八卦掌 Ba Gua Zhang
Ba Gua Zhang (BGZ) is the youngest and most modern of the three internal martial arts. It can be considered the distillation and evolution of Xin Yi Liu He Quan and Tai Ji Quan principles into a complex mind framework, synthesizing the various aspects of the preceding arts into a seamless integrated whole. Its distinguishing characteristic is using Zhuan Quan (轉圈)/ ‘walking the circle’. Originally a Taoist meditation technique, martial arts were applied to the circle walking by Dong Haichuan, widely regarded as the originator of Ba Gua Zhang in the early 19th century. It uses agile stepping in the shape of the circle and training a wide variety of martial methods. The methods are categorized using the 8 trigrams from the Yi Jing (易經), an early Daoist text used throughout the ages in China to understand patterns of change. Emphasis is on striking while moving and moving while striking, using flexible stepping and agile body methods. It contains the full spectrum of hard and soft. Ba Gua Zhang was brought to Beijing by Dong Haichuan and employed by the imperial court. It is a wonderful form of practice, strengthening the tendons, invigorating the body and sharpening the mind.