I made a New Year's resolution to write more about my experiences teaching and training, and though I teach both Bagua (and to a lesser extent the whole Yizong family of arts including Chen Pan Ling Tai Ji and Hsing-I) and Eskrima, I tend to write about the VCKE of Sonny Umpad.
Bagua has a teaching method that is very organized, and has a huge repertoire of forms, drills and fighting applications to work on. It also has a strong lineage and a history of over 150 years (Some would say 1000s of years).
As a counterpoint ... as I may have mentioned once or twice .... the Maestro left no 'system' as such (though there is plenty of history and tradition behind it) and was adamant that he was not teaching us, he was showing us what he did. He said that it was then up to us to take what we had learned, make it ours, and pass that on, and I guess this means that I have much more thinking about what I do in Eskrima, than in the structured setting of Bagua, and hence find more to write about.
For those who do not know much about Bagua, it is a beautiful art with a great understanding of human anatomy and physiology, relative movement, and physics, and it trains control of both mind and the body with as much focus on staying healthy as on breaking people.
I do Bagua because the movement and the core concept of continual change makes sense to me, Eskrima too. I feel good after I workout, both physically and mentally, and perhaps that is why I have gravitated to these 2 arts in particular. An added bonus is that I now have 2 most different learning/teaching methods to compare and contrast.
There is no conflict in the material which makes it easier - The circle walking forms and weird angles of Bagua help with the natural circling and evasion that occur in dueling, and the sword work in Eskrima has helped me see weapons applications within the forms of Bagua. Bagua footwork and twisting/spiraling concepts have helped me understand the matrix of angles in Eskrima, and Eskrima has helped me understand tactically what was going on in Bagua.
Both Arts say they can be added on to any background and improve what is already there. Luo De Xiu calls Bagua a 'machine' that you put raw material in which comes out the other end better. VCKE is like that too.
2 totally different methods with the same purpose. Interesting.
This is my teacher's website: