Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pa Kua Chang for Self Defense - Is It Worth The Read?

Pa Kua Chang for Self Defense

This book is a classic. It may have been the first book published in English on the Chinese martial art of Bagua Zhang. The applications and translation in the first section are rudimentary and not very enlightening for the modern Bagua practitioner but there are some points of interest. The pictures and brief history of Dong Hai Chuan and his students are interesting and the "Bibliography of The Pa Kua School" on page thirty-three is a nice reference to the classics of Bagua Zhang in the early part of the twentieth century.

The real gem is the "self defense" section by Yen Dehua in the second half of the book. The small drawings and descriptions of throwing methodologies will give the beginning and advanced Bagua practitioner some ideas about application of the art. This book gives a nice insight into the development of Gao Yi Sheng's Bagua Zhang. Both Yan Dehua and Gao Yi Sheng were indoor students of Zhou Yuxiang although many years apart. Zhang was a student of the famous Cheng Ting Hua.

The applications shown in the second part of the book correspond with many of Gao's Hou Tien/ Post Heaven linear sets. We can draw the conclusion that Gao may have standardized parts of his Hou Tien sets from the applications he learned from Zhou which Yan also published in this book.

Whatever the origins or influences of Gao's Hou Tien sets this book is worth the read.

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