In Baguazhang it is essential to know exactly how far away each opponent is at all times.
The instant you don’t know how close someone is you are in trouble. Especially when facing multiple attackers.
Circle Walking is key in developing this skill.
There are 3 circles you must have and 2 more that are very useful.
How to measure a Baguazhang Circle.
A Baguazhang circle is customized for your body.
The spatial understanding you are developing is for you. Even though your opponents may come in many shapes and sizes, your body is a consistent frame of reference that is always present.
Circles are measured using the number of steps it takes to walk the circumference.
So an 8 step circle means it takes 8 steps to walk around the entire circle and end where you started.
Of course, your step length is a horribly imprecise unit of measure.
It changes constantly. In the beginning this can be a problem but with a little practice you will use it to your advantage.
The height of your stance determines how far you can step as well as your reach.
In the beginning, use a consistently low stance until you can instinctively determine the distance of 6 or more people surround you.
Once you can do that, begin playing with the height of your stance until you intuitively understand how it affects your reach & circle size.
Bagua is NOT stationary.
When Bagua fights it is always walking or running a circle.
…and your opponents will not stand still.
When you train your distances you should be moving, your opponents should be moving & your circle should be moving.
You might look at distances while stationary for a minute or two when you first start training this skill.
That is all.
[Note: It’s ok to train at a speed so slow that you would appear stationary to a brief glance.]
The essential circles you need to practice:
- 4 step circumference – Your hand can touch the opposite side of the circle.
8 step circumference – Your hand can touch the center of the circle.
16 step circumference – This puts you one step out of kicking range. Meaning you cannot reach an opponent but with one step towards the center you could.
These 3 should be your primary area of focus.
However, you’ll find two other distances very useful.
- 12 step circumference – The point halfway between 8 & 16 is important to know.
- 2 step circumference – This is a 360 spin. It’s important to remember these should not happen in place. You should also be moving along a larger circle. (except in rare instances.)
In the Baguazhang Intensive online course Sigung Clear teaches you how these distances and the interplay between circle sizes is used to control a group of attackers.
There is also a Chapter just on the martial application of spins including the 360 along with the 90, 120, 270, 540 & 720 degree spins.
Of course, there is much more to circle walking that just memorizing fighting distances and we get into some of those other uses as well.
Enrollment is only open until July 31st. After that it will close until next year.