Yin Fu (1842-1911) was a native of Qi district, Hebei Province, and was a lifelong student of martial arts including Luo Han Quan or Arhat Boxing (a form of Shaolin boxing).
When he first arrived in Beijing, he worked as an apprentice in a cutlery shop. He had heard of Dong Haichuan’s reputation and longed very much to study under the master. He therefore set out to sell hot cakes day after day in front of the palace gates. In this way, he ultimately contacted the master who rewarded his sincerity and persistence by accepting him as a pupil. Yin began to practice his newly learned art with untiring energy and soon came to master whatever his teacher could impart. He learned Luo Han Quan first from Master Dong – his was one of the martial arts Dong taught to the palace soldiers.
Yin Fu’s background in martial arts before he met Master Dong is not very clear. It is possible that Yin Fu either: A) knew nothing before he met Dong, B) knew Mei Hua Quan (Plum Flower Boxing) and Lian Huan Tui (Chain Kicking), or C) knew She Xin Quan (Snake Tongue Boxing).
It is not known exactly when Yin Fu learned Bagua. However, he traveled to Mongolia with Master Dong on a tax-collecting mission for the Emperor. Dong and Yin spent ten years collecting taxes (a pugilistic endeavor) and practicing bagua in Mongolia. When the Emperor called the pair back to Beijing, Yin was well versed in Bagua.
Although Yin was thin, earning the nickname ‘skinny’, his outward appearance hid his true strength. He had sensitive and agile legs, with very quick footwork. He could lock, trap, sweep, stick, follow, guide, or unbalance an opponent with his legs.
Iron Bracelet Technique – This was a famous technique from Yin Fu’s repertoire. Yin Fu could grab an opponent’s wrist with great tenacity – his index finger and thumb were so strong that the opponent could not break free. Using this technique, Yin Fu could easily crush an opponent’s wrist.
In 1900, he was responsible for escorting the Empress Dowager out of Beijing when the city was under siege from foreign troops. After this incident, he became famous and many pupils studied under him.
Yin was the first person to popularize the Ox Tongue Palm (Niu She Zhang), the 64 changes set, and was the oldest and longest student of Dong.
Yin Fu Style Baguazhang includes the practice of the Crescent Moon Knives, the Wind and Fire Wheel, the Deer Horn Knives, and the Yin-Yang Brush Pens. Yin Fu’s weapon preferences were the Deer Horn Knives and the Yin-Yang Brush Pens. Within the Fu style are also included Shaolin martial arts, the traditional Bagua forms, transitional forms (a mixture of Shaolin and Bagua), and a variety of different circle walking techniques and forms.
His top pupils were Ma Gui, Li Yong Qing, Men Bao Zhen, Cui Zhendong, Gong Baotian and his own son, Yin Yuzhang. Master Yin Fu died in 1911 at the age of 69. Today, Fu style Ba Gua is practiced around the world.