Home > Bagua Zhang ( Pa Kua Chang ), Concepts & Principles > Positioning: a Circular approach

Positioning: a Circular approach

While most people will tell you that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, a Bagua man might disagree. As far as I know the approach is unique to Bagua. But I do remember one of my Kempo instructors often quoting “Where the circle ends, the line begins, and where the line ends the circle begins”. Of course over the years I’ve heard many of the same principles, and quotes from instructors of many different systems. They all seem to have a different understanding of the meaning.

Before I go into the theory itself, I want to mention one other theory. “All movement must be natural movement.” This means different things to different people. Some take this very literally, and will talk about how we walk, etc.. They will contend that we have to move in a zig-zag pattern shifting from side to side, from one foot to the other as we lean shifting our weight to move. Others will contend that moving naturally means to move naturally in accordance with the principles of the system being practiced. The first approach is the quickest and easiest to learn. If your goal is solely escaping arts, it is a good approach. However if you think you may be forced to engage with an opponent on a physical level, though it takes longer to develop the second approach may be better. Perhaps the best approach is to learn one then the other in the order mentioned here?

As I’ve mentioned in other blog’s the best position to be in, in relation to your opponent is directly behind them. If you move in a straight line moving once will bring you to 90 degrees on them, moving twice will bring you directly behind them. To get back to where you started, you need to repeat the process. With that in mind if you started in front of your opponent, you would have to move a distance of 1, four times to go around your opponent, and return to the starting point. This would form a square around your opponent. A square with four equal sides measuring 1+1+1+1= 4. It is important to keep in mind that to get behind your opponent requires moving twice with this method. If however you move around your opponent in a circle that same distance is 3.14 (Pi). A distance of 3.14 is shorter then a distance of 4. Therefore moving in an arch you get behind your opponent quicker covering a shorter distance. This also means you only move once, not twice to get there.

Most systems will follow a principle of moving once, or moving twice. Even if they don’t verbalize it that way. Other systems will constantly flow through circles, and techniques, but even these will tend to follow one of the two principles when they actually emit energy, and apply a technique. This is another topic I’ll come back to later.

  1. August 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Very interesting logic on defining how moving in a circle is actually shorter than going in straight segments, especially in relation of trying to get behind your opponent! I like 😉

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