Andrea Falk takes an individualized approach to seminars, grouping students of similar levels and providing personalized feedback to each participant. The following material was taught over the day and a half session.
All participants practiced Ba Gua Techniques using straight line drills. Chuan Zhang
(Spearing Palm) was practiced by itself and in combination with Tan Zhang
(reaching Palm) and Gai Zhang
(Covering Palm). Stealing Step footwork was also practiced - after the Chuan, the back foot steps in, allowing the front foot to move forward again. The stealing step allows for moving into an opponent in a hidden, sneaky way. When practicing the stealing step it is important to maintain the solid footwork gained from Bear Circle-walking and avoid speeding up unnecessarily.
Beginners focused on Bear Circle Walking
fundamentals and the first Dragon Change - Single Palm Change
. These form the foundation of Ma Gui Ba Gua. The Bear posture opens the Kidneys and allows Qi to collect. The circle walking is done slowly and deliberately to help connect the whole body.
Andrea emphasized gripping with each step and using the lower calf and ankle. The foot is lifted flat with each step and stays close to the ground. The body remains upright and the shoulders should be set down into the body.
The Single Palm Change forms the basis of all the other Changes. It trains clean and stable stepping, and full body power.
Intermediate students learnt the Dragon Changes four to eight. The Dragon Changes form the basis for all of the other animal changes in the system.
For all of the Dragon Changes, correct alignment, form and stepping was emphasized. Dragon circle walking develops tendon change in the upper back, while raising the Qi upwards. The Changes train connected movements that allow attack and defense to integrate seamlessly - coiling like a Dragon.
Advanced Students learnt Snake Circle walking
and the Snake Changes 1 to 6. The Snake posture develops the chest and upper back - building tendon changes across the front of the shoulder, connecting the upper arms with the body and opening the shoulder. The eight animals are grouped into ‘xing’ and ‘shi’ models. Xing models train body structure more, while Shi models emphasize different types of movement. The Snake is a Shi animal while Bear and Dragon are Xing animals.
The following Snake (Single Hook) Changes were taught:
Andrea Falk’s next visit to Guelph will be June, 2013.