Ba Gua Zhang
Ba-Gua is the treasure of the Cheng-Ming Martial Arts System. Based on the theory of the I-Ching, and characterized by the use of close-quarter techniques and evasion strategies, this fighting style is reserved for advanced students that have completed prerequisite training in both Tai Chi Chuan and Hsing-I Chuan. Advanced students must display good moral character and a dedication to preserving the Zhong-Nan lineage and the teachings of Great Grandmaster Wang Shu Jin.
The characteristics of the chi of Ba Gua Zhang include descriptions such as “spiraling” and “twisting”. Due to the constant body twisting, or coiling/decoiling, the meridians coil/decoil, which results in increased chi flow that is faster and stronger then Tai Chi Chuan or Hsing-I Chuan. Consequently, the training that is involved for Ba Gua and the way it affects chi flow means it is not good for students with a low foundation. This is why the Cheng Ming martial arts system trains both Tai Chi Chuan and Hsing-I Chuan before allowing students to begin Ba Gua Zhang.
The jing of Ba Gua Zhang is hard and soft, obvious and hidden, sideways/crossing, like a cyclone. This is in contrast to the straight/frontal jing of Hsing-I Chuan.
Ba Gua Zhang trains students to be evasive, indirect, tricky, thoughtful, detail-oriented, and multidimensional; both in mind and in body. Ba Gua Zhang originates from the I-Ching, or Book of Changes. Ba Gua means “eight diagrams/trigrams”.
When talking about Pre-Heaven Ba Gua, this refers to the original eight diagrams and also refers to Indoor Students of the Cheng Ming martial arts system.
The ideas of Earth, Heaven, and Man are reflected in Ba Gua Zhang by the first three forms of Ba Gua for Indoor Students:
• Lian Huan Zhang (Earth - Bu Fa = Xia Pan - Way of Footwork)
• You Shen Zhang (Heaven - Shen Fa - Way of Body Movements)
• Bian Huan Zhang (Man - Shou Fa - Way of Hand Movements)
The other Ba Gua Zhang forms for Indoor level students:
• Ba Gua Dan Lian Fa (Ba Gua Eight Diagram hand drills)
• Ba Mu Zhang (eight mother palms - 1st form taught)
• Feng Yu Zhang (wind & cloud)
• Ba Gua Staff
• Ba Gua Double Sword
Post-Heaven Ba Gua refers to the 64 hexagrams derived from the original Ba Gua, or 8 trigrams. Post-Heaven is also a reference for Inroom Students of the Cheng Ming martial arts system. Some forms of the Inroom level of Cheng Ming Ba Gua include
• Liu Shi Si Gua (64 hexagrams)
• Yin Yang Yue (advanced weapon)
• Zhuan Tian You Lung (Dragon Twisting Up to Sky)
• Liu Shi Si Si (64 moves)
• Wu Xing Ba Gua Zhang (5 Element Ba Gua Palm)
• Ba Zi Zhang (Figure Eight Palm)
• Ba Gua Spear
• Ba Gua Dao (Ba Gua Saber)
Advanced students begin training Ba Gua by learning Ba Mu Zhang, or the Eight Mother Palms. This introduces students to the footwork of circle-walking. This is the prelude to a period of intense preparation and conditioning. Students learn the posture for “walking the circle” and begin walking 1000 steps in each direction, non-stop. Outwardly, like the Five Elements of Hsing-I Chuan, this appears simple, but students confront the incredible mental and physical challenge that comes with actual practice. After students have trained 1000 steps for some time, forms and weapons are also introduced.
The curriculum for Ba Gua Zhang in the Cheng Ming system is vast. The quantity and complexity of Ba Gua Zhang, coupled with the rigorous training, exercises both the mind and the body extraordinarily.