Baguazhang is a system of martial arts which utilize centripetal and centrifugal force, to strike with precision accuracy while remaining in constant motion. The circle walk practice is the basis for Baguazhang's characteristic footwork and body mechanics. The feet remain in continuous motion as the practitioner revolves, simultaneously honing equilibrium and peripheral vision, while generating internal power. The ancient Taoists understood the circle as an intrinsic pattern within the human experience, capable of creating stillness of mind in motion, while developing the body externally and internally. As the potter's wheel when shaping clay, a properly trained circle walk becomes a sophisticated tool for human biomechanical alignment through energy and physics. The circle walk training develops a practitioner's Proprioception- The circle phenomenon is not unknown in studies of human movement. Over the past century, research scientists around the world have studied the walking patterns of human subjects when blindfolded. Subjects were instructed to walk a straight line across fields, for various lengths of time and locations, including desert and forest terrains. When blindfolded, humans always walk in circles, and the circles become tighter as time goes on. The circular pattern occurs even when the subjects think and perceive, they are walking in a straight line. With no external focal point, like the sun or moon, tree, the human proprioception guides us, and this intrinsic pattern within us is circular by nature. Baguazhang enhances proprioception pathways in spatial cognition, with in-depth focus on the circle itself.
The core posture and core palm methods of Yin Style Bagua, are foundationally one of the most crucial structures for a fluent understanding of the eight animal languages in the system. The muscle group rotations in between transitions of the core posture determines the rest of the methods within the system. The snake core posture resembles a coiling of two arms, forming a two-headed snake. The lower arm is capable of trapping while the upper arm is ready to strike, or the lower arm is ready to strike, while the upper arm is trapping or defending. Both arms constrict inward yet remain taut with outward force. Base training application methods of the Snake System utilize the rotations and extensions of the core posture or guard position. For example the lower guard arm thrust strikes at an opponent, upon bridging, the upper guard arm binds to the opponent's left arm, and then underhooks, the lower guard arm then grasps the opponent's neck and pulls diagonally inward, returning to the core posture, setting up the next strike or attack.
The Xun trigram is symbolized by the "Wind". It's fighting technique is known as the "windmill" palm capable of flowing power continuously with great speed and accuracy. In training the Phoenix system, the body's movements will generate force similar to the wind wheel, turning and linking with no gaps in it's form or transitions. The system contains all of the wing strikes which birds use while defending or attacking in nature. The arm strikes will move independently of the body until the point of impact, for better velocity and snapping force. In the Phoenix system, force is emitted from the shoulders, and characterized by whipping and flowing movements. The Phoenix guard or core posture torques at the forearm for dissolving attacks, the fingers firm for piercing, the shoulders kept fluid for redirecting and power. The striking methods are: clearing, extending, chopping, shocking, transforming, removing, curling in, and cutting.
The Dui Trigram is represented by the Monkey. The energy of the Monkey System is characterized with the Enfolding Energy or Compacting the Body Force, in which the body contracts in on itself to generate power. The Monkey System may utilize a downward squatting force to drive an opponent to the ground or various leg techniques ranging from powerful kicks to interlocking takedowns. The Monkey guard posture stems from the cross arms which compress and expand with an inward and outward flex. The arm techniques favors multi-dimensional fist and segmented strikes for defending, grasping, or attacking - containing both obvious and hidden leg techniques. It's striking methods are: Bending, Stomping, Straightening, Hip, Chopping, Swinging, Stopping, and Ending.
The Dragon System is known as the lifting and holding palm. The Zhen Trigram represents Thunder, generating the most powerful, Shocking force, throughout. The characteristic guard posture of the Dragon is natural, dominant, with the principal of hand protects the elbow, elbow protects heart. The palms press and claw open, ready to pierce or grasp if necessary. The Dragon System's striking methods are: pushing, lifting, carrying, leading, moving, capturing, chopping, and entering. The Dragon's movements are confident, powerful, capable of subduing an opponent while controlling his center. The Dragon's power is constant and flowing, with force emitted through a forward motion of back and waist utilizing the spinal wave, springing from the legs.
The Rooster System is characterized as the crouching/ lying palm, which has a strong and solid external frame while being soft and flowing internally. The quadrants of the dantian is in constant motion, empty to solid, and the chest concaved which originates from the shape of li trigram.The martial system of the Rooster methodically dodges and shifts the whole body with deep footwork keeping the practitioner's center of gravity close to the ground. It will dodge its body down and around an opponent using extreme height changes and long, low steps known as the Lying Step. The Rooster generates segmented power through the elbow symbolizing the broken line in the middle of the trigram. The Li trigram Rooster system utilizes single/double arm spherical rotations and short force with the palm strikes. The core palm may be held flat for pressing, or hollowed for tearing and scratching an opponent. The chest is kept concaved and pulled back protecting the vital organs from attack, and to move the core and torso out of danger first while the extremities follow during neutralization. The Rooster's striking methods are: Dodging, Extending, Rising, Shifting, Entering, Whipping, Rushing, and Piercing.
The Unicorn/Qilin is the opposite of the Lion, representing pure Yin energy. It is known as the mother of the trigrams and animal systems of Baguazhang. The unicorn is characterized as the Reversing the Body Palm, capable of yielding and attacking with a whirling, whipping force. This system develops appropriate change in response to outside forces, the method of yielding and sticking to an incoming attack rather than attempting to meet it with opposing force. The Unicorn's striking methods are: sticking, adhering, soft, following, hip, striking, chopping and cutting. It generates segmented force by utilizing all joints, to produce a flexible, snapping power capable of dissolving, redirecting, and striking an opponent.