The art of change
8 trigrams palm

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Baguazhang (8 trigrams palm) is a very challenging style of martial art.
addresses the experience of combat in a different way to taijiquan with multiple opponents in mind at all times.
The student avoids direct confrontation by circling around the opponent or by encouraging the attacker to circle around them.


Baguazhang uses insights from the I Ching and is based on the principle of change.
class practices the Jiang style of baguazhang.
The founder of baguazhang (Dong Haichuan) was a bodyguard in the Imperial court.

Advanced martial art

Baguazhang was designed to be an advanced martial art method.
The art contains many of the same fighting skills as
taijiquan, and a whole lot more besides...

It is a highly unusual art famous for its fast, evasive footwork and effectiveness against multiple opponents.
Your body emulates animal movements and changes continually.

A 2nd method

Baguazhang is offered to students who have attained competence with taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist) and can show competence with chin na (seizing) and shuai jiao (take downs).

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

(Charles Darwin)


Momentum and flow are used to overcome strength. The aim is to draw the attacker out of their centre and off-balance.
8 trigrams palm trains the student to adapt, change and improvise.
There are no fixed techniques, with the exponent preferring to respond to the demands of the moment rather than force an outcome.

Baguazhang is particularly effective for applying chin na, shuai jiao and jing.
Students must be competent in all areas of martial art skill.


Baguazhang is all about responding spontaneously and favourably to stimuli.
This cannot be achieved if you are standing in your own way.
Fluidity, flow, softness and harmony are not possible when you are self-conscious.

Baguazhang teaches a student how to choose-without-choosing; to let the subconscious mind make decisions.
This will produce more powerful responses.
The application feels to have simply occurred, without force or effort.

Hard work

Baguazhang is not an easy martial art to learn.
The student must be prepared to endure long hours of difficult training for the duration of their baguazhang study.

The initial training is concerned with circle walking and palm changes; gaining strength, coordination, rhythm and balance.
Only later is the martial aspect addressed.

Why discover 8 trigrams palm?

Baguazhang training encourages nimbleness and agility; it enlivens your martial art.

  1. It makes your footwork smoother

  2. It is sneaky and deceptive

  3. It encourages spontaneity and improvisation

  4. It's fun

  5. It improves your spatial awareness

  6. It works well against multiple opponents

  7. It's hard

  8. It challenges you physically and cognitively


Some feedback concerning Sifu Waller's baguazhang lessons:

Itís certainly sobering when after all those years of training, facing Sifu Waller I feel about as effective as an old lady throwing marshmallows.

I feel very grateful to
Sifu Waller for an introduction to a form of martial arts that as I understand it is not that widely available to western students in its authentic form. I feel he has generously presented us with a wonderful opportunity.

For those of us whoíve been involved in martial arts for some time, and have some experience of Chinese arts and teachers, I feel we can be confident that with
Sifu Waller we have stumbled upon a treasure trove of authentic Chinese martial arts. Itís tremendously exciting as the lineage and history is abundantly clear in his approach. It struck me, the first time I saw Sifu Waller demonstrate it, that 5000 years of Chinese culture and history is somehow woven into the lethal beauty of baguazhang.


I find the syllabus is well-structured and offers carefully designed and enjoyable exercises which aid application of the palm changes. Learning the purpose of each of the movements gives a real insight into overall strategy of baguazhang.

In addition to creating an accessible website containing information relevant to learning baguazhang,
Sifu Waller also takes the time to explain concepts in detail in class with the added benefit of being able to demonstrate how these principles can be applied martially.

The emphasis on evasive movements in baguazhang has been particularly helpful in overcoming my tendency to freeze-up during self-defence scenarios and instead I'm learning to relax and respond.

Although the underlying principles are similar to taijiquan, baguazhang feels very different. Adapting your mindset to take into account multiple opponents is difficult but very rewarding from a martial perspective.

Baguazhang is proving to be a great opportunity to escape from the trappings of individual techniques and instead concentrate on realistic improvisation of self-defence applications in high-pressure situations. I particularly appreciate the focus on deception and evasion.

(Dominic Hine)

Page created 31 July 1994
Last updated 02 November 2018