Change

With these principles in mind the student can examine all Pa Kua Chang movements and explore every level of a technique moving from big to small, small back to big; from simple to complex, complex to simple; right to left, left to right; high to low, low to high; inside to outside, outside to inside; stillness to movement, movement back to stillness; from center to eight directions, eight directions back to the center, etc. The possible variations on one theme become endless.

It is through the exploration of these concepts that Lo can demonstrate Pa Kua Chang's three fundamental movements. He states that there are three fundamental mechanical principles of movement in Pa Kua Chang practice and these principles are exemplified in the movements of single palm change (tan huan chang), double palm change (shuang huan chang), and smooth palm change (shun shih chang). He says that all of Pa Kua Chang's movements are born from these three principles of movement and he demonstrates how every move in Kao I-Sheng's Hsien T'ien Pa Kua Chang form are simply variations of one or more of these three movement principles. It is fascinating to watch Lo take a movement such as the single palm change and begin to vary it by making small movements big, executing the movement from high to low, or making the movement more complex by adding components of the double palm change or smooth palm change. In taking one or more of these three fundamental movement principles and changing it in accordance with the three principles of the I Ching as described above, Lo can indeed construct all of Pa Kua Chang's characteristic techniques.

Learning how to take the three fundamental movement principles expressed in the single palm change, the double palm change, and the smooth palm change and construct the eight kuas of the Hsien T'ien Pa Kua Chang is just the beginning of the learning process for Lo's students. In teaching the Pa Kua Chang form, the student in Lo's school will transition through three levels of development. These three levels of development are Pa Mu Chang (Eight Mother Palms), Lien Huan Chang (Continuously Linked Palms) and Yu Shen Chang (Swimming Body Palms). While many Pa Kua Chang practitioners will practice separate forms which are identified with these names and others call their Pa Kua Chang system Yu Shen Pa Kua Lien Huan Chang, Lo views these three concepts as separate progressive training levels of the same sequence of movements.

The beginner in Lo's school will first learn the Hsien T'ien Pa Kua Chang movements working at the Pa Mu Chang level of training. At this stage the movements are executed so that each single movement is clearly defined. The focus of practice is to move smoothly, develop root, and combine the body and mind. Lo states that the mind should permeate all of the movements in Pa Kua Chang. Execution of the Pa Kua Chang form in this detailed manner develops kung li or "trained strength." Progress at this level is attained through detailed body movement combined with proper mental focus. In Lo's opinion, the form should never be practiced in a casual manner.

After his students have had a considerable amount of experience with the Pa Mu Chang level of training, Lo will teach them to practice the same form movements in a smooth, continuous manner. This is the lien huan level of training. While the movements at the Pa Mu Chang level were meticulous and step-by-step, the movements at the Lien Huan Chang level continuously flow together, the transitions from one move to the next within each form section (or kua) are imperceptible, the form becomes seamless. In the Pa Mu Chang practice, the root of the power is apparent in each individual movement and each movement is clearly defined. In the Lien Huan Chang level the practitioner works to connect all movements so that the power is consistently available; there are no movements in which the expression of power appears obvious and there are no movements which lack power. At this level the form movements and expression of power also become more subtle. Lo states that the practitioner should learn to deliver a great amount of force from any part of the body at any time and express that force through small body movements. A practitioner who cannot accomplish this will always be too slow in a fighting situation.

In a fighting situation the ability to take fundamental principles based on the form movements and vary them to fit any situation is a key to success.

While the movements of each form section in the Lien Huan Chang flow together smoothly and continuously so that an observer cannot see where one move of the form ends and another begins, in the Yu Shen Chang level of training the practitioner expands the same movements, appearing to make them spontaneous and free form. Although the practitioner training at the Yu Shen level will be executing the same form sequence that was practiced at the previous two levels, he or she will be creative in the timing and articulation of the changes. At the Pa Mu Chang level the practitioner moved step-by-step in a somewhat staccato fashion, at the Lien Huan Chang level the practitioner linked the steps together so that there was continuity. The number of movements per step

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