These are notes for my the spring semester class I'm teaching at WSU. Just some more information on our basic principles.
The eight sides of the Bagua in our lineage (Gao style Bagua or Soft Body Repeating Hands Bagua) are represented by 8 different energies: heaven, water, mountain, wind, thunder, fire, earth and lake. Each of the sections contain eight movements with at least 6 variations. Each section also contains counter attacks, two person practice and a strengthening technique from the circle. These strengthening techniques are often known as Preheaven. The 64 applications of the techniques are called Post heaven. Gao Bagua is unique because it contains Preheaven and Post heaven practice.
Here are a few bits of information about each section. In this semester you will learn the complete Heaven section. I will still write out the philosophies of each section in order to give you a sense of direction for your training.
Heaven- The heaven section is the most honest and straight forward. It is the opposite of the Earth Section. It is also known as the way of striking. It teaches how to generate power and overthrow the opponent from all eight possible trajectories of danger. This section is the first section because in many ways it is the most important section. Before there was anything, there was heaven. One could spend their whole life only knowing these 8 motions and would easily be able to defeat their adversary. These eight techniques also unlock the understanding of power of the following energies. The strengthening technique is the Creeping Snake.
Water- The water section indicates flowing motion and adaptation. It is the opposite of the fire section. It is also referred to as the way of the hands. This section is focused on de-fanging the opponent by disabling the limbs. Once the limbs are disabled, the opponent is then used as a shield against other possible attackers. By manipulating the hands we are able to punish our attacker many times before releasing him, much like a yo-yo effect. This section requires more dexterity of the hands and sensitivity than the heaven section in order to effectively utilize the grabs and takedowns. This strengthening technique is the Piercing Dragon.
Mountain- The mountain section resembles both silence and unmovable power. It is the opposite of the Thunder Section. It is also called the way of diverting energy. These 8 movements are specialized counters that focus on trapping or binding the opponent. A trap is a movement that your opponent must be lured into and not “forced”. By relaxing and reacting to movements while in a strong base, you can tie your opponent into knots. This strengthening technique is the Striking Tiger.
Thunder- The thunder section refers to untraceable loud noise. Hence it is the opposite of the Mountain Section. This section is also known as the way of the body. This section teaches how to use the entire body as an evasive weapon. It is important to have agile and assertive steps in order to master these 8 techniques. This section is also very effective for fighting crowds while using the crescent moon swords for it shows us how to both chase and retreat while attacking. This strengthening movement is the Turning Sparrow.
Wind- The wind section refers to invisible danger which can not be contained. Hence it is the opposite of the Lake Section. It is also known as the way of the elbow. The elbow is used for striking, blocking and wrapping opponents. Because the elbow transitions so easily from many attacks, it can be used to resolved any situation with the proper timing. The elbow requires excellent footwork because of its limited range. This strengthening technique is the Spinning Back Palm.
Fire- The fire section refers to unrelenting power. This section is also known as the way of the legs. Hence it is the opposite of the Water section. These kicking and tripping techniques snap the vulnerable parts of the body. It is essential that while using hand attacks the legs continually burn away at the opponents defense and balance. With the right footwork practice, kicking attacks can be especially effective with multiple opponents. This strengthening technique is called The Twisting Searching Horse.
Earth- The earth section refers to complexity and craft. Hence it is the opposite of the Heaven section. This section is also known as the way of entry. Every movement takes precise hand movements and key timing in order to peel open the opponents defense. Any attempt to block these techniques only opens our opponent's defenses more rapidly. This section takes mastery of Footwork, Body work and Hand work in order to be effective. This strengthening technique is the turning piercing palm.
Lake- The lake section represents flowing motion that is in a contained area. It is the opposite of the Wind section. It is also called the way of footwork. Every one of these techniques requires footwork mastery in order to manipulate the balance of the opponent. In a sense your attacks should drown the opponent in the depth of these 8 movements.
*By practicing the sections that are opposite to each other we are able to maximize different energies and find hidden movements. After a movement is done 10,0000 times it will change in its nature. Choose one move and practice it until it changes 10,000 times and you shall become a master.