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.FYI Page - Edition #39 ..................................................................................................... March 2021.

*** Welcome ***

to the Ba Gua Zhang (Pa Kua Chang) Website of Sifu Park Bok-Nam!

We hope that you will find this site to be interesting and informative,

and will use it as a starting point for learning more about the Ba Gua Zhang of Lu Shui-Tian.

We have been fortunate to receive a number of awards for this website and wish to
extend our thanks and appreciation to the grantors of these awards.
You can view them by clicking on

Featured in this edition of the FYI Page:

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FYI Page - Edition #39 ....................................................................................................... March 2021
  • Links to all Back Issues of the FYI Page are available on the Reference Information  page.  They contain articles on many important topics that are of particular interest to serious Qi Gong (Chi Kung) and Ba Gua Zhang (Pa Kua Chang) practitioners.  So, don't forget to check them out.
  •   Master Park's New Qiang Shan Ba Gua Zhang Association resources:
 Qiang Shan
                        Ba Gua Zhang Association Website Banner
New resources for those interested in learning more about the Traditional Ba Gua Zhang of Lu Shui-Tian
as taught by Master Park Bok-Nam.
-  Qiang Shan Ba Gua Zhang Association
-  Qiang Shan Ba Gua Zhang Association
Facebook Page

-  Qiang Shan Ba Gua Zhang Association
Youtube Video Channel

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FYI Page - Edition #39 .................................................................................................. March 2021

Francis Hriadil
Why are you studying the martial arts?  What is your purpose?  To learn forms?  To learn fighting?  To improve your health?  I will not be addressing “sport martial arts” or “performance martial arts” here.  The goals of those activities are fame and / or fortune, which are ego-based pursuits, and contrary to the philosophy, purpose, and principles of traditional martial arts practice, such as Qiang Shan Baguazhang. 
Traditional martial arts does have forms.  And, traditional martial arts does have fighting.  But, martial arts studied properly, the traditional way, offers so much more than that.
You can learn forms anywhere.  A form is a choreography, a formalized sequence of movements.  There are literally thousands and thousands of forms. There may even be hundreds of forms, in each martial art style.  Anyone can create a form.  How many forms is enough for one to know?  Martial arts, at least tradition martial arts, is not simply about learning form, after form, after form.

Shifu Bok-Nam Park teaches the Traditional Baguazhang Method known as Qiang Shan Baguazhang  -  the full traditional methodology that was passed down to him, as the formal inheritor of his teacher, Shifu Lu Shui-Tian. 

Lu Shui-Tian and Park Bok-Nam

Anyone can copy every form that Lu Shui-Tian taught, and that Shifu Park teaches.  There are people out there teaching these forms.  But, when you copy or learn forms this way, you obtain only the basic outline or framework of those forms.  That is all you get, and that is all you have.  You must understand that there is very little true value in just knowing a form.

Shifu Park says, “When you are always chasing ‘the new, the new, the new’, the old forms you know, you just simply ‘forget, forget, forget’.”  This is nothing but a waste of your time and your money.  You know many forms; but, know nothing well or deeply.  You are just a collector of forms.  Is this all that you want?  Is this what you are spending your precious time and money on?  Just a collection of forms?

Shifu Park has remarked that knowing a few forms that you “understand deeply” is more valuable than knowing many forms that you simply “just know”.  Shifu Park has been teaching traditional Bagua for most of his adult life.  He began teaching Bagua in Korea in 1971, and has spread the Bagua of Lu Shui-tian throughout the world.  And, he has noted that, throughout his life and his teaching, the many people he has encountered don’t seem to think very much about this.

In whatever martial art you practice, or that you are considering, how would you answer the following questions:
  • Do you understand, or want to understand, the role that forms practice plays in the traditional martial arts? 
  • Do you know the two ways that any form is used?
  • When you do a form, do you just think “right, left, up, down, …” or “1, 2, 3, 4, …”, or do you envision what the form represents?
  • Is your form a “live” form or a “dead” form?  Do you know what the difference is?
  • Do you know that there is more than one kind of internal power?  Do you know how to properly generate and use each kind of power?
  • Do you think that traditional forms practice has little or no value in fighting?  If so, what is your basis for this view?  Do you know how forms should be used?
  • Do you understand natural principles and how they apply in a practical way to your martial practice?  If your understanding of natural principles is only theoretical, how does this benefit your actual practice?
  • Do you understand natural rhythm and the fundamental role that it plays in proper exercise practice?
  • Do you understand the critical role that your mind plays in your practice?
  • Do you understand how to adjust your practice based on your body’s needs?
  • Does your teacher follow tried and true natural principles or his / her own thinking and ideas?
  • Do you follow tried and true natural principles in your own practice, or do you follow your own thinking and ideas?

You need to think seriously about this.  If you can’t answer these kinds of important questions, what kind of understanding do you really have about your practice, or any practice you are considering?  What value have you really obtained for your time, money, and effort?  You will not be able to answer these kinds of questions unless, and until, you acquire a deep understanding of your body and your practice. 

With a deep understanding of your body and your practice, which can only be acquired through proper exercise experience, you will possess the knowledge and wisdom necessary to adjust your practice to maximize the benefits and meet your body’s changing needs throughout your entire lifetime.  On the other hand, if questions such as these are not of interest to you, then proper traditional martial arts practice is not for you.  But, this is your choice to make.

I will not and cannot give you the answers to these questions here, except to point out that a traditional form, and traditional practice, was not created for show, or sport, or entertainment.  It was created for two important purposes.  First, to develop and improve the health of the body.  And, second, as a live encyclopedia of self-defense.  Proper traditional practice is not like many current, modern, popular western exercise practices where you perform a physical exercise and your mind is somewhere else.  You may be listening to music or audiobooks on your headphones, or watching videos on videoscreens; but, your mind is not particularly involved in your practice or your exercise.  In this regard, you are separating your mind and your body in your exercise, and fundamentally curtailing the benefits that you can achieve from that exercise.

It is beyond the scope of this brief article to even begin to answer the questions I am asking you to think about here.  That is a journey of discovery that you must make under the watchful guidance and teaching of a qualified, experienced instructor.  For those interested in pursuing this further, you can contact Shifu Park’s Bagua Association and certified instructors, which and who are provided at  http://www.pa-kua.com  and  https://ba-gua.org/

Do you want true and lasting value in your practice, for the time, money, and effort that you are spending?  Or, are you just satisfied with “knowing” many forms, and / or “knowing” many fighting techniques?   It depends on what you want.  This is a personal decision you will have to make.  In either case, I wish you well in your practice.

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FYI Page - Edition #39 .................................................................................................. March 2021 .


Francis Hriadil

One of the most prominent and recognizable aspects of Baguazhang (八卦掌, bāguàzhǎng) practice is Circle Walking.  It forms a fundamental part of Bagua methodology and training.  Why does Bagua have Circle Walking?   Why do Bagua practitioners do this?  Do we do it because it looks good?  Do we do it because our teacher says we have to, because “that is what Bagua is”?  Do we do it because we’re crazy?  Some people, who don’t understand Bagua, may think so.

Why a circle?   First, it is important to understand that the “circle principle” comes from nature.  It is not an invention of man.  It is a universal and fundamental principle of the natural world, and has become recognized as such in such famous ancient Chinese texts as the YIJING, (易經, Yìjīng) - The Book of Changes.  All nature, and all life, is based on change  -  circular and cyclical change.  All motion incorporates circular or curvi-linear movement.  All joints operate on circular or rotational action.  And, to turn the body or change direction, one must perform circular / rotational changes.

On a large scale, the Earth spins on its axis.  The Moon revolves around the Earth.  The Earth and the planets revolve around the Sun.  And, so on.

Earth Moon Sun

This is the basis for all life, for all of nature, for the universe, and all of existence.

The rule of nature is that everything changes; nothing remains the same.  Change can be fast or slow, large or small.  In any case, change is natural and inevitable, and is a continuous and on-going process.  Nevertheless, change is not haphazard.  There are patterns of change inherent in nature, and in human life.  The Gua (卦, guà) - the Trigrams that comprise the symbol for Baguazhang recognize and codify these naturally occurring processes in a systematic way.

Baguazhang (八卦掌, bāguàzhǎng) incorporates circle thinking, circle moving, and circle fighting as the basis of its methodology.  Taijiquan (太極拳, tàijíquán) the oldest of the major internal systems, emphasizes the principle of Yin (陰, yīn) and Yang (陽, yáng). Xingyiquan (形意拳, xíngyìquán), the second major internal system, emphasizes the principle of the Wuxing (五行, wǔxíng) - the Five Elements.  Baguazhang (八卦掌, bāguàzhǎng), the youngest of the major internal systems, incorporates the principles of Yin (陰, yīn) and Yang (陽, yáng), Wuxing (五行, wǔxíng), and emphasizes the principle of continuous, circular change (八卦, bāguà) (圈法, quānfǎ).  Practiced the traditional way, Bagua is unique in this regard.  Traditional Baguazhang views these three fundamental natural principles as a complete trinity combination.

Baguazhang manifests Yin and Yang, throughout its methodology.  Fundamentally, Traditional Bagua, such as the traditional method of Lu Shui-Tian as taught by Shifu Park Bok-Nam, recognizes and trains both
  • the Yin Way (陰法, yīnfǎ)                -  the Health or Qigong (氣功, qìgōng) Way
  • and, the Yang Way (陽法, yángfǎ)   -  Fighting Way.  
Each way is different; but, they are both related, and depend on each other.  Both ways are necessary to achieve complete, natural balance in the body.

Health Way

The body is composed of approximately 360 joints and 650 muscles in the body.  These 360 joints control the body’s 650 muscles.  Each joint and muscle needs to be properly exercised through its full range of motion to achieve balance in the body, and obtain optimal health.  Traditional Bagua uses Circle Walking to exercise the body completely, through many different circle ways, and angle ways, to address the needs of all of the body’s joints and muscles.

This is very different than popular exercises like swimming, or walking, or running, which are unchanging and highly repetitive linear activities that utilize only a small subset of the body’s joints and muscles.  Few, if any, of the body’s joints and muscles are exercised through their full range of motion in these types of linear exercises. Traditional Bagua, on the other hand, uses many different circles,

Circle Ways

and various circle patterns.  Each Circle Walking way and pattern has its own special attributes and purpose.  The specifics of what, when, how, and why we use and do each way are beyond the scope of a short introductory article such as this.  However, it can be stated that each circle way develops the body differently, exercises the body’s knees and other joints differently, and produces different muscle, ligament, and tendon development.

Furthermore, with proper posture, rhythm, breathing, etc., Circle Walking produces continuous Power Circulation of Xue (血, xuè)  - “Blood” and Qi (氣, qì) throughout the entire body, both the upper body and the lower body.  Ancient Chinese internal and health practitioners have recognized that the key to optimal health lies in the circulation.
Good Health  =  Good QI (, qì) Circulation  +  Good Xue (, xuè) / “Blood” Circulation
This all comes from the continuous Power Circulation that results from proper Circle Walking practice.

Fighting / Self-defense Way

Circle Walking uses different circles, different angles, different directions to train the Bagua practitioner how to keep moving.  Through Circle Walking, practitioners develop the ability to evade, maneuver, and confuse their opponent(s).  Opponent(s) never know when or how a Bagua fighter will move or change direction, what targets will be attacked, what direction an attack will come from, or what techniques will be used to defend or attack.  It also serves as a jab to get an opponent to react or commit, thereby opening his/her “door” for the Bagua fighter to step in, strike, and end the fight.

And, the continuous Power Circulation created through Circle Walking practice prepares the Bagua fighter so that when he/she is ready to strike, his/her Qi will be ready to come out in that strike, to devastating effect on the opponent. 

When you look at how animals fight in nature, you see few predators that attack straight on.  Many use surprise and maneuver to gain the advantage, to maximize their attack and prevent any harm to themselves.  Foxes, for example, circle their prey before pouncing from the side or from the rear.  Lions almost never attack straight on.  They normally move alongside their prey and turn into the prey very sharply to attack, with a deadly strike. 

And, Traditional Baguazhang is not a sport.  It is a serious self-defense art.  Every vulnerable point on the body is a valid target.  There are no illegal targets in Traditional Bagua.

This is the way of Bagua fighting.  Traditional Baguazhang provides the Bagua fighter with the ability to evade, maneuver, and attack in an unpredictable manner, and to employ Internal Power, at any time, and in any direction. This all comes from proper Circle Walking practice.  Traditional Baguazhang is unique in this regard.  It is a comprehensive martial art based on natural principles, that when practiced and used properly, produces a very efficient, effective, and devastating fight method.

This kind of skill does not come overnight.  It requires time, dedication, serious commitment, discipline, and patience.  And, it requires the guidance of a properly trained and experienced instructor, who can provide the student with the detail and depth of understanding that is needed to excel in this comprehensive martial art.  For those interested in exploring this art further, you can contact Shifu Park’s Qiang Shan Baguazhang Association, and certified instructors, at  http://www.pa-kua.com  and  https://ba-gua.org/

It comes down to what you are looking for in any health practice, exercise practice, or martial practice that you are involved in, or are considering.  This is a personal decision that only you can make.  Traditional Baguazhang has many unrivaled benefits to offer.  Whatever your decision, I wish you well in your life and in your practice.

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