はてなブックマーク - Basics
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Basic Training Method and system for Magui Baguazhang

At the end of the Qing dynasty, Chinese martial arts had reached its peak. Dong HaiChuan had combined and integrated all the best aspects of each martial art to create a new style of Chinese martial arts.

This method, now called Bagua, was a revolutionary step in terms of martial arts development because it is limitless. Because it is primarily circular, this made it different from any other martial art practiced before. Each and every Palm is unique, but they all relate to the same basic principles of Bagua. A “Palm” is a routine of movements that allow you to change directions while walking the circle, and also teach valuable martial principles necessary for fighting. Every original Palm passed down by Dong HaiChuan represents the best practices of a particular martial art school from his time, and shows a different aspect of martial arts.

In ancient times it was said that if one achieved the valuable “dan tian” they would not exchange it for a mountain of gold. With proper training from a qualified teacher in Magui Baguazhang you can get this treasure. Bagua is truly the most precious thing in the world. If you practice Bagua you will doubtlessly agree, and praise the true Tao for its simplicity, perfection and profundity.

If you are willing, Bagua can rid your body of weaknesses and disease, it can allow you to live a spiritually and physically active life.

If you are willing, Bagua can bring you health and happiness for your whole life, and provide you with a youthful way of life even after the age of 80.

If you are willing, Bagua can bring you confidence through an active and healthy lifestyle, thus giving you a true martial arts spirit. Bagua can change you into a powerful and heroic human being.

These are just a few of many attributes that Bagua can give you.



The primary method of training in Bagua is circle walking. Through the circle walking the whole body is strengthened, health improved and maintained, illnesses can be cured, and lifespan extended. It is also the way to train the internal power and martial art techniques for self-defense.

There are eight different ways of walking the circle:

1. Dragon walking 2. Bear walking
3. Lion walking 4. Crab walking
5. Eagle walking 6. Single-hook walking
7. Reaching towards the heaven and earth walking 8. Yin Yang fish walking

Each way has a special stepping method as well as body position.


The Basic Palms

As previously mentioned each Palm as well as Walking style represents the best practices of a particular martial art school, and shows a different principle of Baguazhang. Below are the “Mother Palms” for each Walking style. They are called “Mother Palms” because they are the cores for all other movements within each Walking style.


Eight Mother Palms of the Dragon  

1. Single Changing Palm 2. Double Changing Palm
3. Following Palm 4. Triple Piercing Palm
5. Dodging Body Palm 6. Grinding Body
7. Returning Body Palm 8. Spinning Body Palm



Eight Mother Palms of the Bear

1. Rolling Over the Body Palm 2. Swimming Body Palm
3. Behind the Body Palm 4. Returning Body Palm
5. Pressing Body Palm 6. Crossing Hands Palm
7. Double Separating Punch Palm 8. Shoulder Strike Palm





Eight Mother Palms of the Lion

1. Lion Holds the Ball Palm 2. Lion Rolls Over Holding the Ball Palm
3. Lion Rolls the Ball Palm 4. Lion Catches the Ball Palm
5. Lion throws the Ball Palm 6. Lion Throws the Ball Palm in Following Way
7. Dancing Lion Palm 8. Lion Rolls a Big Ball Palm



Eight forceful Situation of the Eagle

1. Eagle Rides the Wind 2. Eagle Circles to Change Direction
3. Eagle Tilts in the Wind 4. Eagle Spirit Grabs the Rabbit
5. Eagle Pierces the Heavens 6. Eagle Grabs a Fish
7. Eagle Circles to Four Directions 8. Eagle Soars




Linking Ramming Eight Mother Palms of the Crab

1. Body Separation Ramming Palm 2. Return Back Ramming Palm
3. Retreat Ramming Palm 4. Linking Left and Right Ramming Palm
5. Following Ramming Palm 6. Front and Rear Linking Ramming Palm
7. Five Element Linking Palm 8. Linked Hard Ramming Palm


Eight mother postures of the Single Hook

1. Single Hook Changing Posture 2. Double Hook Changing Posture
3. Cloud Waving Hook Changing Posture 4. Hook Pulling and Leading Posture
5. Hook Slicing and Smashing Posture 6. Hook in Golden Cock and Monkey Shape Posture
7. Hook Dotting and Reaching Posture 8. Single Hook Turning in Four Direction Posture


Eight Figures of the Yin-Yang Fish Model

1. Changeover Design Figure 2. Double Changeover Design Figure
3. Spiraling Design Figure 4. Flowing Figure
5. Cloud Wave Figure 6. Folding Figure

Unfortunately two of the eight palms have been lost in time.



Eight Postures of the Point to the sky and plunge into the earth

The eight different movements and postures for this have not been taught through our grand master Liu WanChuan. We could invent some movements, but honestly we do not want to add anything that has not been authentically transmitted from Liu WanChuan to the Ma Gui system.


Other Bagua Routines

In order to ensure that Bagua became widely spread and practiced, Dong HaiChuan created different Bagua forms to satisfy those who love various forms of martial art. In order to make it easier to be practiced as a group like TaijiQuan, he created four routines, and named them “Bagua Zhang.” What we now call Bagua at this time was called “Bagua Zhuan Zhang”, which means the endlessly turning Bagua palms and was all practiced within the circle-walking.

He created four routines that are unique. Unfortunately, Master Liu WanChuan only passed on the first two forms, the 88 form and the 128 form. The other two have been lost.

The 88 routine is based on the dragon form. It contains many reaching palms (tanzhang), piercing palms (chuanzhang), and following palms (shunshi zhang). The body turns continuously, the movements are clear and crisp, the stepping is almost exclusively Koubu and Baibu, and the directions are taken clearly. It must be done with good stability, firmness, and an upright body, taking its place naturally between heaven and earth.

The 128 routine is based on the lion and single hook forms. It advances and retreats in an orderly fashion, all moves linking together like a chain. It is like a dragon soaring and a tiger leaping, like a myriad of birds on the morning breeze. It contains deep feelings and beauty, and is aesthetically pleasing to watch.

I feel that the two other routines are probably based on the yinyang diagram, the eagle form, the crab form, and the point to the sky form, which I imagine would be extraordinary. Many things may be lost over the years. It really makes the hero shed tears over the lost skills of the ancients!

For real martial artists, practicing the forms is a waste of time and energy, but the four forms that Dong HaiChuan passed down contain within them an artistic element and some important philosophical principles and secrets. These are aspects of Bagua that go far beyond mere martial art and so therefore need to be studied deeply. They are truly a priceless piece of Chinese cultural heritage.

Although I feel my level is not up to the previous generation’s standards, I would hate to see these martial art forms disappear. I will try my best to teach and spread these two forms.

Liu WanChuan also knew the Paochui (cannon-fist) routine, which he taught to his son-in-law Li Tao, who in turn taught it to me. I do not though know the exact lineage of this routine. Did Liu learn it from his uncle Liu Qingfu or Yin Yuzhang, which means it came from Yin Fu, or did he learn it from Ma Gui? Because I am unsure I have not yet included this routine as part of the Ma Gui system’s curriculum. This may change as further information becomes available.  


Basic Pair Practices

After a basic level of training has been achieved in circle walking and the basic palms they can be used in pair practices. Where all the Bagua principles can be applied to martial art training. Some of these principles are: pushing, lifting, dragging, leading, rejecting, locking, swooping, and drilling.

There are 8 different pair practices:

1) Using the pair practice to train the changing palms (single changing, double changing, and following changing palms).

2) Using the pair practice to train drawing and leading palms, practicing drawing and leading the opponents oncoming force away from the body.

3) Using the pair practice to train the spearing palms (chuangzhang).

4) Using the pair practice to train the pressing down palm (yazhang).

5) Using the pair practice to train the coiling palms.

6) Using the pair practice to train the shoving palms (zhuangzhang).

7) Using the pair practice to train the dragging palms (daishou).

8)   Using the pair practice to train the grabbing and locking palms.

These pair practices are also done with all 8 Mother Palms of the various styles as well (i.e. Dragon, Bear, Lion, etc…).


Basic Bagua Weapons

Bagua has its own unique weaponry that surpasses the normal level of ancient weapons. Before modern weaponry, they represented the highest level of intelligence in terms of weaponry development. The methods for using these weapons have been hidden within the Bagua palms, which in turn have been hidden within the circle walking. Through the circle walking and special instruction the skills for using the weapons can be achieved.

There are four basic types of Bagua weapons, and each weapon is based on an aspect of Bagua circle walking. These weapons are unique to the Bagua style and can only be trained through the circle walking. The movements for the weapons are exactly the same as the Bagua Palm they relate to.

The four weapons are:

1. The deer horn dagger 2. The Bagua broadsword
3. The Bagua calligraphy brush 4. The seven-star stick


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