Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby middleway on Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:59 am

Hi All,

What is your thought on the idea that ba gua was meant as an 'add on' art or a 'graduation art' for people who were already skilled or semi skilled in a MA system (Lohan, Shuai Jiao etc)?

And if this is the case, How has the training system developed such that it is now able to be taught to a complete novice?

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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby wiesiek on Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:32 am

I suppouse that this " only experienced" thing came from first "official" teaching done by DHC.
Guards in forbiden city was for shure experienced in different MA styles long before DHC era...
and
Bagua as the system wasn`t developed from the skratch either :)
but
Im definetly not the history expert
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby middleway on Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:42 am

I suppouse that this " only experienced" thing came from first "official" teaching done by DHC.


Sure but most other Ba gua masters i can think of had some grounding in other arts prior to going into Ba gua too. Seems to be the trend among the really good guys.

cheers.

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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby D_Glenn on Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:42 am

"宋長榮 Song Changrong - was born to a wealthy family in Beijing. His family was somehow associated with Prince Su, the retainer of Dong Haichuan, and from them the young Song was introduced to the founder of Baguazhang. Dong took a liking to the child and would visit his home on a regular basis. He would train Song in the courtyard, but trained him in various skills and exercises to increase the youngster’s strength and balance. When Song was about twelve years of age, Dong began teaching him the art of Baguazhang. Given the foundation what was built in the early years, Song excelled in the training and was considered as a child prodigy in the art. He became highly skilled in the lower basin palms. Dong trained him the use of the Seven Stars pole and Song became an expert in the use of the weapon. Song developed a very high level of skill in the Baguazhang."


.
Last edited by D_Glenn on Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby middleway on Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:53 am

so you agree or disagree??
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby baguaboy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:55 am

Hi Chris,

A lot of the good stuff found in baguazhang is quite subtle and clever. For that reason alone I think the idea of a 'graduation art' is applicable.
However when i look at the Gao Yi-Sheng syllabus i see a lot of basic training as well which is perfectly suitable for novices. These facets of the syllabus are:

Heavenly stems
Hand methods
Straight line form
Two person sets

Overall I think this idea of bagua as a higher art is a bit of a myth as its evolved beyond its initial simplicity. If the practitioner is hands on enough to research and test i see no special reason to import a foundation of another art to base it on.

Lets face it - to be good at any art one has to put the time in.

As a side note - i am slightly biased of course but as i see it Gao Yi-Sheng baguazhang (Yi zhong at least :) ) is a complete system that does have room for novices. When i say 'complete' it is in a similar way to Judo is - systematized with clear mile stones for attainment.
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby middleway on Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:44 am

hi mate,

Yeh i tend to agree with that assessment, I was quite careful to not say 'higher art' as i do think that makes ba gua appear to be 'above all others' n i dont think it is. However, i seem to remember the Yi Zhong originally had a progressive training programme that started with Shaolin? Or was that just for kids.

Do those Yi Zhong methods involve the mega basics then?

cheers
Chris
Last edited by middleway on Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby baguaboy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:22 am

Yi Zhong originally had a progressive training programme that started with Shaolin?


I was not there then so i don't know exactly how the hard styles were integrated in the Tang Shou Dao school - What i do know is that the Hung brothers were teaching the three IMA's it in a similar way that it is today.

As for 'mega basics' - well YiZhong Baguazhang its taught very systematically. Many of the basics can be found in other fighting arts so are not exclusive.
The syllabus is more modern than people might believe, leaving some people to misconceptions about use of aspects of some of the training.

I don't want to bore everyone with my bias, but suffice to say there are basics that need practice no matter what level of martial eduction your at!

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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby kenneth fish on Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:28 am

Yizong was the school of Master Zhang Junfeng. Some of his senior students were given permission to use the name and open satellite schools. (the original school on Xinyi Road was the Yizong Zongguan or "main school". Others were "fenguan" or satellite schools). Hong Yixiang developed his own curriculum fairly early on. Master Zhang was not comfortable with the considerable differences in approach and content, hence Hong called his school and art "tang shou dao" and installed himself as the head of the school.

Training at Master Zhang's school began with about 3 months of foundation skills , strength training, basic stances and basic movements. After that footwork and stepping patterns, basic hand movements, punching and striking drills. Training progressed in this manner - gradually adding components of the system. The five elements training took about a year.

From what I have seen training at Hong Yixiang's school was quite different - Hong brought in material from a variety of sources, and the progression of material was different too.

Luo Dexiu researched Bagua with Mrs. Zhang, and studied with as many of Master Zhang's early students as he could find. I believe Mrs. Zhang gave him permission to use the name Yizong. She gave me permission to teach and use the name after I had moved to the States, and returned to visit - but she encouraged me to teach Xingyi over Bagua.
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby Doc Stier on Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:55 am

In my experience, the defensive evasion skills of baguaquan...turning, twisting, bending, folding, stretching, ducking, dodging, et al...performed while rapidly stepping and spinning both inward and outward with tremendous speed...involves a higher degree of difficulty than do the same evasive movements performed in a fixed position or when most often taking linear steps as in other internal martial arts. As such, I think that simple circle walking, while holding any posture, is well within the capability of most beginners, but the advanced forms are not...and usually need to be gradually approached over time.
Last edited by Doc Stier on Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby BaguaKicksAss on Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:37 pm

Fuck that.
But damn, it's difficult if it's the first thing you start with! Difficult being quite the understatement.
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby edededed on Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:16 pm

Ken: Thanks, interesting about the differences in teaching between Zhang Junfeng and Hong Yixiang - as it is probably a common assumption that Hong would have taught similarly to Zhang.

Anyway, I think that baguazhang is quite difficult :D Some can manage it from scratch, and many lines do have beginners' material as well as advanced stuff, but... for mere mortals like me, it may be easier to start with a basis in something else. ;)
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby kenneth fish on Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:21 pm

The reason I insisted on learning Xingyi exclusively when I was studying from Master Zhang was I felt Bagua was way to complicated for me to grasp. I did not start Bagua (and only at Mrs. Zhang's insistence ) until I had been doing Xingyi for almost 5 years. Even then it was challenging to begin - but having reached a decent beginners understanding of Xingyi I could grasp some of the details.
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby mixjourneyman on Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:49 am

bagua and taiji are quite similar in that regard,
to get really deep into it requires some serious effort and consideration.
if you want bagua body skills you either have to know how to develop body skills in the first place, or be extremely motivated and thoughtful.
I feel like dong's training of song changrong is emblematic of how you would be able to go about doing bagua as a beginner with no other experience. IE: spend quite a lot of time on really fundamental exercises that involve stretching, balance and the like. learning bagua with a body that is not conditioned in some way is quite difficult, I can personally attest to that, having started bagua as a quite fat and inflexible guy.
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Re: Ba Gua = only for the experienced

Postby baguaboy on Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:36 am

Thanks for the first hand info Mr Fish. It is always a pleasure!

I've seen traces of Hong Yixiang's Tang Shou Dao curriculum when training with Yizhong stuff, but nearly always someone has pointed it out that it is distinctly 'Tang Shou Dao'. From what I know of it there are bits of Shaolin that Hong Yixiang must have valued enough to include as he was building a school of his own.

I think its fair to say that each major character in the Yizhong line seems to have added their own emphasis of curriculum. I see this as a healthy progression with the respect to the tradition of keeping good martial arts alive.

Going back to the thread 'Ba Gua = only for the experienced' - I've often heard this too, but with a good structured syllabus behind you (regardless of style etc) I think its really not true.
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