Crane Step Training in Ba Gua

Tim's Discussion Board: Ba Gua Zhang : Crane Step Training in Ba Gua
   By IronMoose on Tuesday, October 01, 2002 - 08:32 pm: Edit Post

I once learnt a Bagua circle walk that I haven't seen in Bagua books. Arms pushing forward, one leg up then lower the body entirely with the other leg, then switch legs. Some people told me it might be the Crane step in Yin style. Can somebody told me how what crane is, how many steps do you have to walk a day and how is teaching it?

   By Tim on Wednesday, October 02, 2002 - 01:39 am: Edit Post

There is a "Crane Step" (he ti bu) practiced in some schools of Ba Gua Zhang. It is done much as you described, stepping by lifting one knee high then lowering the body over the supporting leg before the raised leg steps forward. My teacher said it was to train the balance and leg strength.

   By IronMoose on Wednesday, October 02, 2002 - 12:51 pm: Edit Post

Oh, fantastic. I always wonder where my teacher's teacher learnt this method from. Will be very happy if I can see some photo or even meet people practicing this walk. I freaked out when I first learn it but now I actually want to stick with it.

What is the pinyin for "he ti" and what does it mean?

   By Martin on Wednesday, October 02, 2002 - 01:00 pm: Edit Post

The pinyin for he ti is "he ti". It means crane kick most likely.

   By Tim on Wednesday, October 02, 2002 - 03:40 pm: Edit Post

"He" means 'crane' "Ti" means 'to lift' (same syllable as the word for 'kick,' but a different character) and "Bu" means 'step.'

   By Bob #2 on Wednesday, October 02, 2002 - 04:07 pm: Edit Post

Why is it that Cranes, who do this form of stepping regularly, have scrawney legs?

   By IronMoose on Wednesday, October 02, 2002 - 09:19 pm: Edit Post

Bob, do you think there's a problem with this traing method or are you wondering what makes their legs thin?

Xingyi has San ti, Xinyi has tons of post, and Yiquan is even more "obsessive" about post, so what in your opinion is the equivalent core training in Bagua? If I am correct, this crane step seems pretty hard core to me, I am thinking of doing it to complement my Yiquan practices.

   By Bob #2 on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 02:28 am: Edit Post


I think Crane Stepping is hardcore training,
but I can't understand why Cranes themselves don't have buldging thighs and calves. If you've tried
Crane stepping it burns, your muscles ache and you think 'if I did this for 15 minutes everyday I'd have some impresive tree trunk legs'. But the reality is, if you made EVERY step a crane step your legs would be like twizle sticks like a Crane.... and I doubt the ladies would find your gate impressive.

"what in your opinion is the equivalent core training in Bagua?"
By equivalent core training do you mean crane stepping or post standing?

   By jafc on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 12:48 pm: Edit Post

The answer regarding why cranes legs are so scrawny lies in the bird's anatomy. Most of the musculature that drives those legs are located very proximally - up toward the body not down the leg. The leg itself is mostly bone and tendon. Also, the crane's bone (all birds really) are lighter and more brittle than human bones (so they're not so damn heavy that the bird cant fly.) If we train our legs hard, depending on how we train and genetics, we usually build muscle (not a problem since we dont have to fly)

   By IronMoose on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 03:22 pm: Edit Post

I don't know about thick legs but this step certainly gives you a whole body workout by pulling your tendons in every direction. How many steps are your practicing each day, say left and right counts as one step? I was told to do 300 and I almost died after 30 the first day. I kind of think this is one of the "real" thing and that's why not many people know about it.

   By Walter T. Joyce Sr. on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 03:41 pm: Edit Post

When Luo lashi did a seminar in the summer of 2000 the first thing he covered was the types of steps used in circle walking. Crane step was one of the three.

   By IronMoose on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 08:21 pm: Edit Post

Don't you all agree that we are very lucky living in this age? We can learn this "secret" stuff so easily.

Here's my situation: I learned this step a few years back but I took it for granted and didn't follow up on it. 300 steps seemed terrible and I was struggling between Taichi, Xingyi and Yiquan so my Bagua basic was suffering from lack of attention. These days I am only concentrating on standing and have a bit of time to relearn this crane step. Last week I gave it a try again and did about 80 steps in a session: 8 steps a circle, 10 circles, I am planning to reach 300 before I visit my teacher again.

So if any of you who are struggling with this step like I am, send me an email or something. We can hook up and be virtual training partners. I wish those who are ahead of us will be our guardian angles and offer generous advice.

Btw, Walter, I have a question for you. Please read my new thread in the Xingyi section. Thanks.

   By Bob on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 08:27 pm: Edit Post

For someone with knee problems can the Crane Step still be done? That is, does it leave the knee behind the toe in a safe joint manner while still excercising the muscles etc.?

   By IronMoose on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 10:37 pm: Edit Post

Gee, I am not qualified to teach so I can't tell you what to do or not to do. Then again there's all kinds of knee problems, what did you do to cause your problem?

   By Mike Taylor on Friday, October 04, 2002 - 03:26 am: Edit Post


The step puts your knee well out over the toe as you sink low. I'm thankful for this topic because it reminded me of a knee-therapy exercise I had neglected (& all but forgotten). Tim demonstrated this step to me at least once, and a therapist showed me a variation -- the only difference was that the therapist told me to take a free hand & use it on a table or dresser to aid with ballance & to offer some support if needed as I got lower (should my leg start to give way); so it's actually a good knee-area strengthener for those of us with bad 'uns.


Thanks for starting this thread. I'll gladly be a virtual-training buddy on this one (& doing 80 puts you way ahead of me) -- just e-mail Tim & have him forward your e-mail to me & I'll write you direct so I don't waste board space with too many private matters. Well, I'll waste a little space...

I now recall that I even saw this exercise in the very first Kung-Fu book I owned as a kid (but not being any good at it I didn't pursue it enough to get good at it -- my mistake). So, right now I'm struggling at half-way-down, trying to get to parallel -- just once (holding onto furniture I can't seem to get down more than about an inch further before my right knee lets me know to stop, & with my left leg I get about 2-or-3 more inches down -- almost to parallel; my right knee was re-injured a few months ago & I've been "babying" it; yet I can do Tim's power squats fine; perhaps because the knee stays over the foot during power squats it's less painful; but then I do a full-squat variation with the knees going out beyond the toes while I'm on tip-toes & I'm relatively fine -- not much pain: go figure).


Any ideas/suggestions for us gimps with limps?

   By Lincoln on Saturday, October 05, 2002 - 09:14 pm: Edit Post

The crane step is the primary step in the style of the Bagua that I practice. I was told to try to imagine that my kidneys are connected to my heels and pull them upward with each step. From what JAFC described above about actual cranes seems to be the same sort of idea that I have been taught about how to try and power the movements.


   By JM Walker (Unregistered Guest) on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 09:00 am: Edit Post

Greetings to All,

I was first taught the mud sliding step when I started training in Bagua. Then my teacher's senior student took a few syudents aside and and taught us what I believe to be the crane stepping method though he did not tell us what it was called. I had never seen any other Bagua styles utilize this and wondered where it came from until I noticed descriptions here and there on various forums lately.

My questions are:
1)in light of this method, how is it that most texts on bagua stress never lifting the foot above the ankle?

2)can the crane step be used as the primary/only circle walking method?

3)do all bagua 'styles' use this method?

and 4)any idea from which lineage/master it originated from?

Lastly, I just want to say that I have found this forum to be quite informative and helpful.
Thank you.

   By Tim on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 12:29 pm: Edit Post

The Crane Step is generally used for power training, so you probably want to also practice lower stepping methods for actual application.

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