levels when engaging in Kua Chang, however, other, one extended guarding the door P an Chang the front sky. Ren Wen Zhu position allows the ch'an szu twisting opponent.
is fully shown with twisting, rolling, movements, in China's this.
Interestingly and fortunately, foreign practitioners who perform traditional Pa Kua still tiy to employ the ch'an szu even though not everyone can produce it from the body.
Comparing the percentage of the kang (hard) and the jou (soft). Pa P an Chang is more kang than Pa Kua Chang. I think there are three reasons for this. First. Beijing has long been the cultural and artistic capital of China. Home to the highest level of China's arts, all who dwell within its walls are strongly, if unconsciously, influenced by its aura. It makes sense, then, that the Pa Kua coming from Beijing is more aesthetic than its country brother. Pa P an Chang.
Most unfortunately, the worst example of tang ni pu, found in China's modern wushu, is now starting to spread to foreign countries.
Even Ren Wen Zhu, who won his gold medals performing Pa P an Chang, recognizes that Pa Kua Chang looks more beautiful in performance. Second, many people practice Pa Kua Chang for health maintenance. So their execution, based on individual ability and bodily well being, is of necessity more relaxed, slower, and doesn't push hard to match combat standards. Third, kung fu is no longer used on the battlefield. Most Pa Kua branches, since the second or third generation, no longer teach power issuing. So Pa Kua Chang training has ended up in gentle, elegant, dignified palm changing and circle walkings. Its focus has been shifted to the yin-yang principle. Pa Kua philosophy, and fairy-tales.
Today, very few Pa Kua Chang practitioners practice real usage. Lots of people who show Pa Kua applications are actually borrowing techniques from other kung fu styles or from other Asian martial arts such as judo or aikido. Some stylists do perform some authentic Pa Kua Chang techniques but can't use them in free sparring. The main reason for this is lack of power issuing training. This is unbelievably strange and sad since Pa Kua Chang especially accentuates power issuing training — otherwise, why such focus on whole-body ch'an szu? Ch'an szu ching is the power issuing method. The fact that Wen An's Pa Pan Chang training must include power issuing means that either it is really the senior style or perhaps that Pa Kua Chang lost this essential element in the big city. For Pa P an Chang, almost every circle running palm change can be done in a straight line for usage and power issuing training.
Comparing the percentage of the kang (hard) and the jou (soft), Pa P'an Chang is more kang than Pa Kua Chang.
Another interesting point of discussion is how many forms is Pa Kua Chang supposed to have? It's popular to think that more is better. Those who have fewer forms are criticized for being incomplete. Masters who learned directly from Tung Hai-Ch'uan already had some background in kung fu and many had already reached very high levels in other styles. So when they began to teach Pa Kua Chang, some of them adopted and converted forms from their original styles to help their own pupils. Therefore different branches do have both differing
numbers of forms and diverse ways to perform them. The effectiveness of the form —how helpful it is to the practitioner — not the number of forms is the correct criterion to judge how complete the training system is.
When any style, even any art, enjoys great popularity, almost without exception the purity of that art will be reduced. That Pa Kua Chang is practiced worldwide now should make us proud. At the same time, many practitioners have watered down the art and even promulgated misconceptions. Therefore it is always necessary and helpful to trace back the origins of the art as far as possible.
To find a branch or master who still preserves the purest possible form is most desirable. However, it is a good rule of thumb that the countryside will keep to the more original form than the city. In this regard, Wen An county's Pa P an Chang can provide a strong technical reference for all Pa Kua lovers.
Wen An is only a half day's trip by bus from Beijing. Next year work begins on the Jin Jiu Railroad which will connect Beijing to Kowloon. It will be completed in 1996, the year Hong Kong and Kowloon are returned to China and Wen An will be one of its stops. Wen An is presently working on the blueprints for their proposed Tung Hai-Ch'uan Wushu Memorial Academy. After building is completed, it will be dedicated to the promotion of Pa Kua Chang and all other styles popular in the area. Certainly, they deserve our contributions and helping hands so that they may share their valuable and unique art with the outside world.
Ren Wen-Zhu and his student Liu Chun-Ling demonstrate the "engaging posture."
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