Bagua Zhang

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.

Pre-Heaven Bagua

This form of walking-meditation is known as ‘pre-Heaven Bagua’ and is actually a form of Nei Gong rather than a martial arts method. It is a way of opening the channels of the body and understanding Qi, Xin (mind) and Shen (spirit) in order to develop a high-level of vitality and consciousness development.

Students learn to walk the circle whilst studying a full Nei Gong process; this is a complete method in its own right whether it is used as a spiritual practice or as a foundation for the next stage of training which is the post-Heaven Baguazhang training.

Post-Heaven Bagua

Post-Heaven Baguazhang is the martial art method that was developed from and evolved out of the earlier circle walking Nei Gong system. Relatively modern, Baguazhang was first introduced to the public by master Dong Hai Chun who synthesised his own Gong Fu expertise with the circle walking he encountered in the region of China where he lived. The circular movements and spiralling forms of Baguazhang were taken from the movements of energy he mastered through circle walking meditation; once these were incorporated into his own boxing method, Baguazhang (eight-symbol-palm) was created. These methods were then passed on to further masters and each added their own flavour to create the various styles of Baguazhang commonly practiced today. Within Lotus Nei Gong, it is the Cheng method which we primarily teach though there are influences and supporting drills from other Baguazhang methods included as well.

Further Training

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.

八卦掌

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)

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