When Gong Bao Zhai teaches, each student has his or her own personal program. The part of the system a student will start with and how they progress from that point depends on each individual student. Young/old, strong/weak, male/female, and other physical characteristics are taken into account as well as the student's individual goals in practice. Someone who wants to study the art for health will have a different training program than someone who is interested in learning the entire system. Gong teaches each student differently based on what they need to develop internally. He can look at a student and tell what would be good for the overall health of their body and then begin their training with those movements.
A beginning student who is young, male, and interested in learning the entire Ba Gua Quan system will start by learning basic hand methods, finger strength training, basic waist training, and basic stances. There are three basic standing postures, the "horse riding" stance - qi ma bu), the "bow and arrow" stance - gong jian bu), which is also called the "climbing the mountain" stance J-i IP* - deng shan bu), and "containing chances" stance ( ^^ 7F - hanji bu). In training the legs the students will first hold the stances, then execute stepping methods which utilize the stances, and then perform "jumping stance" training for balance and coordination. After this training is complete the student will then perform post-stance training whereby the stances are held on top of five posts which are stuck in the ground. Four posts are placed in the shape of a square and the fifth post is placed in the center. The student steps from one stance to another on top of the five posts. This training further improves the leg strength and balance.
After completion of the basic training methods, the first form the young male student will usually be taught is the Li Gong Quan form. He will then be
Gong Style Ba Gua Zhang Basic Stances
taught other forms in a sequence which corresponds with his growth potential in the art. Gong teaches by "prescription" and thus each student's program depends upon his or her individual progress. Because there is no set sequence of training, we will simply present the components of Gong's system with the understanding that the sequence of training will vary from student to student.
Gong Bao Zhai's system of Ba Gua consists of the forms and practices which are divided into two categories: internal and external (see chart at the top of page 6). However, the term "external" as it is used here does not have the connotation of being "hard" or "stiff." The "external" aspects of Gong's Ba Gua are intimately related to the "internal" aspects and cannot be separated. Just as the interior and exterior of the body cannot be separated, the "internal" aspects of this Ba Gua system cannot be separated from the "external" aspects. They are two integral parts of the whole.
While training methodology and emphasis of the "internal" and "external" forms of Gong's system will vary from one form to another, one consistent aspect of the training which differs between the internal forms and the external forms is the "type" of qi (-SL) which is trained. Gong Bao Zhai's senior student, He Jin Han, explained that the qi in the body can be divided into two types. One is the qi that runs parallel with the muscle fibers and another which runs from the skin directly to the organs through the jing lou. The first kind of qi is trained during the execution of the external forms and the second type is trained during the execution of the internal forms.
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