"Real" ba gua training

Tim's Discussion Board: Ba Gua Zhang : "Real" ba gua training
   By Timber on Wednesday, April 03, 2013 - 04:57 pm: Edit Post

If Chung Ting Hua was a wrestler then doesn't that mean we would need to learn wresting to fully learn Chung Style Ba gua?

If ba gua is the engine you put martial arts through to "improve" them by giving itcircular Jing and evasive footwork then does that mean you need real skills before training the palm changes and circle walking?

Ba Gus's founder taught seasoned martial artists who already had fighting skills so that they could modify their existing martial arts. Does this lead to the conclusion that the practice of the circle walking and ba gua forms is useless by itself without a background in real martial arts?

   By Tim on Wednesday, April 03, 2013 - 06:50 pm: Edit Post

Maybe, if you learned only what the founder taught.

   By Timber on Wednesday, April 03, 2013 - 10:46 pm: Edit Post

That's what I mean. I studied ba gua for about 3 years with another teacher and we basically went over "what the founder taught".

I like the simplicity of the sun ba gua forms. They are easy to understand when explained as lines of force.

   By Craig on Wednesday, April 03, 2013 - 10:50 pm: Edit Post

It seems like most of the main styles of Baguazhang were the result of each person (Yin Fu, Cheng Ting Hua, Gao Yi Sheng etc...) molding their styles, or what they found to be the most useful material, to the Baguazhang they were taught, and passed them down as "complete" martial arts ("complete", meaning they give the student the tools they need to function within the range/ranges of combat the style is suppose to excel at).

I don't know of any style of Baguazhang that only teaches circle walking and palm changes. Practically every legit style of Baguazhang, as it's taught today, has a range of one person and two person drills, including various types of application and fight training, that is aimed at helping the student develop fighting skill.

   By Timber on Thursday, April 04, 2013 - 08:19 pm: Edit Post


Chung ting Hua was a Shuai jiao master before studying ba gua. He then modified it when he learned ba gua circle walking a d forms. IMO you would have to have the same skill set to achieve his level of ba gua. He probably told people he teaches ba gua and Shuai jiao but then people labeled it Chung style ba gua just to make it a different style. If you want to achieve the skill Chung Ting Hua had you would have to study Shuai jiao or its equivalent. Doing " two man forms" and application drills won't gain you skill in Chung style ba gua u less they are wrestling drills. The "I punch once and you deflect it then do 10 fake attacks to me while I stand there" is not the same as doing the wrestling drills/sparring that Chung did to become a good fighter.

   By Craig on Thursday, April 04, 2013 - 10:05 pm: Edit Post


Cheng Ting Hua's style of Baguazhang, when taught completely, provides the student with the material to make that style of Baguazhang work. That includes one man, two man drills and sparring. There is no guarantee that anyone studying any martial art will be like the founder of that school, but if the material is there, and student works hard enough and they're smart, they'll have somewhat of a chance to gain the skills provided by the art their teacher is teaching them.

Who says Cheng Ting Hua stylists don't have components of wrestling in their non-cooperative Bagua practice? And who says those people are not legitimately practicing Cheng Ting Hua style Baguazhang by doing so?

It sounds like you are assuming that if Cheng Ting Hua taught wrestling moves to someone, he is teaching them Shuai Jiao as oppose to Baguazhang?

   By Timber on Thursday, April 04, 2013 - 10:32 pm: Edit Post

Wrestling is wrestling. In Ba gua you orbit around force(footwork while walking around the circle) so that you can become the inside of the circle. Many throws involve you being the inside of the circle but you don't need ba gua to do that. If you wanted to learn wrestling would you go to a judo class or a ba gua class? If you wanted to learn how to punch well would you go to a boxing class or a ba gua class? Ba gua training, IMO, is the icing on the cake but it isn't the cake.

You mention complete ba gua training but I haven't seen it yet. If you type in ba gua in YouTube you find the forms, circle walking, and compliant block strike applications.

I studied ba gua with a teacher for a few years. He teaches Gao style ba gua, a derivative of cheng style. The teacher mentioned that the whole style is throws and take downs and yet we never went over any throws. We did the circle walking , forms, and two man drills. Once he mentioned he was going to have someone come in to teach the class break falls and rolling. The first question that came to my mind was , "how can you say your ba gua style is all throws/takedowns and you can't teach the class to fall/roll on your own ?". It was very suspect. Deductive reasoning would suggest he has never taken a throw and therefore cannot throw.

I don't think tcma teachers should focus on teaching "the whole system". Instead they should focus on teaching applicable skill sets for grappling, striking, and even for health preservation.

   By Craig on Thursday, April 04, 2013 - 11:26 pm: Edit Post

Sure, "wrestling is wrestling" to a certain degree, but how you train to wrestle can be different. One thing all Baguazhang styles have in common is that they orbit around the center and become the center, but there are also many other aspects to it. Yes, you can learn to wrestle in Judo, and learn to hit in boxing, you can also learn a combination of wrestling and hitting in BGZ, specific strategies, ways to generate power etc... Their principles and intentions of use differ to varying degrees. After all, a MA isn't just a collection of techniques.

If a form is all you learn, then yes, maybe that is the icing on someone's cake, but I wouldn't consider that a complete Baguazhang system.

I don't hold youtube as the holy grail of everything when it comes to martial arts.

The Gao style has a balance of many throwing and striking methods. The Xiantian contains many throwing methods and the Houtian contains many striking methods. I cannot comment on why your teacher didn't or couldn't show you guys any throws from the Gao style, or how to fall.

I disagree about teaching the whole system. I think it's important to teach the whole system (meaning all training methods, techniques etc...), at least to some student who want to learn it, otherwise the art slowly dies out.

   By Timber on Friday, April 05, 2013 - 12:57 pm: Edit Post

IMO a problem with tcma is that people are teaching it "traditionally" meaning they are keeping all the two person drills their teacher learned. Then you have a style that has specific drills as opposed to a living style. Why teach a two man form that someone made up 200 years ago? If anything find out why he made it up and teach an updated exercise that better suits modern day. The underlying reason he taught it 200 years ago is more important than the actual exercise or form. For example, in my ba gua class we learned an elbow form to show us how to elbow from different angles. Useless. We also learned a two man drill for body conditioning where we would hang our arms into one another's and then also hit our glutes into each other, our shoulders, etc. This kind of drilling is ok in the beginning but has limited use later. Teaching this mind of stuff to "condition" the body, and not sparring, is pointless in my opinion. Maybe it will keep me from getting hurt when a random homeless person walks into me.

   By Craig on Saturday, April 06, 2013 - 05:29 pm: Edit Post

I agree that the lack of contact and resistance is a problem , but that's doesn't mean the specific martial art is not of value. I think again the problem is not the MA but the way one trains it.

   By Timber on Saturday, April 06, 2013 - 05:51 pm: Edit Post

That is true. From the way you speak it seems you found good quality ba gua training. Are there any videos of students from your school?

   By Craig on Saturday, April 06, 2013 - 10:07 pm: Edit Post

Sorry Timber, I don't have any videos.

   By robert on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 03:18 pm: Edit Post

IMO, two man drills are useful if you already have a decent amount of kinesthetic awareness. I was in a sparring match once and I actually used the technique learned in the drill spontaneously.. they are also useful if you are a beginner, to teach you the angles of striking and blocking.

If there were no drills, or forms, you would have nothing to practice during a sparring match.

A true sparring match should incorporate all 3 areas of fighting IMO, striking, throws, and ground fighting.

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