Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng

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Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng

Postby DannyBoy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:15 pm

Hey Peter, I was wondering if you have any familiarity &/or experience with Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng from your many years of studying Asian martial arts or your time spent in China?
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Re: Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng

Postby peter yates » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:25 pm

HI DANNY,
YES I HAVE THOUGH NOT AS IN DEPTH AS THE OTHER INTERNAL ARTS OF XING YI [HSING I] AND TAI JI [TAI CHI] THAT I HAVE STUDIED AND STILL PRACTICE. BA GUA ZHANG IS A RELATIVELY NEW ART AS FAR AS PUBLIC TEACHING IS CONCERNED THOUGH THERE IS EVIDENCE IT MAY GO BACK FURTHER UNDER ANOTHER NAME. OF COURSE THE PHILOSOPHY ON WHICH IT IS BASED LIKE TAI JI IS CENTURIES OLD. IN THE INTERNAL SCHOOLS SOME TEACHERS WILL KEEP BA GUA FOR LAST AND OTHERS TAI JI. SOME TEACHERS ONLY TEACH ONE OF THE ARTS AS IN REALITY EVERYTHING IS CONTAINED IN EACH AND EACH DESERVES A LIFE TIME OF STUDY. MY BA GUA TRAINING HAD ONLY BEEN FOR A SHORT WHILE BEFORE I LEFT CHINA AND I WAS NEVER ABLE TO GO BACK FOR ANY REASONABLE TIME TO CONTINUE. TRUE BA GUA MASTERS ARE RARE AND ALL THOUGH THERE ARE SOME IN THE USA THEY ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. IF YOU HAVE ANYONE IN MIND RUN IT BY ME AND I WILL KNOW IF THEY ARE ONE OF THE GOOD ONES. MY OWN OPINION THOUGH IS BEFORE LEARNING ONE OF THE SO CALLED "INTERNAL" ARTS" IT IS BETTER TO LEARN AND MASTER ONE OF THE "EXTERNAL ARTS" SO AS TO LAY A FOUNDATION AND BETTER APPRECIATE THE FLAVOR AND SUBTLETY OF THE INTERNAL. HOPE THAT ANSWERS YOUR QUESTION. ONE LAST THING IS THAT I HAVE FOUND EACH OF THE INTERNAL ARTS TO CONTAIN SOMETHING OF THE OTHERS AND THAT IS WHY THEY ARE SO COMPATIBLE.
REGARDS, PETER.
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Re: Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng

Postby DannyBoy » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:30 am

peter yates wrote:HI DANNY,
YES I HAVE THOUGH NOT AS IN DEPTH AS THE OTHER INTERNAL ARTS OF XING YI [HSING I] AND TAI JI [TAI CHI] THAT I HAVE STUDIED AND STILL PRACTICE. BA GUA ZHANG IS A RELATIVELY NEW ART AS FAR AS PUBLIC TEACHING IS CONCERNED THOUGH THERE IS EVIDENCE IT MAY GO BACK FURTHER UNDER ANOTHER NAME. OF COURSE THE PHILOSOPHY ON WHICH IT IS BASED LIKE TAI JI IS CENTURIES OLD. IN THE INTERNAL SCHOOLS SOME TEACHERS WILL KEEP BA GUA FOR LAST AND OTHERS TAI JI. SOME TEACHERS ONLY TEACH ONE OF THE ARTS AS IN REALITY EVERYTHING IS CONTAINED IN EACH AND EACH DESERVES A LIFE TIME OF STUDY. MY BA GUA TRAINING HAD ONLY BEEN FOR A SHORT WHILE BEFORE I LEFT CHINA AND I WAS NEVER ABLE TO GO BACK FOR ANY REASONABLE TIME TO CONTINUE. TRUE BA GUA MASTERS ARE RARE AND ALL THOUGH THERE ARE SOME IN THE USA THEY ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. IF YOU HAVE ANYONE IN MIND RUN IT BY ME AND I WILL KNOW IF THEY ARE ONE OF THE GOOD ONES. MY OWN OPINION THOUGH IS BEFORE LEARNING ONE OF THE SO CALLED "INTERNAL" ARTS" IT IS BETTER TO LEARN AND MASTER ONE OF THE "EXTERNAL ARTS" SO AS TO LAY A FOUNDATION AND BETTER APPRECIATE THE FLAVOR AND SUBTLETY OF THE INTERNAL. HOPE THAT ANSWERS YOUR QUESTION. ONE LAST THING IS THAT I HAVE FOUND EACH OF THE INTERNAL ARTS TO CONTAIN SOMETHING OF THE OTHERS AND THAT IS WHY THEY ARE SO COMPATIBLE.
REGARDS, PETER.

Many thanks Peter, I appreciate the reply!

To be honest, Pakua Chang isn't something I'm really looking to train in and I don't know if there's even anyone around here where I live who teaches it, I actually asked you about it because of a book I have. I recently looked back through some stuff my cousin Paul gave me a few years ago which had belonged to our Uncle Buddy, including some martial arts related items, amongst them a 1st edition copy of a 1967 book by Robert W. Smith titled "Pa-Kua: Chinese Boxing for Fitness and Self-Defense".

Image

I'd forgotten all about the book, but when I saw it again I figured I'd ask you to see what you know about this particular martial art since you'd trained & lived in China and are really knowledgeable. Anyway, I guess my Uncle Buddy got the book when it was released, at which point he would've been 16 or 17. I never really knew my Uncle Buddy and he passed away back in 1992, so while I know he trained in martial arts back in the 60s/70s, I'm not sure what martial art(s) exactly. Based on what you've stated and what little I've read online, Pakua Chang isn't a common martial art in the US now, much less was it almost 50 years ago. So I assume he had gotten this book just to expand his martial arts knowledge & see what he could learn from it.

Based on what I know there weren't a whole lot of options back then when it came to martial arts books, at least not compared to these days, but I understand Robert W. Smith was one of the first western writers to introduce Asian martial arts to the west and a key figure the spread of Asian martial arts here in the west. He'd trained with various martial arts masters while he was stationed in Taiwan as an Intelligence Officer for the CIA in the late 50s & early 60s. Have you ever heard of him Peter?

Anyway, I've not yet read "Pa-Kua: Chinese Boxing for Fitness and Self-Defense" (just quickly scanned through it a bit), but one of these days when I have the time and am in the mode I'll probably sit down & read through it to see what I can learn.
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Re: Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng

Postby peter yates » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:45 pm

HI DANNY,
I BOUGHT THAT BOOK IN TOKYO IN 1976. TO BE HONEST IT IS NOT REALLY A BOOK YOU COULD GET MUCH FROM UNLESS YOU WERE ACTUALLY STUDYING WITH A TEACHER BUT IT WAS ONE OF THE VERY FIRST BOOKS ON INTERNAL ARTS EVER PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH. SMITH WAS ORIGINALLY A JUDO MAN BUT AS YOU SO RIGHTLY SAID BEGAN HIS STUDY OF CHINESE ARTS WHILE STATIONED IN TAIWAN. BY HIS OWN ADMISSION HE TRIED TO FIT IN TOO MUCH IN THE SHORT TIME HE WAS THERE [3 YEARS I BELIEVE] STUDYING VARIOUS ARTS UNDER DIFFERENT TEACHERS AND SO WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN MUCH DEPTH AT THAT TIME ALTHOUGH HE DID CONTINUE HIS PRACTICE THEREAFTER. HIS BIG CONTRIBUTION AS I MENTIONED WAS MAKING THESE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN ARTS AVAILABLE TO THE WESTERN WORLD THROUGH HIS WRITINGS BOTH ALONE AND IN TANDEM WITH DON DRAGGER WHO WAS A HIGH LEVEL PRACTITIONER AND HISTORIAN OF CLASSICAL JAPANESE MARTIAL ARTS. I HAVE SEVERAL OF THESE BOOKS AND HAVE RESPECT FOR BOTH OF THESE MEN. UNFORTUNATELY JUST AS IN STRENGTH TRAINING THERE ARE MANY TODAY PRACTICING THESE ARTS WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD OF EITHER MEN WHO HAD SUCH AND IMPACT ON POPULARIZING THEM IN THE WEST. NOT SURE BUT THAT BOOK MAY BE WORTH SOMETHING NOW TO COLLECTORS.
REGARDS, PETER.
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Re: Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng

Postby DannyBoy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:32 pm

peter yates wrote:HI DANNY,
I BOUGHT THAT BOOK IN TOKYO IN 1976. TO BE HONEST IT IS NOT REALLY A BOOK YOU COULD GET MUCH FROM UNLESS YOU WERE ACTUALLY STUDYING WITH A TEACHER BUT IT WAS ONE OF THE VERY FIRST BOOKS ON INTERNAL ARTS EVER PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH. SMITH WAS ORIGINALLY A JUDO MAN BUT AS YOU SO RIGHTLY SAID BEGAN HIS STUDY OF CHINESE ARTS WHILE STATIONED IN TAIWAN. BY HIS OWN ADMISSION HE TRIED TO FIT IN TOO MUCH IN THE SHORT TIME HE WAS THERE [3 YEARS I BELIEVE] STUDYING VARIOUS ARTS UNDER DIFFERENT TEACHERS AND SO WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN MUCH DEPTH AT THAT TIME ALTHOUGH HE DID CONTINUE HIS PRACTICE THEREAFTER. HIS BIG CONTRIBUTION AS I MENTIONED WAS MAKING THESE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN ARTS AVAILABLE TO THE WESTERN WORLD THROUGH HIS WRITINGS BOTH ALONE AND IN TANDEM WITH DON DRAGGER WHO WAS A HIGH LEVEL PRACTITIONER AND HISTORIAN OF CLASSICAL JAPANESE MARTIAL ARTS. I HAVE SEVERAL OF THESE BOOKS AND HAVE RESPECT FOR BOTH OF THESE MEN. UNFORTUNATELY JUST AS IN STRENGTH TRAINING THERE ARE MANY TODAY PRACTICING THESE ARTS WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD OF EITHER MEN WHO HAD SUCH AND IMPACT ON POPULARIZING THEM IN THE WEST. NOT SURE BUT THAT BOOK MAY BE WORTH SOMETHING NOW TO COLLECTORS.
REGARDS, PETER.

Thank you Peter, I appreciate the info! I'm not sure whether the book is worth anything to collectors now either, but even if I can't get much from it without studying with a teacher, it was my Uncle Buddy's, so I wouldn't be interested in selling it. :)

Anyway, on the subject of early pioneering Western authors of books on Asian martial arts, are you familiar with Bruce Tegner? If so, what are your thoughts on him?
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Re: Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng

Postby peter yates » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:03 pm

Hi Danny,
Yes I am familiar with Bruce Tegner and still have several of his books.I have never met him or seen him perform so i cannot give an opinion of his ability however he did teach both police and military so he must have had some combat skills. He was a prolific writer and most of the early martial arts books available to the western public came from his pen.He was a controversial figure for his time as he believed [like my first teacher] that there was too much that was superfluous to actual combat in many martial arts and that a simplified but effective form of self defense was needed for the general population. He created a system he called Jukado which was a combination of techniques from judo, jujutsu and karate.My feeling is that he was much better versed in judo and jujutsu since he had been taught these since childhood by his parents.However I feel his understanding of combat principles enabled him to take viable techniques from karate and blend them with his system.He also delved into gung fu and tai chi but from reading his books he only had a rudimentary knowledge of these arts.He was also one of the early pioneers of martial arts fight scene choreography and also had parts in a few films. He certainly has his place in the development of martial arts in the west and in questioning the validity of techniques being taught in classical schools. Also he was doing this long before Bruce Lee became well known for doing the same thing.Sadly he passed away quite young at 54.
Regards, Peter.
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Re: Pakua Chang/Bāguà Zhǎng

Postby DannyBoy » Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:25 am

peter yates wrote:Hi Danny,
Yes I am familiar with Bruce Tegner and still have several of his books.I have never met him or seen him perform so i cannot give an opinion of his ability however he did teach both police and military so he must have had some combat skills. He was a prolific writer and most of the early martial arts books available to the western public came from his pen.He was a controversial figure for his time as he believed [like my first teacher] that there was too much that was superfluous to actual combat in many martial arts and that a simplified but effective form of self defense was needed for the general population. He created a system he called Jukado which was a combination of techniques from judo, jujutsu and karate.My feeling is that he was much better versed in judo and jujutsu since he had been taught these since childhood by his parents.However I feel his understanding of combat principles enabled him to take viable techniques from karate and blend them with his system.He also delved into gung fu and tai chi but from reading his books he only had a rudimentary knowledge of these arts.He was also one of the early pioneers of martial arts fight scene choreography and also had parts in a few films. He certainly has his place in the development of martial arts in the west and in questioning the validity of techniques being taught in classical schools. Also he was doing this long before Bruce Lee became well known for doing the same thing.Sadly he passed away quite young at 54.
Regards, Peter.

Hey Peter, thanks for the reply and your thought on Bruce Tegner! Based on the stuff I've read about him he was pretty revolutionary and important to the spread of martial arts (info) here in the US, and he doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves. I understand he was a California state judo champion and I've read his mother was the first American woman to earn a black belt in judo. Which Bruce Tegner books do you own?

I own multiple editions of his book on Savate, from the 1st edition from 1960 to the 3rd revised edition from 1983 (the last edition). It's interesting because the 3rd revised edition is significantly modified and almost like a different book than the 1st edition. I guess the best way to put it is that the 3rd revised edition is closer to modern savate where as the 1st edition was closer to traditional/classical savate. Tegner wasn't a master savateur by any means, but he had trained in savate previously and his book was the first English language book on the art, and still to this day one of not even a handful of books on the art in English.

Speaking of Jukado, I'll probably get Bruce Tegner's "Complete Book of Jukado Self Defense" one of these days, it sounds like an interesting & informative book.
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