Bagua Serving Tea Exercises
The serving tea exercises of Bagua are for developing integrated body movement, and power. They are based on a story involving Dong Hai Chuan the founder of Bagua. The story is about how he became the teacher for the palace guards.
As the story goes the Emperor entertained his guests to a great feast. The palatial grounds were crowded with people at that time, and entering and exiting was impossible for the servants. Dong Hai-Chuan , was able to maneuver in and out of the palace grounds by leaping on and off the courtyard walls while balancing trays in each hand. The Emperor was very impressed by Dong’s agility and questioned him. Dong revealed himself to be a Master of Baguazhang, and gave a demonstration of his skill. His performance was so unique that the Emperor made Dong the martial arts teacher of the palace guards.
So the exercises are done as if you have a tea cup in your hand that you must keep upright without spilling a drop, or dropping the cup. As I previously stated using these exercises you develop integrated body movement and power. This is a goal of all the internal martial arts. Though the terms used to describe what you are doing vary. For example taiji practitioners talk about reeling silk. This is the same thing with winding, and unwinding, coiling and uncoiling, and all the joints working in unison.