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||Table of Contents
| PA-KUA Eight-Diagram Boxing
by Smith & Pittman
The Fundamentals of Pa
Gua Chang Vol. I
- Vincent J. Lasorso (Cincinnati, OH USA): The
Best intro book on Pakua
Robert Smith, in 94 pages, introduces us to philosophy,
concepts and the internal power of bagua masters. There are no martial
applications described in the book but there is an excellent
presentation of a standard intermediate bagua form set. This type of
set is usually done after learning to walk the circle with the eight
mother palms. This book recommends walking the circle using the basic
This book is an easy, economical way to begin an
exploration of Pagua without being ovewhelmed. It should be in
everyone's Pakua library.
S. A. Solomon "Steve Solomon" (Richardson, TX United States: Pa-Kua
book is good!
a relatively new student of Pa-Kua, I found Mr. Smith's book to be a
good introductory text to this wonderful and complex internal style.
While he does offer a very good history of Pa-Kua, my only criticism
would be that he has a bit too many pictures and not quite enough
explanatory text for a book of this size. I would like to know more
about the purpose of each movement and less images, since I don't think
one can actually learn a martial art via a book alone,but I do think
that one can glean valuable insights form the author's experience, and
that knowledge, combined with a good teacher, can help one learn this
fascinating art more efficiently.
- magellan (Santa
Clara, CA): Reprint of the now classic book
is a reprint of the now over 30 year old classic that was the first
book written by a westerner on this still obscure art. Pa Kua, or the
"art of overkill," as it's sometimes called, is still much less known
than its sister arts tai chi and hsing i.
After a brief into, some
taoist philosophy (such as a brief explanation of the I Ching, and how
it relates to pa kua), Smith gives a brief account of the history of
the art before getting into the actual techniques. The introduction
also includes some delightful stories about the adventures and exploits
of some of the most famous masters.
There are two main basic
technique sections, one presenting 18 basic movements, and a Forms and
Functions chapter of 20 techniques shown with a partner that demostrate
the applications. These include hand and foot strikes, traps,
takedowns, and throws.
Smith then provides an excellent commentary
on how to practice and some do's and don'ts. They're detailed, and at a
high level of sophistication in terms of the theory, including much
practical advice such as how to relax, how to breathe, how to prepare
your mind, and so on. Another important point is that the pa kua
techniques are not so much techniques in the traditional sense so much
as concepts that manifest change according to the principles of the I
Ching. If you understand these and internalize them then your progress
will be great. The comments in this section are worth the price of the
book by themselves.
Finally, the unique classical circling exercise
is presented with a couple of variations thrown in the good measure.
These are shown by Paul Kuo, one of Smith's teachers in Taiwan and a
famous pa kua master who I had heard of for some years before I saw him
demonstrating the form in this book.
I had just one or two final
comments about this unique art. The evasive and circling skills of a
true pa kua master are formidable and I once had the opportunity to
spar with one and see them for myself. I being an advanced karate
practitioner, and very big, strong, and fast at the time and the pa kua
master being 20 years older and much smaller, I felt he was no match
for me in terms of strength and that I had the advantage as far as
"duking it out" and trading punches and kicks went.
However, I never
got the chance to do that. The master would quickly disappear behind me
as soon as I moved toward him. His evasive skills were truly a delight
to see and I came away with a new respect and appreciation for this
unusual art which is still rarely seen even in China.