The Single Palm Change of Zhang Zhao Dong's school is one of the simpler and more direct ones found in Ba Gua Zhang. It is reminiscent of Sun Xi Kun's Single Palm Change, but with more forward penetration and less waist turning at the end (see Sun Xi Kun's change on the cover of the last issue of the Pa Kua Chang Journal.)
1) Begin the change with the left foot forward, left hand held high inside, facing the center of the circle in the "guard stance." From this position you step forward with the right foot and kou bu, putting the heel down first and turning the toe inward. As you put weight on the right foot, you lift the heel of the left foot and turn it slightly inward. The feet are now lined up in an "eight stance," the toes point toward the center of the circle while the upper body twists at the waist to face the rear. The hands are still held in the same position. From here you continue to put more weight on the right foot, as you pivot on the ball of the left foot and turn toward the rear. At the same time, the left palm turns down toward the floor, as the right hand turns palm upward. Both arms are rounded. (You are now facing the rear.)
2) Slide the left foot forward on the line of the circle until you form the "crouching tiger" stance. A turn of the waist pulls the right hand back to the hip and propels the left hand forward. The weight is distributed 30/70 on the front and rear feet. You "sit" in your stance, opening the kua in the hips. The toe of the left foot is slightly turned in (kou). From the palms to the chest, you have an internally wrapped, externally stretched feeling. The thumb of the left hand points toward the rear heel.
3) To maneuver back on the circle, open the toe of the left foot slightly, and turn the waist to the left. Move your weight onto the left foot. The left palm presses toward the outside of the circle without changing form. The right palm spears up under the right arm, and the tiger's mouth embraces the left underarm. The right foot slides forward and the two knees brush. As you turn the waist to the right (toward the center of the circle), the right hand slides under the left arm and both arms "peng" (wardoff) to the right. While you do this, the right knee rises until the thigh is level, then the toe kicks out. End the form by placing the right foot flat on the ground while turning the palms out fully into the right "guard stance."
During the Single Palm Change, the eyes follow the index finger of the forward hand. All movements are initiated by the waist. You should have a feeling of luo kong which initiates the change of direction at the beginning and end of the form. All movements should flow one into the other without hesitation. As Wang Shu Jin wrote about the Single Palm Change: "In each movement there is yin and yang; the substantial and insubstantial; both outwardly stretched and inwardly bound. The contradiction is that once you relax the muscles a new power will issue forth. There is both turning and twisting in the waist and arms. You move in with "silk reeling energy."
Was this article helpful?