Pa Kwa Chang (Bagua Zhang) Wooden Man Form
I have been training and teaching for decades and accumulated many different forms and training methods and they all come together in The Pa Kua Chang Wooden Man Form. The Pa Kua Chang Wooden Man Form is how to apply all the different components of the martial art of Pa Kua Chang for fighting.
I now train in the martial arts because I train in the martial arts, I used to train in the martial arts because I gravitated towards fighting and conflict. But now it is all about the training however the training has to still be based around fighting……even though its not about fighting!
So in my training I have empty hand forms that contain all the movements and techniques and tactics and strategies and fa jin and dim mak also I have two person full contact pre-arranged fight sequences that are the application of the moves on the person however I cannot land the blows with full power on my students because it would cause serious injury to them. I also practice iron palm and iron body training as separate individual skills. Now all these different and essential components are brought together in the Pa Kua Chang Wooden Man Form.
When I practice The Pa Kua Chang Wooden Man Form I am using the movements of the Chinese Internal Martial Arts with their most extreme applications with full power fa jin dim mak whilst also training iron body and iron palm using all the techniques and tactics and strategies of Chinese Internal Martial Arts, it really is the ultimate form.
So now to go into some details, the Pa Kua Chang wooden man has four arms at right angles. The Pa Kua Chang Wooden Man Form has eight parts. Each part is practised in each of the four quadrants both clockwise and anti clockwise, so each part is practised eight times and there are eight parts 8 x 8 = 64. So we get the eight trigrams and sixty four hexagrams of the I Ching Book of Changes which is the Taoist philosophical framework that the martial arts system of Pa kua Chang is built upon.
Each of the eight parts is a series of pre arranged movements that are a response to being attacked. The arms of the wooden man represent the arms of the attacker, so we begin by striking the arms, we then strike the body/neck/head which is the tree trunk central section.
Each of the eight parts has a variation on this basic idea, for example…….a different way of attacking the arms, striking them or breaking them or dislocating them etc a different way to attack to the opponents body, a type of kick, all eight Pa Kua Chang kicks are used, or a body check or a leg sweep or a low elbow or palm strike etc a different way of attacking the neck, striking, chop, palm striking, breaking, elbowing a different way of attacking the head, striking, chopping, fire palm striking, elbowing, cobra strike, earth palm strike, dragon claw etc
Also each of the eight parts has a variation on the strategy used to defeat the opponent, some times it is a direct attack, other times an emphasis on evasion using the coiling and uncoiling unexpected manoverings of the Pa Kua Chang dragon.
The many different angles that can be employed for a counterattack are also explored. Pa kua being famous for its skilful and fast footwork takes this idea further than any other martial art. It is a clever, brilliant and beautiful form.
All the moves are done with both the right and left side of the body in both the clockwise and anti clockwise directions so we are getting perfect balance and coordination for both sides of the body and both halves of the brain. We are training ourselves to fight equally as effectively with any part of our body in any direction….a very comprehensive approach to practical combat.
This form also has the most amazing and surprising benefit of creating vast amounts of chi energy in the body. It is very strange, you hit the wooden man with great force but instead of becoming drained by this experience you become charged up, the whole body feels powerful and robust, sturdy and positive, you feel as if you are filled with confidence and optimism, quite wonderful!
I only teach this form to students of mine who I think are at a high enough level to be able to actually do it. If a student does not have the ability to fa jin and does not know how to strike with the loose heavy power of the whole body whilst maintaining the internal connectivity of the body structure then they will just severely injure themselves and not get any benefit.
So I teach this form but am very selective as to who I will teach it to:
1. The student has to be at a level where they are able to actually do the form, this is only possible if they have already covered the basics.
2. This form gives the practitioner immense martial arts power, the power to break bones and defeat the opponent with one crushing blow, so I must be sure that the student has a good moral and ethical character.
A much more detailed explanation of the whole Pa Kua Chang system is contained within The Training Manual of The College of Chinese Martial Arts