One of the many inherent contradictions in an art like bagua is that you should not routinely practise the forms as if imaginary enemies are coming at you from every direction. Focusing too much on such martial intention can lead to a rather mechanical approach to the form, as well as cause mental tension. Conversely, you cannot really learn the right timing for each posture without at least having a rough idea of what you are doing martially in each case. In the absence of qualified instruction you can sometimes discover the spirit of the movements by taking your cue from the names of the postures. For example, Pheasant Throws Its Wings denotes a proud bird whose head is turned over its shoulder, wings outstretched as if sunbathing or displaying for a mate. But such interpretations are easy to get wrong if you don't already have a strong background in the Chinese martial arts, language, and culture.
Some of the movements are designed to be done in a fa-jing manner, but it is also a good practice for beginners to avoid using power and vigour in an attempt to make the movements of the form look and feel more martial and enjoy instead the movements for their own sakes. Martial function comes from understanding principles, relearning how to stand and move, and practising endlessly with a variety of partners rather than from a mere technical level of solo competency.
Particularly, if you are learning from Erle's videos almost exclusively, I would recommend practising each method or change for several weeks—if not months—before moving onto the next posture or change. It also helps to train with a partner who is watching the videos as well. Two sets of eyes and two brains are usually better at sorting out what is happening on the screen and in your practice sessions. Oh, and you will need someone to practise the applications with____
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