Underneath my yellow skin

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.


When I died twice and came back to life, that was literally me fighing for my life. I had spent so much of my earlier years wanting to die (passively), and it’s been a revelation that I want to live. I’m glad to be alive, and I’m still amazed tat I find that to be true.

Physically, I have not had a hard time adjusting to life after my medical crisis. Emotionally, it’s a different story. Not that it’s been hard or difficult, but it’s still an adjustment. A massive adjustment. The absence of previous shit is still an adjustment.

Not only about me wanting to live, but me loving my body. I’ve had a lifetime of hating my body (with good reason. Not that my body is hateable, but because I live in a society that hates fat people and grew up with parents from a culture who hate fat people). Double hate!)

Let’s add to that the fact that I’ve decided to add another internal martial art to my repertoire. That’s probably the biggest change in new life so far. I did some Bagua before my medical crisis, but nothing consistent. Now, I’m putting learning new Taiji weapons on hold while I jump into Bagua. With both feet.

I really want to learn the Swimming Dragon Form with the DeerHorn Knives. My teacher has said that I have to learn it with bare hands first, which is fine by me. I’ve seen her do it (with just hands) and it’s really cool. It’s muscular andassertive, and I feel like a badass while doing it. I only know five or six movements, but it’s only 39 (I think? It is. I looked) movements long. So I’m one-sixth to one-seventh of the way done! It’s a very short form in comparison to many in Taiji.

If I have understood my teacher correctly, there is one form, really, the Swimming Dragon Form, that can be endlessly adapted. I may be misinterpreting what she told me, but that was the gist of what I got from her explanation. So you can adapt it to any style of internal martial art. I’m sure I’ll be updating that when I ask my teacher to clarify, and she does. I will say that I have a bit of an excuse since my medical crisis in that my memory is shit now. If I don’t write down what someone says to me, I don’t remember it. It didn’t use to be like that, but I blame my stroke. Also could just be aging. I’ll take that trade-off any day! Taking notes is no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

My teacher has tried to drum that into my head (taking notes), but before my medical crisis, it was slow-going. I had a good memory back then, so I would balk at taking notes. I should have done it back then, too, because while my memory was good, it didn’t mean that I could remember all the salient points. The problem is that I never learned to take really good notes because of my excellent memory. I need to ask my teacher about that so my notes will actually be of use to me.

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