The Qi Shaking Methods From Bagua By Erle Montaigue 16/05/2011
Bagua is a complete martial art in that it is a true self defence art (as opposed to only being a martial art) and it is also a true healing art, (as opposed to just being a form of exercise). Bagua gives us everything we need right there in the forms and training methods to teach us about how to move the body correctly for any given situation. And this is taught at a sub-conscious level via abstract training methods.
Fighting and self defence is not logical so it is impossible to take a logical fighting art and use it for self defence. Fighting happens illogically and so we must have a fighting art that takes this into consideration. If for instance we learn how to bock this attack and then use a kick to counter etc., this is logical and will never work in the street because you are trying to place a logical way of fighting into an illogical situation where things are changing every second. And logical ways of fighting require that we think about it first as the body has not learnt sub-conscious or reflex movement. You need a martial system that will teach your body to move by itself in any situation without conscious thought. And Pakua gives us exactly that. The 'simple' walking in Pakua seems like it is simple at first and indeed many so-called masters teach us to simply walk around the circle. However, it is the walking that is most important and as my new Bagua class students recently discovered, it is definitely NOT easy! There are just so many things to remember in Bagua walking and every time the student thinks that they have it, there is something else to learn while walking. It is this walking that gives us the extremely powerful kicking method from Bagua from the front foot. By walking in the weird way and not learning to kick, we teach the body to work automatically thereby giving us a much better chance of making those movements reflexive. Because you are concentrating upon walking and NOT upon kicking, your body/mind will learn these movements much better, however, when the time comes to actually kick, the movement will already be instilled into the sub-conscious and it will just happen with devastating power and speed.
If you learn one martial system but find it difficult to move in another system's manner, then that first system has not done its job. So many people form other styles come to a Bagua class and simply cannot walk around the circle! They have to begin at the beginning and this is the beauty of Bagua; it is just so different that there is no problem with one's previous style impinging upon the learning of this new system which is what happens for instance when someone changes karate styles as the way of fighting from any karate system is very similar to another. But with Bagua it is totally different as it works upon a sub-conscious level, we do not have to walk up and down the hall doing 1000 kicks and blocks etc. we are given strange things to do, but these strange things teach us heaps about real self defence.
Qi in Pakua
We gain the power from Pakua in the way that the body must twist and turn at the junction between the waist and the hips; like when you take a clothes hanger and wish to break the wire by twisting it; it becomes really hot at the twist because all of the energy of that twisting goes into the twisting part. And it is the same with bagua; the twisting at the waist causes great power to be generated in the tantien which can then be used in attacking methods. However, many people when they first begin to learn Baguazhang and often because their body is tense and stiff from training in other martial systems, find it difficult to get anything happening Qi or energy wise; so we have an excellent training method derived from the "8 Animal Forms" of Bagua, called "Shaking the Qi", a set of 8 relatively simple training methods that force the body to learn about Bagua Fa-Jing. For instance the 'Bear' from Bagua will spin around using his arms as tree trunks to block and to re-attack using his huge palms and claws. So we emulate this in this training method, striking the ground with out feet which shakes the body into action and loosens up the Qi internally.
The Bear Posture and Bear Strike
The Monkey Posture and Monkey Strike
The Lamb Posture!
Many other hard martial systems have something like this method, however, I have never seen anyone from those systems who is able to then take that ground power and have it manifest in the hands where it is needed. Even many Internal System masters are not able to get the Qi right out to the palms from the feet. Shou Shan-kan whom I met and worked with in China many years ago had this ability; his palm strikes following a foot stomp were devastating, even when he was a few feet from me, I could still feel that power from his palm strikes and the ground would vibrate as he stepped. And this is what the 8 Qi Shaking methods teach us; to get the Qi from the Bubbling Well point, right up through the body and out of the palms. I am making a video/DVD on these methods filmed at each Bagua class in Swansea where I am teaching one per session for this year.
This is learnt using not only the form and the Qi Shaking methods, but also the 8 Pakua training drills for striking. In just the same way that Taiji has these Fa-jing Ch'an (Explosive Energy Silk Reeling) methods so too does Pakua have something similar using striking mitts and a training partner. The 8 methods teach how to use each of the 8 Pakua palm shapes by our having to strike the mitts 4 times during one fa-jing exhalation. Also taught at each lesson in Swansea are the 8 Palms self defence training methods which are relatively simple two person training methods that teach us how to use each of the 8 Bagua Palm shapes. I am trying also to teach one of these for each lesson this year and these will also be captured on the DVD's that will be made from each class.