sketchbo0k

Bagua questions

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I recently started practicing Baguazhang. My Sifu is no joke, he's the real deal he demonstrated Baguazhang on 5 of his best students and none could even touch him, but there is a language barrier so it is very hard for him to explain everything in detail.

 

He started me off with circle walking, which I found a but weird because I always read about straight line walking as a starting point, but I've seen it happen. I read a few threads on this section and pretty much he pointed out most of what has been said in Trunk's topics. 

 

My only concern is the prerequisites.

 

What do people suggest I do as prerequisites to circle walking? I'm usually there an hour before to do Zhan Zhuang and San Ti. What else should I work on? Should I do straight line walking an hour before?

 

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I think this is something only your teacher can realistically answer for you, no?

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As I said, huge language barrier, even if I explain it to him it might not go through. So I just want some info on what other work some people here are doing/have done.

Edited by sketchbo0k

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My only concern is the prerequisites.

 

What do people suggest I do as prerequisites to circle walking? I'm usually there an hour before to do Zhan Zhuang and San Ti. What else should I work on? Should I do straight line walking an hour before?

Its a very good question.

 

The first prereq would be to figure out what is the point of walking? Or ZZ and ST?

 

Second would be to know that internal MA are direct opposite of the external.

 

And third would be to do stretches (very carefully). Strength in IMA is based on stretching.

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Its a very good question.

 

The first prereq would be to figure out what is the point of walking? Or ZZ and ST?

 

Second would be to know that internal MA are direct opposite of the external.

 

Not necessarily. So called "internal" and "external" martial arts have a lot in common. I know because I am a practitioner of both. The further I progress, the more I feel the distinction to be an artificial and unnecessary one. But it depends on one's school or individual practice.

 

And third would be to do stretches (very carefully). Strength in IMA is based on stretching.

 

Stretches are useful, but to say that strength in IMA is based on it is an exaggeration, imo. It is based on many things at once. Key elements are muscle relaxation and smooth connectivity between muscle groups, and stretching can go a long way to enhance those factors.

 

As a preparation for a training session, some warm up and stretching is very recommendable, to be sure.

Edited by Michael Sternbach
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As I said, huge language barrier, even if I explain it to him it might not go through. So I just want some info on what other work some people here are doing/have done.

 

But then I have to question the value of any instruction you may be getting from him. I don't quite understand your situation.

 

Basically, the place to start is correct straight-line walking. Maybe look into Tom Bisio's books on the subject?

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If your muscles are frozen in legs, hips, and waist, the prerequisite will be to first unfreeze the muscles before even attempting circle walking. Because you can seriously damage your body otherwise.

 

IME, the problem with the best teachers is that they usually start their own training early in life, as children or teenagers. This results in their not understanding whatsoever what problems 'normal' western students will have because of inflexibility. THis could be the reason why your teacher started your training  with the circle walking.

 

What are unfrozen muscles? If during a turn you feel like your tissue in legs, hips, back, and waist sort of 'rolls over' the bones, you should be fine. Otherwise - think hard.

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But then I have to question the value of any instruction you may be getting from him. I don't quite understand your situation.

 

Basically, the place to start is correct straight-line walking. Maybe look into Tom Bisio's books on the subject?

 

Most of my theory are from B.K Frantzis and books (Yang Jwing-Ming, etc.) and the practical things my Sifu is teaching me. He corrects my posture, placements and generally all my errors but he doesn't tell me 'Why'. That's why I'm getting my theory from somewhere where there isn't a language barrier. So when he shows me something I'll be like "Ahhhhh I know why"

 

Thanks everybody for your efforts and answers. 

Edited by sketchbo0k

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Most of my theory are from B.K Frantzis and books (Yang Jwing-Ming, etc.) and the practical things my Sifu is teaching me. He corrects my posture, placements and generally all my errors but he doesn't tell me 'Why'. That's why I'm getting my theory from somewhere where there isn't a language barrier. So when he shows me something I'll be like "Ahhhhh I know why"

 

Thanks everybody for your efforts and answers. 

 

Don't get the theory and the practice overly conflated. For now keep practicing and let your teacher guide your progress. The words aren't as important as the feeling. B.K. Frantzis' bagua system is Cheng based his system is completely different than the Cheng descended xingyibagua I am currently learning from one of Kenny Gong's students. Some aspects are focused on more than others dependent on lineage and experience of your teacher.

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I wouldn't worry about the language barrier most of my training is wordless being a physical thing being taught and all. If your Sifu needs to give you words besides using the international language he will find the way to do so.

 

I think it is great you found an awesome teacher and want to do well.Knowing is doing and doing is knowing keep up the Gung Fu!!!!

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It is typical for Asian teachers to teach silently even where there are no language barriers, simply by showing things which the students imitate to the best of their ability.

 

The Western mind always seeks background information to set things in perspective, so the traditional Eastern way can be frustrating for it at times.

 

Neither way is good or bad per say, they are just different ways of learning.

 

I think it's a good idea for you to supplement your practice with books written by masters, the way you do. I see no problem in this, as long as you don't let variations due to different styles confuse you.

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I recently started practicing Baguazhang. My Sifu is no joke, he's the real deal he demonstrated Baguazhang on 5 of his best students and none could even touch him, but there is a language barrier so it is very hard for him to explain everything in detail.

 

He started me off with circle walking, which I found a but weird because I always read about straight line walking as a starting point, but I've seen it happen. I read a few threads on this section and pretty much he pointed out most of what has been said in Trunk's topics. 

 

My only concern is the prerequisites.

 

What do people suggest I do as prerequisites to circle walking? I'm usually there an hour before to do Zhan Zhuang and San Ti. What else should I work on? Should I do straight line walking an hour before?

 

If your teacher is the real deal why ask some anonymous keyboard jockeys?

Seriously, have some trust and confidence that your teacher is doing his best to teach you the best way as he understands it.

Don't second guess him!

Rather than spend an extra hour standing or walking in a straight line before you walk circles, spend the extra hour walking the circle.

Just my $.02 - it's a rare blessing to find an excellent teacher - follow what he teaches!

Good luck.

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The Western mind always seeks background information to set things in perspective, so the traditional Eastern way can be frustrating for it at times.

 

Except I'm not western at all :P today he taught me the single palm change. At first it was a bit hard to follow but then he explained why to do it and showed the practical use of it and it suddenly became easier. 

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Except I'm not western at all :P today he taught me the single palm change. At first it was a bit hard to follow but then he explained why to do it and showed the practical use of it and it suddenly became easier. 

 

That sounds good!

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Except I'm not western at all :P today he taught me the single palm change. At first it was a bit hard to follow but then he explained why to do it and showed the practical use of it and it suddenly became easier. 

 

I didn't say that you are Western, I only highlighted differences between teaching methods that seem to pertain to your topic. :P

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I'm usually there an hour before to do Zhan Zhuang and San Ti. What else should I work on? Should I do straight line walking an hour before?

 

 

sketchbo0k is your santi practice guided by your teacher as well or are you practicing this on your own? I would recommend standing only in the stances your teacher has shown you. The energy of xingyi's santi stance is perfectly compatible with dragon bagua lineages but lion and snake bagua not so much.

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sketchbo0k is your santi practice guided by your teacher as well

 

Yup, almost always.

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Hey guys,

 

What can I do to sink lower while mud stepping? My back heel seems to lift off the ground when I try to sink really low. And when I try to sink lower in San Ti the top of my foot begins to hurt (where it says anterior talo-fibular ligament)

 

ankle.gif

 

Am I inflexible in that part?

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A small massage ball might help. I got one for enhancing my practice, especially as done in a horse stance. They are available in sport stores, from Amazon etc.

 

http://www.centerworks.com/foot-care-tips-for-quick-easy-do-it-yourself-foot-pain-relief-for-sore-tired-and-achy-feet-with-a-mini-massage-ball/

Edited by Michael Sternbach
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Baguazhang is typically thought to have a three year foundational period when you should only be walking and perhaps holding some simple postures.   The walking has three levels, upper(high posture), middle (middle posture), low (low posture).

When you start out walking, you hips will not be flexible and it will be very hard to turn with the posture.

If you want to get to a high level of skill, you need to learn to walk in an upright and relaxed fashion.

Some things which assist in this are forcing your back foot to stay on the ground as your front foot steps foward (don't lift the heal), make sure to drop your hips down and pull up through the top of the head, learn to control your footwork with your deep abdominal muscles (this takes time).

Ideally, you should make walking and basic practices your daily practice and just walk as much as you can without hurting yourself (typically beginners with average leg strength can do about twenty minutes of serious walking at a time, but you may be able to practice several times in one day).     Depending on what your teacher wants, he may instruct you to turn your hips or not at this time.  Just try to follow his advice about this, since he can see your body and we can't.

When i started out studying with my teacher, his English was also quite so so, but over many years my classmates and I helped him improve his English skills and I ultimately went on to become fluent in Mandarin.

Martial arts opens lots of doors for all of us to grow and learn. :):)

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Hey guys,

 

What can I do to sink lower while mud stepping? My back heel seems to lift off the ground when I try to sink really low. And when I try to sink lower in San Ti the top of my foot begins to hurt (where it says anterior talo-fibular ligament)

 

ankle.gif

 

Am I inflexible in that part?

Check the tension in the calf especially, then kwa and also the knee. 

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Focus on walking solely the circle for many years (allow me to say all your life as Bagua is bottomless) and nothing else. Focus on the 8MP and nothing else. Back up your training with FOUNDATION WORK, He Jinghan has kindly put numerous free and highly valuable resources both in his YT Channel and blog (Baguaquan lessons). Take herbs to clear internal organs and channels, you'll have some sort of deficiency; Chinese Herbs speed up the healing process. Tonification can last for many months or even a year or two if you have been deficient for a very long time. If you are already past 45 years of age Kidney tonics  (i.e. Liu Wei Di Huan Wan/Rehmannia 6) will be the best friends for the remaining of your life.

 

A good herbalist will monitor your progress.

 

Work with trees, a wonderful exercise I recommend is going up and down very slowly (change your feet stances from both legs together to a horse stance) and as long as you can, try to be very yin developing a relationship with the tree you are exchanging energy with (Taoist equilibrium exercise); something interesting may happen as a result of this particular training: I call it SPIRIT WORK which will remove all karma; in addition it will nourish the big three foundation organs: Kidney (trees absorb water from the roots>Water Element), Spleen (trees get their nourishment from the soil>Earth Element) and Liver (trees are a true representation of the Wood Element, generative force, the higher soul, reach up to Heaven, giving birth to pure Yang/Heart).

 

Therefore trees are wonderful beings to work with and help you deepen your Bagua practice.

 

Best of luck! :)

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Circle walking with an emphasis on stepping is a 'lian gong' foundation requirement. There are about 4 types of 'walking' with chicken stepping, mud-sliding, low stance stepping, and high stance (natural quick step) being taught respectively by respective schools of Baquazhang. Chicken stepping: Yin lineage, especially of the Gong Bao Tien's school; Mud-sliding: Cheng lineage; Low-stance: Ma Gui lineage. Normally, the 'lian gong' stepping is the foundational training of ding-zhi 8 mother palms. In respect to the various schools, the linear walking must also be in line with the stepping requirements of your school.

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