Baguazhang: Theory and Applications by Master Liang, Shou-Yu and Dr.Yang, Jwing-Ming
There are four well known styles of so-called “internal” Chinese martial arts: Taichiquan, Xingyiquan, Baguazhang and Lin He Ba Fa. While I have only practiced Taichiquan from this group, this book on Baguazhang gives particioners of other martial arts an excellent grounding in Bagua, and frankly gives motivation for further study.
In a long list of excellent books on Martial Arts from Dr. Yang and his YMAA, this book covering Baguazhang is one of the most thorough I have studied. In the style of most YMAA books, the book covers a genral introduction, a translation and discussion of ancient texts on the subject, fundamentals of the style, barehand form and weapons form.
Chapter 1. General Introduction – includes an excellent differentiation of the four prior mentioned “internal” martial arts, plus several Baguazhang lineage charts and a list of forms (Bagua and Emei Baguazhang). Also a very good section on “martial morality” (as it relates to all martial arts) and a description of the relationship to the Bagua (EightTrigrams) to the art of Baguazhang.
Chapter 2. The Essence of Baguazhang – as with most of Dr. Yang’s books, he and Master Liang provide translations of Chinese texts with commentary/explanation. For purposes of studying, especially if your Chinese language skills are lacking (looks at self), this format is terrific.
Chapter 3. Baguazhang Qigong – walks through Turning-Spining Qigong (Bagua Zhuan Xuan Gong) with photos and explanation.
Chapter 4. Basic Training Concepts- this section covers postures, the eight basic palms, training keys, stepping (which is key in Bagua) and has photo sections of the “key words” (boring/chuan, rotating/ban, etc.).
Chapter 5. Body Conditioning Training- always enjoyable to see pictures of instructors carrying cinder blocks on their shoulders, once again demonstrating that old school is the way to go. This section covers post training, balance training by walking on bricks or poles, and walks through a two person conditioning training sequence.
Chapter 6. The Basic Eight Palms and their Applications – described as the root and foundation of the art, the basic eight palms and their martial applications are described in detail and with pictures.
Once you have completed some basic stances and drills, the first thing you should learn is the basic eight palms sequences and routine. Traditionally, each of the eight palms again includes eight fundamental movements; there are therefore sixty-four strategic moving patterns in the sequence.
An eight palm fighting set is included.
Chapter 7. Swimming Body Baguazhang and its Applications – also known as Swimming Body Dragon Walking Baguazhang, with Eight Left Palms and Eight Right Palms, this form is included as an example of one of the many advanced forms.
Chapter 8. Bagua Deer Hook Sword and its Applications – the deer hook sword is one of the most unique looking weapons I have seen in martial arts.
It is said that the Deer Hook Sword is specifically designed to disarm the opponent. When one is used in each hand, they are characterized by continuous rotating and spinning, comfortable withdrawing and turning, agility in dodging, andskillful variation of techniques.
This edition is an update of a 1994 edition (327 pgs vs.497 pgs) with the main enhancements in the 2nd chapter (with more translations and explanations).