Chang arose out of the ancient Chinese philosophy surrounding the
concept of the Eight Trigrams (from the I Ching); together
with T'ai-chi and Hsing-i, it completes the trinity of 'internal'
Legend has it that near the end of the Ch'ing dynasty, Tung Hai-ch'uan
met two Taoist sages deep in the mountains from whom he learned
the secrets of the art.
It is known as an art that is practiced by the unique technique
of "Walking the Circle," but its true martial applications are surrounded
by a veil and cannot be discerned by those who are not students
of the art.
Because it is an excellent system of such a high level, students
at the AJSMAF are allowed to begin training in Pa-kua only after
they have practiced both T'ai-chi and Hsing-i for a considerable
period and have become quite proficient in both arts.
Pa-kua Chang is an internal form whose name means "the palms [based
upon] the Eight Trigrams," which suggests that it was designed to
allow one to protect one_self even when opponents attack from all
directions. Although the actual creator of the art is unknown, old
legends state that in 1796 a certain Wang Hsiang of Shantung was
taught it to a man named Feng Ke-shan. In 1810, Feng met another
master in the art named Niu Liang-ch'en. The orthodox teachings
are said to have been passed on by two Taoist 'immortals,' Ku Chi-tzu
and Shang Tao-yuan to a youth from Hopei who was practicing austerities
on Mt. Omei in Szechwan province. Tung is regarded as the modern
father of Pa-kua. By defeating the great Hsing-i master Kuo Yun-shen
in a duel, he effected a merger of the two similar systems. To this
day, students of the Chung-nan lineage must first master OTC and
Hsing-i before they allowed to practice Pa-kua.
Pa-kua is based upon the theory of Yin-Yang and the Eight Trigrams,
and its rudiments include "eight palms": 1) standing, 2) carrying,
3) supporting, 4) cutting, 5) piercing , 6) thrusting, 7) grasping,
and 8) ox-tongue. In addition, these eight palms are combined in
eight basic forms: 1) Single Change of Palm (ch'ien), 2)
Double Change of Palm (li), 3) Hawk Soars Up to Heaven (chen),
4) Yellow Dragon Rolls Over (k'un), 5) Snake Sticks Out Tongue
(k'an), 6) Giant Roc Spreads Wings (ken), 7) White
Monkey Presents a Peach (tui), and Whirlwind Palms (sun).
The movement of Pa-kua is basically circular, and it uses mostly
horizontal strength and the open palm. The chief exercise of Pa-kua
is "walking the circle," in which practitionians seem to be doing
but walking around in a circle; what they are actually doing is
learning to revolve and rotate-though relaxed, the body becomes
like a coiled spring that requires only a touch to set it off. One
appropriate image might be that of an invincible dragon that is
able to protect it_self from any attack so swiftly that its movement
cannot even be seen.