Thursday, August 11, 2011
In a previous article, "Master Wu Guo Zheng's talk on the history of the Bagua", I translated a brief history explaining the reason that there are so many different styles of Bagua. In short we can say that the style itself was so young in exposure that the earliest successors of the art had to add their own "finishing touches" giving the different arts of Bagua different personalities according to the individual masters' traits.
Cheng Style, Gao Style or Yin style were characterized from the masters that inherited them. Of course we know this leads into many political debates of what the art should be like. With all of the different variations how can we tell the true principles of Bagua?
My dad used to tell me, "If you go outside and start practicing how to punch thousands of times, you will eventually learn how to punch. But having a master will save you at least half the time. "
Meaning that it is the nature of our human body to eventually evolve into the most proper way to do a technique if we practice. At one point every style had to go through the tedious trial and error development process. Yet if we are instructed in the rules of the craft we might be able to understand part of it in one life time. In my training with the master there were many variations between himself and even his kung fu brothers. Though every tree may grow in a completely different way, the fruit must be the same.
-The energy must be drawn from the ground transferring energy through the legs, waist, body and eventually the hands. Most of these movements power is generated through a system of coiling or collecting energy.
-Bagua is unique because of the step. Every movement whether it be attack or defense, should start with a step (this includes a stationary step or sinking step). If the hands move first, it may be an effective attack, but it's not Bagua.
-There must be a circle training of some kind in order to get the power needed for Bagua.
If your style contains these three elements, then you will eventually be able to unlock the rest of the art.
The movements that are used in order to reach the goal are only secondary to the truth. It is only the study of one's energy and how it interacts in the world. The moves themselves are much like a combination lock that over time will show you the meaning. Many masters have had there epiphany only walking the circle for hours before Bagua was unlocked to them. Others have claimed that only when they were practicing thousands of moves at the same time were they able to understand.
The way we choose to enter into our understanding is almost as personal as our own fingerprints. In fact the only thing that will stop you from reaching truth is negative energy. Your fear, frustrations and bad attitude can cause you to poison your own path before you have arrived. It doesn't matter what style of martial arts you do. If you are easily upset, you are no master.
There is also another concern that many of you martial artists may or may not know. The truth is the true arts are dying off. Masters who have chosen to be closed to students have regrettably passed away being the last link in their art. Technology has taken away the idea that martial arts is necessary for defense, leaving most young people even in Asia to ignore the traditional ways. Bad martial arts media has destroyed the identity of any recognizable style and turned it into circus tricks. To top it off the sports world would have you believe that WWE is the ultimate style of defense.
We are existing at a critical point in time where many arts will die off completely in less than 10 years. Will we be like our masters and continue to fight over politics? Or will we come together to show the world something they've never been able to see?