Gradually more and more people have seen the practice of Baguazhang, and are slowly becoming more aware of its practice. As compared to the popular exercises like Taijiquan and Qigong for which many individuals already are practicing and receiving its many health related benefits. When you see a performance of the Sun Style Eight Trigram Palms or Baguazhang it can very much look like a dance routine, where the practitioner constantly changes their direction, while walking around in various size circles, turning, twisting and spiralling their whole body holding various posture shapes, while all the time remaining in full control of their graceful, flowing body actions.
The difference between the practice of Baguazhang and Taijiquan are few. The first obvious difference is that Baguazhang involves more coiling and spiralling actions, what are known as “Reeling Silk Methods” (Chansigong Fa). Which stretches and strengthens the soft tissues of the body like the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia, whereas, the practice of Taijiquan will mainly work on developing the flexibility within the joints of the body through the opening and closing actions. Another difference is that Baguazhang tends to walk around a circumference of a circle, while performing its body actions, whereas, Taijiquan involves more linear stepping methods and circular actions with the hands and arms. There are a few more slight differences within each of these body, mind & breath exercises, which both offer a wide range of many health benefits to individuals.
Personally I have only come across two body, mind & breath exercises that have quickly activated the circulation of my own Qi strongly and tangibly throughout the whole of body. Baguazhang was one of these two disciplines, every time I practice the Baguazhang I instantly can tangibly feel the movement of Qi, whereas, when I practice Taijiquan or certain Qigong styles it can take a while for me to feel the Qi moving through my body. Plus I find that my fitness and stamina levels rise more through the practice of Baguazhang other than through the practice of Taijiquan, this I put down to baguazhang’s circle walking practice which can be performed at various speeds. Simply walking the circle at a moderate speed will definitely increase your fitness, stamina and energy levels.
Because of the Sun Style baguazhang’s turning and twisting of the whole body. The practitioner will begin to develop a more relaxed, supple body, especially within the joints and tendons of the body. Baguazhang also involves static upper body shapes, while the lower portion of the body is kept moving in a circle. The holding of various upper body static shapes using the arms increases the strength within the core muscles, shoulders and back muscles, whereas the legs and feet are kept moving, which will develop the strength within the muscles of the legs and flexibility within the joints of the ankles, knees and hips. Above all greatly strengthening the whole body to attain good health and wellbeing well into old age.