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Training Methods of Ba Gua Zhang

In this excerpt, Sun Xi Kun talks about training devices that aid the development of fighting skills in Ba Gua Zhang:

“In training this boxing art, it is necessary to use various training methods. One method is the standing pole. This pole stands about two meters in height, with another meter buried under the soil. The pole is wrapped in bamboo fencing on all sides. The top section is a meter long and there are transverse poles (cross-poles) which are the thickness of a wrist and a half meter in length. It is like a wooden man. Move freely around it with advancing and retreating steps, employing  various striking methods.

Another [training] method is to strike a hanging basket, which is loaded with iron sand or mung beans inside and which hangs with a rope from a beam. In the beginning, the basket is only about five kilos in weight. Afterwards the weight can be increased gradually. The basket is wrapped with the cotton and sewn with coarse canvas and is hung at the level of the heart. It is used for training bumping and striking with the two hands. Use embracing palms and elbow strikes. Strike with the shoulder, or with the kua (thigh and  hip). Once one is familiar with these striking methods, hang two baskets. When one is proficient with two baskets, hang four baskets. Stand in the middle and hit rightward and leftward.

In general, it is advisable to do this training in a quiet place, [for example] in a dense forest. Walk through and around the trees to train the striking methods. If this method can be trained proficiently, it is very useful. If there are many enemies, it is possible to deal with them at will. In this way there is no fist within the fist and no art within the art. The real art becomes an expression of the intention.”

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