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PA-KUA Eight-Diagram Boxing by Smith & Pittman

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804816182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804816182
  • Format: digital as Acrobat pdf file
Download  now: Table of Contents Excerpt 

PA-KUA Eight-Diagram Boxing by Smith & Pittman

                                                    This item is only sold in the BGZ  Ebooks  Pack

The Fundamentals of Pa Gua Chang  Vol. I reviewed by:

 - Vincent J. Lasorso (Cincinnati, OH USA): The Best intro book on Pakua
    Robert Smith, in 94 pages, introduces us to philosophy, lineage, 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 dragon palms.
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!
As 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
This 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. 

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