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Adam Hsu - The Secret File Of Ba Gua Zhang
It’s hard to write an objective review when the information comes from your own teacher who is also one of the field’s top writers. So I decided to not even try.
Hsu begins with the animal palms, the traditional start to Bagua learning, and sets the rules for posture, locomotion and 8 hand positions. He enlivens the discussion with comments and insights rarely addressed by others.
Plum offers many Bagua series which teach footwork, empty handed forms, applications, weapons etc. But what I find both prominent and unique about this series is the dynamic interaction of its segments. Adam Hsu’s approach is different. His method uses the core Eight Changing Palms—which he teaches on these DVDs—to take you through different skill sets, all foundational to Bagua. Having learned the Eight Changing Palms, you will use that base of information to practice Bagua Poles, Partner Training, and Applications, all returning to the Eight Changing Palms themselves. And that is one of the ways in which Bagua is truly circular.
Breakdown of Four Disk Series
Adam Hsu Chen Tai Chi Lao Jia formVolume #1 - 104 minutes. Introduces a lot of information on theory, goals, and characteristics of real Bagua training. Sifu Hsu shows and discusses the Inner and Outer training Palms. He correlates these to the animals and the organs. Then 1-5 of the core Changing Palms of the core Eight Palms is taught.
Volume #2 - 102 minutes
Sixth through Eighth Palms
Changing Palms Discussion
Each of the Eight Changing Palms demonstrated by Adam Hsu himself with further points
Discussion on BGZ names and styles
Adam Hsu Chen Tai Chi Lao Jia formVolume #3 - 112 minutes
Every Changing Palm deconstructed and conditioned by striking the poles (both sides)
Changing Palm Post Training through Palm Eight
Post Training conclusion
Two Person Palm Training
Two Person Penetrating Palm
Two Person Sticking Palm
Two Person Circling Palm
Two Person Group Demonstrations
Volume #4 - 117 minutes
Application of all Eight Palms
A long discussion on the principles of real Kung Fu and its relation to Bagua.
2 Volumes, can be purchased separately or as a set. See prices below.
Each volume contains 3 discs (over 3 hrs per volume)
Chinese language subtitled in English
This new, comprehensive series on BGZ (Bagua Zhang) is presented by teacher Adam Hsu in two volumes, each containing three DVDs. What is exceptional about this presentation is that longtime teacher Hsu has gone for the juice, offering a presentation that can benefit any BGZ player, no matter the style.
The first three DVDs of Volume One concentrate on background and principles. The information and demonstrations are profound, explaning essentials. He starts with the lineage including Gong Bao Tian, who learned directly from Yin Fu and developed some rare techniques. It is here that we get a preview of the his pole technique and a new form of pracicing with marine ropes.
Next, Adam Hsu makes a strong case for the differences between BGZ and other martial arts. BGZ is a fairly late development, so Adam Hsu explains key differences, levels of torsion, special Nei Gong to enhance the movements, some ways of thinking entirely unique to BGZ.
Following are three very unusual exercises, definitely BGZ, to loosen the spine, and coax more motion out of the hips, for walking practice. All of these relatively unknown Bagua training regimens originate with Gong Bao Tian, and all of them are surprising.
Adam Hsu Chen Tai Chi Lao Jia form
Volume One also contains a discussion on internal training, with breathing and methods to deepen practice. For people with a martial background, Hsu Sifu’s approach is commonsensical and direct—without even the need to believe in qi—and focuses on the role of intent. I think people will be refreshed by it, because it is so simple and so honest. Hsu also introduces the qi discussion on the famous three levels (heaven, earth and mankind) so basic to BGZ training.
In Volume Two, Adam Hsu advances many ideas from Part One. He also shows certain aspects of this system that you cannot find anywhere, even mainland China. We now see much deeper into the anatomy of stepping. He introduces scissors stepping with correct leg movements. He shows a Square Step, important for hip control. He adds a Triangle step for tight movement and the wall-turning exercises of Volume #1.
Returning to the San Cai (Three Levels) he adds a specific hand position to each of the three levels, linking each level with a portion of the torso. Then he coordinates these with three forms of stepping pattern. This San Cai practice alone could offer months of training. The first three postures in this section are absolutely foundational.
Next comes palm training, with actual marching locomotion. Hsu Sifu doesn’t demonstrate a great deal on other people, but here you do not need it—the applications are quite clear. He shows the Palm training with all major hand positions, and full body actions with the palm changing on each strike. He introduces a number of these crucial techniques, core movements for BGZ training: chopping, throwing, raising, etc.
Then he introduces the Four Hands (Guen, Zhuan, Zheng, Guo) Pattern. This valuable training method hooks the body up with the arms in a continuous loop. This training is rarely seen outside this lineage. In this seemingly simple circular exercise you move your hand through four different positons all with appropriate waist and back actions. People often try to do this but fail making the proper connection and therefore cannot match hands to their legs. Here we have five different versions (two of which I’ve never even seen before) of this lively exercise, each requiring different torso techniques. The Four Hands is the kind of practice you might keep up through your entire martial career.
Finally, there is an extended section on how to work the BGZ posts. I rarely use the word “amazing” but the BGZ posts might make the Wing Chun dummy look like a broomstick. The first time I saw this I said, “You could practice years on this.” Hsu Sifu said, “You could practice your whole life on this.” Sifu Adam Hsu shows various ways to work a group of three—with just hands, moving from post to post, setting up the posts, spacing them, their use for posture. Incredibly, it is a whole system onto itself.
True to his basic premise, Adam Hsu adds two very important features to this double series. First, he put the material in the right order, with the usage of the movements coming first and the emphasis on the type of basics that really can make or break your skills. Second, he gives much more background—not just stories of magical prowess, rather the guiding principles that make Bagua what it is.
Adam Hsu - The Secret File Of Ba Gua Zhang on sunlurn.com