Developing Ba Gua Zhang's
Striking Palm Techniques
by way of
Post Training Methods
by Xiao Dong Yang & Robert A. Figler, Ph.D.

Although post training, sometimes referred as nine palace training, often utilizes form execution coupled with kicks and strikes, it also may involve stationary and moving single striking palm techniques. The transmission of this training method follows the line of: Tung Hai Chuan (1813-1882)->Yin Fu (1841-1909)->Gong Bao Tian (1871-1943)->Liu Yun Qiao (1909-1992)->Yang Xiao Dong (Tony), Akron, Ohio, USA. [A more extensive lineage for Master Yang can be found HERE]

These techniques are considered as part of the advanced training in the Yin Fu style of Ba Gua and are usually reserved for students who have spent considerable time training in the more common methods of Ba Gua training.

Contrary to what is seen in the popular Kung Fu movies, this style of post training is never done upon the tops of the posts. Usually the training involves posts placed in a circular pattern plus a center post (total of 9 posts). Each post is loosely packed with crushed rock so as to provide ample give when being struck. However, with static posture striking palm training one needs only a single post, and the moving posture palm training can be done with three posts.

The 8 Striking Palm Techniques are:

#1 Chuan Zhang piercing palm


#2 Tui Zhang pushing palm

 


#3 Ye Zhang downward palm

 


#4 Ta Zhang collapsing palm


#5 Pi Zhang splitting palm


#6 Hui Zhang wielding palm


#7 Shuang Cheng Zhang double supporting palm


#8 Shuang Zhuang Zhang double striking palm

Initial training is divided into two basic categories:
1. 8 static posture striking palm techniques - Ding Bu

2. 8 moving posture striking palm techniques - Huo Bu

 

Ding Bu

Technique #1 of the 8 static posture striking palm techniques (Ding Bu)
Chuan Zhang
(piercing palm strike)

 


Technique #2 of the 8 static posture striking palm techniques (Ding Bu)
Tui Zhang
(pushing palm strike)

 


Technique #3 of the 8 static posture striking palm techniques (Ding Bu)
Ye Zhang
(downward palm strike)

 


Technique #4 of the 8 static posture striking palm techniques (Ding Bu)
Ta Zhang
(collapsing palm strike)

 


Technique #5 of the 8 static posture striking palm techniques (Ding Bu)
Pi Zhang
(splitting palm strike)

 


Technique #6 of the 8 static posture striking palm techniques (Ding Bu)
Hui Zhang
(wielding palm strike)

 


Technique #7 of the 8 static posture striking palm techniques (Ding Bu)
Shuang Cheng Zhang
(double supporting palm strike)

 


Technique #8 of the 8 static posture striking palm techniques (Ding Bu)
Shuang Zhuang Zhang
(double striking palm strike)


Of these palm strikes the most important is the piercing palm strike. This technique is extensively used in the Yin Fu style of Ba Gua (ox tongue palm) and is found in many other traditional Northern Chinese martial arts systems such as Praying Mantis and Baji, although development and training methods are quite different.

Piercing Palm (Chuan Zhang) - The most important palm technique

8 Moving Posture Striking Palm Techniques - Huo Bu

Click for full size image

The Yin Fu Ba Gua system as taught by Sifu Yang is very extensive, methodical, and complete. When you incorporate the weighted training and conditioning, Nei Gong training, two-man fighting techniques similar to the Tui Shou of Taijiquan, weapon training and the post training, a well-conditioned, effective martial artist emerges. It is then easy to see why Tung Hai Chuan, Yin Fu, and Gong Bao Tian were highly sought after for bodyguard service and training in the Emperor's palace.

Interestingly, although Liu Yun Qiao was known primarily for his Bajiquan/Pi Gua Zhang training, he was thoroughly immersed in the Yin Fu Ba Gua system and also trained bodyguards of the three presidential regimes in Taiwan (however this was primarily in Bajiquan).

Although Ba Gua Zhang, in general, is often imbued with the intellectualism of the Yi Ching, make no mistake about the physical demands made upon the practitioner. This type of training requires many years of repetitive circle walking as well as internal and external strength. Post training represents only a small portion of the overall training and conditioning of the system.

Other schools of Ba Gua emphasize other aspects of training such as throwing and seizing techniques. However, additional uses of the posts could include full body strikes, kicking and grabbing, hooking techniques. The noncircular (linear) forms can be executed within and around the nine circle palace. Eventually the post training evolves into a free-form execution. Add to all of this the Dian Xue (cavity striking techniques often called the "death" touch) and the result is a master of perhaps the world's most complex yet deadly system of traditional Chinese martial arts.

Fighting Applications (click for full sized sequence)

#1 Chuan Zhang #2 Tui Zhang #3 Ye Zhang

#4 Ta Zhang #5 Pi Zhang #6 Hui Zhang

#7 Shuang Cheng Zhang #8 Shuang Zhuang Zhang

However, Grandmater Liu, on more than one occasion, told Sifu Yang that,"... you will thank me in your old age for teaching you Ba Gua Zhang." Food for thought? A hint of mysticism, the "magical" glow of enlightenment? Perhaps, but more likely Grandmaster Liu was hinting at the depth and complexity of the art. For the determined practitioner the answer will not be revealed by simply reading and meditating over the Yi Ching. Rather, it will arise from a lifetime of dedicated training and commitment to the practice of the art.

It is only along this traveled path that the question of enlightenment and mysticism may be adequately addressed.

This article reprinted here with the permission of the Journal of Chinese Martial Arts.
For more information about the Journal, contact kungfu@usa.com or write to
Journal of Chinese Martial Arts at 1370 Main St., Dunedin, FL 34698
phone (727) 738-4649.

 

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