Chris McKinley wrote:lazyboxer,
Thank you as well for taking the time to provide insight into the matter. This thread has been the single most useful on the entire forum for me in terms of providing insight into the kind of thing Dan is teaching. Further, it has shed some light on some of the crucial similarities that all truly high quality internal arts practices include. I, too, was taught and still practice/teach a number of methods like the one jjy has shown, including one that is more or less the very same practice. The way I was taught, even basic circle walking is a continuous exercise in manifesting the Yin/Yang pump, heavy/light, empty/full, kou/bai, up/down, left/right, etc. Done strictly, I get more internal work out of one trip around the circle than a lot of guys get in an hour of what is typically shown as circle walking. In fact, I can work up a sweat after just one trip each way.
Bagua certainly doesn't teach or promote a strict squaring of the hips and shoulders in a single plane, and such would violate the Cross the Great River principle for the art whenever kou or bai are being employed, but perhaps I have misunderstood or misread what you meant. For reasons I outlined previously, I'm certainly not a fan of extreme spinal rotation regardless, nor extreme hip pronation or supination for similar reasons. Beside the potential risk of injury in some cases, the biomechanics are such that compound movements are almost always at their structurally strongest when the involved joints are kept within the middle of their ranges of motion, and thus maintaining the principle of keeping to the middle way.
Thanks again for the very specific technical discussion. We may be enjoying a moment of unusually close agreement here, but even when we disagree we may still find some very fascinating and useful exchanges of perspectives and information.
I still have my eye on the ball, and will attempt to respond more fully later. I'm frantically busy right now, and don't want to give anything less than the clear and considered response this topic deserves.
For the moment, I'll simply say that my comments about the square hip/ shoulder configuration were highly contextualized (!), and as such easily misinterpreted. It's to do with a specific type of power development and expression. One can, of course, also move shoulders and hips in opposition, in parallel, or even one at a time while the other remains immobile. There are also differences in cadence, tempo, intensity and so on. Even why you train will have a bearing on the outcome.