When I first saw my teacher move I knew he had something very special, but what was it? He had dived deep into Bagua.
This is a very quick explanation of Bagua (or Baguazhang) the Chinese martial art (I-Bagua is what I call my approach to teaching).
Bagua uses simple movement patterns that can be adapted to a wide variety of martial techniques (striking, locking, throwing, evading and countering).
The key patterns are circles and twisting both with the arms and legs. The result is elegant, flowing spiral movement.
Bagua can be approached or experienced as ‘energy flow’ and the practice can be very meditative. It can be fast or slow, athletic or leisurely. It can both calm and stimulate.
The combination of circles/spirals/twisting provides a comprehensive education of how the body works.
This body understanding can be used to build health and strength, or conversely applied to mess with or damage an opponent.
Bagua is traceable back to 19th Century Beijing, though it has older (frequently disputed) roots. The founder taught a core of movements that were built upon over the generations into more complete martial systems.
As a 7th generation practitioner I can teach a full syllabus of the Gao style of Bagua (well over a hundred forms and exercises), but today many people want to go back to the core.
The core is uniting body breath and mind.
The core is a few movements with thousands of uses
The result is health, calm clarity, power, sensitivity and adaptability.
The martial use is sophisticated, varied and powerful. The core practices can enhance fighting skills. But it is not ‘magic’: fighting skills require fighting practice.
I traveled thousands of miles to find my teacher. It’s different now, it’s my turn to pass it on and help remove barriers to healthy, meaningful living.
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