View Full Version : What is linear Pakua????

04-06-2001, 05:32 AM
I knew that some styles of pakua had some forms that had linear elements, but in the last couple weeks I have read posts on various forums that say things like: 'Bok Nam Park's pakua is very linear and rigid. It has a Hsing-i flavor.' 'Adam Hsu's pakua is heavily influenced by baji and is linear.'

What is linear Pakua? Is it better or worse or equal to the more circular styles of pakua? Is Yin Fu style linear (Hsu does Yin Fu)? How about the pakua of Chen Ting Hua and its many offshoots (Patterson does a style which os an offshoot of Chen Ting Hua's), linear or circular? This is so **** confusing! :confused:

"Luminous beings are we."

04-06-2001, 05:53 AM
Bagua forms of yin fu style as taught in our school are mostly both linear and two sided and circular. The ones that I have learned so far are pretty much the same. Not to say the techniques are circular, only the direction of the form. After learning all the basics and pricipals we learn the form on a line. Later we do them on the circle. I'm learning an interesting one now that is unique in that it follows the pattern of the deerhorn knives if you layed them on the ground point to point.<

04-06-2001, 03:07 PM
Linear forms are often said to be Yang (pre-birth) and are the combat side of Ba Gua. Circular forms are said to be Yin (post birth) and are supposed to be the internal, chi-kung aspect of Ba Gua. Personally I've had a lot more luck using the circular palms in self defense.

The style I practice (RW Smith's lineage) Has 32 linear sets and 32 circular sets. Both of these are practiced L and R sides. The linear sets could be said to be "Softer, Rounder Hsing I," but I think that sells them a little short. They really emphasize the waist and I THINK they may be about teaching you to do the same thing as walking the circle (turn the corner, etc) without actually having to move.

Sam Wiley
04-06-2001, 03:36 PM
Erle Montaigue's Bagua system has two forms, one circular and one linear. They are two different forms, though, the linear one is not the circular form done in straight lines. I've heard about the difference between pre and post heaven before, but I don't know about that kind of thing. It never came up when I learned the forms. The only thing I was told was that the circular form was where you learned all the internal stuff, and the linear one was where you learned to fight.

I wouldn't say that one was any better than the other, as they are both the same art. And actually, there are some Bagua forms heavily influenced by Xingyi, where the practicioners walk straight across the circle. In one of Adam Hsu's teaching tapes, I think he even walks off on a tangent to the circle about 5 feet away from where the edge of the circle should be. I wonder if there are any linear forms where the practicioner walks in a circle once.

Hey, Count: that Deerhorn shaped form sounds really interesting. Would you tell us a bit more about it?

"I put forth my power and he was broken.
I withdrew my power and he was ground into fine dust."
-Aleister Crowley, The Vision and the Voice

04-06-2001, 04:53 PM
Tao Boxer, I am curious about your system/RW Smiths lineage. I am not too familiar with it. Could you give more info about it? You say there are 32 linear and 32 circular forms. Do you mean complete sets? Are they not the same linear forms on a circle? Also, I made a similar point about pre and post heaven in the thread here about it (http://forum.kungfuonline.com/1/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=126197291&f=123191102&m=7811926281). Maybe you could add to it?

In Yin style I am only aware of or have been taught ten forms although I have been told that there are 15 including weapons. I guess if I counted the linear and circular separately it would equal about 30. Our system comes from Yin Fu through Gong Bao Tien. I have looked (a little bit) at some forms from other styles and where they appear slightly different I can recognize the basic principals. The eight mother palms, numbers of single and double palm changes, combinations of elements, or the legs from kicking form etc. etc. I have not seen one that emphasizes elbows the way our elbow form does but I'm sure the principals are there. Maoshan has a list of around 100 forms of different families at his web site but I am not sure many of them are not just duplicate versions from other styles. I haven't seen them all. I have often wondered how many Yin style forms there actually were?

Sam, YinSao (continuous, without a hitch) form is an interesting one. It is taught as a hand form but translates to our deerhorn knives set. It is a complete bagua form in that it has all the elements of the 8 mother palms or animals and incorporates some cool shaving/scraping/stabbing basics. It does indeed follow the circular pattern and includes stepping in the directions of the hooks. Unique in that aspect of the hooks and also, I have never learned a linear version of the form. Of course, when we practice the basics we do them with linear stepping but the form as far as I know only has a circular version.


04-07-2001, 08:03 PM
Dear Count:

The initial deerhorn knife form we learned started as an open hand form and I believe we titled it Ying Shou. We call it tighthand. It is really not completely linear in the sense of one straight line. We aim for corners. We also, at the higher levels, add in the circle walk from the various lines of the 8 mother palms---this involves some linear then walking the circle with 1, 3 5 and 7 of our 8 mother palms. This weekend I just finished the bagua jian and it has linear components but also 16 circle walking parts.

I hope that Yang Laoshi and Tsou Laoshi can get together soon. BTW, one of my very close friends who is a TCM Zhong Yi lives in your area. His herbal knowledge is outstanding and he graduated from one the best TCM in China (Beijing). He is becoming certified in acupuncture (although he has trained in this in China for over ten years). He has helped a lot of people and is straightforward if he thinks he cannot help. He also knows all the levels of Zhineng Qi Gong and has trained directly with Dr. Pang Ming (his brother does this for a living in Beijing). Feel free to contact me personally if you need the services of a good zhong yi.

Back to bagua---I also learned this weekend that the square walking was critical in the bagua jian for make quick turning strikes, slices and blocks

Sam Wiley
04-07-2001, 08:45 PM
Interesting, guys.

There are some times I prefer to do the Bagua Twin Dragon Sword form without the swords, just empty handed. It's like a really simple yet beautiful empty hand form when done without the swords, and I can still see empty handed applications for many of the movements.

That sounds like an interesting pattern, Count. Care to send me a demo vid of some of your stuff? Sounds like you are learning some truly unique stuff.

"I put forth my power and he was broken.
I withdrew my power and he was ground into fine dust."
-Aleister Crowley, The Vision and the Voice

04-07-2001, 09:38 PM
First of all, forgive my pinyan as I'm sure it is off. I am sure the form you are talking about is the same from your description of hitting the corners and your translation tighthand. In analyzing the translation we come up with a number of eplainations. I was first told it was "without a hitch" but a more accurate translation we come up with is "ba gua hard hands" which I interperate to mean the deerhorns.
Sam, You can see some stuff at my website kabooom.com (http://kabooom.com/) There is a video of my teacher doing 64 palms and many photo's of me doing the form we are discussing (without the deerhorns) The form is not complete and somewhat out of order but I am working on a complete photo series of it and Chen short form as we speak. I will attempt to video Yin Sao and the elbow form soon and post it. Much of the stuff is many years out of date but I will be doing a lot of updates soon. If you visit my site (http://kabooom.com/), don't forget to sign my guest book.

04-07-2001, 11:22 PM
Palm changes can be performed either by walking the circle, or in a linear fashion.

"Deep down inside of all of us is the power to accomplish what we want to, if we'll just stop looking elsewhere."

les paul
04-10-2001, 02:13 AM
"linear Bagua, that's Xingyiquan!" he he he he

Just kidding...

04-10-2001, 02:28 AM
Many truths are spoken in jests!
You are only a little off target!

04-10-2001, 06:41 PM

In the Smith forms that I have learned, the Linear and the Circular palm changes are different. You don't simply walk straight to make Circular changes Linear. To see the linear forms, look for Smiths 1967 Ba Gua text. Most of what is in there is the Linear stuff. Then a little circular thrown in at the end demonstrated by Paul Guo, his teacher. You gotta remember...this book was published when Karate and Judo were the only martial arts familiar in the US. (and maybe some Tai Chi...)

As for the Linear changes, they are more rounded than any of the Hsing I I learned. They involve the waist to a much larger degree and are more receptive and, well....Ba Gua-like. There is a lot of pyen stepping (moving back and forth at a 45* angle, using a suspended step) involved though, much like Hsing I. My sifu said he used to teach the Linear sets first b/c it was easier to get a total beginner or a hard-stylist to understand them.

As for you guys talking about the deerhooks and the sets you have learned, I am REALLY interested in seeing them...but on the other hand, I was told this: "Fight with weapon or fight with hand.....all is one." Other than the YMAA tape from the Emei set, are there any tapes or books on the Deer Hook out there?? Personally, I lean toward paired daggers..... Much easier to conceal and a lot cheaper to buy!!

(shameless plug: I make aluminum Ba Gua Dao, Deerhook, Jian and Dao)

04-10-2001, 07:32 PM

The Count and I are both from the same lineage although I most readily admit he is much more knowledgeable about the bagua than myself.

I do not refer to the linear bagua as linear---it is noncircular, in our first levels. You are most correct in stating that the open form is first then the weapon is put in. That is exactly how we learned the first level of our deerhorn knife form (Ying [hard] Shou [hand] the difficulty in translating the idea is here. We refer to it as tighthand and others even within our lineage translate it slightly different which just shows how hard it is to translate and understand even in similar lineages}. The initial level is not simply a simple linear line. It has combinations of lines directed at the various corners of the bagua with transitional lines. Moving it to the second level by incorporating the 8 mother palms is not a simple transition. Many of the steppings and transitional strikes are somewhat different from the simple execution of the 8 mother palms in the circular form. You are correct, I have learned the second level simply as the open hand form and will hopefully add the deerhorn knives to the level in the future.

Bagua combination fist and bagua combination hand are initially taught as open hand forms and later the weapons are added. (judges pen and bagua needles). I have been told that they can also be deomposed into the circle walk. In fact, I have seen a slight example of this but the circle is the post training (8 posts + 1 in the center = 9)

As we wrote in the past Journal of Chinese Martial Arts, we also use post training for palm and fist striking, and also body strikes too.

The system, at least what little I know of, is much more complex than anything I have ever studied. So, based on what I have learned at this point, going from a linear form to its respective circular form is not a simple one-to-one transformation. To complicate matters even more, I have also been told that the Yi Jing is used primarily for positioning your movements in and out of the circle (tells you where to cross and not cross) altough I suspect there is so much more. There is also a linkage of internal palms to various organs that follow a particular order in the process of conditioning the body (circulate the qi and blood) and it may also follow the seasons but I only have been exposed to a very small piece of this. We tend not to interpret this on a mystic plane but simple conditioning and training based on very very simple TCM principles. Perhaps in the future, this will change.

Anyway, I am sure the Count can probably add detail or fix any misinterpretations I have made. Although I have trained in the fundamentals of Yin Fu bagua for a reasonable time, I am certain that I know only a thumb nail sketch and its good to read all the exchanges on this forum for new insights

Kung Lek
04-10-2001, 09:37 PM


love that linear=hsingI post hahahaha.


Kung Lek

04-10-2001, 10:00 PM
Kung - maybe in your lineage, but there's no inherent truth to those definitions. In many lineages it's the opposite. In many others, both are circular.

04-11-2001, 05:58 AM
In my lineage it's elliptical . . .

04-11-2001, 12:33 PM
Pre Birth is yang, linear

Post Birth is Yin, Circular

Branden, please explain your post. I've never heard of any other way of arranging it. Are the linear and circular sets just an invention of Gao? Or is it a result of the cross-training in hsing i in Beijing and Tianjin at the turn of the last century?

04-11-2001, 09:29 PM
Perhaps I could reply more easily if I know where you are getting those definitions from.

In all the books I've read about the I Ching, both King Wen's arrangement (post-birth) and Fu Xi's arrangement (pre-birth) are intially arranged circularly. Of course, both can be written out in linear if you wish, but it doesn't change their meaning. Also, the difference between the two is that they describe the interactions of yin and yang under two different sorts of processes. So I don't see how one can be considered yin and the other yang - they are both completely balanced in this regard.

If we're talking just about baguazhang, I'm sure you know there are many circular pre-birth forms, such as Jiang Rong Qiao's original which I practice. And of course there are many linear post-birth forms such as Yan Dehua's 64 palms.

I do not believe any of this is the invention of Gao. In regards to the relationship to the I Ching, Sun Lu Tang also talks about this; as would anyone trying to draw such connections, since it's an essential part of the I Ching. Again if we're just talking about baguazhang, we see linear post-birth sets in many lineages other than Gao's (Yan Dehua of Cheng Tinghua mentioned above, Liu Dekuan's 64 palms, etc). And of course all sorts of circular pre-birth forms outside of Gao lineage (just about anyone you can think of).

05-07-2001, 04:31 AM
Linear bagua has ballet spins on the line....

Turiyan, Brahmin caste, Ordos clan

The REAL taichi:

Crimson Phoenix
05-08-2001, 11:56 AM
There is a style of bagua called bagua xingyi that, as the name indicates, mixes xingyi and bagua rather heavily while still clearly remaining bagua...
This style has xingyi techniques executed inside the circle, so it's not really linear (I liked the term "non-circular" used by someone), and not really circular either (your body isn't twisted as when you perform typical bagua moves).
In this style you can also work the most of the palm-changes in a linear fashion before performing then while doing the bagua walk after...
Sometimes you can also cross the circle, but I have seen that done only while moving "freestyle", not during the forms...
I believe this style was created by Zhang Zhao Dun (he had a heavy xingyi background before learning bagua with Cheng Ting Hua), whose most famous student is Jiang Rong Qiao...

05-09-2001, 12:23 AM
TaoBoxer, I too studied Changs linear PaKua but there were 8 rows and e columns with added up to 64 individual techniques. You could mix and match them into almost any combination that you wanted to. I have the original English and Chinese of these from my days on Taiwan. If you would like I will post them.

Daniel Madar
05-09-2001, 03:04 AM
Liu Feng Chun was a hsing-i master before studying with Dong Hai Chuan. Forms in Liu Feng Chun lineage are contain full circles, linear movement paths and semi-circles.

Scott Nordeng
05-09-2001, 07:24 AM
Pre-heaven and post-heaven, also known as pre-birth and post-birth, are based on the different arrangements of the ba gua trigrams. From a pre-birth/post-birth perspective, pre-birth ba gua is practiced walking the circle and the palm changes are done in a low, extended fashion. In many of the pre-birth changes, your head goes down lower than your butt like a fetus inside the womb(right before birth). These movements are combined with stillness of mind, ceaseless motion, and continuous change. These practices are what makes ba gua different from gung fu, and this pre-birth practice is the path to return to your original nature.
The eight pre-heaven palm changes(in the Gao system) are the inspiration for the straight line fighting forms. These forms are practiced in repetitive motion or linked together in any combination. To the person who asked about Robert Smith's book, I believe Robert Smith shows a number of the Gao post-heaven forms and then shows a method of linking them in a systematic arrangement. I have heard people say that linear ba gua looks like Xing Yi, that Xing Yi uses a vertical circle and that ba gua uses a horizontal circle. It's just not that simple. Ba gua works both the vertical and horizontal circle and even though some of the footwork and hand techniques are from Xing Yi (in the Gao system), it is the nature of the training that gives linear ba gua a different quality. Since I am not a Xing Yi practitioner, I can't go into specific details on how they are different. I've been going to Jason Tsou's Yin ba gua class with the Count. They are going to be holding a seminar(see Count's post) on their 64 palms which is like the pre-heaven ba gua training of the Gao system. It is not exactly the same, but that's what puts the gua in your ba gua. Anyway, I had a chance to show Master Tsou my eight pre-heaven palm changes which he said were similar to the 64 palms training. Jason is one of the best ba gua teachers I have ever seen. I would highly recommend that anyone who could go to that seminar go. He explains things very clearly and thoroughly, and his demonstrations are excellent.
The pre-heaven ba gua or other similar ba gua training and techniques that are unique, or only found in ba gua, is what makes the ba gua practitioner move the way he moves. This is what opens up his body, conditions his movements, and manifests the spirit of the Tao.


Scott Nordeng
05-12-2001, 04:46 AM


10-09-2008, 06:22 PM
What is linear Pakua? isn't that where one walks the straight circle?

"Luminous beings are we."if we can ever get the lampshade off our heads....

10-10-2008, 06:32 AM

Your website is not working. Just see a black screen in either IE7 or Firefox.

Thanks for this thread as I've never gotten an answer to what the heck Preheaven Bagua was.

10-10-2008, 02:38 PM
Linear baqua is a part of training where you perform a particular series of movements in a linear motion (staright line) and then you turn around to perform the same set opposite side!

10-18-2008, 06:43 AM
In Gao style, the linear sets are post-heaven. Gao either made these up himself or maybe with Wu Meng Xia or his teacher Han Mu-xia. Han's and Gao's post heaven stuff are very similar.