February 2, 2009
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my training in the Baguazhang martial art over the last two to three months. It’s been a frustrating yet fascinating adventure of studying written material on the subject while taking my body on an exploration to discover what I’ve read about (and subsequently, experimenting with my findings).
Recently, I’ve been working through a specific chapter in one of the few books on Baguazhang I’ve read so far. The book is called Emei Baguazhang – Theory and Applications, written by Master Liang Shou-yu, Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, and Mr. Wu Wen-Ching. Along with a book about Taijichuan, it was a wonderful birthday gift I received last November. Both books made this son-in-law very happy.
Sometime ago, I entered the internal martial art world through a Baguazhang class taught here in Saskatoon. It was a bagua style called “Juilong Baguazhang“, said to have also started in the “Emei Mountains of Sichuan”. So, it was interesting to read more about bagua from some shared roots. But what really caught my attention in this book was the second chapter. It was basically a collection of literal interpretations of classic bagua texts with paraphrases of the material to assist its readers’ digesting process. And what a delight!
I’ve combed through the chapter for the second time and found myself inspired to write down – next to material I underlined – a lot of ideas that kept popping into my head. I love it when work and play are united. So, when I come to a place where I can comment on the classic writings themselves, I will. But in the meantime, I thought I’d quote a few lines from one of the prefaces in the book that made an interesting distinction of what the Baguazhang art is.
Although Baguazhang is classified as an internal style, it’s theory, principles, and applications are different from those of better-known internal styles such as Taiji and Xingyi. Taiji emphasizes power that is soft like a whip, while Xingyi’s power is explosive like a cannon. Bagua’s power, however, is more like an inflated beach ball: the practitioner’s body becomes full of energy, which can be moved about at will and can be manifested to bounce an enemy a great distance away. While Taiji emphasizes using defense as an offense, and Xingyi emphasizes using offense as a defense, Bagua employs both defensive and offensive strategies. – Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming