Friday, January 27, 2012


There's this thing about 3s that keeps coming up, it seems a very human number, if there can be such a thing .... and as a generalization seems to hold true when it comes to describing sets of important things. But just like 5 and 8 - auspicious numbers often used in traditional teachings - can contain an extra 1 or 2 'secret' parts to complete the picture, so it may be with 3 also.

With this in mind, a brief description of how I have come to understand the basics of Bagua body training in my system -

There a 3 circles - vertical, horizontal and oblique (one could argue that the oblique is merely a combination of vertical and horizontal, but there you go).

There are also 3 basic methods of inherent power generation -

Using the bones as struts, structural elements if you like, connecting what you do to the ground (for rebound, redirection, leverage etc), and even by accessing the inbuilt hydraulic plates between the joints for 'spring'.

Using soft tissue, fascia and tendons, for twisting, coiling and uncoiling.

Using gravity, or body weight (by shifting from one leg to the other, stepping, dropping or jumping etc).

Both the 3 planes of motion- the circles, and the ways to generate power require time - the 4th dimension - to make them useful.

Bagua's basic body training practice - walking the circle - bring these elements together:
- Improving structure and the connection to the ground using physiological alignment principles and the practice of relaxing to gain articulation in every joint of the body within these alignments.
- Improving the flexibility of the fascia and tendons to increase range of motion using twisting, and so adding torque to the system, again, whilst keeping these alignments true.
- Improving the balance and ability to shift weight smoothly, to preserve the ability to use the natural power from the structure and the tissues at any moment, adding the power of gravity to the equation.

It's a very smart system really.

3 circles + time (walking) aka 'tri-planar' motion + time = a spiral.
Natural motion of the soft tissue in the body = spiral. (... + time = continually available torque)
Best way to break an opponent's structure - use tri-planar motion = a spiral.

Structural alignment + torque + gravity in motion = A great combination.


Melisa Spence said...

Ask and ye shall receive... thanks for writing this Maija!

Dragan Milojevic said...

Hm, actually the three circles (planes of motion) are vertical-saggital (dividing the body to left and right side), vertical-frontal (dividing the body to front and back side) and horizontal (or transverse as they call it). From that standpoint (physics), it seems the oblique plane is just a combination :-)

Maija said...

@Dragan - Yes, indeed.
However it seems that from the way the warm up exercises are structured in the system I practice, vertical circle in front or to the side, or wherever, is a 'gravity power' circle, grounding and uprooting. Horizontal represents centripetal/centrifugal power, + rolling, and changing relative angle.
The oblique circle represents the natural weak angle directions in the body.
Time moves all these options through space ....