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Ba Gua’s Eight Hands: Form 1 – The Uplifting Palm

Guo Gu Min was one of the famous practitioners of Ba Gua in Beijing. Some sources credit him with composing Ba Gua‘s 36 Songs.

In this series we present Ba Gua’s Eight Hands, or Eight Linear Forms, as taught by Guo Gu Min. The pictures and text are excerpted from Compendium of Ba Gua Zhang Art by Guo Gu Min, edited by Zang Xue Fan: Jilin Science and Technology Publishers. Translated by Huang Guo Qi.

When I learned these forms from Wang Shi Tong, Wang explained that each of the Eight Hands is a linear expression of one of the Old Eight Palms (Lao Ba Zhang). The Eight Hands are the key to understanding how to apply Lao Ba Zhang’s circular palm changes.

The first form – The Uplifting Palm, or literally, Step Forward and Strike Upward, is presented below.

Preparation: Old Monk Upholding the Alms Bowl

Movement 1: Stand with the two feet closed. Close the five fingers of the two palms, with the palms dropping down at the body side, and look straight forward. (Figure 1)

Main points: Relax the whole body so that the Qi flows smoothly.

Movement 2: Bai bu with the right foot, turn the body rightward 90o, walk forward with the left foot to close the feet, and look straight forward. (Figure 2)

Main points: Turn the body with the step, relax the whole body, so that the Qi flows smoothly.

Ba_Gua-Eight-Hands-Form-1-1

Movement 3: Walk forward with the right in a false (empty) step, and bend the left leg so as to squat down slightly. Rotate the right palm outward as you extend the arm, and uplift the palm to the level of the shoulder, with the thumb pointing rightward and upward. Bend the left elbow and raise the left hand with the palm facing downward, and the fingers pointing to the right elbow. This forms the posture of Old Monk Upholding the Alms Bowl. The eyes should look straight forward. (Fig. 3).

Main points: Make sure to step the proper amount. Soften the shoulder and sink the elbow, relax the root of the arm. The legs are false in the front leg and firm in the back leg.

Ba_Gua-Eight-Hands-Form-1-2

Step Forward and Strike Upward

Movement 1: From the Old Monk Upholds the Alms Bowl (Figure 3), half-step forward with the right foot, and step forward with the left foot as the right foot follow-steps. Simultaneously rotate the left palm outward as the arm extends, striking upward and forward. Rotate the right palm inward and turn the palm down as the arm extends to first lift upward, and then to pat and strike downward to the front. The eyes look straight forward (Figure 4).

Main points: Hit upward with the upward-striking (left) palm. The downward-patting (right) palm is at the same level as or slightly lower than the shoulder. The patting and striking strength is released from the root of the arm.

Movement 2: From the previous posture (Figure 4), half-step forward with the left foot, and step forward with the right foot as the left foot follow-steps. Simultaneously, rotate the right palm outward as the arm extends with the palm downward, striking upward and forward. Rotate the left palm inward and turn the palm down as the arm extends to first lift upward, and then to pat and strike downward to the front. The eyes look straight forward (Figure 5).

Main points: Hit upward with the upward-striking palm, and the downward-patting palm is at the same level as or slightly lower than the shoulder. The patting and striking strength is released from the root of the arm.

Uplifting palm.5.6

Movement 3: From the previous posture (Figure 5), half-step forward with the right foot, and step forward with the left foot as the right foot follow-steps. Simultaneously, rotate the left palm outward as the arm extends with the palm downward, striking upward and forward. Rotate the right palm inward and turn the palm down as the arm extends to first lift upward, and then to pat and strike downward to the front. The eyes look straight forward (Figure 6)

Main points: Hit upward with the upward-striking palm, and the downward-patting palm is at the same level as or slightly lower than the shoulder. The patting and striking strength is released from the root of the arm.

Train these movements repeatedly along a line, or stepping forward and backward.

Finishing Form

Movement 1: When the right foot is forward, kou bu with the right foot. Bend the left arm and rotate the arm so the left palm faces upward in a supine palm underneath the right arm as it extends toward the right armpit. Simultaneously, rotate the right palm by bending the arm inward to form a prone palm (palm down) as the right arm extends leftward above the left arm. Look at the left palm (Figure 7).

Main points: When extending the two palms leftward or rightward, start the movement by wrapping the two shoulders from the spine. While rotating the two palms outward or inward, it is necessary to rotate to the maximum.

Ba_Gua-Eight-Hands-Form-1-4

Movement 2: Bai bu with the left foot, and turn the body leftward 90o. Simultaneously, rotate the left palm outward as the arms extends outward palm up, hitting outward, forward and upward to the level of the shoulder. Rotate the right palm inward with the arm bent, so that it presses forward palm down, with the fingers pointing at the right elbow. Look straight forward (Figure 8).

Main points: The left, front leg is false and the rear, right leg is firm. Relax the whole body.

Movement 3: Half-step the left foot forward and then step forward with the right foot and follow-step with the left foot. As the right foot goes forward, pierce the right palm forward and upward from it position by the left elbow, rotating the palm to face upward with the thumb pointing to the right. Simultaneously, rotate the left palm inward, bending the left arm so that it is drawn backward. The palm faces forward, with the fingers pointing at the right elbow. This forms the Posture of Old Monk Upholding The Alms Bowl. Look straight forward (Figure 9).

Main points: Relax the shoulder and drop elbow. Relax the root of the arm, make sure that the front leg is false and the rear leg is firm.

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