Feature Disciple （徒弟专访)
Bagua Zhang (palm) is one of the 3 major Chinese internal martial(Neijia) arts beside Tai Chi Quan and Tsing Yi Quan (fist). Founded by Dong Hai Chuan back in the late 19th century it is still relatively young martial art compared to others. Great grand master Dong himself was involved in the Boxer revolution during the Qing Dynasty against foreign occupiers and Bagua Zhang was hence one of the formidable martial art well known then.
I belong to the 6th generation and my master Sifu Li Chun Ling 5th after a short but traditional ceremony of tea serving. Grandmaster Siyeh Sun Zhijun (also cultural medallion ambassador for Bagua Zhang from PRC) was 4th and he passed away only last year 2016. Therefore many of the original teachings, techniques, application and the fine details are still fresh with the minds of his disciples as they pass on the martial art to new student like myself.
I have enjoyed Bagua Zhang more than any other Chinese martial art even though I have taken this for just 12 months. In the short period i was trained personally by Sifu Li and the senior disciples. Training was weekly on Saturday although there are classes on other days. Several reasons why I would recommend this form of arts to others who are considering something different and authentic;
1. Good teaching skills and clear communication by Sifu who is both well verse in Chinese and English
2. Attention to details from Sifu and other senior disciples who are always willing to part with their knowledge. Unlike others, Sifu will comment on the junior members rather than being left alone to the disciples. She is demanding and set high expectation on her disciples.
3. Baguazhang itself is a set of fast and slow movements with high and low postures. Unlike others which are either too slow, static in position or too exhaustive with energetic punches or kicks. Being internal martial art, Baguazhang looks at deflecting the incoming attacks with simultaneous counterattacks. It therefore is a very good and interesting form of exercise.
4. Bagua Zhang emphasise a lot on head movement, spinning around the body axis (Zhong Xin) and demands excellent good body postures and flexibility. After one year of training, I am conscious of standing straight and with head held upright. This makes me a more confident person.
5. Bagua Zhang also emphasise a lot on body balance, body coordination and 'qi' or ' Dan Tian'. Relaxing the upper body while anchoring to the ground for stability and at the same time circulating the Qi to manage the movement makes it very demanding. To that end, qi gong itself is part and parcel of Baguazhang.
6. Together with (3),(4) and (5) the Baguazhang can be practiced with power that comes not from the hand but the waist, body structure originate from the ground .
7. Competition is one of the core motivation for doing well. Sifu emphasized this and take pride if we participate or hold demonstration to propagate the art and be serious with our own training
8. Beside manual combat, Baguazhang also have sword, sabre, spear, And crescent spear. So one will never get bored with just hand combat.
Having said all, it takes deep personal interest and conviction to learn this form of art. The training is very demanding and requires many hours of self practice. One will feel the muscle aches initially but once done correctly this will go away. At the end you will feel healthy, nimble, flexible, good body posture and possess this great fighting skills. Like other martial art, it does not encourage fights. For those interested in application, the latter will require another form of training called " San Ta" which again need a special classes by Sifu.