Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gao Yisheng's Ten Rules for Practicing Baguazhang

Ba Gua Zhang masters of the past put much emphasis on martial virtue. Gao Yi Sheng's "Ten Rules for Practicing Ba Gua Zhang" focuses on the goal of "in practicing the arts, virtue comes first" and practitioners should know and follow this:

1. Be filial toward your parents. Your parents gave you life, how could we exist without our parents? The un-filial are lower than common beasts and therefore may not be taught nor made friends with. Even less may be allowed into a system of Ba Gua Zhang.

2. Get along with your neighbors. People who get along will respect each other, defer to each other, help each other, and support each other through difficulties and sickness.

3. Respect elders and aid the weak. Elders should be respected. The weak refer to women, children, and people in difficulty. To help means to give support, to be concerned about and to care for.

4. Do not get drunk. Drink within limits. In getting drunk we can get hurt, make fools of ourselves, and also make mistakes. People who habitually get drunk should not practice Ba Gua Zhang.

5. Do not gamble or take drugs. From ancient times gambling and robbery have gone together and therefore should be strictly avoided. Drugs harm the body and the home, and so should not be touched.

6. Follow the teacher's instructions. The person who instructs is the teacher. The person who learns is the disciple. Teacher and disciple are like father and son. Instructions are the words of guidance from our teacher. To receive an art, all is dependant on the teacher to transmit it; with no teacher to transmit it, the art will be like water without the source and so we must follow our teacher's instruction.

7. Practice diligently, hard work overcomes all difficulties. It is often said: "The teacher brings one in the door, from there it is up to the individual." When the teacher shows a movement, practice it diligently. Have humility and perseverance and over time your art will mature. That is what is meant by the phrase: "Familiarity brings skill, skill leads to mastery, mastery leads to the mysterious."

8. Do not boast or be verbally offensive. To be verbally offensive is to ridicule others for their shortcomings. Practitioners should never forget that "There is no end in learning gong fu" and "there is a horizon beyond the horizon, and other people behind us."

9. Be loyal, honest and generous. Honest people will be solid and steady in their undertakings, and not fickle and frivolous.

10. Be trustworthy and have a wide range of friends. Trust is the foundation of practitioners of the arts. We should live our lives such that words lead to action and action brings results. Friendship is one of the five cardinal relations. We should have many friends but also be selective. The smart bird chooses his place in the forest to build a nest and a man of cultivation chooses well his friends.

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