Bagua Zhang Style Universe!
Bagua Zhang Style Martial Arts leads to a separate Universe, a beautiful realm which can be entered directly from the Universe you are presently in. Towards the center of this bagua style world you will see a pole of space. Towards the rim you will see the debris of fallen bodies. Inbetween you will see–geometry.
Weird, huh?But if you can shovel aside your misconception that I have gone over to the New Age, I will tell you exactly how you can enter the Bagua Zhang style new world.
Let me begin with a brief overview of my teaching methodology.
To enter a new Bagua zhang style realm a student needs strong basics/basics, and strong basics.
Basic/basics are such things as grounding the weight, constructing the body from the Tan Tien, breathing, and so on. I use Karate to teach children or people with prior Karate (Kung Fu) experience. Karate was designed for children, and, in the case of adults, is useful for undoing the bad effects of systems that don’t practice Basic/basics. If an adult has no previous experience I teach him some simplified Shaolin. The most important item is to evaluate the beginning student correctly before selecting a system to teach him.
After the student has his Basic/basics and Basics down, I teach them about jointlocks. This is a simple affair, because a joint can only be circled in two directions, with either hand, and a couple of simple variations.
Now the student is ready for the good stuff, he is ready to walk into the bagua zhang style universe.
Take a piece of chalk and draw a circle on the ground. Make the diameter equal to your height. Walk around it until you can do so in eight even steps. Now walk until you leave this reality.
But before you go, let me tell you some things that will make the journey easier.
One of the reasons I have students to Karate or simplified Shaolin is because it gives me the opportunity to make their body into a machine.
The machine will have two poles (the legs), a generator (The Tan Tien), and a couple of devices for transmitting the energy created (the arms/hands).
The student should practice Karate/Shaolin until he is fairly good at maintaining a ground. The more solid his ground, the more power he will have, the faster he will enter the bagua zhang style reality.
And this brings us to the secret of the bagua style: it is a machine.
There must be two poles: either yourself and a partner, or yourself and your finger (specifically the index fingernail) when walking the circle solo.
A machine works by creating tension between two poles. Thus, the longer you walk, the more tension you build, the faster you will leave this realm and enter the Bagua Zhang style realm.
Legend has it that the founder of the Bagua system, Tung Hai-ch’uan, walked circles around some trees until the trees started chasing him. There is no way of verifying whether this is true, but it is logical. Let me explain why.
When you walk the circle you are creating a Universe within the context of this Universe. The more you walk, the faster you spin the machinery, the stronger it gets. Eventually your perceptions of the real reality will bend to the machinery of the Bagua Zhang style reality.
Let me describe the exact perceptual changes you may undergo.
Have you ever run next to somebody in a football game, or maybe a soccer game? As you and your opponent lock glances the crowd passes by.
The crowd passes by. But the crowd is stationary! But the crowd is giving the impression that it is moving. That is because it is moving. It is moving in relation to the agreed upon Universe you and your opponent, in the throes of conflict (tension), have created.
This example is, of course, very temporary and hard to sustain.
The bagua zhang style world, once started, is relatively easy to sustain. Note that I said ‘relatively.’ You will know that you have entered it when the walls behind your partner (or finger) start to ‘move.’ They will give the impression of having actual motion.
One thing that will help, immensely, in the construction of your bagua zhang style universe is to focus your eyes correctly.
When you walk the circle you should look your partner in the eye. This will help build the ‘tension’ necessary to the creation of the bagua Universe. (This tension is perceivable, after only a short time, as a ‘magnetism of gaze’).
Let me take a brief aside upon this matter of eyes.
The common misconception is that the eyes should be fixed upon the general torso, and actually unfixed so that peripheral vision may be best utilized.
Actually, this is the incorrect place for the eyes.
Throw a sword upon the ground. Will the sword cut you? No. But if a person picks up the sword they will cut you.
If you are walking down the street and a car is aimed at you, should you watch the driver, or the car?
If you watch the car you are roadkill. The car has no mind, no individual intention, is not causative in the matter.
If you watch the driver then you will better be able to evaluate intention and thus avoid the car.
Do you understand what I am saying here?
The eyes are the windows to the soul, and if you look anywhere except the eyes then you are not able to analyze the intention of your opponent. Furthermore, if you don’t look at the eyes then you don’t learn to trust your intuition.
So, if you have a partner when, fix your eyes upon him, and stay fixed.
If you are walking solo when you do your bagua martial arts training, then fix your eyes upon your finger(nail)…and stay fixed.
Staying fixed is a matter of concentration, the better your concentration the easier it is to sustain the Bagua Zhang style Universe.
Also, when you are walking the circle do so evenly. Make sure the Tan Tien ‘floats’ around the circle without jiggling forward, back, or to the sides.
Walk slowly and evenly, not jerking the feet unduly. Place the entire sole of the foot upon the ground at one time. No heel toe roll.
The hand on the inside of the circle is raised up as if placed upon a pole (imaginary) rising up in the center of the circle.
This brings us to one of the most important items of all: trust.
Trust is essential if one is going to enter the Pa Kua Universe; your ability to enter the bagua zhang style Universe will be severely truncated if you don’t learn to trust your partner with you are doing your bagua fighting techniques.
Consider, the Pa Kua Universe is maintained by two poles. If one pole doesn’t like the other one, then it will not be amenable to the creation of and entering into a separate Universe. Simply, if one partner doesn’t want to play, it is difficult to have a game. Simply, if you don’t want to be with somebody, how are you going to create a Universe with them?
Let me say a few things on this matter of trust.
We live in a tournament oriented society. We fight for cash, for trophies, for fun.
But one must eschew fighting if they are going to create something.
Fighting is destruction.
Fighting opposes creation.
I rarely teach freestyle in my classes. If I do I limit it, and make sure that no ill will is created.
I do teach a lot of freestyle exercises, but the aim of the exercises is totally different than one would find in a commercial gung fu school. We do not try to beat each other, we try to teach each other.
We go slow (especially in the beginning), looking, analyzing, solving problems, figuring things out. If one student makes a mistake the other student repeats his action until the first student has thoroughly analyzed his mistake and corrected it.
This is the way we learn.
We don’t learn if we lose and don’t understand why or how we lost.
We only learn by making mistakes, and then taking the time to analyze them.
Here is the odd thing: people learning in this method learn to freestyle ten times better and ten times faster than people learning in the common method.
I don’t expect you to believe me outright, but if I have piqued your interest then hallelujah! And if you try it, you will shortly become convinced.
To sum up this concept: you will not be willing to learn from somebody you don’t trust.
That brings us to real life.
I am talking some pretty radical stuff: slowness, evenness, trust, opening your eyes, and so on.
But if you can do this then you can create a bagua zhang style Universe. It is logical and correct to ask, at this point, as to the use and applicability of a separate universe in the matter of fighting.
To have a fight there must be at least two participants. One of the participants must launch a strike. When the strike enters the immediate area of the bagua practitioner its energy will be perceived. This is because the bagua student has encircled himself with the energy of his hand movements, creating a virtual reality, a matrix sensitive to energy. (And you thought he was just waving his hands. Hah!)
Because the Bagua practitioner has learned to trust, he will not panic. Because he has learned to circle with the other pole he will move so that the attack actually kicks in the separate Universe. This will occur instantaneously. The bagua zhang student, in moving, will suck his opponent into the separate bagua zhang style Universe. The Attacker will then find himself entrapped in motions he knows nothing about. In struggling, he feeds the energy of the bagua zhang practitioner, and further contributes to the actuality of a separate Universe. Enveloped, swirled, tossed about, the Attacker will be ejected from the bagua Universe.
And the fellow pursuing bagua zhang style instruction will be left to the joyous circling and exploring of a realm that is free, open and trusting.
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Excellent Bagua article, Sifu Al. Your insights into the “Bagua Universe” via circle walking are profound and thought-provoking indeed! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Very inspiring. Thank you
this article was great.