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Book Ba Gua: Hidden Knowledge in the Taoist Internal Martial Art by John Bracy (1998-12-22)

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Ba Gua: Hidden Knowledge in the Taoist Internal Martial Art by John Bracy (1998-12-22)

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  • Blue Snake Books (1876)
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Review Text

  • By Bokhara on December 26, 2016

    John writes a simple easily read book on Bagua. He doesn't try to teach you "all there is to know" on this highly technical subject. One of my teachers had trained in Celestial Heavens park in beijing and spoke highly of the old man. Bracy brings him to the public light and does so in an enjoyable read.

  • By Jimmy Lin on January 25, 1999

    This book is obviously not intended for the beginning Baguazhang student. Then again, there comes the argument as to whether there is anything as a beginning Baguazhang student, since it is a style generally analogized as "graduate school" for martial artists.The authors are quite knowledgeable and clear with their content matter. While I distinctly dislike the use of the phrase "Taoist yoga/yogic," the outlining of the qigong exercises were quite clear. The two-man drills were not so clear, but for someone with experience in reading martial arts texts, they were clear enough.There's also some esoterica and history that is nice to see. The outlining and use of the generational names of the Tung Hai-Chuan lineage was especially interesting to me, as an "historical" martial artist.It's not the best book I've seen on Baguazhang, but it certainly beats most others. For fundamental drilling and body development work, I would suggest Sifu Park Bok Nam's "The Fundamentals of Baguazhang" vols. I and II. For more translations and mediocre form delineation, I would suggest Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming and Liang, Shou-Yu's "Emei Baguazhang." Having all three texts, I feel that Mr. Bracy and his sifu's book is a fine complement to my Baguazhang and internal Chinese arts library.

  • By Dave Chesser on March 27, 1999

    I recomend this book simply because English books on baguazhang are rare to begin with. However, the potential reader should be aware of a few problems. First of all, the author jumps from basic circle walking directly to two-man exercises and applications. This will cause a problem for beginners who might benefit from pictures of the author's form so that they can get a "feel" for how the style moves (baguazhang doesn't move like anything else). So a beginner will have no frame of reference. However, I can't say this is a book for advanced practicioners either because the applications are very (!) simplistic. Don't look here for bagua's inherent complexity! Also, the exercises and applications are difficult to follow because they lack arrows depicting the movements of the practicioners. The first 50 pages on history and theory are pretty good although they borrow heavily from the "Pa Kua Chang Journal" which (in Bracy's defence) was a pretty comprehensive journal and a tough act to follow. I guess I was also disappointed in this book because Liu Xing Han's Chinese books are considered modern classics (and rightly so). Why not simply translate them and make them available to the baguazhang community?

  • By Taiji 218 on July 16, 2016

    An excellent book for beginners or for more advanced practitioners. John goes into the rationale and meaning of each technique, along with the history better than anybody else I've read on bagua.

  • By Mike H. on January 28, 2013

    It was some years since I practiced any kind of martial art. I picked up "Ba Gua Hidden Knowledge ..." and I'm so thankful that I did. I was inspired to once again practice, this time looking a a credible Ba Gua or Tai Chi teacher.Jon Z

  • By J on October 1, 2014

    Great experience purchasing book!

  • By Vincent J. Lasorso on August 6, 2000

    As a teacher of Bagua Chang I have to commend Mr. Bracy for doing an excellent job in presenting some rather complex material in an easy to undesrstand manner. I enjoyed the material presented and felt the history lesson was quite good. It was very clear that Mr. Bracy has a greater knowledge and understanding of metaphysical internal arts than he choses to reveal. And based upon some of his reviews, this is probably a wise choice. It will be interesting to see what his next book will be like:-)However, the best praise I can give is that my students found the book very informative and helpful in their practice. It added more depth to their circle walking and the definition of a Yogic internal art suited their nature. They enjoyed the pictures of Master Liu walking the circle. (That alone, is a good reason to own this book)Bagua has produced more magical masters per capita than any other internal art. To only view this art as a martial one is a tremendous disservice and insult to its creators and first level masters. Mr. Bracy should be applauded for not creating another technical "how to do it" manual.

  • By V. K. Lin on March 23, 2003

    I was mixed on this book. It presented a wonderful history and philosophical background for Hsing-Han Liu's Ba Gua, but the palms shown were the simplest levels (predominately qi gung), the applications were rudimentary (perhaps even watered down), and the mechanics simplistic. For a book that started to emphasize energy, proceeded to walking qi gung palms, a more appropriate finale would have been more sophisticated energy applications and/or development. Real insights from this incredibly experienced Ba Gua master would have been nice, and invaluable.


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