About Bagua Zhang
Bagua Zhang is a traditional Chinese internal martial art system that, like Taiji Quan, relies on cultivating softness and internal power, and emphasizes promoting health and longevity as well as martial ability. Bagua has several characteristics that set it apart from Taiji. The fundamental unique qualities of Bagua are its complex footwork and circle-walking, and its coiling and spiraling movements which combined give the practitioner the ability to move and change direction with ease.
The term “Bagua” originates with ancient Chinese philosophy, and refers to the primary eight (ba) trigrams (gua) formed by combining all triple-permutations of the primary polarity of yin and yang (i.e. 2x2x2). This is the foundation of the cosmological theory laid out in the ancient I Jing (I Ching) – the Book of Changes, a fundamental text in Chinese philosophy and Taoism.
Bagua Zhang, literally “Eight Trigram Palm” is so-named because each of the eight trigrams represent cosmological influences that correspond to the eight directions. The practice of Bagua deals with mastering movement throughout all eight directions (the basic building blocks of the circle) and harmonizing the cosmological elements they represent. Furthermore, whereas most boxing methods are known as quan, or “fist,” Bagua forms never rely on clenching the hand, but rather on utilizing the open hands to employ wrapping energy to trap, lock, and potentially break the opponent, or to simply strike with the palm.
Bagua is great cross-training for Taiji practitioners, as it helps to develop the ability to turn the waist, open and close the chest, and release the kua (hip joints) and the lower back. The footwork training in Bagua is also excellent to develop greater ease of movement – the ability to change direction without losing the postural alignment necessary for generating internal strength. Further along in the training, two-person circle-walking exercises help to develop push-hand skills.
Bagua Zhang Curriculum:
Bagua Qigong Methods
Bagua Stepping Patterns
Bagua Standing Meditation (Zhan Zhuang)
Eight Inner Palms and Inner Palm Changes
Eight Outer Palm Changes
Bagua Two-person Drills