Liuhebafa Swimming Dragon Bagua

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!Β  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.Β  I made little yin/yang symbols in my stepping patterns πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚Β  It was a fun summer πŸ™‚

Below is a clip of GM Wai Lun Choi demonstrating the LHBF Swimming Dragon form:



About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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6 Responses to Liuhebafa Swimming Dragon Bagua

  1. puredoxyk says:

    Thanks for making me look up zhan zhuang (I thought at first that you might mean San Zhan, but of course you don’t). I found a neat page on zhan zhuang here: — But the one thing it doesn’t say is how to pronounce it. Can you help?

    I’m glad the article points out that this is very similar to the Yoga mountain pose. I used to do that pose every day “just because”; now I guess I’m going back to it!

    Any more info you want to fork about zhan zhuang will be thoroughly devoured. πŸ˜‰


  2. wujimon says:

    Hi PD:
    The way I pronounce it kind of sounds like: “chan chuang”, but with a slight roll of the tongue. Hard to describe unless you’ve studied some chinese and how they pronounce “zh” sounds.

    I would gladly suggest you check out the book, “Way of Energy” by Kam Lam Chuen as well as “Warriors of Stillness Vol 2: Yiquan” by Jan Diepersloot. Personally, I practice roughly 4-5 stationary yiquan postures and find them very beneficial. Also, you can basically do “zhan zhuang” with your taiji form. Just pick any posture and chill in it for like 5 mins. It’ll really give you an idea of where tension is locked.

    good luck πŸ™‚

  3. Chenquestion says:

    Another nice post Wujimon! I enjoyed where you related your solution of “How to turn around?”. In trying to learn the Chen 56 Forms, there are moves where you turn around by getting airborne, what I call a “leap turn”. Chen masters do this with catlike beauty but for me it just messed everything up, even if I did a passable leap turn I couldn’t keep things together for the next moves. Kept studying though and found that your “torso turn” method, as well as step-turns, could get me over these jumps while always keeping one or both feet on the ground for smoother continuity.

    You also mentioned tracing yin-yang symbol in stepping. Have you ever done the silkreeling practice of tracing yin-yang symbol with the hand/arm? I always thought that was cool but without a teacher to guide me, I don’t want to practice it full of subtle mistakes. Some writers say the taiji form is basically a huge library of yin-yang symbols… I guess they’re right, I can see a little of that anyway.

  4. wujimon says:

    Hi CQ:
    I believe the move you’re referring to is the Chen version of “Fair Maiden Works Shuttles”. This is a very hard move to really feel connected in, b/c after all, you’re moving through the air while spinning πŸ™‚ Not really sure how one can really remain connected to the ground, using the ground force, while one is up in the air spinning….. but that’s a whole other topic. When I do the move, I don’t jump, but just take a bit bigger steps. I do it in a such a way that one foot is always kept on the ground. This is my own personal preference.

    Don’t do the tracing yin/yang with the hand thing. Just move my arm around it’s path and perhaps with the twining, a symbol will be created.

    As for taiji being a library full of yin/yang symbols, I think this is a bit more the case for the yang set. I can easily *feel* the yin/yang shape in the yang form just by the nature of the movements. If you do the grasps swallows tail set, the motion of the arms can easily be done in such a way the yin/yang pattern is actualized. I do not get this with the chen.

  5. pepe says:

    Hi guys, It’s the hips that do the yin/yang (the 8s). In Yang Style hand movements are simpler and follow naturally the hip twist, while in Chen’s are more complex so it’s easy to focus on the hands and forget the hips. Maybe that’s because Chen stepping is so wide, not just to gain more stability but as a learning tool.

  6. wujimon says:

    Hi Pepe.. the hardest part is to maintain the 6 harmonies throughout movement! πŸ™‚

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