Trunk

Favorite Bagua resources? (books, teachers, videos, etc)

Recommended Posts

The book "Beyond the Mysterious Gate" is out of print, so I have scanned some relevant pages that everyone involved in internal cultivation should read. This stuff is invaluable. Very practical and useful to everyone not only Bagua practitioners.

 

Let me add a title to those pages:

 

Bagua, life and the mind.

 

I wish you all the very the best in your practice.

 

:)

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bagua and The Butcher Ding:

 

"A cook was butchering an ox for Duke Wen Hui.
The places his hand touched,
His shoulder leaned against,
His foot stepped on,
His knee pressed upon,
Came apart with a sound.

He moved the blade, making a noise
That never fell out of rhythm.
It harmonized with the Mulberry Woods Dance,
Like music from ancient times.

Duke Wen Hui exclaimed: "Ah! Excellent!
Your skill has advanced to this level?"

"What I follow is Tao,
The cook puts down the knife and answered:
Which is beyond all skills.
"When I started butchering,
What I saw was nothing but the whole ox.
After three years,
I no longer saw the whole ox.

"Nowadays, I meet it with my mind
Rather than see it with my eyes.
My sensory organs are inactive
While I direct the mind's movement.

"It goes according to natural laws,
Striking apart large gaps,
Moving toward large openings,
Following its natural structure.

"Even places where tendons attach to bones
Give no resistance,
Never mind the larger bones!

"A good cook goes through a knife in a year,
Because he cuts.
An average cook goes through a knife in a month,
Because he hacks.

"I have used this knife for nineteen years.
It has butchered thousands of oxen,
But the blade is still like it's newly sharpened.

"The joints have openings,
And the knife's blade has no thickness.
Apply this lack of thickness into the openings,
And the moving blade swishes through,
With room to spare!

"That's why after nineteen years,
The blade is still like it's newly sharpened.

"Nevertheless, every time I come across joints,
I see its tricky parts,
I pay attention and use caution,
My vision concentrates,
My movement slows down
.

"I move the knife very slightly,
Whump! It has already separated.
The ox doesn't even know it's dead,
and falls to the ground like mud.

"I stand holding the knife,
And look all around it.
The work gives me much satisfaction.
I clean the knife and put it away."

Duke Wen Hui said: "Excellent!
I listen to your words,
And learn a principle of life."

 

~Zhuangzi

 

 

Observe minutely how your Bagua practice is like that of the 'skilled' butcher. :)

Edited by Gerard
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Martial Arts Principles

 

Gong Bao Zhai believes that the important part of the martial arts are the concepts behind the art, not the development of external strength. He says that if the practitioner has clear concepts, it does not matter how physically strong they are. He calls it wu li (武力 - martial strength) versus wu li (武理 - martial principle). When using martial principle, the application of the correct principle, not strength, causes the force. If a practitioner has a sound knowledge of point attacks, he does not need a lot of strength. Having a sound strategy, knowing how to apply the strategy, and knowing where to apply the attack is what gives you the power over the opponent, not your muscle strength. Gong firmly believes that refined skill and superior knowledge is more important than muscular strength.

 

Most young people today are in too much of a hurry to see benefits. They have no patience.

 

Superior knowledge includes the knowledge of how to defend yourself so that the defense is also an attack and the attack is executed in the such a manner that the opponent has little chance to counterattack. Gong says that there are many ways to defend yourself against an attack like a throat grab. However, in the study of Ba Gua we learn how to defend so that you can continue to change and your opponent cannot. In applying your defense, it is also an attack and in applying that attack, you lock out your opponent's opportunities for effective counterattack. These skills do not come from forms, but come from a knowledge of the human body, the principles of Ba Gua, and the patterns which facilitate change.

 

In developing skill and knowledge, Gong Bao Zhai teaches his students to understand two important concepts.

 

One is understanding cause and effect (yin guo – 因果) and the other is knowing how to adapt and change with unknown factors (shu li – 數理). The study of cause and effect involves knowledge of predictable patterns in combat. In other words, the practitioner studies how an opponent will most likely respond or react to any given offensive or defensive move he is presented with. Shu li involves being able to respond to unpredictable maneuvers and changes the opponent might present. Gong states that in the study of Ba Gua, the practitioner begins to develop an intuitive response to unknown variables. These responses seem to be outside of simple cause and effect and come from an intuitive level of understanding of unknown factors. In practicing Ba Gua, the practitioner wants to study change in accordance with predictable patterns as well as unpredictable patterns and circumstances.

 

Gong Bao Zhai says that in the application of Ba Gua, the gestures that you practice in the forms are not necessarily what will come out in the fight. The patterns that are studied in the Ba Gua forms facilitate change. The forms train the body to move correctly, efficiently and naturally, once the body has been trained to move in this manner, Gong says that you should "forget" everything you learned before and simply learn how to change appropriately with whatever your opponent does.

 

The Four Character Secret

 

平,衡,通,順

 

Gong Bao Zhai says that there are four characters that a martial artist should keep in his or her heart. He states, "Creating an intelligent mind and strong body comes down to four words: Ping (level), Hong (balanced), Tang (connected), Shun (smooth)."

 

He continues by saying, "These are only common words so some might laugh when they hear these words. But most average people cannot live up to these words and it is easy for martial artists to get off track. The worst thing is a martial artist who does not keep to the principles of these four words. They practice without these principles in mind and continue to get further off track." Gong believes that if a martial arts practitioner disturbs the natural balance of the body by overtraining one area, the body will not be connected and will not function smoothly. Once the body is off balance, continued training will only throw it further off balance and the practitioner can easily become sick or injure themselves.

 

To keep his students "on track" Gong teaches them three principles to correct practice. The first is diligence in understanding the principles behind the art. The second is a deep understanding of medicine. The third is an understanding of physiology, which in Chinese translates literally to mean "the principles of life." Of the three, Gong believes that the "principles of life" are the most important. He says, "If you do not understand physiology and you obtain a lot of strength, you will not know how to use it correctly."

 

Gong encourages his students to continually seek out deeper meaning in Ba Gua and use the four characters as a guide at all times. He says, "In life the 10,000 changes never leave these four words. If you want to understand Ba Gua you must continually try to improve. This way you will naturally develop your martial arts and martial character until you have no self-desires and place no demands on other people. Never try to force a situation. Most young people today are in too much of a hurry to see benefits. They have no patience."

 

The purpose of studying martial arts is simple. It is to change useless people into useful people.

 

Gong Bao Zhai says that he hopes young people will continue to study martial arts so that martial culture will not be lost. Although his martial arts practice has certainly helped his longevity (he is now nearly 90), he does not place much emphasis on longevity as a goal for martial training. He says, "People say that it is great that I have lived to be nearly 90 years old. My reply is 'What is so good about it?' My only hope is that I do not live to be 100. That would be real trouble!" as he laughs loudly in his deep booming voice.

 

Source: Pa Kua Chang Journal, Vol.4, No.5 (July – August 1994), pp. 3 - 14

 

Quoted from: http://trigram.blogspot.com.au/

Edited by Gerard
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ma Gui style Bagua

 

Magui Baguazhang Promotion Center

 

"Good information about this lineage inclusive of benefits of training the art, basics, palms, routines, etc."

 

 

Yin Fu style Bagua: The Association for Traditional Studies

 

"ATS’ greatest sucess to date is saving the art of Yin Style Bagua from extinction. Reaching great fame at the end of the Qing Dynasty, by the 1980’s the only fully trained Yin Style Bagua practitioner left was the late Dr. Xie Peiqi (1920-2003). ATS discovered a traditional practitioner disillusioned with modern China and spent 10 years documenting this incredible man. Rebuilding estranged relationships with his students and taking Dr. Xie to Europe and the USA, Yin Style Bagua can now be learned by everyone anywhere in the world."

Edited by Gerard
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanna mention this here, see what you think. I was at my second Bagua workshop (13 hours over Saturday and Sunday) where we concentrated almost the entire time on circle walking. We did eight basic palms and the most basic change, but that more ancillary to the main focus of the work.

 

We did a lot of pre-exercises to open the hips, and the teacher worked quite a bit with me individually (because he's a friend of mine and I asked him to). It definitely opened a new level for me. The steps come out of the hip area much more than before, even though I've understood the principle and practiced it in the past. Koubu with the right leg (going counter-clockwise) comes from my left hip moving inward/rearward ... An awesome feeling. I experience it at the moment like two opposing forces that neutralize the energy-expenditure and result in my moving forward effortlessly.

 

That's what I wanted to ask about. Does that sensation sound like a natural progression in Bagua? It's how I walk normally now, too (My wife says it just sounds like I'm walking like a woman, haha).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any attempt to describe a physical action with words is always fraught with difficulty. My view however is that the real value in the Taoist Physical Arts is measured by the extent to which we can integrate our training into our everyday life. So yes. Your circle walking should eventually effect the way you move when outside the training hall. I am not sure that walking like a woman is the way I would like my movement to be described though. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any attempt to describe a physical action with words is always fraught with difficulty. My view however is that the real value in the Taoist Physical Arts is measured by the extent to which we can integrate our training into our everyday life. So yes. Your circle walking should eventually effect the way you move when outside the training hall. I am not sure that walking like a woman is the way I would like my movement to be described though. :)

 

lol, I know, I know. She always looks for opportunities like that, and I always provide her with them.

 

Anyway, I was trying to be very specific about this aspect of circle walking in my query. My practice over the years has transformed my everyday in too many ways to count. Shrugging off smartass commentary from my wife being not a minor example...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I try not to engage in smartass comments with my partner as I invariably come off worse.

 

But back to your original post. You have taken a massive step (excuse the pun) in your training with the realization that your practice is now changing your everyday way of movement. This is our ultimate aim and it is a veritable transmutation of base metal to gold. And the most wonderful part of the process is that it never ends.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PaKuaChangJournal.com

 

The printed journal ran 38 issues, from 1990-97. I just ordered all on cd for $35.

Here's a note from the editor, Dan Miller, written in 2002.

 

I figure this will give me some broader introductory exposure to the art. (Though I am cautious that in my newbieness I've insufficient filters for sifting correct from incorrect... but, that's the learning curve. Any tips on this resource from others longer on this road, appreciated.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My personal advice on this has already been stated many times on this thread. But to keep it simple:

 

1. Focus on the basics: heaps of circle walking [don't be tempted by changing direction and Palms too frequently: start with 20-30-50-80-100-120- up to 150 (or more if you can) circles in one direction; build yourself up slowly to that level], 100% relaxed and fully aware of your stepping. It's like the milling process of turning wheat into flour: nice, slow, steady and determined.

 

2. Eight Mother Palms for at least 10 years of practice and nothing else. From time to time (or even for an extended period of time, let's say 1-2 years) focus on one Palm and nothing else. But this isn't a rule, it's just a question of accepting that ultimately you will be training your mind, so you'll be less tempted to change your routine too often or to follow the "forms" path.

 

3. Rub the inner legs together all the time when you step and make sure your waist is rotated in facing the circle, this will be highly beneficial to your liver as you are continuously massaging it by doing so as well as sending all the energy you are creating "in" (internal/neijia) instead of "out" (external/wujia).

 

Concentration/awareness, simplicity and the understanding that there is no end to this art are the key components of successful practice.

Edited by Gerard
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Five Spirits or the tangible aspect of the five elements in the human energetic system is another excellent resource to help returning them to their pre-birth state, which Bagua is very good at. From there a clear understanding of the nature mind is a real possibility.

 

The site was called Five Spirits which provided very helpful information about the nature of the 5E unfortunately it no longer operates in its original format and intent; however, they do sell a book - Five Spirits: Alchemical Acupuncture for Psychological and Spiritual Healing - which is available at Amazon. Link.

 

I saved the original information in a PDF file which you can access here: link.

 

Good luck and happy Bagua practice!

 

:)

 
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard Clear has some bagua instructional videos on YouTube. This style of bagua comes from Willem deThouars' Old Hand Kuntao which is a little different than most other lineages we see on video. This mix of Indonesian and early 20th century Chinese arts is very combat oriented.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another useful resource about the basics of circle walking:

 

Ma Gui's system of Baguazhang

 

Bagua is Bagua regardless of the school and tradition.

 

Slow circle walking is one of the cornerstones of Bagua aimed at attaining deep skill in the art.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two more resources:

 

1. Historical background - Taiping Institute

 

2. The Eight Mother Palms.

 

Main idea behind 8MP practice explained in the second link:

 

 

"In an interview conducted with Li Zi Ming's student Zhao Da Yuan, Zhao explains that while this practice in Ba Gua is considered to be similar to the "standing post" practice trained in Shaolin and Xinq Yi Quan there is one important difference - in Ba Gua the practitioner is moving. Zhao states that since Shaolin training has had a heavy Buddhist influence, they pull there spirit in and concentrate inward during their standing meditation. Ba Gua Zhang has had a Daoist influence in its circle walking practice and since the Daoists are concerned with becoming "one with Heaven and Earth" they do not like to stand in place and focus inward as in the Buddhist practice.

 

Zhao says that the Daoists believe that if you practice meditation while you are moving, you can better blend with the patterns of nature and absorb the qi of Heaven and Earth. Zhao continues by saying that nothing in nature stands still, everything is always changing and thus if the practitioner is moving while practicing meditation, it is more natural. He states that this does not mean static meditation is bad, he simply points out that since the "ten thousand things" in nature don't stand still, it is more natural to move.

 

Zhao explains more about the practice by saying that when the practitioner is holding a static posture, but continues to move around the circle, there is both "stillness in movement" and "movement in stillness." The internal leads the external and the external matches the internal. The external trains the form, and the internal trains the Yi (intention) and the qi. When walking the circle holding static postures, the internal and external are trained together, however, the internal leads the external. In Shaolin training the internal and external are often times trained separately. The internal is trained during sitting and standing meditation and the external is trained during forms practice. Zhao says that this is not natural. He believes that the Daoist method of training the internal and external together, with a focus on the internal, is more natural and thus more advantageous.

 

Zhao echoes the teachings of many schools of Ba Gua Zhang in his belief that the key element of this practice, and that which makes it "internal," is the link between the mind and the body. The circle walk training which is practiced while holding the static postures of the Eight Mother Palms has many physical benefits in terms of the body alignments and connections which are forged, however, the integration of mind and body which occurs during this practice a key element of this training."

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are most welcome. :)

 

It's the task of the masters and their dedicated students to keep this art alive for the benefit of humanity and the betterment of life of future generations especially now in these difficult times that out society has divorced itself from the laws of nature advocating for technological and scientific development at all costs while dismissing the 'soul' as an object of human belief.

 

Baguazhang is a legacy of traditional Chinese culture to the world; a synthesis of Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian and Medical principles in one single art. What else can be as good and precious as this?

Edited by Gerard
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two books I recommend that'll give the Bagua practitioner a good idea what this art is all about:

 

Liu Bin's Zhuang Gong Bagua Zhang, Volume One: South District Beijing's Strongly Rooted Style

 

By Zhang Jie (author) and Richard Shapiro (contributor)

 

Link

 

Ba Gua Circle Walking Nei Gong: The Meridian Opening Palms of Ba Gua Zhang

 

By Tom Bisio

 

Link

 

The second book give you an insight into the connection between the 8 Mother Palms and the internal organs and meridians of energy. It also offers dietary tips following the TCM system to correct energetic imbalances resulting from Qi blockages.

Edited by Gerard
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great video about

(Nang Cheng Bagua school (aka South District Beijing's Strongly Rooted Style) founded by Liu Bin, a student of Cheng Tinghua). Slow, mindful practice (while maintaining perfect alignment) is one of the foundations of deep Bagua skill. Here's an example:

 

Link (starts from 2:25)

 

Happy practice! :)

Edited by Gerard
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heal yourself with Bagua.

 

Method: Eight Mother Palms

Plan: Four seasons, four palms

 

Do nothing else but the suggested palms during each season. Finish practice with a quiet sitting meditation period. Seated meditation should be practiced throughout day and night according to your lifestyle.

 

Winter: Downward Sinking Palm.

 

 

gao-downward-small.jpg

 

 

Spring: Point to Heaven and Stab the Earth Palm

 

 

gao-heavenearth-small.jpg

 

If you practice next to a tree, you can reinforce the healing power by facing the point to heaven palm to the tree directly as shown here.

 

Heaven%20and%20Earth%20palms.jpg

 

 

Summer: Spear Upholding Palm

 

wongshitong-spearholding-small.jpg

 

 

Autumn: Moon Embracing Palm

 

gao-push-mountain-small.jpg

 

 

Effect: After one year of practice check for results:

 

1. Health improvement

2. Opening of the meridians

3. Changes in the mind

4. Increased morality

5. Increased compassion

6. Increased wisdom

7. Has equanimity (remaining centered when surrounded by turmoil) settled down in your life or has at least started to take shape?

 

Happy practice. :)

Edited by Gerard
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites