Baguazhang Circle Walk – Feudal Application

Baguazhang is renowned for the Circle Walk strategy- however, it is of great irony very few Baguazhang schools today instruct or preserves the feudal application of the circle, in the correct context.  Flanking is important in fighting… everyone knows.  Circling prowess around an opponent, a tree, for meditation, for equilibrium, are common reasons the circle is instructed in modern schools.  In the feudal era, the circle walk is designed specifically for melee calisthenics- a special precaution for a soldier’s defense against multiple armed opponents. A classic example is illustrated in Costantino Calarone, Italian Fencing Treatise of 1714.  The treatise dictates a single fighter against multiple armed opponents- should circle walk, so the body’s movements are more agile.  The sole fighter should not deliver thrusts, unless in the reach of just one opponent.  The fighter should not stay planted, nor withdraw with backward steps.  The optimal strategy is to wheel to the right of the first opponent, away from the multiple opponents at his side- aka Stacking [as in the pic].