Ba Gua

Ba Gua is an element of classical Chinese martial arts, and is considered by some to be a style in its own right. Also spelled Pa Kua (depending on transcription system from English to Chinese).

The form, essentially, consists of 8 tiles or stepping stones (or tree trunks, whatever) layed out in a grid like # or tic tak toe, forming 9 spaces (including the center). A practicioner stepps from square to square following the guidelines of a system of movement that will teach him never to cross his center line during combat. The system incorporates blocks, strikes, and sometimes kicks.

Several variations exist, and some styles are based almost entirely on ba gua exercises. These systems are associated with the Taoist martial arts traditions, (as opposed to the Chan Buddhist traaditions, such as Shaolin).

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