Chinese Martial Art

Private and Group lessons available

Bagua Classes

Bagua Zhang (Eight Diagram Palm) is a sophisticated martial art that cultivates health and engenders a completely new way of moving. Bagua is one of the three internal styles of Chinese martial arts and relies on the proper use of alignment, body mechanics and positioning, rather than speed and muscular strength. This art combines body conditioning, daoist circle walking, meditation and life nourishing practices to allow its practitioners to remain healthy and active throughout their lives.

Based in part on the philosophy of the yi jing (The Book of Changes), the core aspects of bagua zhang are based on being able to move constantly and to change whenever appropriate. These lessons transcend the martial arts and can be applied to all aspects of one’s life.

The first year curriculum is divided into 4 classes, Bagua Fundamentals, Bagua Body Method, Bagua Circle Walking, and Bagua Martial Drills. The Fundamentals class must be completed first, but the other classes may be taken in any order. Upon completion of all three Foundation Level classes, students will be tested and invited to attend the Intermediate Bagua class on Tuesday mornings. Students will also be eligible to attend Core Level classes.

Bagua Fundamentals

The first class is the Bagua Fundamentals class. This 6 week class focuses on the three most important elements that will be required to attend any of the other classes: Standing, Walking and Moving.

Standing Practices (zhan zhuang) are one of the most important aspects of Chinese martial arts. One must have the ability to stand like a tree, so that we are rooted and can use the power of the ground beneath us when executing our techniques. From a health perspective, learning to stand teaches us how to correct our posture and open the various joints of the body so that qi can flow freely through them.

Walking Practices embody the constant movement that is at the heart of bagua. Therefore, we must learn a very particular way of walking. The cornerstone of bagua stepping is called tang ni bu or mud wading step. This mud wading step builds upon the standing practices by teaching us how to maintain proper alignment while the body is in motion. This allows us to use our root even while we are in motion.

Moving Practices blend the standing and the walking together. This is accomplished through a set of exercises called the Qi Cultivation Exercises (da cheng quan). These exercises help students to access the movement of qi within their bodies, while linking that movement to the movement of the body.

The skills of the Fundamental Level include:

  • Generalized knowledge of the zhan zhuang (Post Standing)
  • Generalized knowledge of the da cheng quan (Qi development exercises)
  • Generalized knowledge of the footwork of bagua zhang (mud stepping, crane stepping, and follow stepping

Upon completion of the Bagua Fundamentals class, students are eliglble to attend any of the Foundation Level classes.

Bagua Body Method
Foundation Level

Each martial art has a distinct way of moving and expressing itself. In Chinese, this is referred to as the shen fa or body method of that art. This 12-week class teaches the most important exercises that generate bagua shen fa. There are 28 Foundational exercises (ji ben gong) that we use as a class warm up. Each of these exercises develops the bagua body and prepares students for the movements that will be encountered in later classes. In addition, many of these exercises have martial applications.

Students will also learn the Bagua Twelve Standing Postures (bagua shi er zhan zhuang). These postures begin to teach students how to coil and spiral the body to generate the proper alignments for practicing bagua zhang. By practicing these postures as static standing postures, students can focus on this key aspect of bagua zhang at a leisurely, controlled pace, as opposed to rushing through the alignments while moving.

Students will also learn additional footwork methods (bu fa) that expand upon the mud wading step taught in the Bagua Fundamentals class.

The skills of the Foundation Level - Warm Ups include:

  • Generalized knowledge and order of the 24 warm up exercises
  • Generalized knowledge of the bagua 12 standing postures
  • Generalized knowledge of the footwork of bagua zhang (mud stepping, crane stepping, plum blossom stepping, follow stepping and chicken stepping

The Bagua Fundamentals class is a prerequisite to this class.

Bagua Circle Walking
Foundation Level

The most distinctive practice of bagua zhang is that of the circle walking and many of the forms express this practice. Circle walking most likely descends from daoist mediation practices that involve walking in a circle. The movement of the body creates a counterpoint to the stillness within the mind.

This 12-week class adapts the mud wading step to the circle, teaching students how to coil and uncoil with each step. Students will also learn the practice of ding shi or fixed body positions. The body is held in a specific posture while walking the circle. Each posture opens different channels of the body and circulates qi to promote health and flexibility.

Students will also learn the first two of eight palm changes (lao ba zhang). These two changes are the foundation of the martial applications that will be learned later and many movements are derived from these changes.

The skills of the Foundation Level - Circle Walking include:

  • Generalized knowledge of the bagua circle walking footwork
  • Generalized knowledge of the ding shi or fixed postures
  • Generalized knowledge of the ding shi stepping methods
  • Generalized knowledge of the single and double palm change

The Bagua Fundamentals class is a prerequisite to this class.

Bagua Martial Drills
Foundation Level

An important part of any martial art is the ability to execute the techniques against an opponent. In our curriculum, we start working with partners in specific scripted sequences. This allows us to be controlled and safe when learning how to use the techniques. Over time, as students again more experience and ability, then we can begin to practice techniques with more variation and less scripting.

This 12-week class is devoted entirely to the practice of martial drills. Most of the drills can be performed with and without a partner. These drills teach the students how the coiling and spiraling nature of bagua zhang can be used to generate power for applications.

Students in this class will explore basic body conditioning exercises, basic self defense exercises, basic attacking exercises and the foundation of joint locking (qin na). In addition to the various sequences and drills, there will be a basic discussion on the Chinese understanding of how trauma affects the body and how traumatic injuries can be treated with Chinese medicine.

Upon completion of all three Foundation Level classes, students will be tested and invited to attend the Intermediate Bagua class on Tuesday mornings. Students will also be eligible to attend Core Level classes.

  • Generalized knowledge of the Piercing Palm exercises - solo and partnered
  • Generalized knowledge of the Seven Star Drills (Arm Banging Exercises)
  • Generalized knowledge of the Leg Trapping Drills
  • Generalized knowledge of the Parrying Drills
  • Generalized knowledge of the Na Fa Exercises (Seizing Exercises)

The Bagua Fundamentals class is a prerequisite to this class.

Bagua Tian Gan Nei Gong
Core Level

These traditional exercises are used by Ba Gua and Xing Yi practitioners to develop torsional power that is connected directly to the spine and legs, forming the basis of the so-called "silk reeling energy." The Tian Gan exercises can be useful to practitioners of other martial arts such as Jiu-jitsu, Aikido and Filipino styles, which employ similar circular and spiral forces to generate power. They can also help enthusiasts of sports like tennis and golf which similarly rely on circular, spiral forces. The Tian Gan exercises also function as a powerful health preservation practice because they literally "wring out" the spine, freeing up restrictions and blockages.

The Tian Gan or "Heavenly Stem" is essentially the central longitudinal axis or stem that passes through the body. It begins at the perineum and goes through the spine passing through the brain and out through the top of the head. This axis must be free of restrictions of the qi (breath/vital force) to circulate properly through the meridians and for micro-circulation to properly supply the brain and spinal column with qi and blood. When this axis is free of restriction, the two key central meridians of the body, Renmo and Dumo are opened and free-flowing,which in turn stimulates and frees-up circulation in all the other meridians of the body.

In addition to the normal 12 exercises of the Tian Gan Nei Gong, students will learn 4 additional exercises that are geared towards the martial development of bagua zhang.