Momentum in Bagua

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Momentum in Bagua

Post  wuxia_warrior on Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:23 pm

I've finally figured out what I really meant about the differences in bagua. When I said it seems that they just stop, what my mind was picking up on but I couldn't think of was that the momentum was being interrupted. It takes a lot of energy to accelerate something and very little to keep it going, so one of the Jiulong principles is to keep momentum going. Even the 180 degree turns, when done right (which I have yet to do well) are done in a way that never breaks the momentum. The only exceptions I've come across are the single palm change when all the inertia goes into twisting all up, which is then released like a coiled spring. This is probably what mainstream bagua does in just a much more frequent manner, but just from my viewing of it, it looks like the momentum is very discontinuous.

I'm not saying that interrupting momentum can't be useful. Obviously baji and xingyi are very punctuated styles. It's just a principle I thought was a part of the art. Baji leaves me a lot more (physically) exhausted than Jiulong Baguazhang, which is good for a workout but not necessarily what you'd want in a fight. It would depend on the situation and I personally would probably use some of all that I know. The baji style is more my personality and I would likely use those type of tactics to try to win quickly, and then if it dragged on for a while go more into taiji and bagua.

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Re: Momentum in Bagua

Post  Whiteape on Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:51 am

wuxia_warrior wrote:I've finally figured out what I really meant about the differences in bagua. When I said it seems that they just stop, what my mind was picking up on but I couldn't think of was that the momentum was being interrupted. It takes a lot of energy to accelerate something and very little to keep it going, so one of the Jiulong principles is to keep momentum going. Even the 180 degree turns, when done right (which I have yet to do well) are done in a way that never breaks the momentum. The only exceptions I've come across are the single palm change when all the inertia goes into twisting all up, which is then released like a coiled spring. This is probably what mainstream bagua does in just a much more frequent manner, but just from my viewing of it, it looks like the momentum is very discontinuous.

I'm not saying that interrupting momentum can't be useful. Obviously baji and xingyi are very punctuated styles. It's just a principle I thought was a part of the art. Baji leaves me a lot more (physically) exhausted than Jiulong Baguazhang, which is good for a workout but not necessarily what you'd want in a fight. It would depend on the situation and I personally would probably use some of all that I know. The baji style is more my personality and I would likely use those type of tactics to try to win quickly, and then if it dragged on for a while go more into taiji and bagua.

Right, I actually gathered as much from what you said before and from watching Jiulong clips I would agree to some degree. Basically what you're saying is that the Jiulong Bagua solo practice has less pronounced fa jing. It's there in the applications, but not often expressed in the forms from what I've seen. It is similar to the popular Yang Taiji in this regard (continuous circles and not much change of pace).

I would still say that cheng bagua (which can also be practice in a softer and more continuous manor) also keeps momentum even with the frequency of coiling and releasing of power as do all the internals (I'll include Baji here as well). I wouldn't call it interrupted, I would describe it as fluctuating momentum. The outward expression can be difficult to make sense of, but when you move from dan tian you will distinctly feel the momentum that is created by the release of energy. There is this rebound effect which I have been trying to point out in your Baji that creates momentum to flow into the next move. Conservation of energy, efficiency of movement, and just plain physical conditioning are always going to play important factors in a fight. In Baji we train the frequent and hard release of power which over time is also refined into something softer and more "internal". This allows us to refine the mechanics for striking and throwing hard and conditions us for stamina. At this point I don't find Baji very tiring even when going hard because I've learned to relax and move efficiently through the movements. My body is conditioned for it as well. When fighting with Baji or Bagua, etc.., you don't want to just fire away like crazy, you want to move relaxed and with structure keeping ready for (or creating) an opening to strike. With any internal you want to strike very hard and efficiently and in a fight you never want to let it go very long. I'm not talking about sport fighting or sparring here. Using baji properly, I should not wear myself out at all, I should strike with great force at the opportune moment and the same should be said of all internals despite there differences in training method, in fact that's just good fighting strategy no matter what you train. In a street fight (self defense perspective), if you can get away, you get away; if you have to strike, make it count then get away. If there's more than one, even moreso. You should always conserve your energy and strike to finish and use your conditioning to get away as soon as possible.

Our bagua form has much less hardness and fajing than the baji, but there are regular moments of fa jing expression which can be done with varying emphasis. It is my opinion that Eryn does this very kind of choppy which may lead to the impression of it being more interrupted than it should be. The abrupt expression of power in the forms are a part of bagua though whether this is the case with the Li family arts or not. Smoothness and continuum should be there as well, but it can take time to achieve this feeling when issuing power. These are just different training methods from style to style.

On some level everything you say makes sense, but I can say with certainty that your perspective on these things will change with experience regardless of whether you see eye to eye with what I'm saying. When you begin to move more internally you will begin to see other things going on in your and other people's movement that you didn't notice before. Experience in how to apply your art will change your understanding as well. We haven't gotten too far into really using Baji, because there is still coarse work to be done to get you moving like one should in Baji. When sparring you should be relaxed and not exhausting yourself and that definitely carries into fighting.

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Re: Momentum in Bagua

Post  wuxia_warrior on Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:26 pm

Whiteape wrote:
Right, I actually gathered as much from what you said before and from watching Jiulong clips I would agree to some degree. Basically what you're saying is that the Jiulong Bagua solo practice has less pronounced fa jing. It's there in the applications, but not often expressed in the forms from what I've seen. It is similar to the popular Yang Taiji in this regard (continuous circles and not much change of pace).

I was going to disagree and then I saw the "pronounced" part. Yes, I would say that that's true in my experience. The fa jin is definitely still there, but it's not great extended strikes. It's smaller motion in the whole body. In some of the walking its more of a pulsing that follows the Cross the Great River principle and isn't really seen outwardly. I wouldn't say it's any more in the applications than in the forms, and I'm assuming you mean the partner-less drills since there are no forms (in the sense I usually think of them).

Whiteape wrote:
I would still say that cheng bagua (which can also be practice in a softer and more continuous manor) also keeps momentum even with the frequency of coiling and releasing of power as do all the internals (I'll include Baji here as well). I wouldn't call it interrupted, I would describe it as fluctuating momentum. The outward expression can be difficult to make sense of, but when you move from dan tian you will distinctly feel the momentum that is created by the release of energy. There is this rebound effect which I have been trying to point out in your Baji that creates momentum to flow into the next move.

I understand what you're saying, even if I can't do it very well. Interrupted/Fluctuating, however you prefer to say it, either way it's going through a null at some point. The energy may be conserved in a rebound sort of way, but as momentum is a directional thing, there is a point, however small, where there's no momentum. Just like in every strike there's a small moment when the body becomes tense (the point where you want to counter). I think the Jiulong style tries to eliminate these as much as possible so even when there is a more pronounced fa jin in a strike or something, the whole body never stops moving along with the momentum even if a hand or arm does temporarily. I guess I would try to summarize it more as you're always moving forward and the direction never changes sharply but smoothly so that there's no point of zero momentum. Of course the coiling in and springing out type of motion doesn't follow this and works on the rebound sort of idea.

Whiteape wrote:
Conservation of energy, efficiency of movement, and just plain physical conditioning are always going to play important factors in a fight. In Baji we train the frequent and hard release of power which over time is also refined into something softer and more "internal". This allows us to refine the mechanics for striking and throwing hard and conditions us for stamina. At this point I don't find Baji very tiring even when going hard because I've learned to relax and move efficiently through the movements. My body is conditioned for it as well. When fighting with Baji or Bagua, etc.., you don't want to just fire away like crazy, you want to move relaxed and with structure keeping ready for (or creating) an opening to strike. With any internal you want to strike very hard and efficiently and in a fight you never want to let it go very long. I'm not talking about sport fighting or sparring here. Using baji properly, I should not wear myself out at all, I should strike with great force at the opportune moment and the same should be said of all internals despite there differences in training method, in fact that's just good fighting strategy no matter what you train. In a street fight (self defense perspective), if you can get away, you get away; if you have to strike, make it count then get away. If there's more than one, even moreso. You should always conserve your energy and strike to finish and use your conditioning to get away as soon as possible.

Yes. Probably a lot of my getting tired out is I'm always much more tense when I'm first learning something than after I've become comfortable with it. I checked out the Wing Chun club here at UVa the one day and my shoulders were all high and tight and I was making absolute rookie mistakes that I shouldn't be making after five years of martial arts. I don't normally do those things otherwise, it's just how I get when I'm doing something new.

Whiteape wrote:
Our bagua form has much less hardness and fajing than the baji, but there are regular moments of fa jing expression which can be done with varying emphasis. It is my opinion that Eryn does this very kind of choppy which may lead to the impression of it being more interrupted than it should be. The abrupt expression of power in the forms are a part of bagua though whether this is the case with the Li family arts or not. Smoothness and continuum should be there as well, but it can take time to achieve this feeling when issuing power. These are just different training methods from style to style.

The abrupt expression of power/fa jin is absolutely there in the Li family arts, but often in a way that continues through rather than stopping momentum/changing direction at the end of it. It is more like a concentrated pulse or surge than an explosion. You're always moving into their center. I practice a lot of these finer points on my girlfriend (poor girl). Such as when we're walking on the sidewalk together our arms/shoulders will be just brushing past her and I expand out to try and throw her as far as possible with as little of my own translational motion as possible and all without changing my own vector. I understand what I'm trying to say, but I don't know that I'm conveying it very well.

Whiteape wrote:
On some level everything you say makes sense, but I can say with certainty that your perspective on these things will change with experience regardless of whether you see eye to eye with what I'm saying. When you begin to move more internally you will begin to see other things going on in your and other people's movement that you didn't notice before. Experience in how to apply your art will change your understanding as well. We haven't gotten too far into really using Baji, because there is still coarse work to be done to get you moving like one should in Baji. When sparring you should be relaxed and not exhausting yourself and that definitely carries into fighting.

I agree. I've learned a lot since I started learning from you, and I know I have much, much further to go.

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Re: Momentum in Bagua

Post  Whiteape on Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:23 am


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Re: Momentum in Bagua

Post  wuxia_warrior on Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:39 pm

Yes, exactly. I wasn't present at that particular occasion (that was two years ago at the Gathering. I only went to the festival that year.) However, Dr. Painter did a whole (1.5 hour) seminar just on fa jin at the festival this past year that I attended. If I haven't succeeded in conveying what I meant, it'd be easier to demonstrate in person.

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