Martial Art System
What is Yin Style Bagua/Pakua?
The Yin Style Bagua Zhang martial art system comprises eight animal systems each of which can be viewed as a full martial art in its own right. Each of the eight Yin Style Bagua animal systems has eight different striking methods. Each striking method has multiple techniques with precise technical and tactical qualities, being intended for different targets and different situations. Furthermore each of the strikes can be done in a variety of ways, at different height and with different stepping methods. This demonstrate the amazing breadth as well as depth of the Yin Style Bagua martial art system.
Since the system is so extensive traditionally only one practitioner in each generation learns all of it. Xie Peiqi learned the complete system from Men Baozhen and has since then passed it onhis disciple He Jinbao. Most practitioners learn just part of of one of the animal systems. This is however more than adequate to allow the practitioner to be healthy and proficient at fighting. Each of the eight animal systems has its own distinctive ways of moving and striking reflecting the characteristics of the animal concerned and the trigram that represents it.
The four main practice areas in Yin Style Bagua
1. Standing Exercises
The standing exercises, are isometric strengthening postures where different muscles dynamically work against each other while the body is held still. This traditional training method is a key element in Yin Style Bagua and is used to build up qi, physical strength and flexibility.
2. Circle Walking
Circle walking, or circle turning as it is also called, is perhaps the single most important – and certainly the most distinctive – exercise in Yin Style Bagua. It comprises walking in a circle holding a static posture from the animal system concerned and then using a simple routine or strike to periodically change direction. It is an important method of building up qi and learning relaxation and rooting.
Routines, or forms as they are also called, involve practising a sequence of strikes (typically seven strikes) whilst walking the circle. Also included in this area are the practical fighting applications of these strikes. Practising the strikes whilst walking in a circle develops coordination and rooting whilst moving and helps the practitioner to develop the ability to quickly change their direction and line of attack relative to an opponent.
4. Power Training
Power training involves repetitive practice of single strikes to build up power in the technique. The power training is done standing still or utilising one of the three major stepping methods in Yin Style Bagua. Particular emphasis is placed on developing a relaxed connected structure in the body, rooting to the ground and on optimising the body mechanics so that the power comes from the whole body and not just the arms.
In addition to these four main areas there are many other areas of practice within the system. Thus a practitioner who is particularly interested in fighting would practise practical combinations. These are combinations of two or three strikes that the practitioner would practise by themself whilst visualising an opponent and then with an actual opponent.
The Yin Style Bagua martial art system also includes a large number of weapons. The two most common weapons are the dadao, or large sabre, and the jian, or straight sword. The weapons are used to build up strength and co-ordination in the body as well as to practise using the yi, or intent, to move the qi in the body.