I Ching Arts:
Circle Walking & Bagua Palm Changes

i-chingTaoist theory, as explained in the I Ching (Book of Changes), holds that manifestation happens through ever-more complex weaves of yang (expanding) and yin (absorbing) energies, which eventually produce matter or bring the pre-manifest into existence.

You could think of the process as similar to how the subatomic particles within the quantum foam combine and organise to create structure in our physical world or elements of the periodic table are formed, from the lightest (helium) to the heaviest (uranium).

The fundamental principle that yin and yang energy can manifest matter means energy, or what the ancient Chinese called “qi”, governs matter. So it follows that the qi of your body governs your physical flesh.

For this reason, the prime directive of internal arts training is to penetrate the flesh, that is the physical body, to access and directly manipulate qi-energy at will. Taoist cosmology has had a tremendous influence upon the internal energy arts of the healing, martial and meditation traditions of China for one simple reason: each art adheres to universal principles, always seeking to blend with natural forces rather than oppose them.

The I Ching & Bagua

Paul Cavel, Bagua Practice in France 2012

Paul Cavel, Bagua Practice in France

The primary subject of the I Ching is change. Bagua literally means “eight trigrams”, which includes the second layer* of com­bining yin and yang energies, producing three lines to make up each gua (“trigram”) with eight possible combinations (see image above). According to Taoist theory, together the eight tri­grams serve as templates that govern mani­festation, including all forms of change.

(* Learn more about Taoist creation, and the first layer of com­bining yin and yang energies.)

The art of bagua, developed through direct perception of the energies of the eight tri­grams, uses forms known as “palm chang­es”. Each palm change corresponds with and helps the practitioner to reconnect to each of the trigram energies, which are:

  • Heaven
  • Earth
  • Wind
  • Thunder
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Mountain
  • Lake

Accordingly, bagua becomes a practical method for progressing and learning, through direct experience, how the Eight Primal Energies morph and flux be­tween themselves.

In so doing, bagua training can be applied to any of the three modalities:

  • Healing to release blockages;
  • Martial arts to neutralise an aggressor;
  • Meditation to shift perspective and attain Realisation.

Once contacted, the energies can be used to generate and develop core strength, clarity of mind and vitality in body, mind and qi. Once available to you, you can tap into those ener­gies at will and apply them to any end.

But before learning complex bagua palm changes and manifesting energies of the I Ching at will, the wise student must spend time developing and meticulously honing skill in bagua’s foundational, mud stepping technique while Walking the Circle. Learn more…