Riverside bagua

Another 5am start today, not made any easier by those beers with Dragoncache last night…. I met Sun Lao Shi back at our original location, as all of the building materials have been moved away. There are still a few migrant workers camping out in makeshift tents beneath a bridge, and the police are still there, so I’m guessing more material will appear at some point. Anyway, today it was available.

We started by reviewing the ba da zhang. I still made a few mistakes, and Sun Lao Shi talked me through those, and we looked at some basic applications. He seemed pretty happy with my progress here, overall. After that we moved on the the 64 palms, and we started on the third set. With the first two, he showed me the whole set and I tried to memorize it all at once. That method doesn’t work well for me, as I get confused after the first few moves, so for the third set we’re doing it step-by-step. I think this will help me.

After a little bit of a wobble, I got re-enthused about bagua – I’m certainly hugely impressed by yiquan, increasingly so, but I’m not going to drop the bagua!

However, some decisions are going to have to be made soon. I’m working up to a Huge Post About Where I’m Going In Martial Arts (HPAWIGIMA), which I’ve been dropping hints about recently… One of these is about settling on a bagua line. I’ve been trained to some extent in several martial arts bagua lines:

  1. In 2004 by Zhang Sheng Li, who was trained primarily by Liu Jing Ru (I think)
  2. In 2006-8 by Ge Chun Yen, trained by both Liu Jing Ru and Sun Zhi Jun, but who became the disciple of the latter, and teaches only his forms.
  3. 2007 by Liu Jing Ru (only for two hours while I was in Beijing on holiday, but I include it because it means I’ve actually met him and got a sense of what he’s like).
  4. 2007-8 by Zhou Yue Wen. A very unusual and little-known bagua style from a Shanghai-based lineage.
  5. 2008 by Sun Zhi Jun (pan guan bi)
  6. 2008 by Sun Ru Xian, ttained by Liu Jing Ru.

If I was told that from now on I could only be taught by one of these, it would be a close race between Zhou Yue Wen and Sun Ru Xian – but I think that at this point Zhou Yue Wen would win out. When I decided to move to Beijing, I asked him who he recommended me to study with, and he said Liu Jing Ru. My own experience also tends me to prefer Liu Jing Ru’s line; that’s not to be in any way negative about Sun Zhi Jun’s line but given my nature I tend to be happier, I find, with teachers trained by Liu. Dragoncache is the other way, he’s trained with Liu in the past but ultimately became an indoor disciple of Sun Zhi Jun. We’re all looking for different things, and respond differently to different teachers. More about all of this, perhaps, in the HPAWIGIMA.

Anyway, getting back to the ostensible topic of this post, I trained for about 90 minutes this morning, and we decided to stop there. Chatting on the way back to the road, I mentioned again that at some point in the future I want to learn the Shanxi whipstaff from him, and he thinks we can probably start in the not too distant future; he says it’s pretty simple, and won’t interfere with learning bagua, so he’ll teach it bit by bit. Cool.

We’re taking a break for a week or so now, as he gets involved in the summer camp. Next class will be on or after the 27th; probably after, as there’s a Pecha Kucha on that day, and a gig I want to take someone to in the evening.

So with that, I headed off on my bike to Wudaokou, and breakfast at Lush, before heading off for day 4 at the Yiquan Academy.

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