book begins Bagua with some fascinating
history, principle, and background information about Bagua
xingyi quan, taiji quan, and bagua zhang. There is a bit about tongbei
quan and baji quan too,... then goes into the fundamentals of punching,
elbow strikes, shoulder strikes, hip strikes, knee strikes, kicking,
body alignment, and movement. The next section covers some basic
applications and a good discussion of pushing hands (tui shou) and
energy release (fa jin). The next section demonstrates a sixteen-posture
form along with its applications. The final section goes in-depth
into executing applications, important things like assessing an
opponent, range, timing, direction, movement, and protecting your
vital areas. There is a tiny portion about real fighting at the
very end, but it is nowhere near complete or all encompassing...
There is, however, a lot of great material about fighting applications
from the various forms. If that is what you are looking for, you've
found an excellent resource in this tome. ..."
All I can add to his discussion is that the book also includes
a good discussion of standing meditation postures used in Xingyi
and Yichuan; and that the translators manasge to get across the
author's sincere desire to pass on and underscore those points of
practice that the writer found most useful in decades of practicing
the internal styles.
My one big reservation is that however clearly the form is described,
that section of the book needs far more photos of each movement.
That so much care went into the text, it's a shame the authors didn't
(couldn't) reinforce important points with more photos.
Otherwise The book is loaded with useful information for beginning
and intermediate students. I am no expert (and I only skimmed much
of the historical material) but I find the points of practice very
interesting and very helpful.
To answer LA Kane's critic about the books scope I'd like to suggest
checking out Tim Cartmell's books and videotapes on combat applications
of postures in the internal style forms. For a sense of Cartmell's
writing, and point of view, check out the entry on him in the book
"Nei Jia Quan : Internal Martial Arts Teachers" or Cartmell's
book, "Effortless Combat Throws".