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Ba Qua Chang: Circling Step

The following is the basic description of the first basic exercise of circling.

01.   Hips tucked in and under.  The upper part of the back stretched up to the sky, the lower part of the back stretched down to the ground.  Legs are together touching as are the feet.  
02.   Step forward with the right foot which will be the foot and leg that is on the outside of the circle. About 90% of the weight is on the back leg which is the left leg. The right foot is turned into the circle about 45 degrees.
03.   Shift the body weight to the right foot and leg shifting the stance into a back leg bent "Right Forward Stance" from a short "Flexible T Stance".  
04.   Step forward with the left foot into a "Flexible T Stance".  The left foot steps straight ahead.  The leg and foot that is facing the inside of the circle steps straight.
05.   Shift the stance into a "Left Forward Stance" from the "Left Flexible T Stance".
06.   Continue the same stepping procedure eight times.  This should take you around in a circle until you reach the place of origin. The legs should rub each other while stepping protecting the groin.  Remember every step is a potential kick and every kick is a potential step.
07.   The breathing pattern is to inhale on the first four steps and exhale on the last four steps.
08.   Go around in a circle eight times, then stop and go around in a circle in the other direction eight times.

*** This is the first basic lesson of Ba Qua Chang.  The stepping pattern is called "Lion Stepping" as this is the easiest and when done quickly resembles a Lion loping across a grass field. Later I will describe "Snake Stepping" then "Chicken (Male) Stepping.

I have 3 books on Pakua. Neither one describes how many circles must be done and when the changes should be done.
Could u help me out a bit here?

Mark Dinkel:
I have three books too. I wonder if they are the same. None of them state a specific number of circles.

When I trained at GM Vince Black's bagua, we primarly did two methods. In one, we did three circles each way for each posture. In this method, each circle usually varied from the other. For example in the first circle we could concentrate on being low. The next circle we could concentrate on being long, and possibly on the third circle we would concentrate on being smooth or fast or whatever.

The other method was to stay with divisibles of 8. The number 8 has great significance in ba gua, and I guess that is where it stems from. With this method a circle in one direction would be 32, 40 or 48 steps, then turn and do the other direction the same. The same number of steps was used for both directions with all 8 palms.

There was one other method which was known as the nine palaces. However, it did not follow one circle, rather 9 tangent circles. This method is described in one of the books that I have I believe the title is Emei Baguazhang. It is not readily available otherwise I would give a better citation.

I do quite a bit of practice with bricks.  (ie.  I practice all of my forms and techniques with and without holding bricks in hand). Just wondering if anyone else practices this way.  I find it great for strength building.  Since I started with the bricks I also find my posture improving and smoothness getting better.  After warming up with the bricks, I find that when I do my forms fast, the speed increases as well as the smoothness during the entire form, it is very noticable when transitioning.  (Ie Tiger to Snake).  My grip strength has also become noticably improved. 

Any thoughts on the subject.

I hesitate to use glass jars - could get messy and I have 3 little ones to worry about...

Dean 8)

2 of my books are by Robert W. Smith and the other one is John Bracy's "Ba Gua"
I think they have different Pakua in each book.
Both of Robert Smith's books have the linear aspects of Pakua(techniques) and the circles with the changes.
The Bracy Book gives details about the circles without going into how many times they must be walked nor how to make the changes.Probably for someone who has practiced Pakua for some time now


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