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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Baguazhang/Pa Kua Chang

Similar in principle to Aikido, this Chinese martial art is known for its circular energy and the redirection of force. It's technique flows continually transitioning, twisting, spiraling to bewilder and overwhelm the opponent. In the Jet Li film The One, the final battle between the "good" vs. "bad" versions of the lead character, the bida uses the snaking, circular attack of Bagua to throw and disrupt the attacks of the contra-bida.

It even has a reputation as a bodyguard art as well, since it was used by skilled practitioners who were hired to protect the nobility and the wealthy of China long ago. That certainly got my attention since when lives were on the line, this was the art that was relied upon (there were apparently other arts that were used as well though depending on who was employed).

The trade-off is that like Aikido and Tai Chi Chuan, the learning curve of these "internal arts" are steeper than the the more familiar and physically-oriented "external" arts (i.e. - Karate and Tae Kwon Do). Patience and dedication are indeed key virtues!

Given time and the opportunity to train under a competent instructor though, I would love to take it up.

The video below is an example of its practical applications -

UPDATE: New vid added, a short clip from an elderly master and his top students.

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