Forms Training in Gong Bao Tian Ba Gua Zhang

As stated above, since Gong has no set training sequence, here we will simply list the forms, give a general description and state the basic training philosophy of each different form.

Ba Mu Zhang - The ba mu zhang, also called ba zhang are the "eight mother palms"

The Eight Mother Palms

Gua Name

Palm Name

Body Part

Li Gua ($Mb)

Lying Down Palm

Heart

Kun Gua (H7

Retreating Body Palm

Abdomen

Dui Gua

Embracing Palm

Lungs

Qian Gua (iMb)

Lion Palm

Head

Kan Gua

Smooth Palm

Kidneys

Gen Gua (l^b)

Back and Body Palm

Back

Zhen Gua ¿ft ib)

Flat Lifting Palm

Liver

Xun Gua (It ^b)

Wind Wheel Palm

Waist

Gong Bao Tian

(see photographs on page 8 and chart below). These are the holding postures held while the practitioner walks the circle and represent the "static" feature of each gua (^h). This set consists of a circle walking form whereby the upper body postures are held statically while the practitioner walks the circle. After the practitioner has walked the circle holding one posture for the desired length of time, he will execute a change of direction sequence of movements and then walk the circle the other direction holding the same posture. With the next change of direction the posture will change to the next palm. The practitioner will continue in this manner until he has transitioned through all eight upper body postures or "mother palms." This set is used to train the circle-walking footwork, gain knowledge of the internal and external connections related to each posture, and to learn what Gong calls "silence in moving."

Although the holding postures are obviously an important part of the ba mu zhang practice, the changing postures of this form are equally as important. There are three kinds of changing palms that the student in Gong Bao Zhai's school will learn. The first change is primarily used only when the student is practicing the change of direction from the "pushing palm" - tui zhang) posture. This palm, which is the standard Ba Gua ready stance position, is not one of the eight mother palms, but is a posture beginning students will practice while learning the basic circle-walking footwork. Gong Bao Zhai's senior student, He Jin Han, states that, "because in the pushing palm the focus is not on moving qi as much as it is filling the whole body, the pushing palm change is designed to change the direction of the body while remaining steady."

When executing the eight mother palms, there are two changes that are utilized. He Jin Han says that, "the change between palms should be slow and smooth. A sudden change will not be natural and can hurt the body, therefore, we should avoid a sudden change between yin and yang, left and right, high and

Gong Bao Tian
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