Archive through July 02, 2001

Tim's Discussion Board: Ba Gua Zhang : Single and double palm change: Archive through July 02, 2001
   By wind walker on Monday, April 30, 2001 - 10:39 am: Edit Post

Hey there people,
Could Tim or anyone help me with
this one. As has been stated many times and in many places, different teachers have different approaches. This is certainly true of Tai Ji Chuan
even though the princibles are supposed to be the same(which is somewhat questionable, however).

What I'm interested to know is are the princibles of Bagua the same from style to style. This may seem a trifle nieve (and maybe it is), but in my search for the grand unifying theory of internal martial arts there seems to be slight differences in the interpritations of the single and double palm changes.

For instance, I have heard some people say that the single is about transfering power from one side of the body to the other, whilst the double is about how to use both hands simultaniously; whilst others say that the single and double refer
to agility/power moving left/right and up/down respectfully, (in fact with the third change relating to forward and back). On the other hand (no pun intended) some say that the single is to cultivate expansion energy (much like pung.....or the universe expanding, ie heaven ) and the double to cultivate yeilding energy (similar to lu in tai chi....or the devoted).

Now maybe all of these views are correct (and Taoism being what it is, I would'nt be suprised), but I would love to hear from you all to see what you have experienced and interpreted.


peace and connections

   By Tim on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 - 02:15 am: Edit Post

Wind Walker,
The developers of the various styles of Ba Gua Zhang seem to have modified the Single and Double Palm Changes to suit the particular types of power and technique of their respective styles.

As far as I know, Dong Hai Chuan (the founder) originally practiced three forms, the Single Palm Change, the Double Palm Change and the Smooth Palm Change (which has survived in most Cheng Ting Hua systems as the "Snake Form" ). Ba Gua Zhang is based upon circular/spiral and rotational momentums. The original forms were apparently designed to cultivate these. The Single Palm Change was designed to cultivate horizontal circular power, the Double Palm Change was designed to develop Vertical circular power and the Smooth Palm Change to develop oblique (angled between horizontal and vertical) circular power.
Some later practitioners modified the original movements to emphasize different developmental aspects (Gao Yi Sheng for example combined all three basic circular energies into the Single Palm Change alone).

   By wind walker on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 - 06:47 am: Edit Post

Thanks so much for your reply. I'm very pleased to be talking to some one about bagua as there ain't alot of that kinda action round these parts.

I to have heard the three palms theory but didn't know about the third being the snake, thanks for that.First question though, would you consider Sun Lu Tangs version of the snake form in his "Study of Eight Trigram Boxing" was a fair representation
of this form.

But now to more serious matters. When you say horizontal and vertical power do you mean centrafugal and compress/release power respectfully, coupled with limbs discribing arcs through space? or do you mean horizontal and vertical as being powers moving outward away from the body at all times, with the limbs changing the powers direction?

Also could you tell me if you mean that Gao Yi Sheng (when combining the three energies) made a separate movement for each energy (ie one flat swing, one up n' down swing, and oblique swings )
or combined compression and horizontal/oblique movement into each motion of the single palm change (as in the arm frame expanding or contracting equally on all sides, so the shape carries strength on a vertical-horizontal and oblique plain simultaniously).

I hope you don't mind the presentation of these questions, I just feel it saves time and space,and
I've also been reading your responses and think you are well thought out in matters such as these,
and therefore will be able to give an interesting response.

Power generation in the martial arts interests me greatly. I find that the method of power generation greatly influences the external technique. It is also a pursuit of mine to marry
the most refined and practical techniques of power
and application to the trigram and yin yang theories (I have examples). If you are so inclined please respond to this as well. If not then not.

peace and connections

   By Big Balled Betty on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 - 10:16 am: Edit Post

You're making way too much out of this. Good alignment and proper weight distribution are your keys. There, I just gave you the f*^$Tin' secret to internal...

Don't get too hung up on the trigram bullsh&t. It's a lot of sh*t.

Cartmell has exercises and if he ever finishes his book, it will help all you sheila's out.

Sun Lu Tang was a skinny guy that could hit because he had good mechanics because of Xing Yi. Period. I'll bet Roberto Duran as a lightweight could hit just as hard or harder (upper cut/vertical energy, cross/horizontal energy blah blah blah...)
And Wind Wetter, it has nothing to do with trigrams or chi baby. Duran probably never heard of the I Ching in his heyday...

Think about it.


"There's only one Betty, Big Balled Betty!"

   By Tim on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 - 02:53 pm: Edit Post

Even though the Betty gave my secret to internal power above, I'll attempt to explain a little.

First, Sun Lu Tang's Snake Form is a fair representation of the Smooth Body Palm.

When you rotate or turn the body parallel to the ground, horizontal force is created.
When you either raise or lower the body while rotating, vertical power is created.
When you angle (lean) the torso as you rotate the body, oblique power is created.

The Gao Style Single Palm Change wraps up in the horizontal plane, unwraps in the oblique plane and ends by lowering the palms and weight vertically.

Trigrams were invented by the ancient Chinese as a method of divination. The trigrams are models which repesent how all phenomenon in nature continually change, and were used in an attempt to predict the future. They can, theoretically, be applied to anything, including martial arts (any martial art, not just Ba Gua Zhang). Personally, I think the less time spent trying to relate fighting techniques to ancient methods of fortune telling, the more time left over for real training.

   By wind walker on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 - 07:49 am: Edit Post

thanks again for your kind reply and the clarity with which it was delivered. I will continue to study the sun snake form with what you have said in mind.

Just a couple of questions though. Given the supposition of power being delivered by guiding or channeling momentum, is it possible to connect with and draw, pull, or drain the momentum of the one attempting to deliver said power,(I am not talking about throwing ones weight about, as good fighters never do), therefore causing a freeze, lurch forward or up rooting. Or do you consider techniques like these to be one expansive force redirecting another expansive force, causing the first expansive force to either "freak out", "lose balance", or be intercepted and lead upward?

The other question is, during a struggle,(ie wrestling) do you use the breath to up root and throw an opponent(with the obvious assistence of other parts of the body).
I've found this technique to be quite useful. I think it engages muscles in the torso to add momentum to expansion force.

As for trigrams and yin yang theory,I know I Know,
but I,m big time into unity and it serves as an exellent model for forging a holistic approach to EVERYTHING.


   By wind walker on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 - 09:43 am: Edit Post

Betty Honey,
I didn't know you cared!!

"Good alignment and weight distribution are your keys" well sure suger, but keys need to be turned
to "open doors" and "make locks perform there function".

Bull can be useful if taken by the horns!!

Love exercises baby!

It's so cool Sun Lu Tang carried on learning after his Hsing Yi............period.

Who said anything about chi, and are you really sure?

Beethoven probably never heard anything!!

I do think about it; but not as much as you babe.

Whats a kook?

   By Tim on Wednesday, May 02, 2001 - 12:22 pm: Edit Post

Wind Walker,
In answer to your first question, I think you are asking about connecting with an opponent and leading his power; yes, I think it is possible.
I also agree that coordinating the breath with the use of force will increase one's force.

   By WIND WALKER on Thursday, May 03, 2001 - 07:48 am: Edit Post

Thanks agian. Yes I am talking about leading.
The reason I ask is because when I spar with people and manage to pull off this technique(which is not all the time) I can't be sure whether it's because they haven't had enough rooting practice and lean into their Punches, blocks and pushes, or whether it's really happening. Sometimes it feels so light and easy I can't be sure I'm not kidding my self. It certainly feels different from suddenly taking force away or just redirecting.

The breathing question was more related to the yin (oops sorry betty), in breath in the action of up rooting an opponent. Marrying this in breath with
intercepting/borrowing type timing, prouduces an instantanious up rooting or bouncing of an opponent (followed by a throw, sweep, strike ect).I really just wanted to know if you used this type of technique in combat.I find that entering with this technique often gives me an advantage from the first touch. Do you have any thoughts on this?

I don't wish to stray from the original subject though. I'd be interested to know what you think the original single, double and as you say smooth
palm changes had to offer poeple such as Yin Fu or Cheng Ting Hua that they did'nt already have.
My Knowledge of their styles is limited so I would appreciate your imput.

Also, when you say Wrapping what do you mean?
and does wrapping involve only storage of jing and
unwrapping release of jing. Or can there be practical and varied qualities/applications of the permutations of wrapping/unwrapping/store/release?

Many thanks


   By WIND WALKER on Thursday, May 03, 2001 - 07:54 am: Edit Post

sorry I forgot to say


   By Tim on Thursday, May 03, 2001 - 08:25 pm: Edit Post

Wind Walker,
Thanks. We use alot of yielding to and 'borrowing' force type techniques in our training. If you don't have the opportunity to attack first, I recommend avoiding the incoming attack without attempting to change its direction (as much as possible). If you can do this, your opponent doesn't have any "news" or tactile input about your positioning, and you have the opportunity to use his momentum against him. It's not so mysterious. Good judoka, boxers and wrestlers do it all the time (but the Chinese have cool names for it).

What Dong Hai Chuan's circle walk and palm changes had to offer his original students (who were all accomplished martial artists before they met him) was the ability to use their techniques while in constant, evasive movement. In addition, the type of 'jing' used was completely circular in nature, which allowed the fighters to conserve thier momentum and apply force continuously, without breaks (which is impossible to do with linear or staccato movement). Dong's students, after learning the Ba Gua Zhang, in effect modified their original techniques to conform to the principles of Ba Gua. This is why you often hear that Ba Gua Zhang is an art of strategy as opposed to technique.

Wrapping movements are of the type which close up the two sides of the body (usually with a toe in step). They simultaneously store and generate power. Circles are never wholly offensive or defensive, they provide the potential for both at once.

   By The Ultimate Smartass on Sunday, May 06, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit Post

Big Balled Betty,

You are wrong about Duran.I am an expert on Roberto.He did study the internal.

He studied Kumar Frantzis "Finger sensitivity for Computer Users,Artists,Musicians and Lovers"

After class Kumar and Roberto would typically go out to eat.Of course whenever the bill for the meal was due Kumar would suddenly disappear to the water closet (that,s the bathroom wonkers).Roberto jumped 3 weight divisions after studying with Kumar for one rather short segment of time.

Finally Roberto became disillusioned after 10 years of study.Believing Kumar was holding out information due to the fact that he had only learned a very small section of Kumars finger probing the tofu technique,they parted ways.

Because of this Kumar no longer gives workshops in Panama City.

   By Big Balled Betty on Sunday, May 06, 2001 - 04:50 pm: Edit Post

Hey Smartass!

You're right about Duran jumping those 3 weight divisions then fighting like sh&t after "The Round One" put him on his "see food" diet.

Oh yeah, great fu*&in' use of the word wonkers you sponge head.

"There's only one Betty, BIG BALLED BETTY!!!"

   By Wind Walker on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 10:17 pm: Edit Post

Thanks Tim.
Great advice about not trying to change the direction of an opponent when possible).Thanks.
As a corollary Iv'e picked up a technique that is along the same lines. However, instead of giving no "news" about where you are, it's to give misinformatiom about where you are. I have taken the exercise of holding the "guard stance" whilst walking as meaning that when making contact with the opponent we can move around thier defenses whilst applying pressure to that body part to which we are attached,(much like a mime artist can hold a balloon static in space whilst moving around it), therefore giving the opponents senses the impression of you being somewhere you are not.
As the opponent is busy trying to defend against our percieved postion/direction we can change our angle/path of attack.could you tell me if you have come across this strategy in bagua (or elsewhere)and does it have a name.

Also thanks for the rap about wrapping.

Could you also explain the difference between "swimming dragon body" type Bagua and a contrasting style of Bagua. Iv'e seen a few versions of this and to be honest one looked quite messy, another quite fantastic!! with all manner of things in between. Do you know why this style developed and does it have any distinguishing power genarations or combat techniques.

Again thanks so much for your time.

   By Bob #2 on Tuesday, May 08, 2001 - 12:34 am: Edit Post

Mimes are surprisingly good fighters.
Not long ago I had an encounter with a mime at
Venice Beach. I asked a mime for directions to
a less crowded restroom. I was obviously distressed. After exchanging some angry words (and gestures) I lost my temper and started swingin' to take his head off.
White gloves.
A big red balloon.
I landed only two punches before he ran into the crowd.

   By Dizzy on Tuesday, May 08, 2001 - 02:02 am: Edit Post

just read your 26 july posting on sensitivity drills. All joking aside I think I,ve studied with one of your students.He taught me some of your advanced counter attacks. I must say your " Face under the elbow" certanly takes them by suprise. Not to mention " Part the testicals to find the foot". He could'nt demonstrate the "way of the disappearing fist" too well though. Apparently you only teach this to your younger students.

   By Tim on Tuesday, May 08, 2001 - 01:06 pm: Edit Post

The "swimming dragon" or "swimming body" variations of Ba Gau Zhang come from the Cheng Ting Hua schools. Cheng Ting Hua created a method of practicing the link forms in which the movement never stopped, even when changing directions. Often different parts of the body move in as many as three different directions at once, all coordinated around the movement of the hips. These types of movements are very difficult to master. The purpose of swimming body training was to bring the control of the body to a higher level, and to give the practitioner an edge when it came to the ability to generate force from unorthodox angles (and the forms are very good exercise as well).

In application, swimming body techiques are designed to throw or repel the opponent in the same motion as his attack. Eyewitnesses at the time said that as soon as opponents came into contact with Cheng Ting Hua, they were thrown out like a rock that hits a spinning wheel.

   By Kevin W. on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 06:23 pm: Edit Post

Man there is some foul mouth little imps on here. As far as I-Ching is concerned its a valuable tool and written long before Baguazhang came about. However much of Bagua's core principles are contained inside, assuming you have the brain power to read and find meaning. Of course all the intellect won't help you unless you practice and sweat and bleed some, some of use actual work and live environments where it requires one to have sharp skill and knowing the meaning behind each trigram can help increase your intent and improve your ability to perform under stress.

   By Erik on Saturday, June 30, 2001 - 03:32 am: Edit Post

Wind Walker,
Betty's got a point about proper weight distribution and alignment but it seems to me that you have never read Tim's book on combat throws. You seem to be interested in principles of fighting. You really should check out the chapters on principles and body use in Effortless Combat Throws. It occurred to me that when Tim taught principles or gave corrections or advice he basically was rehashing one of those points or explaining it in a new way. Whenever I was screwing up a technique I could always trace the error back to messing up on one of those principles. They are applicable to all the internal martial arts, wrestling, judo, etc. They aren't new, just finally put forth in a clear and concise "no bullshit" sort of way with examples that we can relate to. The principles of body use should be required reading for any athlete of any sport. It's helped my rock-climbing if you can believe that! It's probably the best essay on what internal martial arts are - insight into efficient and effective fighting is where they come from, and when applied, increase power and ability considerably. Want Tim's secret? Read those 2 chapters then do everything you can to see their application in your movement and techniques. If you really understand them it might make your misguided task with the trigrams easier (theres 8 principles of body use and 8 principles of fighting). The reading in the index on concepts of internal martial arts is worth a look as well.

Good training.

   By Windwalker on Monday, July 02, 2001 - 09:54 pm: Edit Post

Thanks for the advice. I have read Tims book on throws and it was that book that led me to this discussion board in fact. I agree it is an excellent work, even though I have shopped around in that respect and found some very good stuff as to how internal arts work.

I will take your advice and reread it though. There always seems to be something gained from going over solid theory.

As for my "misguided task", I can only say Each to his own. I personally have found Yin Yang theory to be an excellent model for investigation into the internal arts.Epistemologically speaking, I think it deserves some credit. I suppose it's not what you use but how you use it that counts. If one was to read some of the poems in the Tai Chi Classics without really trying to understand them on more than one level then it would be like having a principle with only one application. For me the beauty of Daoist theory as applied to the martial arts is that it teaches how apply intelligent principles in as many ways as is possible,therebye adding depth to my study. But as I say, each to his own.

I also appreciated the point that Betty made but objected to being told that good alignment and weight distribution are all secrets to internal arts.As far as i've found, theres a bit more to it than that. And when somebody speaks to me in such a manner, well, I will play the status quo.
Besides it was kind of fun!

Any old road, the reason I started this thread was to seriously research into Bagua theory and application and to gain and share veiw points on them, as there are a few different slants on the matter. For instance, the up and down spiraling power of the second palm change can teach us (apart from an upper cut,downward power or how to slip in) how to speed up the connection of our opponents force or momentum into our root, or how to store power more efficiently. I ask these questions not as a means to an end but as a means to learn.

Having said all that I wish to thank you all for your replies, esp Tim for his clarity.

I have more questions but I think they will be better placed on another thread. Anyway thanks.