Bagua Exercise #1 for Internal Power, Strength & Flexibility

This is the first of 14 exercises in our Bagua Qigong for Internal Power, Strength & Flexibility.

As soon as you possible you should learn the whole set and practice it a minimum of 3 – 4 times per week.

In the meantime spend at least 5 – 10 minutes per day with this exercise.

Pay close attention to the alignment of your knees and lower back. These are the 2 most common errors.

Start at a medium height. As you progress begin working lower and lower. Intermediate students should be able to do this with their thighs parallel to the floor. (make sure your alignment is correct or going lower will not be beneficial.)

Bagua Lesson 8 – Defending Attacks from Behind You

This is lesson 8 in our free online Bagua training.

Transcript: In Bagua, when you’re in single palm position, if the person is attacking around behind you or there position is slightly behind you. The number one thing to do about this is to step. I’m staying positioned so I can turn quickly and so that I have the ability to move out of there at speed.

As soon as I see them I’m off to the races. I’m walking as soon as he’s all framed up at all or looking like he’s bringing something.

If your going to turn to them, the way you’re going to turn to them is to raise the top hand up as if you’re raising a window and looking underneath it. And when you do that you step and then turn back and so literally it becomes he’s pushing down on my arm and he could overcome it while I’m stationary, but now I’m moving and it’s got that same slicing action that made it so I don’t receive the force but he feels like he’s really doing something.

If he hits it it hurts him even though I’m getting out of the way.

From here if I step, which gives me my position through me and I can turn, and I barely need to touch him because it’s a bad position for him and a good position for me.

If he brought a punch from behind your head and one from in front you’re still in that position and keep turning as well off of that position. So I went here and turned as he came with that. And you’re going use it to break his arm or let him go and hit him in the back of the head or to do other things.

Don’t sweat that one right now, I just want to show you that if he had come in behind you it’s either walking or turning into him.

Normally you’d think you’re in a bad position because they are behind you, but if I’m gonna run away, where is he going to be? Behind me, if I’m running. Or even if I’m trying to walk away at some point he probably ends up behind me so it’s not such a bad thing you just have to understand what its strengths are and what its weaknesses are (most people see that right away) and how to use it, both aspects, all of it.

Bagua Lesson 7 – Single Palm Fighting Strategy & Presentation

This is lesson 7 in our free online Bagua training.

Transcript: In Bagua, there are three simple ways that the single palm position can be used for the strategic aspect of fighting.

Fighting in the Single Palm Position

The first one is that I’ve got that palm up here and I’m facing him with that palm. I’ve got the back one as well and the leg and the ability to move and that kind of thing.

Using a Welcoming Posture to set up the Single Palm

The second one is, in Bagua where you walk the circle doing the stationary postures, now some of them are very conducive for fighting stuff. Some of them are more to build your body and that kind of thing and normally most of them do both but there’s a couple or several specifically that are really useful for fighting and specially for multiple attacker situations.

One of the one’s is here, not this or other things, but there or hands out in front of you, kind of. There’s also this idea where you’re walking the circle and you’re doing this bit here and you’re using that, and in this case I’m facing him from here and as soon as he brings something or starts to I come out of there and I’m in single palm, now, like where I was before.

So, if he went around and came again, at some point here I’m striking him and notice I’ve opened back up. Even though I hit here he’s got sort of a strength here so I feel that and I’m coming off of that, from the single palm that I’m in here.

So the simple of this to see it from in front of you would be you’re doing like you’re doing that posture, walking the circle and you use it as you’re receiving. Now it’s not close to your body, when you do it in the form it’s not there either, it’s out in front of you like that.

Somebody in front of you might think it looks like that, that’s fine, but it’s here. As soon as they start to come and you figure out where you need to be going, then it becomes single palm. So that’s the second one.

Single Palm as an emergency technique

The third one is, for simple opening strategy. So the first two were, he’s a fighter and I’m right there, he’s a fighter and I’m right here. The third one is, I’m in whatever situation I’m in and he’s crazed, wants to hit somebody by surprise without them knowing it’s coming and I’m doing whatever I’m doing, and now I went to the position.

Notice that I got off the line, he’s gonna feel that hard hit there, it’s soft to me and I hit the weak spot on him all in the one move. Even if I wasn’t sure of the situation, then I realize there is a punch there and I’ll footwork it. It’s not this, It’s that whole body where the power is coming from.

And when he brings his other punch, same thing again.

Bagua Lesson 6 – Single Palm Position & Stance

This is lesson 6 in our free online Bagua training.

This lesson begins the Single Palm portion of our intro to Bagua. Single Palm is the signature fighting positon of Bagua. In this lesson we cover the basic posture and in the next several lessons we’ll show the fundamental of how to fight effectively from the Single Palm stance.

Transcript:
OK, so we’re going to do Bagua’s single palm position and stance so that you can work on that. So I’ll show it real quick here.

So I’ve got my knees together, I’ve got my butt underneath me, and my waist is turned. I’m off to my side, this is up here kind of like cross-pocket.

This shoulder is not sticking up like that, it’s more like I’m holding something heavy this way and that I came a little bit further with this while keeping that down. Turn the fingers up, put the other hand over there, kind of like ‘get away from me’ kind of a thing.

Single Palm Foot & Leg Position

So footwork first. Put you feet together bend your knees, and then bring you butt back forward a little bit and in. Then scoot that foot so that it wasn’t actually a step, it was a slide out to there.

Make sure that you’re sunk enough so that you can bend the knee like you’re stepping on the gas but that you’re back here and there’s no gap really between your legs. At the same time you could just as easily step behind you, set it down. That way you can also turn, and when you turn, put your legs together like this and notice that my knees are together and the foot could come here or here.

Turn the foot in, now I’m in the same position as i was in a second ago but facing the other direction.

the knees are protecting your groin area. You can pick up the front leg or the back leg if you want to. So you’re very mobile in the position even though to look at it in the beginning or you’re doing it wrong, it seem like it’s not. So the foot is here, pull it out of there completely, pull it up, put it back. The other one, up, back, behind you. Shift it, there they are together. That’s your footwork for simple, simple right now. That’s the footwork for the stance.

Hand and Arm Position

Then from here it’s, put your hand here like it’s holding something. Don’t let that shoulder move even though you’re gonna move that arm all the way across you. Turn that palm over but don’t lift the shoulder, keep it like that. Turn you fingers to the ceiling so that this is pushing down and around and up like that.

Now, don’t have it sharply bent and cut off here as much as it’s sort of angling it’s way up and it should point at the elbow on the other arm and then that hand faces straight out. There are different styles, hand positions and things that people do.

Simple, simple is I want that palm to come off there with no problem. the other arm is helping to cover my whole ribcage, covering those organs as well as your elbow is helping to cover some of that. It’s supporting to some degree that other hand.

Stay sunk for quick stepping

If your butt is sticking out before you step forward, you’re going to have to pull it in and then step. If your but is in, you’re literally rocking the feet and step. Same thing for going backwards. If your but is out, you will feel it in the shift. If it’s down and under you, it’s as fast as you can think to move your foot.

Bagua Lesson 5 – Bagua Intercepting & Cutting

This is lesson 5 in our free online Bagua training.

Transcript:
Bagua has different methods for how it engages or doesn’t engage an opponent. So I’m going to give you some insight into that.

As they bring a punch right down the line, one method is to get out of the way and keep walking, get off the line and keep walking. If you have been looking at other Bagua at all, ever, anywhere where they’re using it some, ideally you’ve seen that a bit.

Softly get out of the way

So that one is what I will call a very soft, to the other person, you’re trying to get them to hit empty air and not even necessarily feel you at all where you’ve made that connection but the connection is light and not stationary, it doesn’t stay put.

Although you will see where they punch and you cut across and they come and you’ll cut across and they come and you’re interacting and being soft until you get into a place where you actually land something.

Let them run into some hard

There is also this idea, I want to get out from in front of it, but I actually want them to feel like they ran into something hard.

This is one of the trickiest things that I try to teach regularly to really convey to people. Because for you, on your side it should feel like I hit air or almost air. for them it should feel like they ran into the wall and this should happen at the same time.

Use the Wedge

How do you get that, how does that happen, how do I get it so that he runs into something hard and I felt soft?

One of the ways I’ve seen it taught, and this is from Dr. John Painter, was what he calls the wedge and with the wedge he’s doing it here and the person comes and he starts coming this way and then it rolls a bit and cuts in so that you’re really rolling across it but they’re hitting into something hard that they can’t navigate through so they’re hitting it hard while you’re sort of coming around them.

So you can start it like that for simplicity. Make sure that it’s not grrr and I roll while keeping in there and I roll it and stay on it so that he feels all that power and it knocks him out of the way and yet I’m getting very little off of that because of the way that I’m wedging into it.

Use the forearms

I’m going to step it up a notch and do it slightly more sophisticated but also something a little more powerful. So what we’re going to use is the whole back of the forearm which we call a bone shield. You’ll notice that if my arm is in front, this part is leading, whether I’m going back or forth, up or down.

It is a little bit rounded because I want all that bony edge right there to be what they’re getting.

It should be that you can tell it’s a hard hit but the back of your forearm is going, “I’m not really feeling a whole lot but it’s good. It’s a rake or a brush, not your wrist but your forearm, back and forth, up and down.

It’s like they’re running into the wall but I’m hanging out here.

Baguazhang Lesson 4 – The Opponent Only Hits Air

This is lesson 4 in our free online Bagua training.

Transcript:
So when Baguazhang is done properly the opponent only hits air or they’ll hit your hard parts that you’re giving them while you’re getting out of the way.

Which means if they hit my elbow, if I’m there I still receive their force in, If I’m moving out of there I feel nothing. they catch my elbow in a place where for me it’s barely a touch but for him it’s BLAM, I just found his elbow! And they’re doing that with a fist or whatever they’re doing it with and it’s incidental to you, you just keep moving. In the middle of a real situation you will probably won’t know it happened.

Let them hit their friends

They’ll hit your hard parts or, they throw their hit at me and they hit their friend, and I help them hit their friend which you will get to in the more advanced programs, but initially he’s hitting his friend over there (in the direction of his punch) while you’re moving out.

So they hit only air, your hard parts (which could be more that just your elbow) or they’re hitting their friends. That’ll work for me just fine.

Baguazhang is Always Powerful

Let me add this last though for you for this part of it.

Baguazhang is powerful, whole body power hits to the opponent’s weak points or position while you’re moving, slipping and evading their attacks.

Just as Baguazhang always flanks and evades (or it’s not really Bagua) Bagua is always powerful or it’s not really Bagua either. thank You.

Bagua Lesson 3 – Your Strength is Always Aimed at Their Weakness

This is lesson 3 in our free online Bagua training.

Lesson Transcript:

First get out of the way.

Part of a Bagua person’s strength in terms of application and strategy is their constant negation of the opponent’s power by moving, stepping and turning. In the beginning it’s gonna be kind of haphazard and probably all over the place.

The further you go and the more you train and the more refined and the more right to the little inch of movement it becomes, then it starts to look like magic. In the beginning it looks like you’re getting the hell out of the way because hopefully you are.

Aim your strength at their weakness.

The next step then, once you’re out of the way, is to aim your strength at their weakness. So when they’re pushing in and I’m getting out of the way, the first thing I’m doing is that negation of the strike by moving, turning and stepping all at the same time.

Then, where is their force, their power at? It’s right there in front. It’s not force on force cause that’s no good for me, it could even hurt me and it’s not trading blows or striking his arms or attacking his power area. I go after whatever is exposed, the back of the head, an organ, or whatever they give me.

You must negate their force

The bigger trick is, if you’re not getting out of the way, you gotta do that first! It doesn’t work if you’re not getting out of the way, negating their force and dissolving, moving, turning and stepping out so that their force is not landing into you to do anything to you.

Learn to analyze their position and always aim your strength at their weakness

It’s not one spot every time, it’s whatever they give you. Once you’re getting out of the way then just put your hand there. You can even pick a safe spot on your partner and not give them a full shot by any means but enough that I go, Ok these spots I’m picking if that’s the shot, how is it? Where he could go, I don’t think so. If they’re going, aw no, that’s good, then you’ve got other things to work on which we’ll get too.

Bagua Lesson 1 – Multiple Attacker Strategy

Bagua is famous for being a multiple attacker martial art and if you’re going to have to fight 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 people, Bagua is one of the very few arts on the planet that is really designed to handle that kind of a situation.

Bagua is whole body power hits to the opponents weak points while you’re slipping and evading their attacks. Just as Bagua always flanks and evades Bagua is always powerful.

Bagua Strategy

So I’m going to start by talking about the strategy that Bagua uses and how it approaches things from a multiple attacker perspective.

When you have multiple attackers there are some things that you can afford to do and some things you cannot afford to do if you expect to live through the situation.

What you cannot do is fight with a single opponent because all the other attackers are going to be beating on you.

So lets say he’s an MMA Jiujitsu guy who’s skilled but your Bagua is so great that he can’t really get you in the hold and submit you.

He doesn’t have to.

All he has to do is hold you here for about 5 seconds. Five seconds maximum. Because if he’s got three or four friends with him that’s long enough. Too long for you. Long enough for them finish the job that he started by simply diving in and sacrificing himself for a moment holding on for dear life while they get you.

The other thing you cannot afford to do is exchange punches with a striker. Because it’s not just him. It’s multiple attackers. You may have one person covered, you could even be doing things to him, but the other attackers are not going to care about that so much.

They’re hitting you.

Whatever you did to him, they’re going to get you and that will be the end of it. Because you were tied up with one person and you couldn’t afford to do that.

So the first thing that Bagua is looking to do is to not get entangled.

If the first attacker comes to dive at me or jump at me it really is,

“How do I move in a way and make it so that he cannot just grab you and hold on?”

You’re in motion and you’re covering ground and position while you’re doing that.

The bigger trick is that you don’t at any point go and get entangled with the attacker keep moving no matter what.

So you’ve got the idea of continuous motion for somebody trying to grab you and you don’t focus on the fact they’re trying to grab you focus on the fact that you’re moving and you keep moving no matter what.

If they grab a piece of you, you’re not tied into that, you’re moving. They can come with you or not. If you start fighting with them it’s only because you didn’t move enough.

The same thing is true if the first attacker is a power hitter.

Some people ask,

“What about if the guy can really throw fajing that you can see or even touch you and give you fajin that you can’t see? What about that?”

…and it’s the same thing. If I stand there and try to go toe to toe with him, that’s going to be a problem. The answer to any kind of strike like that is, get out from in front of it.

I don’t stop the movement. The movement continues.

…and if you’re looking this lesson, having done some Bagua, and going,

“You’re just running around! no special Bagua qualities.”

Yes! I’m just getting out of the way! …and I keep moving.

That’s first.

Do I look really specially neat doing it? That’s third, fourth, fifth, tenth. You want it. It’s not first. Not if you’re going to fight with this.

The biggest error that people have when a person tries to grab them is they think,

“Hes got me and I’m trying to get away”

…and they end up being held in place for an instant and now they’re getting hit. Instead of going,

“He’s trying to grab me and I’m going that way and I keep moving and I keep moving and I keep moving.”

It is not technique for technique for technique.

I’m moving. Same thing when he’s throwing punches.

It’s not, he punches and now I moved and then he punches and I moved and now I’m not.

No, It is I’m moving and he’s got to be able to actually land a hit while I’m in motion non-stop. He’s got to land it off of the fact that I’m not standing still for him at any point. So it was not technique for technique and you don’t even think about it like technique for technique.

In future lessons I will show you things that are technique for technique so you can learn a technical skill, but the way it’s applied is the way I’m showing you here. You keep going . It’s their job to catch up to you.

For more lessons check out my free online Bagua course.

The most important Bagua skill…

The difficult thing about Bagua is it’s variability.

There is a lot of variety out there and it can be difficult for a student to sort out what’s good, what’s bad and what’s just different.

The spreading of poor quality Bagua and misinformation is certainly a contributing factor but with Bagua the problem come right from it’s founder.

Dong Haichuan was known to teach mostly experienced martial artists. He taught them at their level and he built on top of their existing skillset. And so each of his students had very different and distinct flavors of Bagua.

Different branches of Bagua can be very different from one another while still being correct.

..and so how do you tell the difference between a watered down version and one that’s just different?

Good Bagua movement can look flowery and stylized or it can look stupidly simple.

It can look incredibly powerful or downright flimsy.

Forms and drills and postures can all be different.

So what’s the one thing that they all ABSOLUTELY must have to be functional as Bagua?

Time.

…actually a lack of time.

Bagua specializes in dealing with 6-8 attackers.

..and this means you don’t have time.

There are many wonderful skills and techniques that are incredibly effective against one, two or even 3 attackers.

…but as soon as you start using them against more than 3 attackers they fall apart completely.

You simply don’t have time to execute them.

And so that’s the first most basic test for your techniques.

What happens when you try you Bagua while 4 – 6 training partners are trying to get you?

Can you pull it off? (WITHOUT going faster than your training partners.)

..or do you get caught by the other attackers?

Now if it fails that’s OK.

It DOESN’T mean your technique is entirely bad. It just means you are missing a VERY important piece.

Ideally you would learn this piece FIRST but unfortunately it’s left out of the vast majority of Bagua curriculums. Even many experienced players find their techniques begin to fall apart as soon as they add a 3rd or 4th opponent. Much less a 6th or 7th.

This piece is the core of our Bagua workshop in January.

You will learn the essential drills and principles for using Bagua effectively against a group of attackers.

We’ll also get into some important body states and internal power methods but all those are useless if you can only make them effective against 1 or 2 opponents.

This workshop is limited to 16 people.

Reserve your spot now before it’s too late.

http://www.clearsilat.com/workshops

In Bagua there are ALWAYS multiple attackers.

It’s what Bagua was designed for. That’s it’s specialty.

…and assuming anything less is a dangerous mistake.

This means you must be mobile.

This is why you see Bagua practitioners always walking in circles.

(one of many reasons anyway.)

Moving well in place is not enough.

The art must be able to fight while it’s covering ground.

Walking or running, either will do, but you never square off with an opponent like you see folks do in the ring or on TV.

If you stay in one place for a moment they will surround you. They key to managing a group of attackers, so you don’t have to fight them all at the exact same time, is constant continuous movement.

Another factor is time.

There is a whole lot you can do against a single opponent that you simply do not have time for against a group.

Anything that can’t be done in an instant, anything that takes more than 1 step, is a liability.

You must be efficient.

If you have 4 attackers, every action you take has to account for all 4 of the attackers actions.

…and that’s just to stay even.

To dominate the situation each of your actions must be 8 times more effective than the action of any single attacker. (of course if you have 8 attackers you’re still only staying even.)

Also, your physical activity must require an eighth of the effort that each attacker is putting out if you’re just going to stay even with 8 attackers.

You cannot commit.

If you commit too much time, effort, energy or thought to any one person, action or technique the other attackers will get you.

All your techniques must happen almost incidentally. As if you didn’t mean to do it or even fully realize it happened as you were moving.

There’s more.

…but that’s a good place to start.

Of course all this takes time and training and lots of hard work.

That’s why it’s important to start with these ideas from day one.

…and that’s why our beginning Bagua training starts with lots of multiple attacker drills.