Should you train in Bagua or Taiji....
This is something I get asked a lot, so on here you will find the FAQ that should help you to decided which one is right for you, if you need further information or have any questions then please get in touch. 

Please Note that the following is based only on the Bagua and Taiji styles taught by the WTBA.

Bagua or Taiji FAQ: 

  1. Which one is better for health?
    Bagua... A lot of people would disagree with me on this, but I'll explain why I think Bagua is the superior health system. 
    As far as internal Qi development is concerned, balancing of the Qi, the mind and all other things regarded as internal training, the two systems are in my opinion equal. 
    But we have to remember that good health is not just about the internal, your external physical system is just as important. 
    For this area of training Bagua offers some things that Taiji doesn't, this is due mainly to the limiting factor in Taiji which has us 99% of the time in an upright body position, we almost never lean over in any direction, we twist the spine but not that often, we also for the most part keep the spine straight, not rounding or arching the back for the most part. 
    In Bagua however, we do all of this, the form gets us to lean over in every direction, we round and arch the back, we twist bend and undulate, this is not only great for your spine health but also brings more activation to things like your Gluts and Hamstrings, your lower back, your whole core, as these areas are put to work more when we start to move away from a vertical position. The Bagua form also has a far greater variety of movements, putting your body into more shapes, both in the upper body and in the low squatting moves. So for a full body internal/external exercise, Bagua trumps Taiji. 
    Please note however, Taiji is for most people a better platform to learn the core basics of structure and movement. 
    Due to the the twisting bending nature of Bagua, it will take you much longer to understand the basics of how to move. 
    We recommend learning the first part of the Taiji form, then learning the Bagua form, this gives a great balance of skill. 

  2.  But what if I'm physically unable to perform these bending twisting moves in Bagua?
    Well in that case the two styles then become equal for you, Bagua can be performed in a more "Taiji like" way, where you lessen or completely remove these bending moves, in this case it really comes down to a personal choice. 
    It could be argued that Taiji would be a bit better in this case, since it was designed this way, where is Bagua you'd be taking something away from it. 

  3. Isn't Taiji better for Qigong/Meditation? 
    No, a lot of people think this because they see one small part of Bagua, just like how most people think that Taiji is all slow, they think Bagua is all fast
    However, both systems have both elements within them. 
    The only thing could be seen as "better" in Taiji for Qigong purposes, is that Taiji is more two dimensional and repetitive, with it's common back and forth back and forth weight shifting, where are you essentially doing the same thing over and over in the lower body, then adding different moves on the top, but even these moves on the top are not so different from one another. Bagua on the other hand is all about changing, both in the upper and lower body. 
    The more simple and repetitive movements are, the easier it is to feel something happening internally, so most people will typically feel this sooner in Taiji than in Bagua. 
    So, in Bagua training we often give students simple Qigong's along with their form, to feel this internal side, where is with Taiji we give them move physical based exercises to get twisting and stretching etc. After some time training however the Bagua form will give you just as much of a Qigong as the Taiji form. 

  4. Can I learn both? 
    That's really up to the individual and how much time you have on your hands. 
    For most people it's better to stick to one thing at least in the first year or two of your training, as splitting your focus can end up with you learning neither correctly. 
    If you want to learn both, we recommend learning the first part of the Taiji form, then learning the Bagua form, this gives a great balance of skill. Then at some point later you can learn the rest of the Taiji form. 

  5. Which one is better if I want to learn about Self Defence? 
    Both are equal and very similar in this area, there are differences, but not really pros and cons, just difference, so it's a personal choice which one you like the moves of better. 
    Remember forms don't teach you how to fight, they only teach you how to move, both style teach you all the stuff you need from your body in a fight.
    When it comes to the actual fighting training both are very similar. 
    In the WTBA you choose what form you want to learn, but the martial partner training is always a mixture of both anyway. 

  6. Which one takes up the most space? 
    Depends which form, the main forms, Circular Bagua vs the YLC Taiji form, the Bagua takes up far less space as it's done around the circle. 
    The fighting forms however both need a good size area if you don't want to keep moving back to adjust, but the Bagua Linear takes the most space here of the two. 

  7. I've heard Bagua is bad for your knees? 
    Only if it's done incorrectly, but the same can be said for Taiji and any other form of movement. 
    The only reason more people complain of knee pain in Bagua vs Taiji, is because they try to do it fast right at the start, if you do it slowly like you should be then you won't have any problems. 

  8. Bagua looks much more difficult than Taiji. 
    Basic form Taiji is easier, but once you get to the more advanced levels there are both pretty equal in terms of coordination skills and physical difficulties.  
    So both are equally difficult in my opinion.
    However, Taiji is generally easier to get in the beginning due to each movement being quite similar to the others, where is with Bagua there is a lot more changing.
    Hence why we recommend Taiji to start with.

  9. I have a limited amount of time each morning to train, which one is shorter to practice? 
    Obviously you could just do one form or several, so I'll talk about the main form of each. 
    The Taiji form has around 280 moves in total including repeats, or about 120 individual moves.
    The Bagua form has around 220 moves in total including repeats, or about 65 individual moves, but then you have the circle walking between each section, so you walk the circle 16 times during the form. I have made a rough timing of both forms if done at about the same speed and they take about the same time to complete, however, keep in mind that when you finish the Bagua form you have done all the moves bar two on both sides, so the form is physically balanced left and right. 
    Where is the Taiji is not, although many moves are done both sides, there are also a lot which are not, so the whole form needs to be done on the other side, therefore taking twice as long as the Bagua form. You can of course do the different sides on alternating days. 
  10. So to sum up. 
    If you are a total beginner to the martial arts, you're better off starting with Taiji, it's two 2 dimensional back a forth repetitive movement, tends to be simpler to understand in the beginning, so you are more likely to learn your basic foundations of structure, balance, flow, posture etc, from this form, you will also most likely be able to feel that internal connection sooner as well. 
    With Bagua there is more going on, more direction changes, each posture different from the last, bending, leaning, more twisting. 
    The more things you have to think about, the longer it will take to understand. 
    At a higher level Taiji is just as difficult as Bagua, but at the basic level it is simpler. 
    If you already have a great understanding of body movement, such as from another martial art, then you could probably start with the Bagua form, but for most people I recommend they learn at least the first third of the Taiji form to a solid level, pass that grading, then choose to either carry on into the second third, or do the Bagua form. 
    This is regarding the form. 
    If we're talking about training methods, well with these in the wtba we have always mixed these up, taking the best of Bagua and Taiji and training them together. 

    Anything I haven't covered? Write to me and ask

    Or for more info on Baguazhang you can go here
    For more info on Taijiquan you can go here