This ‘Basic Training of the Ba Gua Straight Sword’ is an excerpt from the book Ba Gua Three Harmony Sword – Ba Gua San He Jian (八卦三 合 剑) by Zhang Quan Liang. Master Zhang is a 3rd generation inheritor of Liang Style Ba Gua Zhang. He studied under the famous Li Zi Ming.
Holding the Sword and Walk the Circle
This art is based upon the palm rotation of Ba Gua Zhang. The basic skills and essentials of the palm rotation in Ba Gua Zhang are to walk circles leftward and rightward. Ba Gua Zhang cannot be trained proficiently, and Ba Gua weapons could not be trained proficiently either, if the standards are not followed in walking circles. Even if circle walking is trained very well with the empty hands, still great attention should be paid to the circle walking with the weapon. To walk the circle with a weapon trains the body methods and also the strength of the arms. Most important in circle walking with a weapon is the internal and external harmony: harmony between the hand and foot; harmony between the elbow and knee; harmony between the shoulder and hip; harmony between the heart (Xin) and mind-intention (Yi); harmony between the mind-intention (Yi) and Qi; harmony between Qi and strength (Li). This achieves harmony between the sword and body.
In circle walking training with the sword, three postures should emphasized.
1. Banner-Waving Circle Walking Posture
Hold the sword with the right, in the form of yin handle sword. Stretch the two arms out equally on both sides. Hold the sword with the blade flat and level, and the sword tip pointing to the center of the circle. Walk the circle clockwise by the standards of Ba Gua Zhang (Fig. 3-1).
2. Sea-Exploring Circle Walking Posture
Hold the sword with the right hand, in the form of the external handle sword. Upholding the sword above the head, with the sword tip pointing toward the center of circle, in the direction of the left shoulder. Point backward with the sword finger of the left hand by bending the elbow and extending the fingers toward the right armpit. Pull the shoulder, stretch out the elbow, rotate the neck, and watch the sword tip. Walk the circle counterclockwise by the standards of Ba Gua Zhang (Fig. 3-2).
3) Sword-Twisting Circle Walking Posture
Hold the sword with the right hand, in a form of the medial handle sword, with the sword tip slightly dropping downward and pointing to the circle center. Raise the left arm upward, flex the elbow, and turn the wrist by rotating the arm, with the sword finger pointing backward, to the left and superior in the direction of the head. Pull the shoulder and stretch out the elbow, so that the palm center faces obliquely upward. Watch the sword tip, and walk clockwise along the circle by the standards of Ba Gua Zhang as the right hand twists/stirs (Jiao) the sword in coordination with the walking speed. Walk clockwise and draw a round circle by turning the sword (Fig. 3-3). This can also be done with the sword in the postures shown in Figs. 3-4 and 3-5.
Transitions from One Posture to Another
The above three postures can be mutually shifted in walking the circle. The transitional movements in shifting the postures can be performed in simple way, or in a more complex free way. However, in shifting the posture, it is necessary to obey the principles of changing the step with the body, chasing the step with the sword and following the sword with the mind. Body and sword must move in conformity, freely, smoothly and cleverly, without pausing.
Changing from one posture to another posture, from the left form to the right form, must all occur based upon the principles of smooth and natural movement. In order to conquer the enemy quickly they must proceed without any limitation and in accordance with the actual situation.