There is little doubt that Dong Haichuan (1797 - 1882) created and formalized the martial art of baguazhang. When discussing the creation of a formalized martial art, identifying the actual events that contributed to its development is difficult. Fanciful stories cast the art as the creation of a legendary figure, or as the secret teachings of a reclusive master. In the case of Dong Haichuan, he was both legendary and historical.
The widely accepted historical account of baguazhang’s development says that Dong was a member of the Quanzhen (Complete Truth) sect of Daoism. The Complete Truth Daoist walked in a circle while chanting as a method of meditation.
Dong Haichuan loved to practice martial arts, and he was skilled in bafanquan (Eight Rotating Boxing). He synthesized bafanquan’s straight line techniques with circle walking to form his own art called Turning Palm.