Ba Gua: 6 – 7 pm, Tuesdays.
An all-levels class that covers qigong practice, footwork, forms, push hands games, and applications. Instructors work with each student according to individual needs. A complex, variable, and funky martial art, ba gua is often popular among students with existing movement expertise in other martial arts, yoga, or dance. Beginners are welcome as well, but understand that even experienced movement practitioners often feel suddenly uncoordinated in this class. So bring your sense of humor!
Ba Gua (or baguazhang) is the Jazz of martial arts. It’s arcane, esoteric, improvisational, and has its own language and conventions. It’s also really, really cool if you have the patience to get into it. Ba gua is one of the three major internal styles of Chinese martial arts, universally recognizable by its practice of walking in circles during training. Circle-walking strengthens the muscles and tendons in an integrative, top-to-bottom fashion, provides aerobic exercise, and develops the “moving root,” an ability to dissolve incoming force at any angle while simultaneously maneuvering into a superior position as the force is returned. Like its older cousin tai chi, ba gua exhibits a lot of variability between its various sub-styles, but they are all unified by the common practice of the circle.
We teach Fu style bagua, developed by Master Fu Zhen Song (1881-1953), a highly-regarded martial artist and innovator of the early 20th Century. Often referred to as “dragon ba gua,” Fu style is unique in its use of cyclonic movement, rolling and spinning momentum and energy up and down the axis of the body and the extremities. Fu style is a languid, flowing, funky, and highly artistic ba gua style that nonetheless can generate tremendous force. It is substantially more intricate than many of its sister styles, and so offers new challenges and puzzles even for experienced ba gua players from other branches of the art.
More so than any other style we teach, ba gua requires you to get inside your body and figure it out for yourself. Part of the learning process is to experiment and see what works for you. We’re here to help you through that process, to give you a sense of what to work on at what points in the training process, answer questions, and to alleviate some of the initial frustration. We recommend taking up ba gua as a practice only if you have at least two hours per week to devote to solo-work outside of the class. Because the art requires complex coordination between many different body parts in ways that are initially awkward, practice is the only way to make these movements feel natural and to develop proper timing.
So what do you get from all this work? The keys to a whole new universe of body-consciousness, and a movement style that is utterly unique, powerful, and beautiful.