No discussion of Ba Gua Zhang could be complete without some treatment of the art's relationship to the I Ching. Dating from the earliest records of the Chinese written language, the / Ching or Book of Changes has been revered as holding keys to the universe. Although this treatise is used for philosophical reflection and/or divination, it also is considered by many Ba Gua experts, especially during the turn of the century, as holding secrets of deeper and mysterious roots of Ba Gua Zhang practice.
Students of the / Ching know that the classic is based upon an arrangement of yin and yang binary coded lines, the trigrams discussed above, placed together in series of three (each forming eight guas or line arrangements); these series of eight guas, from which the Ba Gua Zhang name comes, then interplay among themselves to create sixty-four (eight x eight) arrangements of eight yin and yang line diagrams.
The binary codings of the / Ching and the Ba Gua diagram have many correspondences to Ba Gua Zhang martial art practice. In most styles the sixty-four changes of the / Ching have been adapted into or closely associated with the sixty-four palms (movements) of Ba Gua Zhang.
In the same way that the Ba Gua diagram and the / Ching mirrored mysterious universal principles, the art of Ba Gua Zhang was believed by its practitioners to mirror the principles of creation through movements corresponding to the philosophical ethos. Central to this ethos is the idea that the universe gives birth to phenomena through change and interplay of bipolar opposing forces of yin and yang.
The Chinese philosophy of yin yang, a separate school until 200 B.C., viewed phenomena in the universe as mixtures of yang (positive/charged) and yin (negative/receptive) "mechanisms of change." In seasonal terms, the classic example of yang is high summer, while winter represents extreme yin. However, just as the year goes by and summer gradually changes to winter, all phenomena are seen as gradations of yin and yang.
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Achieve Health, Wealth And Body Balance Through Yin Yang Mastery. Cut up on the old stone drums of Republic of China, inscribed in books handed down through thousands of years, traced on ancient saucers and on saucers made today, is a sign and a symbol. It is woven into textiles, stitched into embroideries, emblazoned over house gates, wrought into shop emblems, a circle, locked together inside it yang and yin yang, light, yin, dark, each carrying inside itself the essence of the other, each shaped to the other