Home
Why learn Ba Gua Zhang?
What to expect
Teachers
Seminars
Classes
Resources
Contact us

What to expect

An introduction to what Ba Gua Zhang training involves and what it means to become a student.

Becoming a student

Park Bok Nam meditating

You have the opportunity to become a personal student of Park Bok Nam.

As he is now in his 60's, he wants to pass on as much of his knowledge as possible while he can still travel. He's looking for quality not quantity, and wants to focus his energy on a small dedicated group of students.

His style of teaching is by prescription: according to your body, physical condition and martial arts experience.

Becoming a student entitles you to:

  • Regular classes
  • Seminars every six months (two days and one extra day of private training)
  • Opportunity to train with other instructors in Europe or U.S.

Learning the art of Ba Gua

It's a serious art which will require persistence and determination. It will soon become clear why it's considered a graduate art, however this doesn't mean you have to master another art first, traditionally this was required.

Whilst some exercises require a partner, most training is solo.

Training designed for your body

“All students of Master Park's traditional method are taught by prescription. Each new student is given a personal training program geared towards his or her individual needs.”

All students of Master Park's traditional method are taught by prescription. Each new student is given a personal training program geared towards his or her individual needs. First the student's general health and condition are assessed to see if there are any specific problems or imbalances that need to be considered.

The student is then put on a personal training program, involving health building exercises, breathing exercises, meditation practice, and self-defence practice, which is designed to strengthen weak areas, bring the body into overall harmony, and develop superior fighting skill.

Students with limited physical skills or poor health will start slowly with basic conditioning and flexibility exercises. It's suitable for any body shape and you don't need any previous experience.

It's good for your health, it's proven effective at helping aid rehabilitation from injuries, as with Pilates specific parts of the body can be isolated. Also it's not hard on the body like jogging, the gym, or external martial arts.

Benefits include increased flexibility, strength, balance, integration, alignment and coordination. Other benefits include increased focus and concentration.

Developing a Ba Gua body

“I have water to give thirsty students, but unless they have a cup for me to pour it in, they cannot hold the water”

"I have water to give thirsty students, but unless they have a cup for me to pour it in, they cannot hold the water." The 'cup' represents the mind and body developed through practicing the fundamentals, the 'water' is the complete art of Ba Gua Zhang. The principle being you must be ready to take the next step.

The coiling, circling and whipping movements resemble a snake, as every part of the body involved, all movement fluid and continuous.


Park Bok Nam scooping the moon Qi Gong

The exercises are designed to increase flexibility in the hips (the kua, core, psoas muscles), spine, and shoulder joints. This enables whole body power, whipping that can be applied with any body part, including shoulders and hips.

The ability to apply great force through very small body articulations, requires repetitive training drills designed to isolate and train secondary muscle groups, tendons and joints not usually under conscious control.

Training which works to properly develop the tendons, ligaments, and secondary muscle groups must be practiced in a progressive manner.

We train all our exercises in sequence: slow and exact, with lightness and fluidity, then speed and power. This means that even when moving rapidly, being light and relaxed are habits ingrained in our movement.

What it is and what it isn't

With the traditional approach to training, the focus is on learning the fundamentals, learning principles not forms, so that the fighting applications will be infinite and not limited to routine combinations of techniques.

So it's not for you if you're just looking to add another form to your collection.

There are no belts, tournaments or full contact sparring. As Ba Gua strikes can be so devastating (e.g. internal strike to opponent's organ, or breaking their joints), we can't use them in training as we don't want to develop the habit of hesitating and moderating our attacks. However we use research sparring (with protective gear when required) to explore fighting strategy, and a type of 'push hands/sparring' for advanced practitioners.

Next steps

Come to one of our regular classes or seminars for a taste of Ba Gua.

In resources you'll find his books, many interesting articles and an interview with Park Bok Nam