the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

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

Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby greytowhite on Wed Feb 03, 2021 6:40 am

yeniseri wrote:Intersecting the circle and/or interrumpting the circle is a part of liuhebafa (concept as opposed to the form art of so named taolu!) If someone comes at you with a straight punch, evade and counter at the angle.


A lot of this work is done in 9 Palaces Walking. Few people get to a deep enough Baguazhang practice to learn the 9 Palaces and their combat training.
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby Tom on Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:22 am

Bhassler wrote:The secret of bagua is this:
If you practice without turning, you will hit a wall in your development.


Badabing badaboom. Tough crowd in here, Brian. ;D

With respect to the input from Damon Smith on the Heretics podcast episode linked above by Graham, there were a couple of significant gaps. When it comes to history, I take Damon's statements in stride because by his own admission he is not a historian nor is he very concerned with the specific details of history (whether documentable or not), but rather with the broader currents as he perceives them. For example, in the introductory episode a few months ago on "Hermeticism" in the West, Damon offered the observation that Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander (later "the Great") fought against Byzantium then in decline. Philip and Alexander lived in the fourth and fifth centuries BCE. The Roman Empire did not split into Rome and Byzantium until the fourth century ACE, more than six hundred years later. Damon likes to read a lot and comment. That's all that most of us interested in history do.

So with respect to the observation in the episode on baguazhang that Dong Haichuan did not know much if any martial arts before taking up with the 8th and 9th Princes Su, Damon might want to read what an actual historian (Kang Ge Wu) doing field research in China into the origins of baguazhang found, that Dong Haichuan achieved a high degree of competence in Ba Fa Quan, Lohan Quan and other martial arts common in the area where Dong was born and raised--well before he came to Beijing to seek his fortune (or assassinate the Emperor, depending on which line of legend one indulges in ;) ). Kang Ge Wu's work is by no means the final word on the origins of baguazhang, but at least it's based on more than supposition.

With respect to baguazhang not using the fist, that's simply incorrect (and again, a little checking around would show that). It's a similar error to assuming that the wuxing quan in xingyi are only fist usage (obviously forearm, palm, shoulder, etc. all come into play with the wuxing). There are backfist sets, piercing fist sets, etc. in baguazhang That the fist may not be the dominant weapon is not unique to baguazhang in CMAs.

It is curious how so many legends of xingyiquan--Li Cunyi, Zhang Zhaodong, Sun Lutang, Song Xirong, etc.--sought out baguazhang training. One does not see nearly as many famous exponents of baguazhang seeking out xingyiquan. Cheng Tinghua may be a possible exception, but the xingyi influence in the broad current of Cheng lineages seems more from his students who already trained xingyi than Cheng himself seeking out xingyi training (he died at the age of 52, so who knows what he may have worked on had he not been killed by the German soldiers in the Boxer Rebellion).
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:03 am

You see, Tom, the thing about Hermetacism, is that it's an open and shut case. ;)
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:31 pm

Tom wrote: For example, in the introductory episode a few months ago on "Hermeticism" in the West, Damon offered the observation that Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander (later "the Great") fought against Byzantium then in decline. Philip and Alexander lived in the fourth and fifth centuries BCE. The Roman Empire did not split into Rome and Byzantium until the fourth century ACE, more than six hundred years later. Damon likes to read a lot and comment. That's all that most of us interested in history do.


Well, Philip did fight against Byzantium in 339BC, the city of Byzantium (now Constantinople), not the empire of Byzantium, which obviously existed hundreds of years later. "In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus, and in 339 BC, began another siege against the city of Byzantium. As both sieges failed, Philip's influence over Greece was compromised." If Damon mentioned the empire by mistake it must have been an obvious slip of the tongue in a 'live' conversation, but the information is correct otherwise. Easy mistake to make.
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby Bao on Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:19 pm

Tom wrote:With respect to baguazhang not using the fist, that's simply incorrect (and again, a little checking around would show that). It's a similar error to assuming that the wuxing quan in xingyi are only fist usage (obviously forearm, palm, shoulder, etc. all come into play with the wuxing). There are backfist sets, piercing fist sets, etc. in baguazhang That the fist may not be the dominant weapon is not unique to baguazhang in CMAs.


Well, this is a very common misconception. As Cheng style is the most well known Bagua style, and because many calls it Baguazhang /bagua palm, most people associate the style with palm strikes. Remember that Cheng Tinghua had his background in wrestling and adapted Dong Haichuan's art as a throwing style. There's no reason to focus much on closed fists if your main strategy is to throw. Sadly, just checking around might not be enough as much litterature, both books and articles, tend to generalize Baguazhang as it's all identical to Cheng style.
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:36 pm

I would agree Bao - these days we tend to view things as not being true unless they are written in a book, but that’s our own Western miasma talking. Primary sources are valuable, but beyond that, all of the literature is skewed through the miasma of the current time, culture and place it was written in. And in somewhere like China that’s an immense amount of miasma to sift through to get to the truth.

One of the things we’re trying to do with the Heretics podcast is not repeat commonly held ‘truths’, because often these are not actually true at all, or reflect the miasma of the time they're 'true' in. Much of the information in the podcast is based on Damon’s firsthand field research - going to these places, finding the experts and talking with people from these places.

Our view is often heretical, and hence the name.
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby Bao on Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:56 pm

One of the things we’re trying to do with the Heretics podcast is not repeat commonly held ‘truths’, because often these are not actually true at all... Much of the information in the podcast is based on Damon’s firsthand field research - going to these places, finding the experts and talking with people from these places.
Our view is often heretical, and hence the name.


I like the idea of not accepting common “truths”, as well as to twist and turn the reality around to be able to look at things with fresh eyes. Sometimes the important thing is not if we agree about everything, but just give ourselves a possibility to look at things in a different way. I believe this is important as we should all try to be free thinkers, and practice our ability to judge things without having others to impose their views on us. So every opportunity to shake around our beliefs a bit is a good thing regardless if we eventually will come to the same conclusions or not.
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:30 pm

Tom wrote:It is curious how so many legends of xingyiquan--Li Cunyi, Zhang Zhaodong, Sun Lutang, Song Xirong, etc.--sought out baguazhang training. One does not see nearly as many famous exponents of baguazhang seeking out xingyiquan. Cheng Tinghua may be a possible exception, but the xingyi influence in the broad current of Cheng lineages seems more from his students who already trained xingyi than Cheng himself seeking out xingyi training (he died at the age of 52, so who knows what he may have worked on had he not been killed by the German soldiers in the Boxer Rebellion).


Let us not forget that we are deep into the commercial period of martial arts here. It may simply have been that knowing baguazhang was good for business if you were a commercial martial arts teacher. Both Baguazhang and Taijiquan had their origins in the imperial court - they had an exclusive air about them. People would pay good money for those high level Confucian philisophical values direct from the royal court, diluted down into movement arts. Xing Yi and Xin Yi in contrast belonged to soldiers, laborours and peasants. (talking generally here, there are of course exceptions).
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby Tom on Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:04 pm

“It may have simply been” that baguazhang had practical skills that the seekers did not find in xingyiquan. We don’t know. I’ll grant you that.
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby Trick on Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:58 pm

GrahamB wrote:[ Byzantium (now Constantinople),

Istanbul now ?
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby Trick on Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:08 pm

. Our view is often heretical, and hence the name
all over postmodernism seem still in vogue, so not very heretical....
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby GrahamB on Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:42 am

Trick wrote:
GrahamB wrote:[ Byzantium (now Constantinople),

Istanbul now ?


Yes, sorry of course - it's pretty easy to get things wrong in history class. That's why I leave it to Damon. ;D

Or........ did I just need a good excuse to post this video?

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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby GrahamB on Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:31 am

Tom wrote:“It may have simply been” that baguazhang had practical skills that the seekers did not find in xingyiquan. We don’t know. I’ll grant you that.


Or it may have been both. There's clearly some good stuff in Bagua, and I would find it extremely unlikely that experienced martial artists would want to learn it if it had no value.
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby Tom on Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:13 am

GrahamB wrote:You see, Tom, the thing about Hermetacism, is that it's an open and shut case. ;)


Open and shut, black and white, nailed down with quantum-numerical accuracy, absolutely. There can be no doubt! No mistakes, no regrets! 100% consensus, complete stifling of dissent, history is linear and only true if it's in a book (does Facebook count?). We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . and if you don't, you will be canceled. Banished. Forgotten. Uprooted and flushed. The Academy has no use and no room for Heretics!

It's a good thing there is a podcast. ;)
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Re: the purpose of circle-walking in baguazhang

Postby Tom on Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:13 am

GrahamB wrote:You see, Tom, the thing about Hermetacism, is that it's an open and shut case. ;)


Open and shut, black and white, nailed down with quantum-numerical accuracy, absolutely. There can be no doubt! No mistakes, no regrets! 100% consensus, complete stifling of dissent, history is linear and only true if it's in a book (does Facebook count?). We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . and if you don't, you will be canceled. Banished. Forgotten. Uprooted and flushed. The Academy has no use and no room for Heretics!

It's a good thing there is a podcast. ;)
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