I remember it was one summer afternoon, I was 15 mins into my preclass zhanzhuang session when my teacher walked up to me and said, “Come over here, I wanna show you something”. Usually when this happens, either he shows me really cool applications and I get thrown about, or he shows me a new form or exercise. This time, he grabbed four bricks and arranged them so they formed a little square.
“I want you to step in such a way that in each step, your foot is aligned with one side of the square.” He then walked around the square taking a total of four steps and in each step, his foot was aligned with the square. Then he walked away. For the rest of the class, he didn’t say anything to me. In fact, he barely acknowledged me, but I knew him. I knew he was watching me out of the corner of his eye to see if I would practice what he showed me. To see if I would make something out of it or just forget it and move back to my old training.
I first started off going counter-clockwise, but after a while, I started getting dizzy, so I decided to turn around and go the other way. But then the question came up, “HOW TO TURN AROUND?” He never showed me how to turn around. I fumbled around for a while until I started connecting the dots. “Ahh…” it was like a lightbulb, I figured out how to turn around. I turn my hips on the weighted foot and just go the other direction! After I figured this out, I turned to him to seek some acknowledgment and confirmation, but he was working with someone else.
At the end of class he came to me and said “Good. Stack the bricks against the wall. Think about stepping and it’s relation to the hips when you move.”
Over the next couple of weeks, I learned single and double handed palm changes. Nothing fancy, 1 single hand palm change, and 1 double hand palm change. I learned about walking in big circles, I learned about walking in small circles. I learned about turning quickly, I learned about adjusting my footwork. I made little yin/yang symbols in my stepping patterns 🙂
Over time, I learned the choreography to the Liuhebafa Swimming Dragon Bagua form. I learned the moves, I learned the applications, I tried to do the apps, I got the apps done on me 🙂 It was a fun summer 🙂
Below is a clip of GM Wai Lun Choi demonstrating the LHBF Swimming Dragon form: