Created with Sketch.
The Way through Baguazhang - 八卦掌道
7 minutes | Oct 2, 2021
253. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s Jingong Flame - 艮氣道福八卦掌の勁功焰
Since my most recent podcasts about jingong 勁功 came to air, I have been requested to give a practical example of how jingong 勁功works; for the less spiritually inclined. For the briefest of moments, this got me thinking. And I got the feeling that maybe, just maybe, I might be overthinking it a bit. And as it turns out, I was overthinking it. Because after I received the request, it just so happened that on social media there is a video clip going around that shows jingong 勁功 clearly. And get this: The rebuttal video that is also circulating around, also is a very good example of jingong 勁功. The first video shows a person trying to blow out a candle flame using either their palm or fist from a few inches away with a straight forward thrusting motion. It looks a little like the one-inch punch, but the palm or fist never touches the candle flame. This exercise, if done correctly, teaches the mind to focus on a small target that has the ability to shift its station (by flickering). In other words the flame can move about. One’s qi in this case, is literally the pocket of air between the candle flame and the person’s hand. When the hand moves forward, it pushes the air in front (of it) forward, which in turn snuffs out the flame. It seems easy to do, but it is actually quite hard to master because if the mind dithers, the hand wavers, and the air in front goes everywhere except where it’s supposed to. Which is to blow out the candle flame. The jingong 勁功 part is the air moving in the right intended direction towards the target to have an effect on the situation. If you are practicing with one of those magic birthday candles that never seem to go out, this exercise is even more difficult to master. And the rebuttal video? Well, it basically just shows a guy blowing out the candle the old-fashioned way: inhale air into the mouth and then exhale! And wallah, the candle flame is blown out. Again, if qi is just air and breathing, the sucking in and out part would be qigong, while the air moving to its intended effect will be jingong 勁功. What people fail to appreciate is that blowing out a candle flame is a practiced skill, that most people started doing since they had to make a wish and blow that damn birthday candle out. Now it should be at our age easy-peasy, but there is always that someone who upturns our assumptions because they can’t blow out a simple little candle. And, while these two examples given, may seem like a simple case of basic ‘cause and effect’, only the air being pushed forward or blown out is the cause and the candle flame blowing out is the effect. In baguazhang, a true master of jingong 勁功 will understand before any action has been undertaken, that once the candle is blown out, the final environmental state will be darkness. (Most people will only comprehend the darkness because they are in the moment of experiencing it. They will not know that the darkness is just an after-effect of the candle going out. This is why it is vital to get one’s intention straight. With a clear intention a practitioner will be able to sense which their qi is progressing and in turn come to understand better how their jingong affects the world around them.)
5 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
252. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s Jingong Soul - 艮氣道福八卦掌の勁功魂
The hardest parts to grasp regarding jingong 勁功 is: 1. It is for most martial artists uncharted waters. While it appears to be the external side of the internal workings of qigong, it is not the same thing as training in a hard or externally focused martial art. And; 2. Depending on your style of martial art, your path towards understanding jingong 勁功 will be completely different to somebody schooled in another style. I do baguazhang, so that means my comprehension of it will be through baguazhang. My role as a “Living Tao” (活道) is to give enough insights, so that if you come across this podcast or one of my books, you will get a sense of where you are headed. Your own experience of it is vital if you want to master it. So don’t dismiss or discount your own personal martial history because your naysayers don’t want the same thing. Actually, it’s not even that. What is really happening is reality is catching up with them, when it comes to you, and suddenly they are getting that nagging feeling that they are being left behind. For you see, while a person is doing qigong or an internally focused martial art, it is easy to dismiss it all as just fooling around, no matter how serious the practitioner may be. It’s like they can only see the toddler in the sandbox playing with his Matchbox cars, even though the toddler is a teenager surfing around on the beach. That so called toddler has moved up and is about to leave the beach for the desert. And his toy car is now a real Toyota Landcruiser. Jingong 勁功 is a massive scaling up from qigong. It has to be. Because in a strange and weird sort of way, it’s no longer just about the self. It is about the self in context to its surroundings. In other words: Fengshui. A person with jingong 勁功 can move to an alien environment and within a very short period of time, that environment will start changing to reflect them in subtle ways. Even if the whole process can be denied, if their jingong 勁功 is strong enough, the people around them will start to notice the changes. And they will usually have people around them comment like this, “How come, or why is it, that whenever you go somewhere, XYZ starts appearing around you?” Or, “Where’d all these XYZ people come from? We never had them, but now you are here and they’re everywhere — it’s like you bought your whole damn tribe with you?” If something like this has ever happened to you then, firstly, congratulations. You got strong jingong 勁功. And, secondly, that so-called tribe isn’t your family as in blood relations. No. They reflect the ancestral lineage of the martial art you have been marinating in. At the same time this is going on, things that are not aligned with your qi start disappearing from your life. I know some of you will want to nervously laugh and mock, because it is touching on one’s self identity. But this is the meaning behind Pak Tai 北帝, the Dark Warrior washing his guts clean in the river (before ascending Wudang Mountain 武當山). For those of you, who need a monotheistic explanation: Qigong is the process by which the martial artist uses the body to burn off the sins polluting their soul. While baptism and holy water works for some people on an external level, the process of qigong is internal and goes much deeper. It acknowledges before God that this process of cleaning one’s soul is the same as walking and breathing. Nobody can do it for you. You have to do it by yourself. Amen.
7 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
251. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s Jingong Loop - 艮氣道福八卦掌の勁功圈
Honestly, I don’t know how the Taichi guys came up with the idea that Jingong 勁功 is a spiralling type of energy. I, personally, have never experienced it spiralling anything. It just sort of is there, coming and going depending on the size of my proverbial cup. Most of you by now should be familiar with the proverbial cup: If you want to learn anything, you must first empty your cup. But did Bruce Lee ever tell anyone what happens, as a matter of experience, when the cup is empty? I guess not. Well, here’s what happens: You’re either broke or at your lowest point or complaining that the dream didn’t match what you signed up for. Most of us, who have experienced the pain of having followed his advice, rarely talk about it because it’s kind of like a Right of Passage. Oh well… At least now I know another way, a better realised way. Whatever the size of your initial cup, when a person goes down the internal martial art road, however full your tiny cup may be, the art of cultivating qi actually expands our cup first and then we are able to fill it with new knowledge. Imagine your first cup being the size of a thimble. Whatever was inside, once expanded out to the size of a coffee cup, it will be as good as empty. And once it is full again, the coffee cup will expand again. Maybe this time it is the size of a paint bucket. And on and on it goes. The process never ends until we chose to stop cultivating our qi. And so, now that I have told you this, you must be wondering how I know this? I know I would want to know, as least for consistency’s sake. Well I know because it is in my nature to find out and experience it for myself, so that when I talk about it, I am giving the listener firsthand knowledge. It is up to the listener to take what they hear and use it as a comparison to their own experience. It’s the listener’s choice. Anyway, it continues on like this: Once your proverbial cup is full with qi, for a brief while it overflows. This overflowing of qi can be summed up as having an abundance of Jingong 勁功 and this is where the magic around us happens. Shit gets done. We’re the boss. We da Man. We’re Moses in the Land of Milk and Honey. And I know some you know exactly what I mean. And then, mysteriously, the well seems to go empty and we’re back to cultivating our qi again. We wonder if we had sinned, or abused our powers. How we think about these things depends a lot on our beliefs. We wonder what we did wrong but in truth all that happened was that in the background our cup expanded like a sudden growth spurt. Something likened to running on empty, but that is an illusion. If this is what has been happening to you, then it is time to start closing the loop so that your jingong 勁功 cultivation feeds back into your qigong cultivation in a continual cycle. And it starts with realising what is happening.
5 minutes | Aug 7, 2021
250. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s Jingong Master - 艮氣道福八卦掌の勁功師
When a person decides to learn the internal martial art of Taichi, they will eventually come across the term: Jingong 勁功. Much of what is written about it almost doesn’t exist. I think, at last count there were in English about three or four books on the subject, with nearly all of them written by one person. While in China, as a martial concept, it is a vague topic that they like to keep as a secret transmission. However in baguazhang when something is labeled as a secret, it really means that the topic is hard to explain accurately and is usually inappropriate learning material for a student that only wants to learn how to kick ass and win fights using physical techniques. But because of who I am and where my journey is leading me, I will explain using modern visualisation techniques what jingong is. Bearing in mind, that I have given an explanation before in podcast number 156. Only this new example is a better one. To Chinese, jin is a very yang, very masculine word. And it has connotations of success, power and force. Whereas qi would be regarded as being very yin or feminine. Hence most Chinese martial arts do not focus on jin much. Not because jin is a secret but because jin is a given in the style. The problem most styles face is that their jin lies on the surface and hasn’t been internalised. In internally focused martial arts, a truly dedicated practitioner gets the point where all that internal work, expressed as qigong, suddenly is in need of an external outlet. The external manifestation of qi (氣) is what jin (勁) seeks to be. I guess this next explanation would better explain it… The cultivation of qi through qigong is like building and operating a nuclear power station, with your body being the nearby town that uses the electricity the station provides. So far so good. However, the side effect of having a nuclear power station is that there will be some radioactive byproduct to deal with. And it is what you do with that byproduct that is jingong. Most martial arts masters will go down the road of inner door secrets, which in this example means having nuclear warheads. Nobody knows they have them but everybody knows they have them. Whether or not they can actually deploy those weapons is another matter entirely. For people like me, on the other hand, I see qi like energy being stored in a battery. Once my battery is full, it electromagnetically expands beyond its physical confinement to start filling up the batteries of those around me; something like having a strong aura, or even better, being the centre of my very own feng shui map wherever I am. I could give other examples but this is one of those things you are either gonna “get it” or not like sex after losing one’s virginity.
5 minutes | Aug 5, 2021
249. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s Bagua Compass - 艮氣道福八卦掌の八卦圜
These days, if you search the term ‘bagua master’, you will most likely be shown a long list of definitions and websites all referring to a bagua master being a type of martial arts master of the Chinese internal kind. And more specifically the term is short for the Taoist martial art of baguazhang 八卦掌. And sometimes baguaquan 八卦拳 will come up. This was a recent development. Up until about five or six years ago, if you had searched the same term, you would have been given the older title of ‘bagua daishi’ 八卦大師. And you would have learnt that a bagua daishi was something like a fortune teller. But this description is inaccurate and it only focuses on one dimension of the role, as it is more commonly perceived by the common folk. A bagua daishi to the Chinese mind is more of a minister’s counsel or an advisor. This would make clearer sense if a person were to look upon the bagua as a kind of compass or sextant. As such, when a martial artist decides to become a bagua master, one of the true skills they must learn is how to read the charts. And know how to read them accurately in the right environment. For example, I live in Australia. Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere. The bagua circle was created in China. And China is in the Northern Hemisphere. Most feng shui principles do not work well down here, no matter how well the lay lines line up. And this is because most things to do with the bagua compass revolve around finding the North Star. No matter how hard you try to look, from the Southern Hemisphere this is an impossibility. Hence, in the south we use the Southern Cross constellation. And it doesn’t stop there. It is a bit like constantly converting feet and inches into millimetres and centimetres and back again. In the Southern Hemisphere positive feng shui comes from the north and its opposite from the south. What I am getting at, is that while there is the aspect of fortune telling, a good bagua master who can read the weather will have a strategic advantage over their problem. To be able to move before your opponent moves because you know which way the wind is blowing. This is what I mean when I call myself a Tianqi Master 天気大師. You can prove and experience it for yourself by realigning the bagua symbols to reflect your centre. Place yourself in the centre of a circle and mark down a Gua 卦for each of the eight compass directions. Place the Gua or element that exists yonder in the direction you are facing to reflect your world. So if you are facing a mountain range, you would use the Gen Gua 艮卦 (and if in the other direction you had the sea, you would use the Dui Gua 兑卦) rather than what the traditional sequences say (it should be). When bagua masters do this, they discover that they have been out of alignment like hexagram 26 (Ta Ch’u 大畜) of the I-Ching, and in particular the first two changing lines. The original pre- and post- heaven bagua sequences still matter, but by realigning your world to reflect what actually exists in your world, you allow them to teach you what they are actually about in a way no master of the arts can.
5 minutes | Jul 31, 2021
248. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s new I-Ching - 艮氣道福八卦掌の新易經
My first baguazhang book ‘The Baguazhang Art of War’ has for all its concise simplicity, turned out to be a rather hard book for most martial artists to understand. The hardness doesn’t lie in some academic drivel, but in the very fact that through some basic science and logic around baguazhang theory, I have “kept things real”. The thing is, though, the people screaming the most about what is realistic and what is not, are in fact the biggest desirers of reality’s opposite: The fantasy. But the thing is, when somebody becomes a “Living Tao” (活道), or more accurately a living embodiment of their Tao or way, what is realistic becomes highly overrated at its best or for a martial artist a dangerous way to live at its worst. Many martial artists who cling to the illusion of ‘keeping it real’ are in fact chasing the fantasy of the hero’s adventure as it is portrayed in movies and books, with scant regard for the environment a hero must journey through in order to have the adventure. This is crucially important because while the Universe may or may not give you the adventure, Mother Nature on the other hand can easily provide you all the pain through natural disasters, wars, conflicts, financial hardships, interpersonal relationships, accidents and a dozen other things when we sign up for martial arts class. And if we get through all of these things in one piece, we sometimes discover that we have built up an addiction to it. An addiction which makes living through peace and harmony, somewhat, a tad bit boring. That’s right guys, peace and enlightenment without the beautiful exotic location can be boring. So boring in fact, that we will do almost anything to get back in the game. The trick is, though, is to recognise what is happening before we end up going backwards. Thankfully for me, I have my Genchitaofu Baguazhang (艮氣道福八卦掌). And if you have read my book “The I-Ching of the Genchitaofu Way”, you will know that this baguazhang form is like a massive rock propping me up by making it impossible for me to go backwards, by ensuring a physical calamity upon me while at the same time pointing the way forward. And so I move forward. I bring all of this up because this morning I pulled out some of my old martial arts magazines and as I was flicking through the pages, I found myself making a mental assessment of the pictures of the authors and all their martial poses. Every single one of them was trying to live the dream by being tougher than the next guy. Back then, in the past, it was all so cool but now I am wondering about the life a person must have in order to live the life they profess. And sadly, I don’t think that they knew what they were talking about. And fighting in the ring or on the mat doesn’t count. Compared to real life, it’s still just playing around. Real life is real life. And real life is the reason why most guys quit. You quit because of the broken leg. That’s real life. You quit because you got married, needed to settle down, get a job and pay the bills. That’s real life. You got issues. Whatever. That’s real life. And on and on it goes. Name your reason. It’s all real life. And none of it matched the fantasy. And yet through baguazhang, I am a “Living Tao” (活道) and I am still here… I didn’t quit because the government put me in lockdown. I just added it to my adventure as another chapter.
2 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
247. 📗 Baguazhang art of war - The Baguazhang Living Tao book is here
Well, my fellow listeners, I have done it. I have published the fifth book in ‘The Baguazhang Art of War’ series. The title of this new volume is ‘The Baguazhang Living Tao 八卦掌活道’. And it is the deepest one yet. It contains the Living Tao podcasts plus stuff about my baguazhang life that I have never mentioned before; except to people who know me personally. This book is about life and death. Or more accurately about the state of transition that exists when one life dies and a new life is born. That space in between the two realities. And once again, if a person is searching, yet again, for another Baguazhang how-to manual full of lovely posture diagrams and photos, they won’t find it here. It’s not that I am trying to do reverse psychology on you all. What I just said before is a fact. This book is more for the person who, when they do Baguazhang, find themselves thinking a lot about the big questions and are wanting to go deeper with their experiences. They aren’t necessarily satisfied with their shifu’s answers, and their bros and mates aren’t ‘there yet’. And while the book may not answer every question, it is hoped that my own series of little adventures and insights would help some people along their own Tao. But that I will leave up to the reader to decide for themselves. Have a great night.
4 minutes | Jul 17, 2021
246. Some Jingshen (精神) advice from a Living Tao (活道)
After listening to some of my “Living Tao” (活道) podcasts recently, somebody asked me the question of being a Living Tao is a form of mindfulness? My answer, of all things, was that I did not know. While I still consciously practice mindfulness through Chazen (茶禪) and a slow sword form I have developed using a katana, mindfulness in Australia has over the last few years degenerated into the losers’ table filled with people who have ‘issues’. It’s a bit like the third infusion of black tea; it doesn’t matter how long you let it steep for, it will never have any life left in it. Most people who truly practice a form of mindfulness, dread the coming of Mindfulness May. That cheesy month created by commercial interests in which everybody goes down the we-all-love-each-other spiritual path, so that those same commercial interests can turn a buck on the spiritually inclined. To overcome this month, a lot of spiritual people will pull sickies and go on a much needed retreat, where they can reconnect with themselves, the cosmos, nature and other like-minded people. For people like me, on the other hand, Mindfulness May becomes the season in which we test our beliefs and assumptions by becoming the go to person for those trying to ‘get’ the spiritual thing. And it is all about speaking Jesus to Christians, Krishna to Hindus and Mohammed to Muslims. Peppered with the odd Buddha here and there to Buddhists. So I guess being a “Living Tao” (活道) is a kind of spiritual teacher. In Chinese that would be a Jingshen (精神). Mindfulness is just one aspect of the spiritual path. But what of the people who don’t care for spirituality? After helping one too many people during Mindfulness May, I ended up telling everyone (who came to see me with their problems) to wash their dishes. For you see, most people sitting at the losers’ table, their problems are the dramas filling their heads. Those bullshit dramas are like dirty dishes. Dishes are dirty in the sink collecting flies. When you wash the dishes, the dishes are clean. Clean dishes don’t attract flies. Clean dishes are kosher. So if you want the Holy Ghost to sit at your table, make sure your dishes are kosher. Kapeesh?!
4 minutes | Jul 10, 2021
245. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 9)
So what is Tai-chi as in Taiqiquan 太極拳? Well, if you are listening to this, then you would know. It is an internal system of martial art characterised by slow steady movements that most people who seek the internal path follow. And it is usually seen being done by old people in public parks as a way to keep their qi flowing smoothly around their body. If done with dedication, consistently and for long enough, it has the potential to dramatically improve one’s well being. However, and whatever you feel about this martial art, this martial art is not Baguazhang 八卦掌. And the goals and outcomes between the two styles are not one and the same. Tai-chi is grounded in the duality of yin 陰 and yang 陽. And how the interaction between the two allows for flow: Revolution leads to counter-revolution, which leads to revolution and in turn counter-revolution again. And on and on and on the wheel turns allowing (hopefully) for forward motion in life. Baguazhang on the other hand is based on the I-Ching 易經, the Classic Book of Changes, which in turn is based on the eight trigrams commonly known as bagua 八卦. These eight trigrams can be aligned in a line or row. Or around a circle or wheel type pattern. While the interplay between yin and yang can and often make the wheel roll forward, a true bagua master learns (to appreciate through walking the circle) that even though the wheel is turning, it may just be spinning on its axis and doing nothing much else. It is basically the old saying of that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The nature of being a “Living Tao” (活道) is to place oneself at the centre of the fengshui bagua wheel 風水八卦輪. And in a sense be the the axis itself. This is not about right or wrong, but about one’s frame of reference in a given situation. If yin and yang were two boxers beating each other up in a boxing ring, no matter which way the fight goes, the ring that binds them is the bagua. Understand this, and you start opening the gates to why a bagua master at a deeper level is by doing baguazhang also a fengshui master. That mirror in the centre of the the bagua mirror 八卦鏡 isn’t just there to ward off demons and negative shit. It is there as the second changing line above the sixth changing line of the first hexagram of the I-Ching: Arrogant dragon has regrets. Which is ‘Dragon meets their true self through self-realisation’. Between the two changing lines is the seventh changing line: Dragon lets go and walks their true path.
4 minutes | Jun 27, 2021
244. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 8)
So it’s a Sunday morning and I am staring out an open window. The leaves on the trees across the road are swaying gently, and I can’t see a single cloud in the sky from my limited viewpoint. I can hear some birds and the occasional train going past. And you’d be forgiven in thinking that I am spending lockdown in Sydney in some remote hideaway like a hermit. But I am not. I am at home in Meadowbank, Ryde crunching my weekly income and outgoing columns, and taking stock of my financial position of where I am and where I want to be in one week’s time. Now! I am aware that what I have just spoken about, seems to have no bearing on the nature of being a “Living Tao” (活道) but it is precisely when things stop making logical sense, that the Tao reveals itself: What we perceive as order from the human perception is in fact an illusion. There is no order and at the same time there is no chaos or disorder. Both extremes are illusions. The Way of Virtue or Harmony is the natural alignment of things so that things just flow effortlessly. So having said this, I am grateful for this enforced two week holiday granted to me by the New South Wales government. Okay, so it was a bit last minute and brought about by the delta strain of the Coronavirus. But still, I choose to see it as a welcome respite from city living and an opportunity to live a little differently from the usual hum-drum. Starting with doing more of my self-created Tai-chi form. I’d had enough of others insisting that I must also do Tai-chi alongside my baguazhang 八卦掌, when all I want to be is a baguazhang master 八卦掌師. Tao-chi just isn’t my thing. And so reading which way the wind is blowing like a good Tianqi master 天気大師, a couple of years ago I created my own Tai-chi Baguazhang form. And I called it (in Chinese) Tai Qi Zhang 泰極掌. The first character is the same Tai 泰 as in Thailand. With the second character I have kept the qi 極 character as is used in traditional Taiqiquan. The final character is the same Zhang 掌 as in baguazhang because as far as the movements are concerned I am still doing baguazhang. I am still walking the circle. And I am still doing my palm changes. Only this time much much slower with tai-chi-esque features incorporated into it. And now? Where am I now? Where I am now is that I no longer have a Tai-chi problem. I am what I am.
4 minutes | Jun 19, 2021
243. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 7)
When a person becomes a “Living Tao” (活道), the way in which a person sees things begins to change. We gain this uncanny ability to pierce through the thicket, thereby gaining a new understanding about the world around us. Unfortunately, sometimes what we perceive goes against what the people around us wish us to see. It’s a bit like fighting a war and halfway realising that your enemy is in the right. For example, just like the Tao is the Tao, Hong Kong is Hong Kong. A couple of days ago my family and I went out for dinner and we chose a nearby Cantonese restaurant. The kids picked their favourite dishes from that place: Vegetarian Horfun wet, and beef and tomatoes with rice. While my wife and I chose a tofu hotpot dish. The meal went great until, at the end, my kids asked for desert a Chinese Fortune Cookie each. My wife, who’s from Hong Kong, was not happy about it. Citing that Chinese Fortune Cookies are not Chinese. And I said, “Yes they are. They were invented by overseas Chinese.” She countered that until recently they did not exist in China. “So what?” I said, “Their invention was Chinese.” To which, she replied that they weren’t Chinese. And so I asked what made her any different? She told me she was from Hong Kong and Hong Kong is Chinese. I told her Hong Kong is Hong Kong and she’s not Chinese. That did not go down well. She thought I was being a right royal dickhead. And wanted to counter my argument. But then I asked her to consider this: If Hong Kong and the Hong Kong people are Chinese, why then, is the Chinese government spending so much time, effort and money making Hong Kong, Chinese? We went home and spent the rest of the evening watching a documentary on Taoism together called ‘Journey to the East’ by George Thompson from Bristol, U.K. The film is available on YouTube. This argument we just had, I know will offend people on both sides of the Hong Kong - China conflict. But the real issue here is China the idea is far more massive than China the country, and that the opening lines of Romance of the Three Kingdoms will, like yin and yang, always hold true: Empires rise and fall… As things come together and unify, they also expand and break apart. No amount of rectification by China can interfere with Heaven’s Mandate. Both sides will need to find a way to let go.
4 minutes | Jun 12, 2021
242. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s Living Tao - 艮氣道福八卦掌の活道
Every now and then, I like to read up on the baguazhang masters and learn about their adventures and exploits. It still amazes me just how far removed we are now from those days of yore, in terms of place and time moving on. But even so, some things never change like those who live by the sword still die by the sword. Martial artists who strictly adhere to the principle that martial arts is solely for fighting, still tend to die an early death. While those martial artists who use their art to find meaning in the way live long fruitful lives and get to die in their beds; without undue complications. While all of this may be easy to understand and easy to reject as just the ramblings of a crazy nut, the truth of actually walking the martial arts path is hard to walk and difficult to comprehend. Because with each step taken we change our very being in profound subtle ways. And that is why so many martial artists, while starting off strong, quit after a while. Jump back in after a few years. Go hard out. And then quit again. And then repeat it again and again. At times we may get distracted by other things but the truth is: We are just not ready to let go of who we were and embrace our new self. This is the internal answer. The external answer is that our new self is out of alignment with our environment however which way we measure it. And so we need some time and space to move where and when we can express ourselves the fullest. While this may appear, from my words, easy to do, reality is far more painful because the forces trying to hold us back are the exact same forces trying to push us out. And to make matters worse, when the pushing and pulling are in balance, it can be almost impossible to find that certain something that will tip the scale… Being a “Living Tao” (活道) means that I inevitably end up on a daily basis (unless I go hide in my turtle shell) helping others to find their own tipping stone so that they know which path to take. Thankfully most of the time it is about getting them to remember what it was in the first place that got them on the path, and removing the external distractions clouding their thoughts. And that is one of the things I love about the internal martial art of baguazhang. It does not matter how lost I get while walking the Tao, the Tao always comes full circle and I get to start over. No mysteries. No enigmas. I am just physically and consciously aware of the process. I am a part of the Tao and the way exists because the wayfarer moves along the way.
6 minutes | May 23, 2021
241. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 6)
By now if you have been following the series On Being a “Living Tao” (活道), you would now be listening to episode 7. Episode 7? How can there be an episode 7 when the last episode is marked as ‘Part 5’?
4 minutes | May 11, 2021
240. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 5)
On Monday the 18th of September 2017, I woke up and wrote down in a journal the dream I had, and like most things in life I promptly forgot about it as I moved on with my life. Then today, as I am searching for something else, I came across the dream I had back then.
4 minutes | May 7, 2021
239. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 4)
Like with anything really, in the beginning there is nothing. And in baguazhang there is no circle, no ring, no girth to begin with. Everything is still virgin and it is here where a person will experience the emptiness of not being. I am a “Living Tao” (活道).
4 minutes | May 5, 2021
238. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 3)
Some of you baguazhang practitioners would have noticed that for these particular group of podcasts on being a “Living Tao” (活道), I have not bothered to include the transcription...
4 minutes | May 2, 2021
237. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 2)
You won’t find the term “Living Tao” (活道) on the internet or any other pervious publications prior to me mentioning it. And this is because I created it to describe a unique set of happenings that culminated into this idea.
5 minutes | May 1, 2021
236. On being a Living Tao - 活道 (Part 1)
Somebody recently asked me: How do I know that I am a “Living Tao” (活道) for myself and others along the martial arts journey?
3 minutes | Apr 2, 2021
235. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s Door - 艮氣道福八卦掌の門
The year that is known as 2020 has proven to be a watershed moment for the martial arts world. The arguments and bravado that raged on social media in the years before 2020, had in the chaos of the coronavirus disappeared. The reason for this is that many so-called martial artists discovered that the standards they hold others to, they weren’t able to measure up to those same standards themselves. They had cherry picked their way and realised that when the day came they were either unfit, undertrained, or just not committed enough to really rise above the chaos of the battlefield that had been the pandemic. And so they quit. And hid themselves away as mandated by their respective governments and basically forgot (if they ever really knew) what true martial arts is about. Sure, you could argue differently. But for most martial artists, their self-identity is tied up with the fantasy and not reality. If it had been based on the reality, you would have seen the pandemic for what it is: A chance to test one’s commitment to the martial arts way by reinforcing one’s training, diet and mental stamina. Because 2020 is just a test-run for something far bigger coming in the near future. And no! It is not going to be a zombie apocalypse. Now, if you had kept up your training or adapted it to the changing circumstances, well done! Pat yourselves on the back because what you did was rather than leaving everything behind to go climb Kunlun 崑崙山 or cloister up in Wudang 武當山, you stood still and allowed the mountain to come to you. This is the secret behind Sun Wukong 孫悟空 a.k.a. The Monkey King and his imprisonment by the Buddha in the mountain. Even though release from the mountain in the novel Journey to the West 西遊記 is a physical act, the truth behind it is one of realisation that 2020 was and is a giant doorway that not all are able to pass through. This is why so many of us have disappeared, were left behind, and have succumbed to its fears. And it is just a doorway.
3 minutes | Mar 7, 2021
234. Genchitaofu Baguazhang’s Claw - 艮氣道福八卦掌の爪
Recently, because my thoughts took me there, I found myself flicking through a Chinese book containing illustrations of Chinese southern style boxing or Nan Quan. To be more accurate, I was more interested in the different hand shapes contained within because we have baguazhang 八卦掌 which utilises mainly palm strikes and bagua quan 八卦拳 which employs fist strikes. Two historically related groups of styles. While looking at these images, I was wondering: Is there a baguazhua 八卦爪 or Eight Trigram Claw style? And the answer is no. While both current bagua schools of thought do use the claw from time to time, there isn’t one solely dedicated to the ways of the claw. But if there was a baguazhua, what would it look like? Already my mind envisages something quite vicious. And I doubt the person trained in it would care much for finding inner peace or proving themselves in the ring. At least that’s how I felt about it when I tried doing my palm changes as claw changes. All I could think about was wanting to hunt down a pest and rip it’s throat out. And it didn’t feel fun. It felt necessary to survival only. I know some of you would be reminded of tiger claw and eagle claw styles, and possibly dím mak strikes as a counter-argument but this felt different. This feeling felt more like whatever it is you have to say about it, the first thing you should do is just stop and shut up. Take a really good deep slow breath, and appreciate that you are alive and well and safe. And that your safety and well-being does not depend on the destruction of others. You can let that negative shit go and just be who you are.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021