The Eight Trigrams

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : The Eight Trigrams
   By rodolfo hagberg on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 01:27 am: Edit Post

Are there any guidelines for The Eight Trigrams. Like if your opponent uses Push, do you then use Elbow on him/her. Or if they use Pluck do you perhaps use Shoulder Stroke and so on. Does anybody have any knowledge on triagram tactics?

   By alienpig on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 08:28 am: Edit Post

G'day mate,

It seems to me that the mapping of peng lui Chee arn etc.. onto the eight trigrams is really quite artifical. More than likely it was something done by the Taiji aristocracy (the wu family) in order to make an old peasent or folk system seem more palatable for manchu princes. Read the Wang-tsung yueh classics as found in chen pan lings taiji book, also the Chang-nai chou classics as found in Wiles book "tai chi's ancestors. There both a good read and in my opinion, give you something closer to the essence of the system. But then again what the hell do I know, my opinion is as worthless as the next guy's. :-)

   By Tim on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 06:06 pm: Edit Post

I agree, the Eight Trigrams were used to cast fortunes and tell the future.

Looking to ancient Chinese shamanistic fortune telling for martial wisdom is the equivalent of reading the prophecies of Nostradamus to try and figure out how to get out of a headlock.

   By alienpig on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 08:18 pm: Edit Post

Except if the next guy is Tim...

   By rodolfo hagberg on Monday, January 15, 2007 - 11:23 pm: Edit Post

okey, forget the trigrams! There must be some form of taiji principle though.
Like, when pulled, push, when pushed, pull.
If your opponent clockwise you move clockwise, if your opponent moves counterclockwise you move counterclockwise.
Or something like that.

   By alienpig on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 01:12 am: Edit Post

Sure, there are general principles, such as, if pulled (as if anyone would do that!) go with the force and attack. You could use shoulder or press. But why restrict your responses to something in the eight techniques. Actually it is better to regard the eight trigram techniques as general jings, so shoulder is something like bumping. Split is interesting, that covers armbrakes amongst other things. It depends on what training methods you use to. I have found that they are delivered too literally. Just take the training methods, forms etc as very general templates, try to develop them yourself. You'll learn a lot more through your own discovery than you ever could through being spoon-fed vias some "master" or a book.

   By Tim on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 03:29 am: Edit Post


The overall principle of Taijiquan applications is to stick and follow the opponent's center.

The method is to transform the opponent's force into your own.

The technique is whatever it takes to realize the principle through the method.

   By rodolfo hagberg on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 07:38 pm: Edit Post

Thank you!

   By Bob #2 on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 08:15 pm: Edit Post

Here is a Nostradamus quatrain where he's clearly discribing my favorite dirty-wrestling technique:

Century X
Quartrain 29
"In a cave of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole a goat
Hidden and seized pulled out by the beard:
Led captive like a mastiff beast
By the Bigorre people brought to near Tarbes."

   By Tim Ash on Friday, January 26, 2007 - 10:52 pm: Edit Post

Hi Rodolfo,

The trigrams of the Bagua have all kinds of layers of meaning mapped onto them by the Chinese. I agree with Tim that the foretelling of the future stuff is not relevant for our purposes.

However, I do think that thought went into the arrangement of the eight Tai Chi energies onto the Bagua. When we train 2-hand pushing hands in Wu Style, there is a definite complementary pattern. Pang (upward and expanding energy) is countered by An (downward sinking energy, and Jai (directed forward press) by Loi (retreating and diverting). The main point is that no energy is dominant and always has its opposite counterpart as an available counter-tactic.

Also, there are (at least) two arrangements of Bagua trigrams. The "prenatal" is the one that I have seen used for Tai Chi. Please see the "Guiding Principles" section of my extended article on "Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan As A Martial Art" here:

Hope this helps,

Tim Ash

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