training for Life
Column by Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong
May 2010 Issue

The Dragon Bagua Palm

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Choy Li Fut has more internal hand forms than any shaolin system. Normally an internal hand form is practiced soft and slow like tai chi chuan. Some internal forms such as xing-yi and bagua zhang are practiced relaxed but not too slow. In the choy li fut system, some internal forms are slow and some are quick.

Today, few people know all the names of the choy li fut internal forms. But here's a short course. The most famous internal form is the large Buddha Palm hand form. There are also the snake hand form, luohan taming tiger hand form, Kwan-yin palm, tai-gik hand form, and mo-gik hand form, which are all practiced by the student soft and relaxed. One of choy li fut's rare forms is called the dragon bagua palm hand form or lung ying bot gwa jeung. This internal hand form is not a well known form, because few masters taught it to their students.

Most choy li fut practitioners know about the eight-bagua hand forms, but few know about the 10 choy li fut bagua hand forms. They are:

1. Small bagua
2. Heart of bagua
3. Large bagua
4. Yee jong bagua
5. Plum blossom bagua
6. Duel tiger bagua
7. Hung's people bagua
8. Dat ting bagua
9. Five animal bagua
10. Dragon form bagua palm

The dragon palm is one I am introducing now.

There is no connection between dragon bagua and the internal bagua zhang system. This rare bagua palm form from the choy li fut system is one of the advanced internal soft forms that had been handed down from Chan Heung, founder of the choy li fut system in 1836. The kuen po or form manuscript documented 21 techniques and 55 training steps in the entire form.

The movements are practiced soft and relaxed like the bagua zhang system. The bagua zhang foot work and the choy li fut bagua palm are not the same. The bagua zhang footwork is going around in a circle and the choy li fut dragon bagua form's footwork is from the center and going out to eight different directions. In the choy li fut dragon bagua form, all the footwork is agile and quick like the dragon flowing in the sky. All the hand techniques are very simple, but not easy to practice correctly. In this form, the palms must carry energy with intention of yi (mind).

Choy li fut's dragon bagua palm must contain the spirit of a dragon. There are 10 major hand techniques in this valuable hand form. They are:

1. Lifting palm (tiu)
2. Sticky hand (chi)
3. Pressing palm (ding)
4. Whipping palm (bin)
5. Penetrating palm (chuin)
6. Slapping hand (fook)
7. Prong hand (cha)
8. Anchor hand (nau)
9. Uppercut palm (pau)
10. Side chopping (lan)

Besides the above 10 hands, there are also connection techniques such as snowflakes above the head (suit fa koi ding), yin and yang sun, and moon palm (yum yeung yat yuit jeung).

The 21 techniques of the dragon forms are:

1-2. Golden Dragon Comes Out From the Cave – left and right
3. Green Dragon Taming Tiger
4. Green Dragon Coils to the Tiger
5. Two Dragons Fighting for the Pearl
6-7. Black Dragon Swings the Tail – left and right
8. Black Dragon Penetrates to the Well
9. Yellow Dragon Penetrates to the Well
10. Green Dragon Comes Out of the Cave
11. Twin Dragons Taming Tiger
12. Yellow Dragon Grabbing the Tiger
13. Green Dragon Grabbing the Leopard
14-15. Golden Dragon Penetrates the Claw – left and right
16-17. Green Dragon Lifts the Claw – left and right
18. Black Dragon Wiggles the Tail
19. Golden Dragon Returns to the Cave
20. Dragon in the Sky and Tiger on the Ground
21. The Closing Dragons

When practicing this hand form, the stances must be low and the footwork must continually connect to the next steps. All hands must go with the footwork. Some stances are high and some are low. Advancing and retreating steps must be flowing and agile. With hard work and the correct instruction, the dragons will come alive in the eight different directions.

Doc-Fai Wong is a contributing editor and writes a bi-monthly column for Inside Kung-Fu.

May 2010 Inside Kung-Fu