Longstryke Bagua Zhang
- Self defense, exercise, energy building, and meditation.
FOUR ASPECTS & F.A.Q.'s
Though not an exhaustive list, here are some of the martial skills that you can develop with Bagua Zhang:
- Technical skill in the proven combat sciences of Bagua Zhang, American Close Quarter Combat, and Goju Karate-Do.
- Whole body generation of power.
- The melding of hard and soft concepts.
- High mobility.
- Efficiency, and thoroughness of movement.
- The ability to handle simultaneous attacks from multiple, armed, opponents.
- Multidirectional awareness (all eight points of the compass).
- Heightened external awareness.
- Heightened kinesthetic body awareness.
- Ability to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances.
- Mental and physical flexibility.
“Bagua Zhang is an art based on principle, not technique or situation. Because it is based on principles, it is very adaptable, and universal. It can be adapted to any situation, environment, or scenario.” – Pakua Journal, Volume 6, No. 1, 1992
Bagua Zhang is a minimalist’s paradise. The benefits of walking are well known. With the addition of the inward-body rotation, and the various “palm changes,” a whole new range of benefits appear. Here is some of the benefits of Bagua Zhang:
- Balance enhancement.
- Heightened kinesthetic body sense.
- Movement of all fluids of the body; blood, lymph, and synovial (joint) fluids.
- Release of blocks in the tissues.
- Release of tensions.
- If you choose to walk fast enough, it is a low impact aerobic exercise.
- Bagua Zhang’s emphasis of equal time for each side of the body balances the musculature system.
- Any, and all benefits, of a regular exercise program – improved memory, improved circulation, lower blood pressure, slow aging, raise the immune system, improve your ability to sleep, decrease stress, and help with illness.
Energy (Qi) Building
Building personal energy; this is something that you seldom hear about in other arts. But shouldn’t an art have such life enhancements? And, if it is a movement art, shouldn’t the art build your mental and physical energies? At Longstryke Bagua Zhang, we think the answer is yes to these questions. And Bagua Zhang does it admirably.
Bagua Zhang, with its training of adaptability and flexibility, creates a calm and focused concentration. This is a natural growth of mental energy.
With its gentle compression and extensions, it allows energy blockages to naturally dissipate, no matter what their cause. This, plus the continual movement, help the body work at its best. This is the natural growth of physical energy.
Bagua Zhang, with its focus inward, and its teaching of how to lead techniques with greater and greater power, is what is called an “internal art.” This continual focus inward is the natural growth of the mind/body energy.
As mentioned earlier, Bagua Zhang circle walking is based on ancient Doaist concepts; in particular is the concept that while in constant movement, one can better blend with the natural patterns of the world, and better absorb the energies of Heaven and Earth. I believe that moving meditation is one of the very best forms of meditation there is. It most closely resembles the flow we call Life. Mindfully walking will create the “Relaxation Response” so common to all types of meditation. When one’s own body senses that you are walking slowly, and with mindfulness, it calms the mind into a relaxed state of alertness. This relaxation, this mindfulness, is now an established treatment for many ailments. What sets Bagua Zhang apart from other meditation methods is that trains you to live in the momentary, rather than "in the Moment" as so many others do; every step walked in a circle is a change. Only if we learn to live in the momentary can we be truly alive.
"Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two. A constant coming and going: wisdom lies in the momentary. - Octavio Paz
“A person’s heart and mind are in chaos. Concentration on one thing makes the mind pure. If one aspires to reach the Dao, one should practice walking in a circle.” - Daoist Canon
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the schedule of class? And cost?
At present, we meet once a week. Tuesday night, 5:30 to 7:00pm. The cost is $40.00/month (drop in is $15.00 each) The first lesson is always free!
Do you have belts, and promotions?
Such things are based on measureable attributes. Longstryke Bagua Zhang is a Doaist-based martial art. The following Daoist belief is part of the class training:
“Bagua follows natural principles. The principles of nature dictate that all individuals are graced with their own nature, their own character, their own individuality, and their own uniqueness. In order to follow the principles of nature, each individual follows his or her own individual nature”. – Pakua Chang, Volume 6, No. 1, 1995
Individuality is, well, individual. This makes testing impossible, and ranking meaningless. So, no ranks, no promotions.
How do I start? What do I wear?
Even though I appreciate an email prior to your starting (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com), you can just show up. Wear loose clothing and flat, clean, non-marking tennis shoes.
Where is the class?
1411 Cornwall Ave., Space #201, Bellingham WA.
What if I have prior experience?
Awesome. Bring it to class. Never forget what works for you. But please be considerate; you have come to study Longstryke Bagua Zhang. Trying to teach your prior art while in the Longstryke class will be confusing. If you do have prior experience, I will endeavor to tailor your training to include it. And I will probably call on you during class for pointers about your prior art.
Are the classes strenuous?
Yes, and no. Strenuous is a very relative thing. Class offers a unique chance to work with another human being. We do so with the attitude that we all have to go to work the next day. Broken bones, black eyes, and loose teeth are not conducive to work, or life. Plus we know if we do not take care of our partner, they will not work out with us. So care and gratitude permeates our training. You have the whole rest of the week to strain yourself.
But, having said that, it must be stated that it is physical training. You will probably sweat. If you have an ailment or injury, please let Coach Greg know. And, if it is a needed, have doctor clearance before you start.
What is your experience to teach?
I have been in martial arts for 46 years and counting. The majority of that time was the twenty five years in the martial art called Goju Karate-Do; there I am ranked as a 5th degree black belt and hold a Renshi (Teaching) Rank. I have also trained extensively in Judo, Kobodo (Weapons), Jujitsu, Wing Chun, Aikido, American Close Quarter Combat, and Wang Shu-Jin Bagua. - Coach Greg