I went along to the new school today. The teacher was “Oh. You’re back. OK, let’s get started.” Heh. He told me to stretch while he took another student through a turning/jumping kick sequence. He wanted to see how high I could kick, which turned out to be not far off my old standard – I’ve been stretching a lot lately…
As I mentioned before, the school is in a big old post-industrial space. There’s a small semi-built room of breeze-blocks in the middle; this has no roof, only a tarpaulin. The floors are covered in linoleum (which was rolled back today), and a couple of the walls are covered in pine panelling and/or mirrors. The overall effect is of a small dance studio sprouting inside an old warehouse – which may indeed be the case, for all I know. This is where the bagua students practice, it seems.
The teacher wanted to know who I’d studied with before, so I told him. He knew some but not others; respected some, but not others (and not always who I might have expected). He confirmed that he teaches Liang style bagua; his teacher was Liu Jiemin, student of Guo Gumin, student of Liang Zhenpu.
I showed him my basic Cheng-style stepping, and then he began to introduce me to Liang-style circle-walking. He used a lot more references to qi than I’m used to, about the qi rising from the bubbling well points, through knees and hips to the ming men, and then back down the other leg. There’s a real twist maintained along the legs and up to the groin at all times. Hmmm, very different to what I’m used to, but definitely what I’ve always expected from bagua.
Then he started me on the linear 64 (though he also demonstrated it on the circle). I took the first two moves and repeated them until it was time to leave.
I think I’m going to enjoy this school. I can see why Taijibum was so enthusiastic.