Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eight Philosophies of Bagua

I know that I have already listed the different parts of the 8 Trigrams before but have never really explained some of the concepts about what they represent in more detail. I am still working on the book which will include a lot more detail of everything, but I still would like to put a little something something on my blog.

The first section that we start from is the Heaven section. It is the simplest yet in a lot of ways the most powerful of the eight. It is direct in its approach and is known as the way of striking. The strikes cover the main focal points of entry on the body. It opens, carries, drags, lifts, pulls, and carries the opponent into an imbalanced position in order to launch a more powerful attack. In a since the Heaven section is also the most honest, where as the Earth section is the most deceptive.

The next section is the Water section. Also known as the way of the hands or arms. In this section there are more approaches to deal with being grabbed as well as arm locks and breaks. In fact 5 of the 8 movements start with first by snapping the arm. Aside from that these strikes mostly involve combinations. The idea is to first snap the arm but to continue holding on to it. This way we can keep our opponent in range while striking him several times before letting go. It is much like a yo-yo effect.

Then there is the Mountain section also known as the way of diverting. This means that these movements mostly involve counter attacks. Even though all of the movements in Bagua are counter attacks this section specializes in dealing with multiple attacks. Usually parrying two to three times to manipulate the opponent into a "checkmate." This is the section most involved with trapping. Trapping means locking the opponents hands into his own body so that he is helpless in defending the on coming attack.

The fourth section is the Thunder section. Also known as the way of the body. This means that with every attack or dodge the whole body is used as the weapon. This is where you see a lot of the snake low attacks, turning spins and running attacks. Keeping the full body in motion in order to overwhelm the attacker. It also is the section I have found to be one of the most effective with the deer antlers. The charging attacks coordinate the hands and feet so that you can stick to an opponent even when he is fleeing away.

The fifth section is the Wind section also known as the way of the elbow. This section utilizes the elbows in every aspect from defending and attacking. It also focuses on breaking the elbow joint. This is a crucial technique for Bagua users everywhere. Using the elbow to redirect the flow of your opponent's attack as well as crush an oncoming attack can be a great "de-fanging" tool. Four out of eight of these techniques are elbow breaks and the others are elbow strikes.

The sixth section is the Fire section or the Way of the legs. As it sounds it is related to the kicking techniques in the style. There are a lot of trips and take downs in addition to the kicks. There are quite a few high kicks in this system of bagua. Crescent kicks, Thrust kicks even a kick that resembles the kick kick in Muay Thai. Though many people who practice Bagua don't do high kicks, there are many in the system. ( I even stuck in a few of my own dirty tricks from Hapkido.)

The seventh section is the Earth section or the Way of Entry. This is the slickest section of the Gao Bagua system. Techniques that use set ups to take your opponent one way and then the other. Much like Bruce Lee said, "When your opponent expands you contract, when he contracts you expand." That is the main theme for all of the movements in this section. Getting through your opponents guard in the most unexpected ways. This section also contains the movement which is the "special move" of Gao Bagua. Known to be so powerful that people have used it to knock horses unconscious.

The eighth section is the Lake section also known as the way of foot work. Of course all of these movements involve a lot of footwork since Bagua is actually applied while walking in the circle. However this refers to bursting steps in the Bagua movements. Through steps, dropping steps, crossing steps. Quick steps into the gaps of your opponents mind. When done correctly it is very hard for your opponent to counter because you are already behind him.

In each section there are eight movements adding up to sixty four. 64 movements along with additional 64 counters to all of the movements. I recommend training the opposites together in order to develop more power. Heaven is opposite to Earth, Water is opposite to Fire, Wind is opposite to Lake, and Thunder is opposite to Mountain. Thunder is the opposite of Mountain because it is loud and invisible while the mountain is enormous and silent. Wind is free to move about and cannot be contained while a lake is not only contained but deep.

I have also had fun training other movements together such as Fire and Mountain(Volcano) or Water and Mountain (Waterfall) Training the different movements together will allow you to flow smoothly and naturally. All of the movements are meant to be forgotten...but only after you have done them all millions of times.

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