Pre and Post Birth Pa Qua.

Tim's Discussion Board: Ba Gua Zhang : Pre and Post Birth Pa Qua.
   By Anonymous on Tuesday, October 10, 2000 - 01:31 pm: Edit Post

I have studied Pa Qua from a Kumar Franztis and a few others whom I wish to remain unamed.

The others taught what was termed post birth or straight line Pa Qua as well as the circular Pre birth.Forgive my Chinese but Hou Tien and Shen Tien.

I spent quite a long time doing the single palm and double palm changes with Kumar.While in the other system these seemed to be merely window dressing,before getting on to the details of more "supfluerous" forms and applications work.

Kumar taught individual actions within the single and double palm change,actions that encapsulated many of the same actions that were contained in a large number of forms.He always gave examples of some of the great Pa Qua masters you only used the single palm change or double palm change for example in combat,but which contained a tremendous amount of content.

In studying with others there was not this emphasis on singular movements such as the single palm change with the possibilty of limitless actions and the encapsulation of actions that were common to many movements.It was more the view of innumerable forms and pre arranged sparring with very little work on the content and possibilties contained within these movements.

It seems to be a fundemental difference in approach.Do people think their is an advantage to one approach over the other?

Or is it a matter of sometimes an instructor having a limited vocabulary and stringing a student out on just a few movements.Do not read between the lines,I am not infering anything.

Or could it be that the Ba Qua from Beiging as it moved south lost some of the essence and became as Kumar has stated " a codified and rigid form of movement" which lost much of the essence or fuel which provide the original spirit in creating the style in the first place.

Does the music play the band,or the band the music?

Can you raise the sails and bring the wind,or merely raise the sails?

Is there no birth of the universe?

Picasso who in his early classical training and younger stages of life could give the most detailed classically correct renderings of the human figure.Later in life the abstract as everyone knows took precedence.He passed through a more baroque classical stage of training and application and landed in a more abstract and minimalist form of expression.

Will both approaches lead to the same place.Will simply emulating the minimalism of a Picasso enable one to achieve the tremendous content contained within in the minimalistic art.

Or does one like a Michangeleo or a Bernini,have to remove the stone piece by piece,carving thru the vast excess,before arriving at the vision contained within the stone or piece of wood?

   By Mike Taylor on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 03:24 am: Edit Post

To Anon.,
"Art" is in the eye of the beholder. If Michaelangelo (sp?) were to have cut stone as Picasso painted in his later years (that is, abstractly), then I believe ol' Michaelangelo would have been out of work in his day.
But you've presented a case of "apples & oranges" anyway. As far as martial ability goes, if you can find many uses for the one, then I believe that you'll become more efficient than if you have but one use (or none) for the many. In English: if you can use one form many ways, then I believe that you'll end up better of than trying to learn form after form after form with only a little or no knowledge on the uses of any one of them -- it's a matter of practice time (teaching the ol' bod' how to move).
Along this line, please note that (at least in Sun-Style Ba-Gua) the eight forms taught beyond the first two (single & double) palm changes are said to be variations of these two palms -- so essentially they're just extentions of these two palm changes rather than being unrelated forms.
Everyone who learns does so at a different rate & just as there are "many ways to skin a cat," there are many ways to present a subject in hope that it will be learned (or not -- depending upon the intent of the "teacher," as some like to keep "secrets";). The biggest question is not "Which teaching method is best for all?," but rather "Which teaching method can I learn from best?," or "Can I learn (by asking questions or whatever) from this instructor?" Remember that nobody is useless, some can always be used as a bad example. I've got a friend who's fairly knowledgeable about martial arts & martial-arts instructors who believes that Kumar is such. Personally, I don't know the man or his methods.
My above mentioned friend (in conjuction with another with an impressive martial-arts background) told me that Tim Cartmell's methods (principles) were sound. I know Tim's background (that he's actually trained; that he's not a con-man) & his teaching style is among the best I've experienced.
Instead of getting all philosophical with your line of questioning, ask (yourself), "Do I feel that I can protect myself better for having studied such-&-such art with instructor so-&-so?" And if "Yes," then ask yourself if the criteria for answering "yes" is sound (i.e.: have you used any of the material taught in a real-life, non-training situation & come out alright?). If you answer "No" to the soundness of criteria question or the original (can you fight?) question, then perhaps you'd like to re-evaluate what you're doing in that class. If you answered "Yes" both times, then train on! {:o)

P.S.: Some artists would "see" the finished product of a statue while looking at a large, "un-cut" rock -- having a particular project in mind. Could they not have seen multiple possibilities for that same piece of rock if they were considering multiple projects? Likewise, can you as a martial artist/practitioner attempt to "see" multiple applications for what is being presented to you? Currently I'm on a quest to learn a "feeling" of how to move and to find ways of applying this feeling -- to become more proficient at self-defense. This calls for finding multiple uses of the one. I find that asking Tim questions is more efficient than merely going it alone (two heads are better than one, & when the "other" head has so much more knowledge than the one, then it behooves the one to ask the other).

P.S.S.: (I've sprung a leak &;) Tim's going to have to hurt me for using "behooves" on one of his discussion boards. {:o)

   By Mike Taylor on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 04:34 am: Edit Post

Again To Anon.,
Note also that the "double palm change" is but a variation of the "single palm change" -- so if you know the one, then you know the many. If you don't know the many, then you really don't yet know the one. I too am working on knowing the one so that I may know the many. (:-)

   By Anonymous on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 11:46 am: Edit Post


Thanks so much for the response.I am personally looking for that which springs from spontaniety.But perhaps one needs to move through the rehearsed before reaching the other.

Although you would have never caught The Dead practicing music in the same rehearsed note by note manner of say The Eagles.

   By Sum Guye on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 01:39 pm: Edit Post


Every member of the Dead spent decades practicing their instrument; learning how to 'play' by traditional standards before WOWing glassey-eyed drug addicts with free form jams. Each member spent years copying the way their heros played. The Dead was made up of musicians who used their years of study to improv through prearranged songs ideas.

No one has ever been spontaneously good at anything. There are people who have an unusual knack for something... virtuosos- because they are able to master the basics and move on to extremely complicated techniques in an unusually short period of time.... but they still
have to cover the same ground as everyone else. It just comes easier to them because of the knack.

Picasso's early drawings clearly show a struggle.
I've seen his early drawings and they look like something a child would draw...he was an adult when he became an artist. But it is clear that he was struggling to show perspective and dimensionality. Once he got a firm grasp on that, he was able to free his art and take it in a different direction.

If you feel like a teacher is withholding info or stringing you along by teaching made up fluff- that's not the teacher for you. Don't waste time or money on them. However, if a teacher tells you to do things you don't understand- but you do them- and then feel the positive results, it's all good.

As a life long musician, I can tell you, the band doesn't play the music and music doesn't play the band. The individual musicians melt together their well earned talents to create an aural experience refered to as 'music'.

(Do you know what the Dead Head said when he stopped doing drugs? "This band sucks!";)

   By Beth S. on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 10:17 pm: Edit Post

Go Guye! (Sorry, Anon, but that joke is kind of funny. I do appreciate your dis of the Eagles, though.)

In elementary and junior high, I was into gymnastics. You know those chipper little routines they do? They do them a million times so that they have a body memory and don't have to think. If you think while you're flipping, you fall on your head, which really hurts.

Martial arts is the same but different. It's the same because you've got to have the art's movements in your body memory. It's different because it's not the same routine every time. You can't disengage your brain fully like in gymnastics--your brain has to be awake and aware to react to a quickly changing situation.

A fighting situation demands spontaneous action, but all the possible actions have got to be already in the body memory. And that takes tons of time and repetitions of forms and drills. If that hasn't happened yet, your brain is still "in the loop" of the individual movements and automatically tries to direct your arms, legs, etc. It's too SLOW. I know this--I don't have a solid body memory yet, so I stand there hesitating like a moron and get hit.

If you do interpretive dance spontaneously without a trained "dance body," you might look a little dorky (or else like a cutting-edge genius). But if you try to do martial arts spontaneously without a trained body, you'd better be a big gorilla, or else you're going to get hurt.

p.s.- I'm not sure I fully understood your original question about forms and teaching styles. Mr. Luo says that all of bagua is in the single palm change. I believe him, so I think I agree with what Mr. Frantzis taught you. But it would take a bloody long time and a lot of insight for me to see all the potential variations myself, so it's nice to have the other forms already invented and ready to be learned. They're useful tools for illustrating/practicing various aspects of the basic principles, I think.

   By wind walker on Monday, April 30, 2001 - 10:33 pm: Edit Post

It would seem spontinaity takes alot of practice!!

I realize this is an old thread but sometimes it's good to revisit things eh?

if your still around and practicing and are interested in a method of finding multiple uses for your single and double palm changes, I'd like to pass this on to you (or anyone else for that matter).

Regardless of the "content" of these two forms, be that power components and or the applications thereof, you might have fun with this method of exploration. Have one or two partners inside the circle with you and spontaneously work with one form alone. That is all of you doing say the single palm change. As you do so, move towards and away from each other repeting the form in different directions and at different heights,speeds and intentions (ie attacking, defensive or evaisive etc). Divide the form up into sections and just use that if you like(maybe just the change of direction or just continous piercing with the arms up down and sideways.

I've found this to be a good method to unlock the potential and true dynamism of the movements, as
you might be attacking one person and just doging a blow from another, or redirecting a blow from one opponent towards a another. By accident or design doesn't matter, it just serves as a neat eye opener as to possibilities.

Speaking of an eye opener, it's also a good exercise for training open mind/vision/heart as one has to remain constantly open, aware and not too self congratulatary to avoid getting mashed!!

Just as rou shou trains a certain level of free training so does this, but from a non touch start,which again opens more avenues.

Also shared contemplation of the exercise afterward. This sort of practice can assist in learning applications you may never have come up with on your own, or with other types of practice.

I heard somewhere about Daoists walking two roads.
Analytical and spontaneous

If you do get around to this, have fun!......have fun anyway!!

peace and connections

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