This article has the following major sections. Click on a link to jump to that section.

  1. A Detailed Study Of Ba Gua Zhang's Single Palm Change
  2. Four Pillars of Training
  3. Ba Gua Zhang Movement
  4. The Definition of Single Palm Change
  5. The Form
  6. The Movements
  7. The Principles
  8. Conclusion

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A Detailed Study Of Ba Gua Zhang's Single Palm Change

The Form

Sun Zhi Jun shows an
outside single palm change

In defining the general motions of the single palm change in the last section, we gave an idea about how this move might be executed. In this section we will discuss numerous examples of how the single palm change sequence might be executed in an attempt to give the reader an idea of the variety which is present in the execution of this maneuver.

A very simple single palm change movement is demonstrated earlier by Park Bok Nam. As you con see, all of the characteristics are present. The palms change, the body rotates around its central axis, the direction of forward motion changes, and the kou bu and bai bu footwork methods are employed. This execution of the single palm change is very simple and direct and is used as a basic method of changing directions in the circle walk practice in Park Bok Nam's school. Park believes that the beginning student should practice a very simple change of direction like this one before more complex single palm change maneuvers are practiced. Park's entire training method is based on first learning and becoming proficient at simple methods before moving onto more complex sequences. As a practitioner develops in Park's system, the single palm change maneuvers move gradually from the simple method shown above to much more complex methods which challenge the students flexibility, agility, maneuverability, balance and coordination.

Simple changes such as the one shown by Park are somewhat characteristic of the Yin Fu styles of Ba Gua as Yin Fu style fighting tactics tend to be very direct. Of course this does not mean that all of their variations of the single palm change were simple, many of the training sets have more complex variations. However, Yin style tends to be very direct in applications and thus the simple changes were preferred.

The Liang Zhen Pu school of Ba Gua also has a very simple change which is executed in their "old eight palms" form, as demonstrated on by Li Zi Ming's student Zhao Da Yuan. This single palm change execution makes use of the "piercing palm" which is also characteristic of the Yin Fu system. Liang Zhen Pu studied Ba Gua with both of Dong Hai Chuan's top students, Yin Fu and Cheng Ting Hua, after Dong died. Thus the Liang style of Ba Gua incorporates characteristics of both styles.

Zhao Da Yuan demonstrates a simple change from the Liang Zhen Pu school of Ba Gua

The Cheng Ting Hua schools of Ba Gua tend to teach a more complex turning and twisting version of the single palm change, even at the beginning levels. The Cheng school, which includes all forms of "dragon style ba gua," "continuously linked ba gua," and "swimming body ba gua," tend to have more of a turning and twisting flavor to their movements and this flavor is expressed in their single change.

Because the Cheng Ting Hua schools of Ba Gua are by far the most widespread and have the greatest number of practitioners, we will examine the basic version of the single palm change from the Cheng Ting Hua school in order to set a standard example as a template from which we will discuss variations on the theme.

The first execution of the single palm change which we will discuss is demonstrated by Ba Gua Zhang instructor Luo De Xiu of Taipei, Taiwan. You will notice that this change is similar to the one executed by Sun Xi Kun at the beginning of this article, by Liu Feng Cai below, and by Sun Lu Tang in In His Own Words: Sun Lu Tang's Single Palm Change in the Pa Kua Chang Journal, Vol. 5 No. 5. All of these practitioners are from the Cheng Ting Hua school of Ba Gua Zhang.

Continue: The Movements Next section