Eight-diagram Palm Training Techniques

Ba Gua Zhang is one of the major “internal” Chinese martial arts. It is also an older form of martial arts originating in nineteenth century China. There are at least 10 different styles of Ba Gua Zhang, each varying in techniques and slightly modified by its original teacher. The martial art as a whole encompasses a wide range of techniques, including proper stances, use of weapons and variations of hand strikes. People who practice Ba Gua Zhang are largely known for their ability to have a smooth flow in their footwork as well as when using different kinds of weapons and strikes.

Turning the Circle
Note that the “Turning the Circle” is one of Ba Gua Zhang’s most identifiable trademarks. It is a unique method of movement and proper stance. In this technique, a fighter will slowly walk in a circle while in different stances. A common stance is one that is low, has the knees bent, and has the arms stuck out with the palms flat and ready to strike (as pictured). A fighter will practice various moves, including hand strikes, low kicks and weapon tactics while in this stance and motion. Ba Gua Zhang has similarities to other forms of martial arts such as tai chi.

Ba Gua Zhang Weapons

Keep in mind that fighters using Ba Gua Zhang are taught to use multiple types of weapons in combat. Weapons used include swords, knives, spears and staffs. They are known for using very large weapons, most commonly the Bagua Sword or Bagua Broadsword. Other common weapons used are hook swords, straight swords and the “scholars pen.” The scholars pen is a pair of small knives and are usually concealed for a surprise attack.

Hand Strikes
Understand that aside from the use of weapons, hand strikes is the other main component of Ba Gua Zhang. There are generally eight different forms of hand striking taught when learning the martial art:

Chuan Zhang (the piercing palm) is thrown in an upward motion with palm pointed and facing upward as well.

Tui Zhang (the pushing palm) is thrown straight at an opponent usually at his chest with palm flat and facing outward.

Ye Zhang (the downward palm) is similar to the pushing palm but the palm is turned to the side while still facing outward.

Ta Zhang (the collapsing palm) is a similar motion to the pushing palm but you lead with the heel of your palm.

Pi Zhang (the splitting palm) is comparable to a chopping method where the arm remains straight, the palm is flat and facing upward, and the main focus point of the strike is on the inside of the forearm.

Hui Zhang (the wielding palm) is a similar motion to the splitting palm but the main focus point of the strike is now the outside of the forearm.

Shuang Cheng Zhang (the double support palm) is similar to the downward palm but uses both hands simultaneously as both palms should be faced outward and fingertips pointed inward.

Shuang Zhuang Zhang (the double strike palm) requires that both arms be held below the chest and palms faced inward with fingertips pointed out to be thrown at an opponent’s chest area.

Other Techniques

Keep in mind that although the use of weapons and hand striking are the two main components of Ba Gua Zhang, there are other techniques practiced as well. Some techniques seen in practice are a series of low kicks to the legs and ankles, joint locks of the shoulders and throws. Many of the throws used involve a combination of locking the shoulder of an opponent and grabbing the head or neck to throw them out of position. In addition, along with the popular open palm strikes, other striking techniques include the use of closed fists, fingers and elbows.

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