By Zhang Quanliang
(from Jingwu Magazine, Feb. 1998 vol.108)
Bagua Lianhuan Bu also called Lianhuan Jiu Bu (Connected 9 Steps). These are Hook Step, Swing Step, Twisted Step, Balance Step, Single Vertical Step, Pouncing Step, Bow Step, Horse Step and Empty Step. These stepping methods simultaneously are nine types of standing post methods, and they are nine types of ingenious fighting skills. When training, they can be used as fixed form practices, they can be used as straight-line practices, they can be practiced turning is place. And they can be practiced as a paired exercise to coordinate between two people.
The fixed frame practice is the best way to solidify your root. It cultivates the inner qi and one’s hunyuan (murky original) energy and steadies one’s nature.
Practicing slowly, the qi can steadily penetrate and move the body. It has an effect of raising high one’s whole energy and degree of agility.
Practicing low postures can stretch the tendons and benefit the bones. The flowing slipping forms look beautiful. It has the effect of raising high one’s springy energy and pliable nature.
The two-person practice can develop sticking, walking and neutralizing. Evade the solid and strike the empty. It has the effect of raising high one’s ability to meet an emergency and skillfully bring wisdom to surpass the standard.
Daily practice, continuously rising and falling, devoted and free, is of infinite interest. Not only can it have the effect of raising one’s inner and outer skill and strength, the standard of one’s boxing and weapons practice, but also can have the effect of raising high one’s fighting skills.
Bagua Lianhuan Bu can be used as basic skills and supplemental skills methods for Baguazhang and Bagua weapons, and is a complimentary practice to Baguazhang’s walking the circle gongfu. The mutual benefits are clear. The straight-line practice method is described below:
Preparatory Form: According to the requirements of the body method in Baguazhang, stand naturally erect. The eyes gaze evenly towards the front direction. (1)
Beginning Form: Twist the waist to the left and turn the body. The left foot swings out. Retract the belly and fold the body. Sink the qi. Both palms simultaneously rotate inwards. The hearts of the palms face outwards. Sink the shoulders and bend the elbows. Both arms are like bows. Both legs cross and slightly bend. The upper body slightly leans to the front. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The eyes gaze evenly towards the front direction.
1. Kou Bu: The right palm, from the outside of the hip towards the front upper level with the chest, fu palm towards the left underarm arcs and levelly inserts. The left palm flowing posture rises to arrive above the right elbow. Above and below emphasize folding cross embracing. The right foot simultaneously passes the left foot heel towards the front again towards the rear arc form hook position. Both feet toes lean distance make an eight character shape. Both knees bend crouch mutually lean. The straight body sits down. Twist the head and look towards the right front direction. The movements of the four limbs must be coordinated. Relax the form, raise the spirit, the intent is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
2. Bai Bu: Twist the waist and move the hips. The right foot swings outwards as much as possible. Simultaneously both hands together rotate and push in the same direction as the right toes. The right palm is on top with the heart facing outwards, the thumb points to the ground; the little finger points to heaven. Relax the shoulders and hang the elbows. The left palm is close below the right elbow. The palm heart faces right. The thumb point upwards and the little finger points downwards. Twist the waist and turn the neck. Look below the right palm. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The energy is circular and the mind is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
3. Xie Bu: The waist and body twist and turn as much as possible to the right rear. Both legs cross, fold and crouch down to make the Xie Bu. The hand positions do not change but follow the body’s turn from the right front direction past the right lower direction towards the right rear upper direction parallel movements. Look below the right thumb. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The energy is circular and the mind is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
4. Pingheng Bu: The right leg is straight vertical. The left foot as much as possible kicks up to the rear. When it is raised, the sole of the foot faces upwards. The upper body leans forwards until it is level with the left leg. Both palms, from the right side of the body, push out to the front and back. The left palm faces the front and the right palm faces the rear. The thumbs face downwards. Turn the head to look at the right palm. The body is level and the foot is stable. You cannot wave or swing. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The energy is circular and the mind is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
5. Duli Bu: The right knee relaxes and bends. The right foot toes twist outwards in place. Simultaneously, the left knee bends and rises up in front of the chest. Both palms also simultaneously come together. The heels of the palms touch. The hearts of the palms are hollow. The fingers spread outwards like the shape of a lotus blossom. From the front and rear, they pass in front of the abdomen to just below the front of the chin and use strength to uphold. The eyes look evenly towards the front. Relax the form and raise the spirit. Above and below are coordinated. The left knee and both palms move together. The center of gravity must be stable. Cannot swing or shake. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The energy is circular and the mind is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
6. Pu Bu: The right palm rotates outwards. Twist the waist towards the left front direction. The left palm rotates inwards. It moves along the outside of the right arm and does a scooping strike towards the lower left front direction. Simultaneously bend the right knee and squat down. The left foot kicks out to the lower left direction. Just like a golden pheasant spreading its limbs. The right palm retracts to a position below the right ribs and rotates outwards so that the palm faces the rear. The fingers point downwards. The movements of the palms are coordinated with proper strength. Look at the left palm. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The energy is circular and the mind is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
7. Gong Bu: The left knee bows to the front. The right knee follows, that is it straightens to make a large bow step. Simultaneously the left palm rotates outwards. Relax the shoulder and twist the palm as much as possible towards the left front direction stretch and reach out. The heart of the palm faces diagonally upwards. The heel of the palm is level with the shoulder. The right palm simultaneously relaxes the shoulder and as much as possible twists and rotates and stretches out to the right rear direction. The heart of the palm reverses to face upwards. The back of the hand faces the ground. Both shoulders, front and back are struggling to slash. Look at the left palm. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The energy is circular and the mind is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
8. Ma Bu: Move the body to crouch down making a big horse stance. Simultaneously the left palm returns to arrive under the right armpit. The palm heart faces diagonally outwards. The thumb points towards the ground. The right elbow bends and the right palm rises up overhead. The palm heart faces diagonally outwards. The thumb points towards the ground. Toss the shoulder and push out the elbow. Twist the neck and look in the direction of the left shoulder. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The energy is circular and the mind is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
9. Xu Bu: The weight shifts to the right foot. The body turns left. The left foot changes to become empty. The toes touch the ground. The knee bends and rises up. Simultaneously the right palm rotates outwards and drops down inside the left elbow. The palm faces left. The left palm simultaneously rotates outwards and reaches out to the upper left front direction. Sink the shoulders and drop the elbows. The tiger’s mouths stretch out round. The palm faces the front. Look at the tiger’s mouth of the left palm. Relax the form and raise the spirit. The energy is circular and the mind is free. Cannot have a sluggish appearance.
Closing Form: The body turns towards the right rear. Simultaneously the left foot steps across the right foot towards the outside of the right foot and toes-in. The right foot twists outwards in place and toes-out. With the left foot balanced together position. The left palm simultaneously passes the left upper direction, towards the right rear, towards the outside of the left leg arcs and drops down. The right palm simultaneously passes the front of the waist toward the outside of the right leg. This posture is similar to the beginning posture.
Note: The above posture practice can make the other side practice.
The practice method is similar. Only the direction is reversed. See pictures