The "Linear Form" from the Original Bagua System is the hidden jewel in the whole system. The benefits of this form are immense both in the self defence/movement area, exercise, internal health, wellbeing and mental health. It is the longest and most energetic of all martial arts forms and takes some learning just to get through it and then to remember it all.
Even when performed at a slow pace, this linear form imparts benefits that belie its nature in that once completed, the whole day seems to be set up and balanced nicely whereby even problems that one has are negated so that a positive outlook can prevail. Some of the health benefits from the practice of this form are; lowering blood pressure, losing weight, balancing the body, giving a positive outlook on life, toning up all internal organs especially the kidneys, liver and spleen which are of course the "life-force" meridians in the body. Better blood circulation and therefore a higher libido, helping with disease caused impotence or not being able to get "it" up etc. It also helps with premature ejaculation and recovery quicker from ejaculation. The whole metabolism is balanced out and digestion is improved.
How this form does this is that is has been formulated by successive people of genius as far as Chinese Medicine is concerned and the flow of Qi through the body and more importantly how that Qi is activated. Each movement has been formulated so that every acupuncture meridian in the body is gently activated one after the other. Not only this but certain acupuncture/Dim-Mak meridians need to be activated by yang methods or by yin methods and the founding maters knew about this, making a set of movements that would take each meridian in turn and either treat it with a yin type of activation such as a gentle stretch or a yang activation such as a fa-jing movement. Often, meridians need to be firstly activated using a yin activation followed quickly by a yang activation which consolidates the activation, so we also see movements for instance where there is a gentle stretch followed quickly by an explosive movement.
Every part of one's body gets a brilliant work-out; legs, arms, hands, back, neck are all exercised gently during this form. And it is perfect for those who think that they are fit and for those who really aren't, for those who are overweight and those who have been couch potatoes for years. And you cannot do any damage as it takes some time to learn, taking only one or two movements per day or every 2 days. So by the time you have finished learning the whole set of movements, your level of fitness has risen to a higher state anyway.
Bagua is often called "The Art Of Over-kill" and this Linear form does nothing to ease that claim as the self defence movements are just deadly, making use of many dim-mak strikes powered by fa-jing or "explosive energy". The masters of old lived in a time different to the current times whereby normal people had to be responsible for their own self defence and not rely upon others to protect them. So those masters invented a form of self defence that would simply kill an attacker. And when one's family is concerned this is the only way as there is not easy way of self defence, no way that you are able to put someone down easy and not hurt them as so many ask of me. And the old masters were all street wise and knew that they would be fighting against not one attacker but many at the same time.
So although all of the self defence applications may seem brutal and deadly to some people, they were necessary back then. And now unfortunately, they are again necessary with the way Western society is going with moral decay prevalent in the world, where groups of people think nothing of killing an older person because he told them to be quiet in the street! This is happening more and more, so we again need an art of over-kill to give us the best chance of survival in modern times.
It is said, that if one can get through both the Classical Circular Bagua form, followed straight away by the Linear form, than his or her level of fitness is really getting up there with supreme athletes. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercises are incorporated into this wonderful linear form, so that we gain endurance and explosive instant power. Of late, I (Erle Montaigue), have re-discovered this form as previously I would only practice occasionally, in order to keep it in my mind so to speak. However, I have again begun a regime of practice of the linear form at least 4 times per day at full pace and two or three times at a much slower pace and I am noticing the above benefits greatly. As we get older, we do not become ill from old age, as there is no such thing as disease related to old age, which is just a cop out by doctors.
We become ill because we have neglected our inner being, wasting our precious Jing on bad eating, bad exercise and bad thoughts. And this form will attempt to right those wrongs thus making for a much more balanced older age, full of energy, vitality and even if you do have a disease state such as diabetes, all of the other organs are toned up so much as to negate that disease state. My advice to all of my students is to take up this form. It is difficult, but then it was meant to be difficult but the benefits in both health and self defence are immeasurable.