I’m excited you’re here to learn this venerable art – the oldest and most esoteric of the Taoist martial arts with the most powerful effect on the physical state and the psyche.
I’ll be teaching you how to walk the circle, the different arm and palm positions for walking the circle and the eight changes or sequences in each direction.
With everything I teach, you won’t feel the benefit unless you take it, practice and make it your own. Dedicate the time, ring-fence it or whatever you like to do with your time-slots, get into the habit of watching the video each day, at any time you like but usually before work is best for a clear head and to set you up for the day, and then exert but a modicum of gently applied yet firmly adhered to discipline of doing the actual practice – it’s enjoyable, it’s incredible in fact – there really are no words to describe it adequately – and unlike pretty much all major investments of time and focus you don’t get out what you put in, you get ten times that.
It’s important you work through each step before progressing to the next.
Practice and make the moves your own. Watch each video several times. If it helps, stop the video after the first couple of moves, then practice, then restart and link the next moves and so on and so on. Don’t worry if it takes a while to get it, just keep practicing. Do it at your own pace as many times as feels comfortable, there’s no rush. Practice and make it your own.
Provided you practice sufficiently, the magic has begun. It then grows exponentially the longer you practice it for.
About Pa Kua
Pa Kua Chang (its full name), means open-hand eight-directions palm strike boxing. It’s practiced primarily solo as a form of shadow boxing and is an essential part of my daily routine, I practice it at least twice a day. Once you know it it’s easy to do.
It consists in ‘walking the circle’, similar to whirling like a Dervish, except done both counter clockwise and clockwise, with a series of eight distinct movement sequences that change your direction. The centrifugal force generated is so powerful it thrusts you into your back despite yourself, without you even having to think about it – and it keeps you there for the whole day.
The eight sequences or ‘changes’ train your body at a subconscious level in the self-defense technique, massage your vital organs, especially the kidneys, induce flexibility, suppleness, strength, agility, balance and grace. The centrifugal force is also helpful to lymphatic drainage, and it’s through this Pau Kua is famous for increasing longevity.
But perhaps most excitingly and enticingly, it enables you to ‘see into the future and past’, meaning it grants you omniscience, the ability to know everything that ever was, is, and will be. In other words, by thrusting you in to your back and hence activating the back-brain, your conscious mind merges with your subconscious mind and you have total psychic awareness.
It makes you feel instantly better, instantly clearer-minded, instantly more in touch with your internal power source, instantly more centered and grants you instant panoramic perspective
On account of all this, daily practice becomes irresistible and quickly addictive. It’s similar to going for a long hearty run each day without having to leave your own back yard, except the sensation during and after is far more profound. For me it opens all my joints stretches me across my back and makes me feel so spritely I feel as if nothing can stop me or prevent my good fortune. It affords me a daily interlude of viscerally experiencing Tao right at the core of my sphere of existence and activity.
Pa Kua, Taoist practice & the I Ching
Originating in ancient China, Pa Kua is the oldest of all the Taoist martial arts, the most esoteric, and the most powerful in terms of its effect on the psyche and the physical state, and the efficiency with which these two interact.
One of the main ‘switches’ or levers crucial to Taoist practice in general is learning to occupy your back and observing and experiencing the moment from the back-brain at all times, rather than be crammed into the front of the body with all its noise and weaknesses, held in thrall to the descriptions and stories going on in the prefrontal lobes. From the back-position you’re able to transcendentally bear witness to and accommodate the drama of being human that goes on in the front without being identified or invested in it. Like this you’re able to maintain constant clarity, equilibrium and equanimity even during the most stressful passages.
Pa Kua, meaning literally the eight directions (the four cardinal points and the four in-between points). These relate to the eight trigrams upon which the 64 hexagrams of the Taoist oracle, the I Ching (Book of Changes), which between them indicate or foretell how your life will go in at any given juncture.
The Pa Kua also refers to the diagram used in Feng Shui, the art of getting buildings and interiors to conduct chi at optimal levels to ensure good fortune in all aspects of life. Pa Kua Chang is the dance of the I Ching, inferring the bestowal of psychic power to predict, and mastery of the world around you in all directions.
Normally you’d practice three or four Taoist martial arts as each of them supplies a different emphasis all of which to combine to tell the whole story. Or you could just devote yourself to any one of them and let the whole story tell itself that way over time. Either way, you’d likely prepare for this each day by also practicing various forms of qigong or QIGONGO as I call the routine I do, along with the ‘internal alchemy’, the underlying central theme of all Taoist practice, no matter what, which develops the immortal aspect of consciousness.
As a fighting or self-defense form it’s either practiced empty-handed or using a pair of scythes or broadswords, and once mastered transforms you into a potentially deadly human rotor blades machine. And the circle-walking aside from all the health and psychic development benefits, gives you the ability to always be behind your opponent and hence have the advantage over them at all times.
May you benefit from the training.