Baguazhang

Baguazhang (pronounced Ba Gwa Jong) or "8 Trigram Palm" is an internal-style Chinese martial art most known for its practice of walking in a circle. Utilizing deft footwork and highly integrated body mechanics for expressing immense power, Baguazhang was designed for defending against multiple attackers.

Baguazhang is based on the classic philosophic text, the Yijing (Yee Jing), the Book of Changes, which utilizes eight symbols (Gua) to describe the cycles and rhythms of nature, life, and the inevitability of change. These Gua express different relationships between Yin and Yang, and each has its own quality or energy associated with it; for example, the "Heaven" Gua is associated with an overwhelming force, whereas the "Earth" Gua is passive and yielding.

Baguazhang has eight basic shapes or postures which reflect these symbols and their qualities, and the martial tactics and defensive methods are created by the interplay of these forces. The essence of Baguazhang is to move, flow, and change continuously without pause, while utilizing its arsenal of strikes, kicks, joint locks, and throws.

There are several facets of Baguazhang training, including:

Wai Gong ("External" skill training)
This aspect of training includes numerous methods of developing the "outside" of the body; i.e., the muscles, tendons, and bones. Various strength training exercises, including bodyweight and weighted practices, are undertaken to develop a strong muscular system that is capable of exerting great force. Deep squatting postures, "Iron Sphere" exercises with medicine balls, free weights, plyometric drills, and stretching are examples of Wai Gong training.
Nei Gong ("Internal" skill training)
Nei Gong training is the coordinating of the mind and body through breathing and relaxation exercises. It strives to improve the connection of the nervous system to the muscular system, resulting in greater speed and power. The practice of Nei Gong methods has also been shown to improve overall health; relieving stress and lowering blood pressure. Standing meditation, visualization, Circle Walking, and the slow practice of the various postures are all part of Nei Gong training.
Self Defense
Baguazhang is a superlative martial art for self-protection. It primarily makes use of close in fighting methods. Personal space is divided into three zones - Safe, Caution, and Danger. Techniques to address the three areas as well as principles to neutralize the opponent's attack, overtake their balance, and counterattack are studied. Power issuing drills, Push Hands sensitivity exercises, and one step defensive methods are practiced to obtain proficiency in defending against virtually any kind of personal attack.