Pa Kua Is the Art of Knowledge
Pa Kua is an art practiced by people of all ages and conditions and benefits all aspects of life. It penetrates into the mind and the body to improve physical and mental health in ways which all can enjoy. Pa Kua is a complete art, including both the external and internal, and gives its practitioner a better sense of self-confidence, increased concentration, augmented coordination, and improved flexibility.
Pa Kua stresses personal development instead of competition. It is best known as the martial arts’ circular form of combat. It uses the opponent’s momentum against him and includes the study of flips, rolls, falls, self-defense, and sparring techniques, giving confidence that will greatly benefit any student.
The study of ancient weapons is a critical part of martial arts development. Coordination, precision, and discipline are some of the numerous benefits of studying the art of combat with ancient weapons.
Pa Kua is a source for ancient arts that have been used for thousands of years. From healing ourselves and our families, to understanding the patterns in the universe, the study of Pa Kua will help us reach a clearer understanding of ourselves and our surroundings.
Pa Kua knowledge, passed down through the centuries, has transcended time and has proven to be the source of wisdom.
For thousands of years, man has looked to the stars to learn about the universe that surrounds us. Civilization has developed its living cycles and means of survival through observation of the movements repeated by the planets, the seasons, and nature in general. Today’s modern lifestyle and comforts have made many city dwellers forget the rhythm of seasons and it has become more important to return to the age-old knowledge of Tai Chi to study the movements that emulate the natural life cycles.
Tai Chi incorporates slow movements used as a form of relaxation and teaches control of every part of the body. The movements practiced are slow and steady and students focus on developing control and form as well as increasing muscle tone and improving flexibility. Fighting and self-defense techniques are included in the slow moving art. Students studying Tai Chi will improve their health and develop a sense of internal calm. Tai Chi teaches synchronization with the environment. Moving in concert with the dynamics of the cosmos. Following the movements of the universe. Looking for inner strength and outer softness. Using introspection. It’s the maximum expression of non-confrontation. It’s about opening the mind and breaking free of structure.
The study of Tai Chi also includes Chi Gong (Qigong or Chi Kung), which literally translates to “Life Energy re
ltivation” or “Working with Life Energy.” Its practice involves slow, flowing movements coordinated with deep breathing. It is a moving meditation. Chi Gong helps the practitioner access higher awareness, awakens one’s true nature, and helps to develop one’s potential.
Chinese Yoga is an ancient art derived from Pa Kua knowledge. Through movements and meditation it teaches the student to harmonize body, mind, and spirit. The movements tone and strengthen the body, promoting lean muscle that burns calories at a high rate. Stretching exercises increase flexibility, protecting from injury and provide a greater range of motion, while the breathing exercises oxygenate the body and regulate both the heart rate and cardiovascular system. The student also learns techniques to relieve stress and achieve a sense of tranquility in the midst of the chaos of everyday life. Chinese Yoga is a way of studying ourselves through stretching, postures, breathing techniques, and cardiovascular exercises.
Through the study of the self we come to understand and synchronize with everything else. Once a state of syntony, or attunement, is achieved, we can adapt to any circumstance or environment, overcoming culture shock, language barriers, and regional differences, thus finding harmony everywhere. Chinese Yoga can be described as the harmonic interaction between ourselves and all other things.
The most popular and commonly known part of Pa Kua is the martial art form called Pa Kua Chuan (Baguazhang). Many Martial Arts practitioners all over the world have been exposed to this form in one way or another. Pa Kua Chuan is easily recognized because of the circular form of walking and movement that dominates the form. Masters of various disciplines encourage their students to study Pa Kua Chuan to improve and increase the fluidity of movements in fighting techniques or in combat and sparring situations.
The Pa Kua Chuan techniques are just one aspect of the martial arts discipline practiced. There are also grappling, submissions, pressure points, sparring, self-defense, throws, escaping, rolling, falling, and others.
Pa Kua is a comprehensive martial art, which brings the student to a sense of understanding of himself as well as his surroundings. Pa Kua stresses personal development over competition, which allows people of all ages and abilities to practice toward the goal of self-improvement. It uses the opponent’s momentum against him, and a thorough study of flips, rolls, falls, self-defense and sparring techniques add confidence that will greatly benefit any student.
Pa Kua Chuan develops every part of the human anatomy by generating a proper flow of energy within the body. The movements are studied to provide an internal massage of the organs as well as develop an unparalleled coordination of movements coupled with improved mind/body communication. The training in slow forms nurtures harmony and growth of the spiritual and physical life force. Pa Kua Chuan is a complete art and gives its practitioner a better sense of self-confidence, increased concentration, augmented coordination and improved flexibility. It is an art practiced by all types of people, regardless of age, injury, or ability.
Traditional Chinese Archery is a discipline where we search for our mind. The bow and arrow have been considered by many great philosophers to be the ultimate weapon and manifestation of the way of the warrior. The relationship between the bow and the energy of our mind is stronger than with any other weapon. When an arrow is shot, the archer can see any small variation in their mind manifested by the flight of the arrow and where it strikes. The skill with which the outward, ritual form and technique of this archery is practiced is perhaps more important than a direct hit to the center of the target.
Traditional archery is a martial skill as well and there are a large variety of techniques. Many of them are meditations and many of them are combat related. Pa Kua archers learn to shoot while on the move, while running, or while in hiding or ambush. We also shoot targets that move, and hold arrows in your our hand while firing. While these practices would play a part in a combat situation, they are also analogous to working with the outside world, and with our own minds in a controlled and harmonious way.
The classes are taught at the Pa Kua studio, so they are easily accessible to all students and practitioners.
Acrobatics is the study of powerful positions, combining balance and strength, practiced by two or more people together that strengthens our understanding of society and relationships while helping each person overcome past negative experiences.
Each student will improve strength and balance through different slow exercises using their own weight and the weight of a partner. This exercises will also clean and repair the body and mind by filling all the muscles and cleansing them with fresh blood and oxygen.
Acrobatics is particularly good as a way to get to know and learn to work with others, which makes it ideal for couples, families, and groups.
Pa Kua Rhythm
The Pa Kua Rhythm classes are a combination of Martial Arts and Music. In these classes the student will burn calories, at the same time learning self-defense in a non-structured but animated Martial Arts class.
Through this class, the students will receive many benefits, such as stress relief, stretching, increased flexibility, improvement in breathing, and physical development, as well as finding the rhythm to their lives.
Rhythm teaches martial artists many combinations, which can be applied to sparring and fighting as well as providing the conditioning needed for extended practice, helping to prevent cardio-respiratory problems. In Pa Kua Rhythm, the students also learn meditation and self-defense.
In order to correctly describe this art one would be better served by calling it Reflectology. This refers to the use of microbodies to heal and harmonize the whole body. Reflexology is taught in a class format that enables the student to perform treatments both on himself and on others. A class in Pa Kua reflexology is a treatment in itself and careful attention is paid to each student and to his or her individual needs. Through the study of one’s relationship with the universe one can seek to achieve harmony.
This millennia-old traditional study, based on the traditional Pa Kua symbol, is an internal Martial Art and is concentrated on the healing of the internal organs in order to increase their capacity. The movement exercises promote organ rejuvenation, and breathing exercises, meditation, and the massage of feet, hands, and ears generate further health benefits. Our feet, hands and ears actually contain a map of our bodies on them. By learning to access a certain part of the body through massage of the foot, hand, or ear, we can promote healing or prevent organ imbalances and even diseases.
The art of reflexology was practiced in ancient China to heal family members without seeking help from a doctor. The art has been taught and practiced from generation to generation. Students who practice reflexology consistently report feeling better after class, more energetic, clear-minded and strong. People who suffer from chronic ailments such as headaches, digestive problems, back pain, weight imbalance and stress-related pains turn to Pa Kua Reflexology as a remedy for these afflictions. Once learned, reflexology can be practiced throughout life and used to help heal oneself and one’s family and friends. Pa Kua Reflexology is a part of the ancient Pa Kua Knowledge.
Even the health-oriented amongst us, those of us who do not care for the fast-paced, pill-popping society we live in, are still influenced by our surroundings. Vitamins and supplements fill the health store shelves and we feel we are augmenting our health when we swallow a series of vitamins in form of pills. The expression “expensive urine” is often heard and serves as an accurate description of what happens to many vitamins as they pass through our bodies.
The Pa Kua approach to nutrition is one that enables the body to receive the right amount of vitamins and vital nutrients through the processing of regular food intake. Eating the right food, in the right quantity and at the right time will supply the body with all it needs in order to maintain proper harmony and vitality in all of its daily activities. This is the Pa Kua philosophy of helping the body deal with its daily tasks, rather than taking over its job.
Even during periods of illness – or disharmonies, as the Chinese view sees it – changes in nutrition to supplement the body with substances that may have been depleted are preferable to ingesting foreign matter. During the course of day, the body performs different functions and has different needs. The human body, arising from a night’s sleep, has a need for certain food that will help it awaken and perform its functions. This period and the nutritive requirements that come with it ends at some point during the day and other needs arise.
The concept of Sky, Man and Earth divisions, both in respect to the hours of the day and to the division of foods, is omnipresent. The Yin/Yang concept is also one used in the Pa Kua nutritive system, as well as the Five Elements and the Eight Changes. The Pa Kua nutritive system is both simple and complicated. It can be used as a loose guideline for healthier eating habits, or it can be followed rigorously as a serious dietary discipline. Its principals are clear and easy to incorporate. An understanding of Pa Kua Nutrition does not necessitate a thorough understanding of Chinese philosophy or human anatomy. The full course in Pa Kua Nutrition can be studied by a layman and will also be of immense benefit to a health care professional.
As an integral part of Pa Kua, the study of ancient weapons is critical to martial arts development. Coordination, precision, and discipline are some of the numerous benefits of studying these weapons. The art of combat with one of these weapons was very often developed out of necessity, using common ordinary items. The stick that accompanied a traveler on his journey turned into a weapon and its use eventually evolved into an art. The common household item used to carry water back from the well was used as a weapon in an emergency. Other ancient weapons are actual weapons of war.
Their study is accompanied by a study of the warrior’s discipline, which helps us today in our daily battles of life. The discipline of mind and body acquired during the study of any of these weapons from the past is an invaluable tool for us today. Some of the ancient weapons taught in Pa Kua are a variety of Swords, Long Stick, Short Sticks, Boken, Shinai, Jian, Articulated Double Sticks (Nunchakus), Three Articulated Sticks, Throwing Knives, and Night Stick.