It’s a Lifestyle
For ten years I have been training gung fu. During that long decade was a journey of learning how to eat, think, and just feel better. Really that is what gung fu is about. It has little to do with being the greatest fighter, or the strongest and fastest compared to anybody else. It is really just about becoming a better person. The physical and emotional side effects of training are obvious if one is willing to put in the hard work and effort that I have. The rewards are an incredible feeling of accomplishment that boosts your confidence into orbit. Just knowing that you can handle yourself in any situation is just an amazing sensation. Whatever stressful situation arises before you whether it is psychological, emotional, or even physical, you just know that you can take care of it.
One of the styles which I study is baguazhang. The literal translation equates to eight trigram palms. The concept is the ability to change direction quickly in difficult circumstances. Now that is usually understood in the physical concept of someone being attacked or assaulted by one or more cowards. This is an accurate analogy. However, the foundation of understanding which baguazhang brings to the practitioner is also the ability to use the same analogy to handle every day situations which may occur professionally or personally in one’s life.
The basic idea which I understand about this martial art is that it is a form of counter fighting designed to allow you to confront multiple attackers from many directions. The odds of that being literal are possible but consider the incredible amount of daily stress that we deal with. Every day we are under assault from all sides from a multitude of situations in our private lives. You have to be able to decompress somehow or at least weather the storm in the midst of the crisis. That is what baguazhang can enable you to do. It allows you to keep your edge when the unmentionable hits the fan. You cannot control what is going to happen to you. The only thing you can control is how you will either react or respond. Now, if you are like me I sometimes have a tendency to go wrong when something does not go right. I am not as bad as a I used to be though. I have a much better coping mechanism now which allows me to deal with whatever it is without blowing a heart valve. I will often put myself into the role of the observer, detaching myself from the situation long enough to get a handle on what needs to be done. That does not mean that it does not move me emotionally but it means that I do not allow my emotions to rule my judgment. Flying off the handle like a ding-a-ling or wing-nut only prolongs the problem instead of just doing what needs to be done so that you can put it behind you. So what started out as a simple self defense course has turned out to be a resourceful tool in handling a lot of everyday stuff that would normally be difficult. That is why I often say that baguazhang is not something you train; it’s a lifestyle.