Sunday, September 25, 2016

Gao Bagua Files: Heaven Section

Sorry it's been a while since I've touched up on my blog, but different seasons come with different tasks and adaptation is necessary to keep any form of momentum. We must maintain every talent within us for the betterment of the world, yet it's foolishness to forcefully use a tool that we may favor over the tool that is needed.

Entering the middle of my new training, I see that many of my students, kung fu brothers and supporters  all over the world are in need of a map of the techniques. With over 2000 movements to instruct and illustrate, I will try to be concise, yet detailed while providing a few pointers on dealing with fighters of other styles as a guideline. Of course the effectiveness of every art is more related to the individual than the mechanics, but the right individual with skilled mechanics, can be a dominating force.

64 Palms --- Heaven Section (1-8)

The Heaven Section is also called the "Way of Striking" because it emphasizes hitting and not being hit from all 8 possible trajectories. Any style can hit, but in Bagua every hit is a step. These basic motions teach the connection between foot, waist and hand that allow you to impact your opponent with the force of the ground. Just as a sprinter gains all of their force from the ground before launching into a sprint, the Heaven Section gives structured basics to allow you to put the power of your sprint into the form of a palm, fist, elbow, shoulder, knee, foot or head strike. Through timing and footwork practice, continual strikes can be done easily to overwhelm your opponent or fend of multiple attackers.

1. Kai- Kai is the Opening Palm and the very 1st technique of the 64 palms. In its most basic form it opens the attack with the forearm - connected to the waist - in a circular motion, exposing the ribs, chin or throat of the opponent. Using short bursting power, the attacker can be disabled or off balanced in order to land a more effective follow up attack.

              a. Kai is excellent for escorting or wrist, elbow, shoulder locks and breaks. By adjusting the size of the circling motion, damage can be aimed to the desired weak point.

              b. Kai is effective at dealing with any form of attack with well timed footwork. Be sure to utilize combinations after parries to ensure reaction fluency and adjust for positions on the inside and outside of the opponent, long short range, etc.

              c. Kai is the first of the 64 palms and often seen as the most crucial palm because all the palms grow from within it.

2. Peng- Peng is the Extorting Palm and the 2nd of the 64 palms. This movement uses angular stepping to put force against an opponent from the side. By using a T-step, you are assured to be a step ahead as the opponent attempts to adjust to the awkward angle. As you step to the side, a spearhand is thrust toward the opponent's eyes to hide your footwork. When he flinches or covers his eyes, it's easier to take a fluid step to behind him by turning the waist and pulling on the back of his elbow for an attack.

                a. Peng is a great counter to change positions with your opponent, but it works best against the attacker's second or third strike in succession. It can be done against a jab, yet the timing is so precise that it's hard to classify as the best movement against a quick strike. This is best for committed techniques.

                b. Peng is excellent for knife and sword fighting. By placing any sharp or pole weapon in your hand, it becomes obvious how the subtle footwork allows you to make effective slices and stabs while staying out of the way of danger.

                c. Peng is traditionally defensive, but even better as an offensive attack. Initiate a strike while stepping in an evasive angle and it will put you in a better position for a follow up.

3. Dun - Dun is the Dropping Palm and the 3rd technique of the 64 palms. This movement also uses evasive stepping (angular or T-stepping), but pulls the weight of the opponent through the ground. Use a T-step to the side, while doing an upward spearhand. The upward force will put the opponent slightly on his toes. Then, yank down, keeping the elbows close together while pulling on the back of the elbow joint. As he kneels, shove his center line that would be positioned at the temple, neck or side of the body.

 a. Dun is an excellent defense to teach to women to prevent purse snatches. By dropping their weight, a would-be-thief, can  be knocked down by the surprise of the force alone.

                b. Dun is also an excellent hammer fist if the opponent is too quick to grab. Strike down on the pressure points of the forearm and elbow or slam down on the side of the neck.

                c. Substitute the vertical spearhand for a vertical elbow to parry the attack from underneath or crash into the chin with an undercutting elbow.Then follow up with a downward elbow of the opposing hand, to create jarring throughout the equilibrium.

4 Tan- Tan is the Searching Palm and the 4th technique of the 64 palms. This movement forces the opponent to defend by asserting a spearhand toward the nose, throat or eyes. As the guard is raised, yank the opponent toward you while simultaneously striking the face with the other hand to off-set the neck. As the opponent is disoriented, use a forward step while sinking the weight in the back to strike the heart.
                 a. Tan is one of the fastest attacks of the 64 palms and is extremely effective at disabling speedy opponents.

                 b. The leg switch is tricky at first, but crucial at creating space to release more power. It's much like winding up a pitch without the need of additional space.

                 c. Tan can be repeated and is great for tangling and trapping chain punchers.

5. Li- Li is the Twisting Palm and the 5th of the 64 palms. This attack steps (T-step) against and toward an outward strike, meeting it with great force, but twisting the attack at the joint instead of deflecting it. Once the force has been stopped, the following hand circles around to snap the joint and then shove the opponent out of position.

                   a. This movement is excellent to defend against any side attack with a weapon by stepping in toward the source of the attack, to cut of the power at the root.

                   b. It's unrealistic to use this against a boxing attack with an extended arm because of the shortness of the boxer's hook. Utilizing  the same motions, the elbow can be used to deflect instead and then use the following elbow in circular motion to snap the arm out of joint. It takes more skill, but using the elbow for locks while connecting to the waist, is far more realistic and effective in a close quarter's clinch.

                   c. Li is a great counter, but even better on offense done with an outside knife hand, hammer fist combination, or elbow combination. Learn all the ranges to understand the nature of the attack.

6. Tiao- Tiao is the Picking Palm and the 6th of the 64 palms. This movement extends a spearhand that rolls under the opponent's force with a step, raising under the armpit and placing him on his toes. Once the arm has been raised, the constitution of the ribs has lessened and they can be easily broken with a stepping palm strike. After striking the ribs, grab the loose hand and yank the opponent toward you to deliver another strike to the already shattered ribs.

                     a. The most crucial part of the picking palm is raising the opponent up onto his toes. This is done by raising the hips and shoving the opponent of his center of gravity upward, using his armpit as leverage. If the opponent is too much taller than you, you will not be able to knock him off balance upward, so more forward motion is necessary, which may cause differentiation in the following finish.

                     b. The grab, strike, grab, strike pattern is a glimpse into the Water Section (9-16). Fluency of being able to roll an attack into a grab will be greatly rewarded as you can even prevent your opponent from falling to the ground before you are done with him.

                     c. The Picking Palm can be performed more subtly, just raising your opponent's aim high enough to make him feel like he barely missed. By glancing off your forearm, a small pocket leading to the ribs can be made and the momentum of the opponent will give you twice the force in your attack. It's best to meet that amount of force with either the elbow or shoulder.

7. Gai- Gai is the Covering Palm and the 7th of the 64 palms. The hands make a frontward whirling motion while stepping forward, placing any attack into the vortex of energy that leads to a grab. Once the attack has been captured, use the hips and legs to yank the opponent toward you while running through him from over head with the elbow landing on the throat.

                      a. Gai appears as a palm attack, but the elbow is the emphasis unless the opponent is much larger than you or is slightly out of range.

                      b. Gai can also be a hold when the elbow is trapped against the throat. By bending him over the knee with the elbow on the throat while holding a low stance he will be pinched in an off-balance position while gasping for air. This may prove effective for interrogation, but isn't effective for escorting as the opponent's only next step is to the floor.

                      c. The initial yanking of the first motion is more than enough to send an opponent flying into a nearby object. Position yourself properly for a good yank and you can skip the second movement altogether.

8. Chan- Chan is the Wrapping Palm and the 8th of the 64 palms. The weight sinks down as a knife-hand blocking downward on an incoming low attack. Once grazing against the attack, circle the hand from out to in with the palm facing outward. By clenching tightly and keeping the posture low, the opponent's hand will be trapped by your body weight allowing for an unblockable counter. Step through with a full step for a knock out strike with the fist, elbow or shoulder or a neck snap depending on the angle of the off-balanced opponent.

                         a. Practicing fluency of Chan is necessary before it can be effective in any terms. Yet once it's been mastered, it's excellent for disarms and controlling an attack with a knife.

                         b. This movement works almost automatically with mid and low kicks once the footwork and sinking have become second nature.

                         c. By yielding a small knife while doing this motion, you ensure a clean cut or stab against your opponent with minimal chance of counter.

Read my novel "Master Trey's Flawless Outlaws" to see this style in action by my representative Celia. She uses all the movements in real combat scenarios against impossible odds. Get it on amazon:


Ry diaz said...

Very detailed. I was just thinking about your videos when I was doing the daily check in the bagua group page to stumble upon your blog. Quite brilliant to say the least. I admire watching the sacrifice you undergo to further your art. I'm only in year 3 (working on basics and fundementals) finally realizing I must put time into anything I want attain a high level if kungfu in.
I wish the school system would of taught us better. Anyways hope to see more content from ya including video. Best wishes,
fellow bagua practioner

Ry diaz said...

Very detailed. I was just thinking about your videos when I was doing the daily check in the bagua group page to stumble upon your blog. Quite brilliant to say the least. I admire watching the sacrifice you undergo to further your art. I'm only in year 3 (working on basics and fundementals) finally realizing I must put time into anything I want attain a high level if kungfu in.
I wish the school system would of taught us better. Anyways hope to see more content from ya including video. Best wishes,
fellow bagua practioner

Robert Jay Arnold 孔有有 said...

Wish the school system would have taught us better as well. Maybe we can put these disciplines in our school for the future. God bless your training.

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