Supplements and Bagua *is* exercise afterall!

Posted in Baguazhang

Considering that I often have to take a nap after practice, I should have caught on sooner. But apparently Bagua is exercise, right along there with running and weightlifting! Why I was seeing them differently I’m not entirely sure, but likely something to do with not feeling my lungs about to burst out of my chest. Well weightlifting has never felt like exercise to me either, but it does go and build muscles. Bagua also most definitely builds muscles. (I’m still trying to figure out how it built arm muscles just by circle walking).

I have been hungry 24×7 lately, and I couldn’t figure out why. So I asked around, and got several different replies, from “eat less” to “yeah that happens to everyone” to “I’ve been hungry for 25 years, can’t help you there”. With the last one the person has been practicing Bagua for 30 years, so apparently it didn’t kick in for the first 5 ;). So the folks on the forum mentioned both losing sugars (glycogen is what I would translate this to) as well as minerals when you work out. Apparently we lose minerals when we sweat. Lots of minerals.

So it seems odd, but I’m going to do an experiment. I’m going to try either a sports gel, OR Hammer Heed before my next more than half an hour long martial arts session and see how it goes! I do keep getting annoyed that I seem to get tired after only half an hour most of the time. I hope this helps a bit. The pre workout mixtures I make work for anything from 2 or more hours of running up to an 8 hour strenuous hike. Considering this, they should help the Bagua along too right? It will be interesting to see if I perhaps don’t need my after Bagua nap after trying these. I will also focus more on recovery mixes if I go for longer than 2 hours at a time. Or perhaps over 2 hours in one day? I’m not sure yet.

My average day lately goes like this: Half an hour of Bagua. 20 minute bikeride or half an hour run to class. 1.5 hour class. Run or bikeride back home. Sleep for a couple of hours lol. Then in the evening I try to get an hour of Bagua in. I guess logically no wonder I’m hungry 24×7. However, I’m also most definitely not loosing weight, and have actually gained some. It’s not all muscle though as I am a little chubbier, darnit.

I think adding the pre and post workout stuff is a better option than just eating twice as much though. I will increase my food intake more proportionate to my exercise level, and use the workout mixes. A bit of both. I will update my blog frequently with the results.

It was a fun practice day :)

Posted in Baguazhang

I did some morning circle walking, counter clockwise. Then I want to my martial arts class for an hour and a half, then later in the evening I did all of my Bagua exercises, and ended with some clockwise circle walking :).

I’m able to get all of my Bagua exercises done in about half an hour to 45 minutes without going faster than I should.

The classes are awesome since basically I am learning all of the principals of internal martial arts. There is nothing which is just a movement without a great deal of explanation and many exercises to get the principals across to me. The teacher keeps things about two notches faster than my learning so I can keep up, but just barely. It’s quite the challenge to keep up, but not to such a degree where I actually get discouraged. Fortunately there is MUCH repetition!

I learned wedging today. I also learned elbow angles. We are also working on my still terrible posture. We covered the whole coiled spring stuff a bit too. There were also these ouchy shoulder exercises, more more ouchy due to the weak muscles, not any angles that made the rotator cuff injury worse. There was also some leg discussion, but that was more discussion than training.

It’s kind of neat having a teacher which is up for training as often as I like heh heh heh. Little does he know that I might just come 6 days per week ;). Well OK maybe 5. I was hoping to find a teacher that trained very often, as that is the one aspect I really liked about Aikido.

With classes this often, I might actually not forget everything by next class ;).

It was rest day yesterday :)

Posted in Baguazhang

Which means I only did an hour and a bit of Bagua practice lol. I apparently overdid it on Tuesday, so was too trashed to get out of bed until about 2pm on Wednesday! However I’d promised a friend that I would show him the Bagua exercises… Well 3 people were going to show up, and one did; which is about standard from what I understand lol. I definitely didn’t want to cancel though. It was kinda neat to do the exercises over 100 times or so each to make sure he got each one. After about an hour though he had had enough! We covered the three most difficult movements, which are also the three most fun ones. I look forward to seeing how my two friends integrate and improve everything over the next week :).

I have a race coming up on Sunday morning. Fortunately it’s only 10k, but I haven’t been training, so I’m dreading it. Cardio seriously hurts when you haven’t been training it and decide to do it for over an hour! Fortunately my additional leg and core strength will help a little, but only so much! The only reason that I am still going to go is that I promised my running group I would be on the relay team and do my 1/4 marathon with them. They have me starting out for the first leg because I’m very good at pacing and don’t mess up just because other people at the start line are running way faster than I am. Woohoo, I have a talent lol. I guess when you just naturally do something it doesn’t seem like a big deal. I would much prefer the being able to run faster natural talent, but hey this is better than nothing ;).

Ohhh, so that is why you guys teach ;)

Posted in Baguazhang

I have learned so much in the past 2 days :). Hehehe, they think I’m teaching them the movements; meanwhile I get to look into each movement much more deeply than I had before. How awesome is that! I guess I just wasn’t paying enough attention to each move, and not going deeper with them. I had no idea, until I did each one about 100 times tonight showing someone else. Same with last night. Also, when I correct someone on the movement I wonder hmmm, are they doing it that way because *my* arm is at the wrong angle? Also every correction I make I figure are probably quite standard ones and it reminds me to make sure I don’t do the same thing.

Then I noticed I was able to move a little better with some of them, as I’m getting them better.

This evening I did one of the movements a couple of times really fast in front of my friend so I could figure out what I was finding not quite right about his version, and he was quite impressed. Apparently I do that one quite well when sped up and going all out. It *is* the one I have practiced the most and have done a couple of thousand times… Awesome that I’m improving my Bagua! 🙂

Well I just hope my friends are wanting to keep learning the rest of the movements! Tonight my friend asked me if there was more or that was it, hehe. Oh there is so much more! It is just with the more complex movements I like to only show 3 at a time. The general rule is to only show 3 new movements per class, so I’m going with that. Well accept for when it’s a serious of more simple ones and it is my friend who has been doing Taichi for over 20 years… When we get to the more twisty turney stuff it will be down to 3 though.

3 friends said they would show up tonight, and one made it. That is about standard from what I understand lol. Now I remember I made sure the location was only one block from my house!

Now I wonder if folks who have been practicing martial arts for decades still learn new stuff when teaching brand new students?

And the number 1 reason people quit with teacher is….

Posted in Baguazhang

So I have been taking a rather extensive poll lately, asking many martial arts students why they quit with their previous teacher. Well OK so the poll wasn’t all that extensive, and the amount of teachers these students have trained with isn’t a very long list either… but I am still definitely seeing a trend.

The number one reason has been: the assistant instructor.

So that’s it folks, don’t have a cranky person who knows less than half of what you do be the assistant teacher. Also having immature folks as the assistant teacher isn’t good either. Even worse is when the assistant teacher takes over for you when you can’t make a class. Generally while you are there, there is at least a buffering effect.

Assistant teachers shouldn’t be chosen by the fact they are the most loyal and have been with you the longest. They should instead be chosen by their maturity and communication skills ;). Well OK if I lived in a perfect world!

Baguaholics anonymous…

Posted in Baguazhang

A friend of mine jokingly (well I think jokingly lol) suggested I attend Baguaholics anonymous… I wonder if we would all sit in a circle during the meetings? 😉

So I showed a bunch of the exercises to a friend yesterday. I showed her quite a few of them since she has a lot of experience and catches onto things very quickly. I thought perhaps I had picked too many of them at first, but she learned them just fine. We will of course go over them again next week since even those with awesome memories won’t get everything perfect right off. Of the 7 only one of them was a complex movement, the rest were all basic stretches and silk pulling stuff that is repeated.

It was fun as we got to perform each one many many times to make sure she got them. We only did the first 7 of my list of 20, so I showed her the rest just to give her an idea of what the rest look like. Much twisting and turning and spiraling involved :).

We did only get an hour of practice in all together, but that was OK since I’d already done half an hour of Bagua in the morning, and an hour and a half with a local teacher earlier in the day. My local teacher is pretty cool, he covers the basic internal martial arts principals in such a way that you can’t help but get them. He does it through specific exercises which make you focus on the principal. We were pushing each other into our sunk positions, it was pretty awesome. He also can manage to cover quite a bit with me each class. Fortunately he also repeats stuff next class, which my not so perfect memory quite enjoys.

I also ran to class, and from class yesterday. The run to class was torture since I have only done cardio once in the past few months. The run back nearly did me in, so it was more of a walk/run. The neat thing though is that I survived the run there; I figure the only reason for this is my increased leg strength and my increased core strength from all the extra Bagua.

Yikes, I’m not a teacher, oh wait yes I…

Posted in Baguazhang

So my Bagua teacher says teach people the exercises to motivate yourself and learn them better. Then I reminded him how new I am to Bagua, so he says just show people than, your friends and such… OK so I put a post on craigslist clearly stating how inexperienced I am, but that I would love to show the exercises and form of my Bagua so that we may both learn, and I may get it better. I also mentioned to all of my friends I could show them the stuff.

Well I didn’t really expect any response quite honestly, as I’m new (3 years in) and there are Bagua teachers in town, many Bagua teachers in town. A couple of them I can think of have 20+ years of experience in martial arts.

However I have a few people who are interested. So I made the Bagua practice meetup :>. I thought great, this will be awesome, my Taichi friend who has done some Bagua wants me to show her, then the meetup group once per week… it will help me get my stuff perfect, and make sure I practice at least twice per week…

But then I started to get nervous… I have been teaching for a couple of decades, but not teaching physical movement! I have also been teaching stuff I know inside out! So needless to say I’m very nervous. I have also mentioned to each person that I’m not a teacher, and recommended some good teachers either alongside what I show them, or instead of. I would feel bad if someone just learn from a newbie like me instead of an experienced teacher!

Well I’m definitely going to practice lots and get everything as perfect as possible so I don’t let anyone down! My teacher will probably make it up for a seminar after everyone has got the movements down well, but still…

So I got to wondering why on earth would folks choose to learn something from someone so new. Well my friends gave some ideas. Apparently I explain stuff quite well and in very simple language. Also “personality goes a long way” was the description when I wondered why folks don’t just go join another local meetup lolol.

Well aside from being very nervous, even if all I do is let people know Bagua exists, encourage them to circle walk more (none of us do it enough), and improve my own practice all is good :).

I’m still nervous though…

My iron vest training has proven my iron palm training is working, ouch lol

Posted in Baguazhang

Well it appears I do have a memory afterall, how awesome! 🙂 I had no idea. During the past week, I was given corrections on all the stuff I learned last spring, then learned some iron shirt and iron palm stuff, some qi packing stuff, some healing stuff, and some stuff about what each of the Bagua exercises is good for healing wise. We also went over the apps, boy do I love the apps.

It was quite odd, I have a student with a sore back, so I was trying to show him the move your torso to move your arms but don’t move your arms sort of stuff… even though he has had 30 years of martial arts experience he wasn’t able to pick it up right away! I was quite amazed. Are internal and external martial arts really that different? Perhaps so. Not that I spent a lot of time trying to show him (half an hour) I was still surprised that he didn’t even sorta kinda get it. I teach him other stuff and he is a very fast learner, so that isn’t the problem.

I have noticed that Bagua has a LOT of spiraling energy, that just keeps going and going and going… and after a bit I had to stop it. There is only so much spiraling I could take lol. Pretty neat though. I will add that to my lift of “Bagua surprises”.

My Bagua teacher wants me to show others the form so that I learn it better and so that I have folks to do the partner stuff with. I will see if I’m any good at teaching physical movements. Well no problem, if I’m not I will learn how. I’ve been teaching non-physical stuff for over 20 years, so that will hopefully help a bit.

I died and went to Bagua heaven ;)

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I spent the past 5 days training with my Bagua teacher down in California. Gawd he rocks! 🙂 It has been 7 months since I was last training with him there. I felt I hadn’t done as much homework as I should have, but fortunately he said it was enough, since I did have the stuff memorized. I had also come across many Bagua and healing and etc. insights while practicing the material he had given me as well.

It was an awesome week of Bagua for between 4-7 hours per day each day. I learned more in the past 5 days than I have in the past 2 years! I don’t just mean physical movements; I mean depth AND physical movements and concepts and principals and energies, and qi and healing, and so forth. I feel very very fortunate to have had this opportunity. My bank account is still cowering in fear, but it was worth every penny! 🙂

One side aspect I really enjoy was how gentle the teacher was with me. He is a fighter and damn strong and damn good at fighting, which to me is very important; I’m just not drawn to the folks with soft energy. On the otherhand he is very gentle with his wording and his techniques. It really did help me to overcome my previous bad experiences with my old teacher. I mentioned that I had had previous bad experiences in this sense, so I think he made sure to make this a good experience for me. Then on the last day he did go harder, but not hard enough to hurt more than say stubbing my toe or something. He didn’t do anything which made me double over in pain. He hit about the perfect level for me actually, and not in the diaphragm (whew). It really was nice to have such a good and encouraging Bagua experience.

Here is the amazing bit, he mentioned offhand that I learn faster than most people. Uhm, I had to say hold on, what? And ask him what he meant by that because as far as I knew it was the opposite. This is when I realized how important it is to find the right teacher for the student. I feel I learned and got more in the past 5 days than in the past 2 years.

I was most definitely given enough homework to last me what feels like a year, but it is supposed to be 6 months worth. I guess it’s time to up my practice a little.

I have to find someone to do some of the partner work with now, which might be difficult because most folks wouldn’t necessarily want a newbie showing them a martial arts form and exercises. The fun bit is that I *also* get to show the apps.

We took videos of all of the movements when we were all done. I really should watch them, but can’t stand watching myself on video because it becomes glaringly obvious how many mistakes I make. I will watch them though, many times, and perhaps even make new videos when I get each thing more accurate.

I love Bagua!

Bagua :)

Posted in Baguazhang

I am out of town on business, and managed to meet up with another Bagua player here locally. It was pretty cool, we talked for 3 and a half hours, only because I had to get up early the next morning. Otherwise I think we would have kept going until sunrise. We showed each other various application ideas and so forth, as well as just talked about Bagua in general. He has been self taught in Bagua all this time, which is pretty amazing. Well the amazing part is that he didn’t suck at it lol. There are differences of course as compared with someone who has in person training and many in person training partners, but still… He has been learning via the Yin Bagua videos. He has the emitting power stuff down pretty good for someone who has never seen or felt it in person, or had it used on him. However I think he would die and go to Bagua heaven if he had some in person instruction!

I did get my morning practice in as well.