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Ba Gua: Advanced Hidden Knowledge in the Taoist Internal Martial Art Paperback – 30 Sep 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books,U.S. (30 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556432763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556432767
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 1.1 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Author

Rare aspects of this rare internal Taoist art
Hi! I'm John Bracy, author of Ba Gua: Hidden Aspects of the Taoist Internal Martial Art, I have had the honor to study with one of the oldest living masters of the art of Ba Gua Zhang, Liu Xing-Han, of Beijing, China, last of the fourth generation disciples. This book describes the hidden essence of this rare and beautiful martial art.

An overview of what's in Ba Gua: Hidden Aspects of the Taoist Internal Martial Art:

1. The history of the development of internal energy, qi (also written ch'i) is given in detail. The development of these ideas are traced from "Religious" Taoists 1,800 years ago to Taoist yogis and mountain dwelling monks in the last days of the Ching dynasty.

2. Modern explanation and theory about the nature of internal energy.

3. The variant forms of qi gong, such as medical and sexual, are defined and described.

4. Archaic instructions for the art that have previously been passed down in poetic form from master to disciple are for the first time rendered in English.

5. Rare internal energy training exercises, two person training drills directly from the Beijing masters, and Ba Gua self-defense techniques are included. All of these come with photographs and clear step-by-step directions.

In Ba Gua: Hidden Aspects of the Taoist Internal Martial Art, the art is traced from second century Taoists searching for physical immortality to mountain-dwelling Taoist monks during the last days of the Ching dynasty and nineteenth century intellectuals searching for the secret of "stillness in movement." In an attempt to capture the spirit and ethos of the art, Master Liu and I chose to focus on hidden and rare aspects of the Taoist art instead of the common form. It especially explores the yogic self-healing and meditative as well as the arcane aspects of the style.

"Why?" and "How?" did Chinese philosophers link with martial artists who, together, created the internal martial arts? This book traces the link between intellectuals of the Boxer Rebellion period and the development of the "soft" or "internal" martial arts.

I first learned about internal energy in the martial arts over thirty years ago and have been fascinated with the relationship between internal power and martial art ability, acupuncture, meditation, and Taoist Yoga since then. The martial art of Ba Gua, the mysterious art of turning, coiling, and twisting movement, was the answer to my search. It is an art of Taoist yoga, health and longevity. Ba Gua has become a cornerstone of training at Hsing Chen, my martial art school in Southern California. I hope this book will be helpful to the martial expert and student alike in their quest to understand and improve the essence of their own practice.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Books about ba gua are rare, so I snapped this up as soon as I saw it. I liked the history aspect of the book which tells how ba gua was developed, the purpose of walking in a circle, etc. But aside from that, it's clear that the author has reached a refined degree of practice and understanding about this profound art. It inspired me to resume learning ba gua, and much more seriously than before. It's a great book for anyone interested in tai chi, chi gung, and other internal martial arts.
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By A Customer on 28 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
I recomend this book simply because English books on baguazhang are rare to begin with. However, the potential reader should be aware of a few problems. First of all, the author jumps from basic circle walking directly to two-man exercises and applications. This will cause a problem for beginners who might benefit from pictures of the author's form so that they can get a "feel" for how the style moves (baguazhang doesn't move like anything else). So a beginner will have no frame of reference. However, I can't say this is a book for advanced practicioners either because the applications are very (!) simplistic. Don't look here for bagua's inherent complexity! Also, the exercises and applications are difficult to follow because they lack arrows depicting the movements of the practicioners. The first 50 pages on history and theory are pretty good although they borrow heavily from the "Pa Kua Chang Journal" which (in Bracy's defence) was a pretty comprehensive journal and a tough act to follow. I guess I was also disappointed in this book because Liu Xing Han's Chinese books are considered modern classics (and rightly so). Why not simply translate them and make them available to the baguazhang community?
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Format: Paperback
I am a former student of Master John Bracy, and a T'ai Chi instructor at the Kapiolani Women's Center and 24Hour Fitness in Hawaii. I studied T'ai Chi Ch'uan at Hsing Chen School of Internal Healing Arts and had the opportunity to observe private classes with my Sifu and his Ba Gua students. I remember hearing the shared laughter between teacher and student as they challenged each other using this mysterious and beautiful art. I found this book on Ba Gua to be informative and inspiring. I now incorporate the chapter on Ba Gua Qigong in my classes and my life and have made his book "required" reading for every student. They tell me that reading "Ba Gua" helped them achieve a deeper and clearer understanding of T'ai Chi as well as stimulate interest in learning more about Ba Gua. I hope that all students of the internal arts get a chance to read this well written work. It's like getting private lessons with the Grand Masters!
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By A Customer on 23 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
The book covers the history and development of Bagua quite indepth and I found it quite a good read. The only thing I was dissapointed about was the form, the instructions were not that clear and none of the possible applications were talked about in the form. I would only get the book to learn more about the history and development of Bagua.
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Format: Paperback
This book is obviously not intended for the beginning Baguazhang student. Then again, there comes the argument as to whether there is anything as a beginning Baguazhang student, since it is a style generally analogized as "graduate school" for martial artists.
The authors are quite knowledgeable and clear with their content matter. While I distinctly dislike the use of the phrase "Taoist yoga/yogic," the outlining of the qigong exercises were quite clear. The two-man drills were not so clear, but for someone with experience in reading martial arts texts, they were clear enough.
There's also some esoterica and history that is nice to see. The outlining and use of the generational names of the Tung Hai-Chuan lineage was especially interesting to me, as an "historical" martial artist.
It's not the best book I've seen on Baguazhang, but it certainly beats most others. For fundamental drilling and body development work, I would suggest Sifu Park Bok Nam's "The Fundamentals of Baguazhang" vols. I and II. For more translations and mediocre form delineation, I would suggest Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming and Liang, Shou-Yu's "Emei Baguazhang." Having all three texts, I feel that Mr. Bracy and his sifu's book is a fine complement to my Baguazhang and internal Chinese arts library.
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