I have been studying hung gar for 9 years. Hung gar is similar to Kung fu San soo. I've also been studying bagua for the last couple of years. In the BG class we do a lot of palm changes and also the linear palms. We'll do those forever and then drill techniques out of the forms. I already do this in my hung gar school and the techniques are basically the same.
I don't want to learn a hundred new forms on top of my origional ones. What should I be trying to take away from my bagua training specifically? I've read that all of Dong's students were accomplished martial artists first and then modified their styles to baguas circular energy and evasive footwork.
Do I need to learn every palm change to learn of bagua?
What should I focus on in my bagua training so that I can connect it to my hung gar techniques?
Why did you start practicing Baguazhang in the first place? Were you trying to acquire skill sets you felt are lacking in your Hung Gar practice?
I started studying ba gua for a couple of reasons.
1. I was getting bored with my current training and wanted to try the so called internal.
2. I respected the teacher.
3. I'd heard interesting things about ba gua's training methods and wanted to upgrade my current skills sets. I wanted to get involved in more throwing, joint locking, qi gong/nei gong, different kinds of push hands.
Since I have studied bagua the students at my first school have noted that I am really rooted, do "weird" things with my body that mess with them while we are sparring. All in all I've noticed that my skills have been upgraded. After being in bagua for a while now(2 years isn't a long time) I'm starting to see the limitations in the training methods of the bagua class. It's the same limitations I've noticed in my current kung fu school. There was a time when I was interested in forms, lineage, secrete powers, etc but those days have passed. I'm now interested in learning how to effectively use my martial arts for combat and having fun.
From bagua I enjoy the stake standing methods, the circle walking, and playing with diffferent ball shapes. Those are the aspects that I practice the most. The palm change forms I don't focus on as much because I kind of feel like I'm just doing them to do them. I liked your explanation about how the single palm change is really a way to learn now to use horizontal energy when attacking.
So...I'm not sure now what I'm trying to ask. Basically, I want to learn the essence of bagua and add grease to my current skills without having to memorize 100 more new forms.
thanks for the replies
In most Baguazhang systems there aren't too many forms to begin with, and you should be able to focus on the most important movements (the essence of most styles will be found in the changes on the circle). Of course, you need to ask your teacher to point out the principles and energies behind the movements so you are not just doing them to do them.
It sounds like what you are looking for is to engage in less restrictive sparring more often. If you don't get the chance to free spar often enough in your current classes, you should look into finding people from other schools that do spar often. If there are MMA academies near you, that shouldn't be a problem.