Eight Trigram Palm

Original photo courtesy of Alvin Fayman

People usually begin the study of Chinese Internal Arts with Tai Chi Chuan. Traditionally, it has been taught in conjunction with the study of Qigong (Chi Gung).

They might practice Xing Yi Quan afterward if their primary interest is self-defense. 

They may eventually begin to learn Baguazhang when they desire to train in a more advanced complex system, as I did. For most people, Bagua Zhang is filled with mysteries and complex theories relating to the I-Ching (the oldest book in existence) and advanced movement theory.

We learn many things from studying internal arts, including establishing a proper ground path in all movements.  We establish and maintain proper body alignments and structure in all movements. We use whole-body movement. When one part moves, all parts move. It amazes me how many Tai Chi people don't do this. 

We also incorporate silk-reeling "energy" It's a winding, rotating internal skill, not a literal "energy" in the body. We use our dantian rotation (the area near the yin-yang symbol) while we open and close the kua; the kua are the creases at the groin at the top of the legs.

Most people will be initially confused by the turning and twisting movement and constant changes in the direction of the individual palms. A person needs a lot of patience and an analytical mind to figure out what the movements actually mean.
Bagua is an advanced martial art with many sophisticated applications. We begin our study of Bagua walking in a circle. The study of circle walking is known as Ding Shyr. As we walk, we hold different arm positions with many martial applications. These unique postures we hold while walking help stimulate our energy meridians. These meridians are what skilled acupuncturists work on to stimulate healing within the body.

This practice will cultivate a calm and relaxed mind; we put aside distracting thoughts and concentrate on breathing and our movements. Our thoughts begin to drop away…then there is just the movement, the focus on the center, and our breath.

The breath is the actual bridge between the mind and the body. 


Baguazhang is somewhat more vigorous than Tai Chi Chuan and is practiced at different speeds. Within all of this internal movement, there is an inherent turning, a relaxing/stretching of our core into the center. We allow ourselves to sink both physically and energetically. We are urged by gravity. The Chinese term Sung.

We originate all movement from the tantien (our body's physical center). Then we express that connected movement into the arms and legs within the “Mother Palms” and the “Eight Palm Changes.”

Before moving on to other palms, teachers will practice the Single Palm Change for a long time, teaching extremely slowly during the foundation. Teachers choose their students carefully, Bagua Zhang is a very rare esoteric art rarely taught.

Mr. BP Chan was a true pioneer, and he was one of the first
to bring these arts into this country in the mid-1970s.

The Famous Grandmaster Liu was one of Mr. Chan’s Baguazhang teachers.
Mr. Liu served as a personal bodyguard to the  former 
President of the Republic of China.

What they say about us

"I was frustrated with my lack of progress in my Tai Chi and Qigong practice. It seemed like no matter what I did I wasn't advancing in my skills. I thought I had hit the ceiling of my Tai Chi abilities. After taking Bruce's Class the quality and true understanding of this art that I hold so dear was completely transformed! My approach to studying at home was taken to a new height....  But not just that, my performance was significantly improved."

Jackie Lawrence

former Student

I had pain shooting down my arms and legs...I didn't know what to do. I was desperate, and ready to try anything.
Bruce taught me one of his "standing sets" to help me release the tension in my neck, and back.
Over time gravity helped to separate the space between the discs in my spine. This helped the impingement of the nerves that was causing me so much pain.

Stephanie Greenberg

former student

I had been away from practice for a few years and was starting to feel stiff, and out of sorts for awhile. I took a chance and started working out  at Bruce's School. My Tai Chi Form is taking on so many new dimensions, and layers of understanding. You see what's great is that Bruce just doesn't teach sequences of moves, he teaches principles that you can immediately apply to your art.
I now have more flexibility than I've ever had in my life, and I just feel stronger, more centered, and in control.

Joe Cunningham