Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: aggression

Bagua–for REAL this time

Ok. I’m going to talk about Bagua for real this time. Not ilke for fake as I did in the last post. And the one before that. but I swear that this time, I am actually going to talk about Bagua. Eventually.

To recap, I did some Bagua a few years after starting Taiji. It wsa walking the circle with the 8 Palms. I leared how to do it with DeerHorn Knives as well. I did it as a way to avoid meditation because the lattelr was too fraught for me as I was suffering frem PTSD. Or maybe even cPTSD.

Side note: I did not know before this that meditation can exacerbate PTSD. Once I started experiencing it in class, I was freaked out. I had flashbacks along with other unpleasant sensations, which had me scurrying  to the internet. I discovered that this was not uncommon, though it wasn’t talked about much.

What I read is that without proper guidance, meditation can trigger traumatic responses. This is something to be aware of, and it wasn’t something Ihad heard of before I did meditation in Taiji class. Once I brought it up to my teacher, she decided to see if Bagua would be better. It was, indeed.

I can do meditation now, but it’s still not my favorite. I would be perfectly happy to never do it again, but I can deal with it in class. I would still prefer doing 8 palms, though.

It was walking the circle that made me realize that my life was worthwhile. What do I mean by that? I’ll explain. I was raised to believe that my life was not worth anything other than what I could do for other people. I was a living emotional support person, and that was all I was supposed to be.

I was a pacifist at that time and said that if someone wanted to kill me, I would let them. Then, I started walking the circle with the 8 palms. The basic premise is that the opponent is in the middle of the circle, and you wanted to focus on them as you walked. I was doing this during one particularly rough day, and I suddenly had a flash of, “If it’s you or me, then it’s you (dying).” That was the first moment in my life that I thought my life had value–I was over 35, probably closer to 40.

I talked about it with my teacher, and she was very excited to me. She said that men had to be taught to  chil out (in general) whereas women (as I identified then) had to be taught how to fight. Blame the patriarchy for both that girls were told to ‘be nice’ whereas boys were taught they always had to be alpha dog.

I stopped saying I was a pacifist after that moment. It was never really true, but I felt as if  ihad to say it. My life was worth fighting for, and I embraced that knowledge.

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Bagua is the best

In the last few months, I have been doing Bagua with my Taiji teacher in my private lessons. Why? Because. Is that a good enough reason? No? OK, then I will expand on it. I have talked about it before, but I really need to talk more about it.

Back when I first started Taiji, I had difficulty with the meditation. I would have flashbacks of bad memories, and it shook me. I told my teacher, and she had me walk the circle instead. That’s a Bagua thing, and it was much better than doing Taiji meditation. Honestly, it still is. I still don’t like the latter, even though I do it in class now.

I went into it thinking I was a pacifist. But that was just a social construct. I was a lay-deeeeee. No way I could ever even think about doing anything the slightest bit violent. I would rather die than lift a hand against another person. I actually thought to myself that if someone tried to kill me, I would let them.

Then Bagua happnede to me. I was walking the circle, which is the basic, uh, form as it were, of Bagua. The goal is to focus onthe opponent in the middle of the circle and direct your energy towards them. There was a time I was doing this when my whole body electrified. My brain said, “If it’s you or me–it’s gonna be you.” Meaning, if only one of us was going to survive, it was going to be me.

Up until that point, I had issues of low self-esteem. I didn’t think I deserved to live, so if someone wanted to kill me, well, then I would let him. And, yes, in my mind–it was a him. That was the logical conclusion of everything I’d been told all my life. I was not worth anything as a woman execpt how I could please any man around me. That was the basic message I got my whole life–the only worth a woman had was how she could serve the men around her.

Well, and be an emotional ballast for her mother, but that was a personal thing, not a cultural one. I mean, it was just my mother parentifying me well before that was a thing. She was ill-equipped to deal with the travails of being married to a raging narcissist. To be fair, that was not a situation in which many people would be comfortable.

When I realized that I would choose to live rather than let someone kill me, it was a seminal moment for me. My life was worth something, and I no longer was a pacifist. I was not looking to hurt someone, obviously. I did not want to be in a fight with anyone. But if someone wanted to start a fight, i wanted to be able to finish it.

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Honing my aggression

I love Taiji. It saved my life. Both figuratively and literally. When  I was drowning in depression, Taiji gave me a meaning in life and allowed me to temporary calm my anxious mind. It helped me set boundaries with my parents–and, more importantly, it allowed me to put some distance between us. I simultaneous cared less about what they thought of me and cared more about how I felt about myself.

I became less clausterphobic. I will never like being in crowds, especially because of COVID and how susceptible I am to germs, but I no longer freak out in them. I can find spaces where there seem to be none and slither my way through. I was better able to put up boundaries, which helped with my family, and more to the point, I got more self-confidence. I was by no means perfect, but I was in a much better place than I had been before I starcted Taiji.

Then I had my medical crisis and Taiji literally saved my life. I have said more than once that the three things that brought me back to life were love, luck, and Taiji. I firmly believe that the fifteen years I studied Taiji before getting hit with non-COVID-related walking pneumonia, two cardiac arrests, and a stroke prepared my body for taking those hits. And coming back after a week of unconsciousness.

Taiji has done so much for my mental health and physical health. It has helped me relax and it has gotten rid of all my body aches. And, I don’t have to mention yet again about my love for Taiji weapons–but I will because I can and I want to. Taiji weapons are my life and my love, and I can talk about them all day long. I am currently teaching myself the left side of the Cane Form, and then I’ll move onto the Double Sabers. Probably. Still my favorite form.

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