Bagua Zhang: Tai Chi of the 21st Century
Some martial arts are simple, some are not. Bagua is, without a doubt, one of the most mysterious martial arts to come out of China. A perfect expression of Chinese culture it is based on the core text of Chinese philosophy, the I Ching or Book of Changes. In Bagua everything is a little different. You start your basic training by walking in a circle while holding your hands in different Animal positions such as Lion and Unicorn. As you do this you perform Qigong training and leg strengthening. Then you slowly begin to change direction while performing various coiling arm actions. Once you’ve done this you can begin the Kai Men form based on the dragon, bear, snake and swallow energies. This is a great beginning form because it can be practiced alone or with a partner.
Intermediate Bagua strives to blend the Qigong, martial applications, and continual emphasis on learning how to change and adapt. Where other styles use strength speed or technique as their core skill, Bagua utilizes change itself as a fundamental principle. Every move in Bagua is like ten moves compressed. At this level we begin to work with Bagua weapons which are done in a very different manner from most weapons training. We begin Bagua kicking, a very special approach. Bagua Qigong is also explored in more depth.
People often have to “break out” of their martial arts to really find the personal freedom they are seeking. Bagua embraces change, randomness and spontaneity. Advanced training works with all the previous material (in truth there is not just “basic” material in Bagua. The system is constructed so there is no “filler”) along with advanced applications,weapons and the Nine Palace training. Probably the most unusual aspect of the training is that, for an exotic martial art such as this one, so many people find “something” intriguing and satisfying in the practice at any level. Perhaps that is the genius of the art.
See a short video on Baguazhang
Note: Due to the unique requirements of Bagua, this class requires instructor permission to enter.