Unpack Bagua principles from forms (or die unfulfilled)

More than a few people believe that faithful reproduction of a form will in itself lead to great results. Perhaps that is true, if the reproduction includes sufficient elements of movement and understanding. However, the faith approach rarely overlaps well with understanding. So what is the relation between forms and Bagua principles? How do I suggest you approach form practice?

I view form practice not as faithful or perfect reproduction, but as a shape you can fill with, express and develop certain qualities.

Unfortunately in my experience, most people (myself included) are incapable of instantly perceiving what skilled movers put into their forms. That perception is hard-won, and often the relevant qualities are poorly taught.

Some things have taken me years to notice. All the years I didn’t notice were years where I could have been improving faster.

What made the difference, what allowed me to start noticing? Good teaching and a willingness to shift perspective (and sweat).

It can really help if a teacher shows or explains these qualities clearly, or puts you in situations where the right response is drawn out of you. That’s what I work to put into my teaching.

What’s in the video?

In the video above, I go through a few of the principles and qualities that you can in the first of the 64 linear forms from Gao style Bagua. It’s a very simple form, but you can put a lot into it and take a lot from it.

I’ve heard people dismiss linear Bagua forms as ‘just Xingyi’ or ‘not really Bagua’. I disagree. The qualities found in these forms you can also find in circular Bagua. However, these forms make some of those qualities easier to develop. That is their function.

If you find the video useful or are curious about the other 63 forms then take a trip to and through Practices Beyond Style.

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