There’s a movement in bagua that I haven’t seen elsewhere: a relaxed, vigorous, shaking of the whole body, used to break the grip of someone who’s got you in a bear-hug from behind, for example. Zhang Sheng Li’s long xing bagua form has it, and last night we got to it in the wuji form I’m learning from Master Zhou.
I’ve never been able to do it well. I’ve always been too stiff, especially in the lower back, so I end up looking as if I’m waggling my backside – to the great amusement of onlookers! Well, it helps teach humility, if nothing else….
Anyway, I had a bit of a breakthrough last night. We were working on the move leading in to this, a move using the hands to attack simultaneously in both directions; this needs a lot of flexibility in the shoulders, to channel the body weight along the arms, like a whip. Same problem: stiff shoulders, couldn’t do it. After we’d been trying to get this working for a while, Master Zhou had to take a call, which wound up being quite a long one. This was quite fortuitous. I kept on practicing on my own, just repeating the same move. Since I’m not that strong, my shoulders tired pretty quickly – which meant that they stopped working against me! Once my shoulder strength was gone, I was much more able to relax and send that energy rippling through… Success!
Encouraged, I tried continuing to shake the whole torso… and it worked. Much to Master Zhou’s surprise – and relief, I’m sure – I was able to do it correctly. So we carried on… we’re very close to the end of the form now; I’m confident that we’ll complete it soon, and have time for at least some revision , detail work, and more applications before I head north to the Chinese snow.
One thing left a question, though; as I was shaking, the power was certainly being transmitted… but my intestines and internal organs were also shaking and sliding around, and it was really a very, very, odd sensation! I could see that this may be a good thing, an element of bagua qigong, in that it would massage and stimulate the organs. My Chinese just isn’t good enough to ask Master Zhou about this. Is this to be expected, or am I still doing something wrong?