Bagua Zhang has a unique method of solo training to help its practitioners to develop and maintain their ability to listen (Ting) through the sense of touch. This is developed rough the very rare “Bagua Zhang’s Circle Walking Pole Methods” where the practitioner uses various types of weighted poles some light and some heavy to develop their sense of touch (Gan Shou) while walking around in a circle, changing direction and height while all the time remaining in contact with the pole. While the Bagua Zhang practitioner walks the circle they will learn to use various parts of their leading (Yang ) arm to control the pole like using the outside and inside of the wrists to coil and stick (Zhan) and adhere (Nian) to the pole, some times the pole will rest on the forearm while the practitioner walks the circle, they will even use the gap between the thumb and index finger known as the “Tigers Mouth” (Hu Kou) to stick and adhere to the pole trying to remain in full control.
There are “Eight Changing Palm Forms” that the practitioner must learn and perform while remaining in contact and control of the pole at all times. These particular “Eight Changing Palm Forms” are practiced on both sides of the body to develop a balanced and skilful practitioner. While walking around in a circle the practitioner must be aware of the speed that they are walking, it should be smooth and continuous without any pauses or loss of balance and definitely no dropping of the pole . Once the practitioner has learnt the “Eight Changing Palm Forms” in an orthodox way, they will then practice them in an unorthodox way mixing them up in a multiple amount of variations.
But the main point of practicing the “Circle Walking Pole Methods” is for each practitioner to develop their ability to Sense (Gan), Stick (Zhan), Adhere (Nian) and Listen (Ting) through their tactile awareness. While remaining in contact with the pole the Bagua Zhang practitioner will use various hand methods (Shou Fa) like turning (Zhuan), rolling (Gun), Coiling (Chan) and twisting (Ning) to help them maintain control of the pole at all times. These particular hand methods will also develop the practitioners joint, muscle and tendon flexibility within their shoulders, elbows wrists and fingers. Whereas, , the use of the feet to walk the circle using such stepping methods (Bu Fa) as the rolling step (Gun Bu), hook step (Kou Bu), swing step (Bai Bu) and the lotus step (Hua Bu) to change direction will also develop the Bagua Zhang’s practitioners flexibility within the joints, muscles and ligaments of the lower extremities which will also promote a stronger flow of blood and Qi into the four limbs.
In the video below Laoshi Keith Ewers is practicing the Bagua Zhang’s Circle Walking Pole Method practicing both the Single Changing Palm Method and the Third Palm Change method known as the “Coiling Palm Method” outside in the winter sunshine and cold developing his Sensing Hands skill.