View Full Version : Bagua Zhang Training Methods...

03-24-2001, 03:04 AM
I am starting this post so that we can discuss some of the actual training methods we use to improve our Bagua.
I usually use...
-Circle walking around a tree, sometimes padded to do conditioning.
-Circle walking with a bowling ball in my extended arm.
-Ankle and body weights while circle walking.
-Mung Bean iron palm conditioning.
Well, those are just a few. What about everyone else? Any criticism on my methods?
I've heard some people say that using weights on extended arms is bad because it tenses up the shoulder too much. Any thoughts on this?


03-24-2001, 04:20 AM
I always thought circlewalking with weights on the extended arm was counterproductive, as it does not really mimic the force required for any martial action and there are possible hazards like you mentioned. While using proper structure to manipulate an increasing weight on the hand seems like an admirable training method, it may be better exercised through a big saber sword; as I think this was the intended purpose of such forms. But of course there's people with alot more experience than me doing bowling ball circlewalking, so what do I know? ;)

03-24-2001, 04:43 AM
Hard to believe that bowling ball thing. Weight training is an important part of bagua. I use shotputs in the hands, sometimes ankle weights and I recently heard a great idea of using a weighted jacket.

03-24-2001, 04:49 AM
I have heard this too and I think your arguement makes sense. In fact my teacher also said the exact same thing as you..."circlewalking with weights on the extended arm was counterproductive, as it does not really mimic the force required for any martial action and there are possible hazards." I am only doing it to give it a try. I did read ofsome old masters...I think it was Ma, that held a tub up while circle walking. I want to see if there is in fact any benefits in this practice.
Thank you for your reply. It's good to get other's opinions.


03-24-2001, 04:54 AM
Haha...Yeah, the weighted jacket is great. Up to 50lbs!! What kind of weight training do you do? The technique is important. Like Braden said above, some methods could be counter productive. I'm willing to try anything though. Experimentation is always good.


03-24-2001, 08:30 AM
I got turned on to some exercises by a Shuai Chiao guy named Matt Fury a short while back. He has a book called Combat Conditioning (or something like that). His entire work out uses no weights or machines. I have started to do some of them and I really like the results. I recommend them for anyone. For details of these, the guy has a web page, I am not sure the URL, but you are all capable of finding it. I am sure. Dr Xie Peiqi also has some very good strength training methods as well. They use dynamic tension style of development.
Another source for strenght training products, (I can already hear the crys of pain and hatred for this one), is Green Dragon Studios. Even though there is a lot of criticism of Mr Allen and his students for not showing refined movement in there forms, they do have some EXCELLENT strength development exercises. His students are all very very strong. In the past when I was between teachers I pick up some of his tapes on strength development. I think the beat most weightlifting anyday of the week. However, since I now do internal arts, I find that some of the exercises are too counter productive so I dont do them any more. I cannot recommend his "internal" stuff at all.
I hope this helps.


yi beng, kan xue

03-24-2001, 09:16 AM
good topic.
I walk around trees, use them for conditioning.
i use the vest and leg weights. and on the topic
of weights. I was taught that it should be gradual
and not go beyond 20min.
Lets see,
I do a lot of standing for alignment. I practice
free form so i can perfect the foot work, What do i mean? Each style of Ba-Gua emphasizes the particulars of it's master. Not only the Palms But the foot work as well.
Cheng, Yin, and Fu all use the foot work Differently. it's the same foot work just different. and i've found that this practice
has added a new dimension to my expression and usage of the art.

But my core training is what i Call the 64.
Which is nothing more than the 8 Mother Palms.
But i practice them in the lower basin at meium
slow speed. You want a workout? try that.

I also use Shi pei Qi's strenghting method.
Trust me, Ya need to get it from the old man.
The time i spent with him increased my over all
performance in martial arts.

It wasn't Ma, It was Cheng ting hwa.

And jumping back where i was, I just remembered
something my teacher said some years ago about
weights, They wern't used to build strengh, but rather to streatch the muscles along with the tendons and ligaments.

I hope that helps.


Practice doesn't make perfect.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect!

Mr. Nemo
03-24-2001, 09:21 AM
Mutt Furey's webpage is just www.mattfurey.com (http://www.mattfurey.com) (make sure you spell it right). I don't have his book, but I read an article he wrote once about pushups and was impressed. I might buy that book, I've heard a lot of good things about it.

I didn't know he was a Shuai Chiao guy, though. Cool.

03-24-2001, 09:15 PM
Maoshan, thank you for the corrections and insight.
I'm curious to know if anyone does any kicking training.

03-24-2001, 09:48 PM
Weighted training, not weight training, has been an important component of the bagua training in the system taught to Tony Yang by GM Liu Yun Qiao. However, you really need the guidance of a teacher for this. I have seen students (or so-called masters in the system)load themselves down with weights and then lose all proper posture alignment. These guys would walk the circle for an hour or so with simple palm changes but really wasted their time. The weights were too heavy and so all they did was struggle to hold the postures.

Weighted training must always start light---I use one brass ring per arm and do the single palm change. There is a method of holding bricks while you walk the circle but they must be light and we usually start with half bricks and they are baked light. I have heard that the da dao is used for weighted training. Weight vests are really tricky--the one that was suggested was one that wrapped around the waist, not one that is literally a vest in which you fill the pockets with weights. This tends to pull on the shoulders and really can screw up your postures.

Although I have never trained in this, the "vest" is a wrap around weight and you must use light wrist and ankle weights. There is also a sandbag like figure eight piece the lays between your forefinger and thumb. It is filled with sand on both extremes and nothing in the middle. I have heard that light body training requires the use of weighted like armor vest with weighted shin guards but really have never seen this.

Everything must be done very light and gradually built upon. I really wouldn't try it unless you had a teacher who knew what they were doing. I saw some guys put a weight vest on loosely and race around the circle. When the stopped, the vest didn't and they tore up their back and shoulder muscles. They did this without direct instruction from the teacher and paid a price. Their forms look stupid and although they are strong, they move like bulls. What a waste

04-11-2001, 11:31 AM
And jumping back where i was, I just remembered
something my teacher said some years ago about
weights, They wern't used to build strengh, but rather to stretch the muscles along with the tendons and ligaments.

is that similar to the choylifut concept of extension of limbs?? at moment of release...
something i read. made me think of circle-walking,
holding a ball at dan-tien//just the concept of
bieng well-coiled, folds the body!! even though arm is extended in a bow READ DRAGON BODY...

i study kajukenbo//hopgar, in hop gar there is bagua postures and feetplay!!!!

do you know of the history with the ching guards
and the lama pai????

Hieu Nguyen
06-28-2001, 02:07 AM
What is Mung Bean and where can I get it at? I looked around at the local supermarket and they never heard of it?
I have an iron palm training bag will that work as good?

06-28-2001, 05:51 AM
I have trained also with the bowling ball, leg and arm weights, whether doing forms, drills, or stretching. I have found that in my experience that it has helped to strengthen my joints and ligaments at gradual pace. I have also found that it has helped me with whole body movement, helping be connected in order to move the weight. Also, it has strengthened my legs in order to get more power from the ground to the trunk of my body and back out through my extremities.
"Iron wrapped in silk"

Hieu Nguyen
07-01-2001, 01:11 AM
I have searched for mung bean and I cannot find it? Is there a special type? where can I find it?
Is there any type of replacement?

I plan to use it for finger and wrist conditioning?

07-01-2001, 07:24 PM
sin loi - so what is that Dr Xie Peiqi's website?

Hieu Nguyen
07-01-2001, 07:56 PM
not sure if I understood your comment? could you clarify?

07-01-2001, 08:28 PM
Xei Pei Qi (http://traditionalstudies.org/)]


Kabooom.com (http://kabooom.com)

Chi Kung International (http://chikungintl.com)

Hieu Nguyen
07-02-2001, 08:47 AM
No one seemed to have answered my question regarding the mung bean for iron palm training is there an adequate replacement for mung bean?

07-02-2001, 09:22 PM
You can buy mung beans in any Chinese/Korean store. I use the mung bean to make a summer drink called lu dou (rice + lu dou + rock sugar + water).

Eight Diagram Boxer
08-13-2001, 08:54 PM
Are using these beneficial or not for bagua and xingyi? I thought about starting to use them in my training.

Eight Diagram Boxer
08-13-2001, 09:57 PM
I bought some mung bean yesterday, and it was small and round. I'm sure you could use any small bean though for conditioning.

08-14-2001, 12:44 AM
Personally I think some benefit could be derived from the use of wrist and ankle weights, but as far as conditioning methods go, you could do a lot better.

Think about where the additional stress plays in. Basically, the wrist weights will serve to tax your shoulder muscles (when they're engaged, and the arms are raised away from the body), and the ankle weights force the practitioner to work a bit harder in his/her stepping.

You might be able to work a bit on developing connections in your upper body...eventually your shoulders will exhaust and your structure will improve as your shoulders drop and larger muscle engage properly. But be very careful not to move rapidly or over-extend the arm while wearing wrist weights, or else the added stress on the joints could cause damage.

The ankle weights could add some leg strength (how much is questionable) but the same warning applies...kicking, "swinging" of the legs, and forceful extension of the knee joint could result in injury.

About the mung beans...don't just substitute any old beans and expect identical results. Besides providing a good striking material, mung beans are also supposed to have medicinal qualities that help with circulation and prevention of bruising in the hands. Or so I've been told. ;)

unclaimed effort
08-14-2001, 05:34 PM
As Sun Lu Tang once said while observing a Bagua class while they were circle walking.

"Faster, Faster!"

Maybe if you guys circle walk faster you will feel more of a workout. It worked for Sun Lu Tang, and look how his circle walking turned out.

Eight Diagram Boxer
08-14-2001, 06:05 PM
it won't matter how fast you're going.. speed is good but walking the circle slowly is what builds your root.

08-14-2001, 07:00 PM
What's the saying?

"If you want to move fast, practice slowly...if you want to move like lightning, practice in stillness."

I'm murdering that quote, but the idea is right. Gotta build connections if you want to move fast while rooted and controlled.

Crimson Phoenix
08-15-2001, 11:29 AM
I personaly started bagua under a direct student of Jiang Rong Qiao a year ago (yeahhhh, I'm a beginner heheheeh).
From the beginning he told me that Jiang and a lot of masters from the past would train with weight in their hands: someone mentionned bricks, but Cheng is reported to have made a demo in which he was holding two buckets full of water in his palms and walked three large circles without spilling any water (or puffing!). I also heard that people would cover their hands with big balls of mud and would practice their forms when they were dry.
I one day asked the question about the overextended arms and how it seemed contrary to the theory and it was building shoulder and arm muscles instead...my sifu looked at me with this smile (the smile that says "good try, little grasshopper, but there's one flaw in your reasoning" hehehe). He told me exactly: 1) everytime you move, you need muscles, training them a little bit can't be that bad. 2) it doesn't only buidl muscles but tendons as well if you work properly and 3) the most important thing that I had missed, much more important than the 2 others: if you carry the weights with your arms muscles, you are doing a shallow work. He told me the real goal of this training is to train to settle the arch of the shoulders and connect this bow in the spine in order to be able to withstand the weight not with your extended arms but with your body, just like an arch in a cathedral or a bridge...he told me that when you find the trick to this you can increase the weight to like 25 pounds on each hand without much troubles...needless to say, I still haven't found yet :-)
8, I personaly use ankle weight for that (I wear theem at the wrist though), they are great, rather comfortable and the big advantage is that you can practice all your palm changes with the right hand forms and movements (which must not be easy with the bowling ball!!) while wearing them...more than a good muscular workout, it's a great way of testing and feeling wether you establish the right connections in your body throughout the forms.
Good training!


08-16-2001, 12:32 PM
I don't think Xie Peiqi has his own website, buy you can check out this site. (http://www.traditionalstudies.org/html/baguayinstyle.htm)