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more about the Pa Kua Chang of Lu Shui-Tian.
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= THIS EDITION =
Featured in this edition of the FYI Page:
by Bok-Nam Park
"Come not between the dragon and his wrath" -- William Shakespeare's King Lear, Act I, Scene 124
|The seething energy of the sleeping dragon dwells within us all. If awakened in the proper manner, the dragon can bestow unfathomable powers; but if aroused incorrectly, it will consume everything in its path. You face this challenge when you tease the dragon with the circle walking exercise of Ba Gua Zhang. Doing the exercise correctly brings enormous benefits. Doing it incorrectly . . . well, who knows what the dragon might do?|
|As you learn to correctly awaken the "dragon" (i.e. your Inner Energy), it is necessary to understand more than just the physical movements of walking the circle. In this article, I will discuss some of the theories and principles you should apply when walking the circle. Applying these principles will provide you the maximum gain for the amount of time you have to invest. To facilitate this endeavor, I will break the exercise into sections, presenting them in sequence, and I will offer suggestions for enhancing and improving your performance.|
PREPARING TO HUNT THE DRAGON
|Prepare your body by quieting your mind. By doing meditation and breathing exercises prior to walking the circle, your mind will be quieted and your body relaxed. Relaxation of the body accomplishes several things:|
some energy. Byrelaxing the muscles, you save this energy and can expend
it toward a more useful endeavor.
unrestricted paththrough which to flow. This also aids the functioning of our
internal organs, thus making youhealthier.
|In Ba Gua Zhang, as in most martial arts, the beginning of the exercise, or form, is of great importance. The tone or mood of the whole exercise is determined at this time. If you are bubbling over with thoughts of the night before, or with tomorrow's hopes, your mind will not have time for the "now." The "now" is the most important part of our lives. After all, is the past not gone forever and is the future not partially governed by what we do "now?" At this time in the circle exercise, it is important that you bring immense concentration to bear on the present, sink the inner energy (qi) to the psychic-center (Dan Tien), and become open to any environmental input. While environmental input is real in a self-defense situation, during the circle exercise you bring it about by visualizing inner energy flow or by visualizing an imaginary opponent.|
WALKING WITH THE DRAGON
|Walking the circle is a very powerful form of inner energy cultivation or Qi Gong. As always, you want to achieve the most benefit from this exercise for the amount of time you invest in it. By following these simple guidelines you will reap a host of benefits in a very short time.|
for the Ba Gua Zhang of Lu Shui-Tian.
For the Qi to sink, the eyes must be level as in the upper figure.
With the head down, as in thelower figure, the eyes have to look upward, which is undesirable and causes the Qi to rise.
If you do not maintain this orientation while walking the circle, the dragon may take a bite. The reasoning behind this statement is twofold:
First, if your head is not kept centered over your trunk, you will subconsciously tense your muscles in an attempt to hold the head up against gravity's pull. This wastes energy, making you tire mored quickly, thereby limiting your time for energy cultivation. Tenseness in your muscles will also hamper the flow of blood, lymph, and inner energy.
Second, the Chinese say that qi (inner
follows the eyes. When your head is declined forward, your eyes must
up to maintain the proper line of vision between your eyes and hand.
up can cause the qi to rise and become stagnant in your head, instead
continuing to circulate or move to the hands for martial or healing
When the qi stagnates, it can cause severe headache and vision problems.
Try the following experiment. Breathe in and expand your chest while holding in your stomach muscles and standing erect. Have a partner push against your chest. Notice what happens. You should find it hard to keep your balance. Now, do the same thing again, except breathe to the Dan Tien and do not expand your chest. This will allow your lungs to move to your back. Again, notice what happens. Your balance should be better.
Following this principle is easier said than
but it is the correct way to awaken the dragon.
Zhang circle, flowing through the ever-
changing postures. His head is centered
over his trunk with his entire body
giving the appearance of great stability
even though he is in constant motion.
REAPING THE BENEFITS OF THE DRAGON
|How we finish the circle is of utmost importance. During the time that you perform the exercise, you build inner energy (qi). When completing the circle, you gather all this energy into the psychic-center (Dan Tien). By doing this, you will ensure good health. If you do not finish correctly, you may stop the energy in the wrong place and create health problems for yourself. Discussing how we finish the circle could be a complete article in itself, so I will not attempt to elaborate at this time; suffice it to say that this would be a good topic to discuss with your instructor.|
HOLDING ONTO THE DRAGON
|After completing the circle, it is very important that you refrain from doing any heavy work or exercise for at least thirty minutes. If you do not do this, your progress will be hampered. It is acceptable, however, to do energy cultivation exercises (Qi Gong) at this time if you wish to continue your workout.|
THE DRAGON CAN BE A WONDEROUS FRIEND OR A TERRIBLE FOE
|If you follow the suggestions I have shared in this article, you should awaken the dragon in the correct fashion and gain some of its precious gifts. It is my sincere hope thatyou will use these gifts for the betterment of your fellow man and to further theexpansion of Ba Gua Zhang throughout the world ... for it is truly an art that belongsto all mankind. Remember, however, to beware if you misuse or abuse this art -- "the dragon is never far away" and you will get bit!|
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UPCOMING 1997 SUMMER TRAINING CAMP
Best Wishes to all those fortunate enough to be attending the
1997 Summer Training Camp, June 13 - 17!
This year's camp is shaping up to be the biggest and best ever.
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