I've read that the Yin style emphasizes strikes (due to the Shaolin background of Yin Fu) whereas the Cheng style emphasizes throws (due to the Shuai Jiao background of Cheng Ting Hua). Is this accurate? If so, how are the differences expressed - exmaple: are there simply more striking techniques in the Yin style and more throwing techinuqes in the Cheng style? Or are there differences in strategy or tactics (so that for Yin more opportunities for hitting arise and for Cheng one is set up more to throw a person?)
In general, it's accurate to say the Yin styles strike more and the Cheng styles throw more. Still, the Yin styles have quite a number of takedown techniques, and the Cheng styles also include many striking techniques, so it's not a cut and dried division.
The takedowns in the Yin styles, for the most part are direct "knockdowns," many are like the takedowns in Xing Yi Quan. The Cheng style includes more "high amplitude" throws and maybe more circular movements in the entries and throws than the Yin styles. Strategically, all Ba Gua Styles are similar in that they emphasize out maneuvering the opponent and the ability to apply techniques while in constant motion.
First of all, I agree with Tim's post 100 percent. Now that he has weighed in and answered your question, I might add, Yin style puts a heavier emphasis on piercing palm (ox tongue) due to the striking nature of Lohan and Cheng style uses willow palm more. Maybe having the fingers open and ready to grab for throwing led to using that? But the quality of getting hit with a piercing palm is distinctively different from getting hit with a willow palm. Definitely more compact and percussive. In fact, Yin style on the whole, seems more compact and percussive and Cheng style seems more flowing and circular. But than we will never know since none of us have ever seen Yin Fu or Cheng Ting Hua and bagua has evolved many times over since their lifetime. No one can really say what Tung taught either person or why except to say that Yin Fu was a tall, thin man with a background that was different from Cheng Ting Hua's. He also spent more than triple the time with Tung. At any rate, it would seem they both learned bagua from the same person so how different should it be? IMHO, bagua is more of a set of principles that when applied to an individuals previous experiences can profoundly change and enhance their life. Lineage is interesting and should be respected, but hardly has any effect on your individual practice. As far as characteristic differences, that comes more from your and personality, your physical make-up, and your teacher's instruction. Both lineages use a full arsenal of hits or throws and both styles kick @ss.
there is a great article about Cheng and Yin:
But probably you are aware of it...
There is also written:
"He (Cheng Ting Hua) defeated most of his opponents with his first technique, which was always "single pounding palm"."
I think that single pounding palm is the direct palm strike. Am I right?
My guess is it's probably like "kai zhang"-1.1 from the Gao Hotian.
Let me just state upfront that I don't have a ton of martial arts experience and probably couldn't fight my way out of a paper bag. So take everything I say with a grain of salt, and forgive me if I state the obvious or otherwise sound like a fool. That being said, here's my take on the percentage of strikes vs. throws in the yin style of Xie Peiqi. Strike and throws don't seem to be so clearly differentiated. Every technique I have come across is referred to as a strike. However, most if not all of these "strikes" have multiple purposes. To direct the opponent's energy i.e. illicit a response; to redirect the opponent's energy/force/momentum so as to cross them, open them up or uproot them; to hit them; or (with appropriate footwork and body positioning) to throw them. The number of throws is astounding, although an experienced martial artist could lump many of them together into a few archtypal moves with many variations. There is a lot of emphasis on strikes, yes. However in practical application of this style, unless you hit and run, everything usually culminates in a throw. It usually goes something like this. Hit your opponent. If you're successful, great, hit them again. Continue the process until the task is completed or you are unsuccessful, at which time you've illicited some sort of response i.e. a block, head movement, which presents you with a force/momentum to redirect to cross them, open them up, etc., setting them up to either hit them again or when the opportunity arises to throw them. But don't just throw them. Hit them while you're throwing them. In other words, in this style throws are plentiful and arise often, and the opportunity to strike should never be missed.
Well put (maybe you should change your username).