THE DEVELOPMENT AND MASTERY OF INTERNAL FORCES
The Rotating Forces of Bagua Zhang
The ancient Daoist understood that the universe operated in circle’s and spirals. As life grows and processes unfold, the rotating force of Qi serves as the animating force. Once life is manifest, Qi then divides up into eight great movements known as the ‘Gua’. The combination of Gua and spiralling Qi generate the great flux upon which life is dependant. To the Daoists, understanding this process was vital to understanding existence. They developed many practices which would enable them to penetrate through the veil of these mysteries and one of these was the practice of circle walking.
Circle walking is a meditative practice that connects a practitioner’s mental energy to the circles and Gua of life. That which is manifest above is manifest below as the practice of ‘walking the circle’ enables an experiential understanding of this process to be developed. By walking in a specific manner, whilst changing the internal shapes of the body according to the qualities of the eight Gua, the process of life is matched and harnessed within the microcosm of the practitioner. Once mastered, this brings an awakening of the inner mechanisms of Qi as well as a way to harness the nature of change for health and spiritual well-being.
The mixture of spiritual cultivation and self-defence training is a hallmark of the Gong Fu methods of Asia but is arguably expressed to its highest level within Baguazhang practice. As well as the practices of circle walking Nei Gong and Baguazhang palm changes, students also study various partner drills aimed at teaching the development and mastery of internal forces. The enigmatic deer-horn knives are the final part of the training along with Bagua-specific alchemical training which touches upon the deeper meditative aspects of Bagua training.
The Eight Key Palm Changes
Each of these methods utilises the conceptual teachings of the eight Gua to help understand the inter-relations of two people during combat.
Single Changing Palm – (單換掌)
Double Changing Palm – (雙換掌)
Taking Advantage Palm – (順勢掌)
Behind the Back Palm – (背身掌)
Turning Body Palm – (轉身掌)
Grinding Body Palm – (磨身掌)
Overturning Body Palm – (翻身掌)
Double Embracing Palm – (雙抱掌)