First let me introduce myself. My name is David White and i live in Sydney Australia, i have been training in Martial Arts for over 15 years now. I first started out in TaeKwonDo (doesn't everybody?) and moved onto Muay Thai, Shooto, Aikido etc. In 1994 i began training in Chinese Martial Arts, primarily LongFist and QiangBei ShaoLin. I then moved into, and never stopped training in BaGuaZhang. I specifically study Liang Style, but also have practices methods of Yin Style BGZ. I am an Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner in Sydney. These two things, TCM and BGZ are my life and passion.
My question is - how do practitoners of BGZ utilise their learnt methods in actual combat / or free sparring? I read somewhere that often people who practice BGZ will not fight using the circle walking method but in a linear fashion. What are your thoughts on this?
Personally, i train using the circle, and, unfortunately have had to use it a few to many times on the street - with great effectiveness. Some say, however, that it is not effective.
Anyhow, nice to be here.
If any baquazhang entered a fracus walking around a perpetraitor, I would laugh. It is silly at best. Around a croc, I would run or have a pet croc with me to take on the thugs!
Circle walking (principle) is basically an evasion tool. The turning and twisting help to defuse an encounter and should not be seen as the total picture. Circle walking is one tool.
When you touch hands with someone, you have to do something (apply a technique using shuaijiao or qinna methods) to end the encounter and ground the opponent.
It depends how you apply the 'linear' method of punching, kicking, etc. Many just stick out the hand, foot and expect a result. It is rarely that simple in modern society! People have guns, knives, bottles so reality matters.
The way i practice BaGuaZhang is focusing on the circle - and laugh all you want, but it is incredibly effective - in any situation. Of course that is not to say that linear methods are ineffective, they can be just and sometimes more so.
I disagree that it is just an evasion tool in true BaGuaZhang, and in the end the concept of the circle is the total picture.
I've been attacked by many people branding many different assortments of weapons and the circular method has got me out unscarred (except for one).
Very foolish to be so ignorant of circular stepping and combat methods. But i do agree that one should not just "stick out a hand" or foot and hope for the best.
I've done a little Bagua but not with a formal teacher only on seminars etc. With circle walking at one seminar we did the 9 post bagua forest thingamajig. Basically 9 people stand in 3 rows of 3 with arms length separating them. One student then does random circle walking through and around the 9 people (the 9 people are not allowed to move their feet from the spot, they have to stay where they are). The 9 people all have to try to touch (to begin with) the student whom has to use evasion control techniques walking around them. Any one within reach can try to touch the student.
This exercise it taken up a notch or two with escalation of force and say trying to punch the student, the student can the use other techniques and more than often the 9 people become "human" skittles.
I remember standing in the 9 posts and getting spun round and taking a punch what was supposed to be for the student from some one else in the 9 posts, problem was with me being spun round the impact was accidentally higher than intended. Ouch !
well, from my humble point of view, circle walking has imbued within me unusual habits (not in a bad way)in my walking, such as when i turn around, or turn a corner, or move out of someones way, i find that im doing toe in toe out stepping, also, the concept of constant movement and palm changes helps me to "listen" to my opponents actions and also helps in causing my opponent to move the way that i want him to. the evasive techniques of bagua in my eyes, involve the person spinning turning changing etc, all while having a solid foothold or root, and proper body alignment for power and strength in delivery.
although during other styles of sparring such as judo rondori, the evasive techniques to me, are not very useful in the way that i know them(very little), since you are being held by the other guy constantly, using bagua in a judo match and a contact sparring match is different for me, in a judo match i usually only use the bagua circle walking techniques for root(tang ni bu) and the footwork i lerned combined with judo throws for grace and flow. i wouldnt say that ba gua is limited to the circle, since ive seen many ba gua techniques that cut straight across the circle in a linear fashion, such as piercing palm. i personally like to play around with o-goshi while im circle walking which to me, also has a linear attack route.
good training. rob
you can only utilise your bagua applications if you practice enough. I doubt that any particular
person will fight linearly only or circularly only - there must be a balance of both depending on the opponent. The opponent dictates what you can use and how you need to use it. People often say bagua is a circular style therefore they fight using circular methods or whatever but that is a very one-dimensional view of the art, and that view is incorrect. Bagua's force is spiral, not circular. When your force travels in a circle it ends up coming back to the original spot that means your opponent will end up crushing into you, a spiral force on the other hand does not.
A baguazhang fighter's basic strategy is to harmonise and lead the opponent to areas of emptiness, which is very much like tai chi if not the same. The problem with most people's use of bagua is that they use the whole circle which is 100% wrong and that would be why they fail.
I agree, i have not seen nyone use the circle as their sole practice in fighting (that is 100%) but i have seen so-called BaGua practitioners you utilise purely linear methods.
My point of view on the matter is that even when one is moving in a straight forward line they must still have Round Though, Round Movements, Round Feeling. This is utilising the circle to its maximum.
Spiral or circular - they are just words - in my eyes the same concept, but i know what you mean.
correct me if i'm wrong but isn't circle walking bagua's method to develop power while you're moving? i've talked to several people here in beijing that train bagua and they all say that circle walking per se isn't meant to be applied in a free fighting situation.
Bagua is obviously based on spiraling methods, but even with so called linear movement you are still moving on a circle in a spiraling manner. Bagua is about angles and the spiraling/circling patterns teach us how to gain these angles in combat.
I would never say don't use the circle in combat or don't use linear, use whatever works and will get you out alive.
I would also say dont'let what your aggressor is doing, dictate what you should do, first off you are letting them have an advantage, secondly there is no time to think or come up with a plan, it should all be reaction based, not reactive to what they are doing but reactive to what needs to be done.
Dear fellows in arms, I have a few points on the circle walk. (first: pls excuse me for my my lousy english . . .) And by the way, I practice Sun style Baguaquan (I don't like the "zhang", prefer to call it quan, like an art of boxing)
1. No real fighter nor martial artist would try to show his style or bost with it. The opposite is the case. A real martial artist would do everything to hide his strength and weakness, never to let the opponent figure out to what style he belongs.
2. Circle walking with stationary upper posture is like qigong. For Sun Lutang the symbol of this posture was taiji, the single change was the liang yi and the double change the si xiang. This means that the circle walking is like a potential, it has the potential of movement, but it is in itself no manifestation. Thus the changes are important for fighting, not the static walk. The change has a meaning, can manifest something.
3. The practical matters of walking and change are to learn how use specific angles to approach an opponent, never go straight forward and always try to be where the opponent do not suspect you to be. If you do this correct, it will seem like the opponent must walk around you, not like you are walking around him.
I hope this can explain something on the philosophy and thoughts which are the foundation of all the styles of Baguaquan.
wow, what a productive thread. why cant things go this smoothly when I ask a question?
hey i was just kidding! you all can keep posting.jk
Thanks for the replies guys!
It's great to read the perspectives of different stylists of BaGuaZhang (or Quan). My initial post may have been a little mis-understood, i would (personally) not start walking around an opponent before any initial offensive/defensive exchanges have been made.
And as D. Borg stated BGZ combat comes down to change - this is its core concept. And that is when angles and the choice of linear or circular movements come into effect.
I also live in Sydney and have trained under Conn Gibson-Cummings for a number of years.
I was wondering where you've done your training in Syd.
Yes i have heard of Conn - does he still teach?? And if so, what style? I train under John Dolic in Sydney's lower north shore. Where are you located?
i actually work all my combinations by walking the
circle.that way i can attack from any side of my body(left or right)also it harder to get hit
when your always moving.
i also use other types of footworks.
walking the circle is great to set up thai kicks
just experiment with it and you will feel what you can do using the momentum created by the walking.
Now tigthen the circle. What appears to be "Linear" is not really linear. Find the big Circle in Xingyi, it's not horizontal, but it's right there.
If you circle around, you are not engaging the opponent, nor attempting to nuetralize his long range weapons by bridging. You are walking around trying not to get hurt. I find it hard to believe that anyone will let you leisurely maintain distance and attempt to pot shot them. BGZ, is not a long style. BGZ is close and nasty. The best type of footwork is what your feet do to your opponent's at arm's length.
Experiment with momentum? BGZ controls and changes momentum. There should be no momentum that an opponent can seize upon. There shouldn't be any "Momentum" created in Circle walking, that is lunging. One of the main goals of Circle Walking is to control and minimize any "Momentum".
if you ever sparred for real like MMA
you would know that you can't stay in that range
because you would get slammed or take hits
you have to work the distance and enter on your own term.
momentum creates greater power(physics 101)
hey you can keep practicing your form but until you pull it off what is it good for?
by the way Mr.dong hai-chuan,
ba gua is supposed to be for fighting up to
8 opponents, how the heel are you gonna do this
without keeping control of the distance!!!!!!!
Where did you hear that Ba Gua is for fighting 8 opponents? "The Black Sash"?