Bagua Zhang

8 Trigram Palm

Bagua Zhang at Dharma Way Dojo

Baguazhang, known as 8 Trigram Palm, is also one of the big three internal martial arts of China along with Tai Chi Chuan, and Hsing I Chuan. This art first came to prominence in Beijing, China in the late 1860’s from the man considered the founder, Dong Hai Chuan. There are many legends surrounding the origins of Baguazhang and the amazing skills of Master Dong, too many to recount in this forum.

Baguazhang is characterized by its circle walking, twisting, turning, centrifugal and centripetal movements. Steve teaches the art to a lot of his back pain patients with amazing results. The rotating movements of baguazhang practiced in all planes release adhesions which surround the soft tissue of the spine. Thus relaxing the muscles and preventing stenosis which allows for more electrical communication in the spinal nerves and alleviating pain.

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Baguazhang practitioners are well known in the far east for their high level of self-defense skills. Known by some as the art of the Chinese bodyguard, many famous government officials and prominent members of society over the last 150 years have made it a policy to only employ baguazhang masters for their personal protection.

Not only is the twisting and turning great for the body’s health, but these movements create small vortices of power in the body allowing for the practitioner to strike very hard from a tiny distance.

Baguazhang practioners very quickly end up behind their opponents. Fighting a baguazhang practitioner has been likened to fighting a ghost; here one second, gone the next. Baguazhang with its constant changes in direction is famous for fighting multiple opponents.

Baguazhang is all about change. What are the components needed for smooth changes to occur, how is the change brought about, what caused the need to change in the first place and what is the result of the change? These are all questions a baguazhang student is constantly asking and answering during the practice and application of the forms.

All of the internal attributes found in Tai Chi Chuan and Hsing I Chuan are present in Baguazhang plus a lot more. It is still an internal art, so tension in the body and mind must be released. Baguazhang produces a body as strong as a steel cable, yet soft as velvet. Baguazhang manifests yin and yang in perfect harmony, it is amazing to reach a level where these energies can actually be felt.

The longer 24 move 64 palm routine contains hundreds of individual movements with an infinite number of applications. But Steve starts beginning students with the Old Mother 8 Palm routine. This form by itself will greatly improve one’s mental and physical health and grant the student extraordinary self-defense skills.

Baguazhang has in addition to empty hand routines many weapons routines: staff, spear, double knives, sword, including deer hook swords which are unique to baguazhang. Steve also teaches how to use every day items found in your environment as weapons, a most handy skill to have, because we rarely walk around with our spears!

All of us here at Dharma Way Dojo and Self Defense Solutions know Steven Allen is an absolute fanatic when it comes to the martial arts, and he would say he loves all the arts equally because he sees them originating from a common source. But most of his students believe he holds a special place for baguazhang.

Some students asked him recently if he could practice only one martial art for the rest of his life what would it be? He answered unhesitatingly,


When pressed for more information he said it was because it was the closest to the forces of the universe.

“Because the one constant in the universe is change. Baguazhang rotates and revolves, it moves on its axis and wobbles off its axis, but never loses its equilibrium; just like the earth moves around the sun and the galaxies spin and revolve around the universe. We are all only microcosms of the one great universal macrocosm, and within us tiny universes are constantly spinning, being created and constantly dissolving .”



He continued by admonishing us,

“Practice until the universe reveals itself to you through the Dao of constant change.”

Enough said!

If you desire to realize the macrocosm and the microcosm within yourself and start your own journey of self-discovery through the art of Baguazhang: Give us a call and receive 2 free lessons with no obligation.

The health and clarity you will develop will make you glad you did.

021 151 3273