and spiritual development


“Opening the door” to break defenses

Integration of body, mind, and spirit


Low and stable

Diverse (high, low, transitional)


Elbow strikes, shoulder strikes, punches

Strikes, kicks, joint locks, weapons

Fighting Method

Direct, aggressive

Versatile, fluid

Signature Moves

“Six Big Openings,” “Eight Small Openings”

“Shaolin Five Animals,” various forms

Training Regimen

Conditioning, power generation, core techniques

Strength, flexibility, endurance, technique

Special Exercises

“Dazhan,” “Xiaozhan” forms

“Qigong,” “Sanda”


Controlled sparring, partner drills

Free sparring, choreographed routines

Techniques and Training

Baji Quan Techniques

Baji Quan techniques are characterized by their simplicity and effectiveness. Key techniques include:

  • Elbow Strikes: Utilizing the elbow for close-range attacks.
  • Shoulder Strikes: Powerful strikes using the shoulder.
  • Hip Throws: Techniques that leverage the hips to throw opponents.

Shaolin Kung Fu Techniques

Shaolin Kung Fu boasts a wide variety of techniques, including:

  • Kicks: High, mid, and low kicks with precision and power.
  • Punches: Rapid, forceful punches.
  • Animal Forms: Movements inspired by animals like the Tiger, Crane, and Dragon.

Training Methods in Baji Quan

Training in Baji Quan involves rigorous conditioning to develop explosive power and agility. Practitioners often use heavy bags, weights, and partner drills to enhance their skills. Forms practice, where specific sequences of movements are repeated, is also crucial.

Training Methods in Shaolin Kung Fu

Shaolin Kung Fu training is comprehensive, including physical conditioning, forms practice, and sparring. Monks at the Shaolin Temple undergo intense training routines that build strength, flexibility, and endurance. Meditation and breathing exercises are also integral to the training process.

Applications and Effectiveness

Practical Uses of Baji Quan

Baji Quan is highly regarded for its practicality in real-world combat situations. Its techniques are designed to incapacitate an opponent swiftly, making it a preferred choice for military and law enforcement personnel. The focus on close-range strikes and quick takedowns is particularly effective in self-defense scenarios.

Practical Uses of Shaolin Kung Fu

Shaolin Kung Fu’s versatility makes it suitable for various applications. While it includes effective self-defense techniques, it also emphasizes physical fitness, mental discipline, and spiritual growth. The style’s broad range of forms and movements offers something for everyone, from combat sports enthusiasts to those seeking a holistic practice.

Similarities and Differences

Common Ground Between the Two Styles

Both Baji Quan and Shaolin Kung Fu share a commitment to rigorous training and the development of both physical and mental strength. They emphasize discipline, respect, and the mastery of techniques through repetitive practice.

Key Differences Between Ba Ji Quan and Shaolin Kung Fu

The primary differences lie in their techniques, philosophies, and applications. Baji Quan focuses on explosive power and close-range combat, while Shaolin Kung Fu offers a broader range of techniques and incorporates spiritual elements. Baji Quan’s training is more specialized, whereas Shaolin Kung Fu provides a holistic approach to martial arts.

In conclusion, Bajiquan and Shaolin Kungfu are both extraordinary martial arts styles, each with its own unique strengths and philosophies.

Whether you are attracted by the explosiveness and directness of Bajiquan, or the diverse techniques and spiritual depth of Shaolin Kungfu, Xinglin can provide you with professional guidance and teaching. If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us.

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