Many individuals who study either Tai Chi or Qigong like to further their practice by involving a straight sword (Zheng Jian) or a fan ( Shan) which are commonly used by Tai Chi practitioners. Qigong individuals also use a short stick to help them improve their flexibility or wooden ball s which are held in each hand to strengthen their tendons as they perform their Qigong form. You just simply need to walk into any Chinese park in the early mornings and you will see a wonderful sight of groups of people of various ages exercising using swords, sticks, fans and wooden balls to help maintain their health and wellbeing everyday.
One unique practice that is used by individuals who practice the “Eight Trigrams Palms” ( Bagua Zhang) is to a use a pole that is higher than the individuals own height to walk around in a circle with one end of the pole resting on the individuals forearm and the other end of the pole touching the ground. The pole is held at a 45 degree angle while the individual begins to walk around the pole in a circle, suddenly then changing the direction of the circle using a wide range of twisting, turning actions of the whole body, while still maintaining contact with the pole all of the time, what movements are performed on one side of the body is also then immediately repeated on the other side. This exercise develops the individuals, balance, co-ordination, concentration, flexibility and fitness. As the speed of the walking and change of direction can vary from slow to fast, maintaining constant contact with the pole develops tactile awareness and agility by the individual.
Within the Bagua Zhang Pole Walking Qigong exercise there are eight different methods of walking around the pole using twisting, rotating, spiralling actions of the hands to help remain in contact with the pole at all times. Each particular hand form can be linked together using a numerous amount of variations that the individual can perform,every time they practice they can create a different sequence or pattern of movements, giving themselves plenty of opportunity to explore and find new variations on being able to link the eight palm methods together.
Using some type of training tool as used by practitioners of Tai Chi or Qigong and even Bagua Zhang students is another example of how to exercise on a regular basis to further your own health and fitness. Practicing the Bagua Zhang Pole Walking Qigong exercise is suitable for everyone, any age or gender as you only need a small area to practice in to help maintain your own physical, mental, emotional and energetic strength as we all get older and our body and mind will begin to weaken unless we learn to look after ourselves. It does not cost a lot of money to buy a pole to practice with, you can wear any loose clothing that allows you to relax and move around freely. All it takes is your own time and effort to practice and enjoy this wonderful exercise to cultivate your Qi.