Jiulong Baguazhang

What is Jiulong Baguazhang

Baguazhang (pronounced BaGwaJong) is a Chinese martial art most known for its training method of walking in a circle. Utilizing deft footwork and highly integrated body mechanics for expressing immense power, Baguazhang was designed for bodyguards, such as the Li clan, who often needed to defend themselves and their clients against multiple attackers.

The Li family method of Jiulong Baguazhang (pronounced Jee-ohLung Ba Gwa Jong) is based on the classic philosophic text, the Yijing (Yee Jing), the Book of Changes, which utilizes eight (Ba) three-lined symbols (the Gua) to describe the cycles and rhythms of nature, life, and the inevitability of change.

Jiulong Baguazhang

The Bagua express different relationships between Yin and Yang, and each has its own quality and energy associated with it. For example, the Yang “Qian/Heaven” Gua is associated with an overwhelming, conquering force, whereas the Yin “Kun/Earth” Gua is passive, receptive, and yielding. Jiulong Baguazhang has eight basic arm postures and actions – and innumerable variations – which reflect these symbols and their qualities, and the martial tactics and defensive methods are created by the interplay of these forces. The essence of Jiulong Baguazhang is to move, flow, and change continuously without pause, while utilizing its arsenal of strikes, kicks, joint locks, and throws.

 self-defense skills

Xiangdao Steve Bialon practicing Wind Palm maneuvers at The Gompa

Included in the study of the individual Palm are combat principles which are essential to make the art viable in the harsh reality of street combat. It is a sad matter of fact that many traditional martial arts – Chinese or otherwise – have largely undergone a great dissolution of power and effectiveness due to the spread of modern sport versions that emphasize form over principle. Dr. John Painter’s teacher, Li, Longdao said, “Principle is more important than memorized forms. A form must be a pantomime of combat that contains specific principles of action. Without this the form is merely dance and of no use for defense!” Some of the Jiulong Baguazhang principles include:

The RYG Principle: Divides personal space into “zones”. Green is the safe zone, Yellow is caution, and Red is danger. The object is to move from one to another in the blink of an eye.

The Wedge Principle: All arm postures use the Ball and Wedge that cuts through incoming attacks like the prow of a boat.

Seek the Ridge Pole Principle: To control his spinal column and thus his balance as the primary first objective when attacked.

The Brain Blink Principle: To confuse and disorient the enemy at first touch utilizing the two previous concepts.

The Dragon Body Principle: To flow and move like a serpent. We learn to avoid being struck or grabbed as we attack.

The goal of training is to prepare the individual in mind, body, and spirit for actual defense of his or her life, not to win a competition. Through long practice, the student slowly learns to gain control of the Yi (Intention) and Xin (emotional energy) and direct its power to create extremely powerful force for defensive measures.

For more detailed information on this fascinating art, please visit www.jiulongbaguazhang.com