Training Begins Summer, 2017
BA GUA QUAN
What is Ba Gua Quan?
Ba Gua Quan (8 Trigrams Fist) is one of the three primary "Internal" martial arts of China (Along with Tai Chi and Xing I Quan). It uses the training practice of circle walking and the "Eight Mother Palm" postures to develop increased focus, improve health throughout the body, and develop balance and rapid footwork required to applying the various techniques in a self defense situation. It's forms simulate effective and intelligent fighting techniques incorporating strikes, holds and throws.
I developed my love for martial arts as a child in the 70's going to see kung-fu movies with my grandmother. My first formal instruction came at Rutgers University when I signed up for a self-defence class as a physical education credit. (It was here that I was also introduced to the sport of fencing). Though it was more of an introductory Judo class, it helped to reaffirm my love of martial arts.
Next, I studied under Sifu Paul Vizzio at "Vizzio's Wai Mo Kwoon" in Union City, New Jersey. I visited the school and took a free lesson and was very impressed. That same evening I happened to turn on ESPN and who did he see? Sifu Vizzio competing in one of his numerous championship fights. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get back to that school and learn from the Champion. Under the tutelage of Sifu Vizzio, I studied the Fu-Jow Pai system and learned Kickboxing. I was successful in my studies and amassed numerous victories in continuous contact and full contact matches and tournaments. One of the highlights of my training was being chosen to spar with Sifu Vizzio as he prepared for some of his Championship fights. It was a humbling and eye-opening experience to move in the ring with a kickboxing legend.
While my initial interest was to learn how to fight, I felt that he had reached a level of proficiency in fighting that I was comfortable with. I wanted something a little different; but what? My inquiry led me to seek internal martial arts as a possible solution. A book and a few phone calls would change everything.
How did I choose Ba Gua?
The book "The Power of Internal Martial Arts and Chi" by Bruce Frantzis was my first introduction to Ba Gua. Ironically, after reading the book I had decided that I wanted to learn Xing I. I called a few schools but never got an answer. Then I stumbled upon an website advertising instruction in Ba Gua Quan in Summit, New Jersey. My search was over. The next decade and a half of my life was spent learning from Master Tu Kun-Yii.
Master Tu Kun-Yii:
The style of Ba Gua taught by Master Tu was very different from that described in Mr. Frantzis's book. What Master Tu taught seemed to be more linear, but upon closer inspection it used the rotational movements with great subtlety. Increased focus, improved health and and simple yet practical self defense skills were the byproduct of his instruction. He could seem harsh at times (by American standards), but was always fair. Instead of giving false compliments to inflate his students egos, he was honest about our progress and what we should do to improve. Some aspects Master Tu would explain openly from the start, while other things he preferred that you search within to figure it out for yourself. He emphasized that there are no shortcuts or magical moves. Robust, focused and consistent training are the key to improvement. Although his lineage is extremely impressive, he often said that what matters most is if it works. It works!
My Goals as Instructor:
I've been very fortunate to have learned a few things during my scholarship in the martial arts. It's obviously a never-ending journey, but I think I've come a long way and I've enjoyed the trip thus far. From those old-school kung-fu movies to being a self defense instructor at the Somerset County Police Academy, to now teaching on my own, I've experienced many exceptional moments thanks to great instruction and a true love of the arts. As an instructor I want to share what I've learned as well as improve my own skills through instructing others.
I've felt the thrill of competitive kickboxing and the benefits of Ba Gua Quan. It's the latter that I want to spread most of all. It's a transformative art. What other art has specific exercises for the individual internal organs (Heart, Lungs, Liver & Kidneys)? In addition Ba Gua has helped me to improve my physical strength, my speed and balance, and even my emotional stability. As I near 50 I feel better in many ways than I did 20 years ago.
This art transfers quite well to many other activities. If you want to be better at other sports (football, basketball, track and field, etc.) the footwork and balance gained through Ba Gua Quan can help to make you better. If you just want to be healthier, Ba Gua Quan offers low impact exercises that can vastly improve your health. While the exact training will vary depending upon your needs, the core fundamentals can help you to achieve them.
I will be teaching:
The basic stances
4 Changes (transitions) of our Circle Walking technique
4 internal Mother Palms
4 external Mother Palms
64 Pao Chui Form