Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yin-Style Bagua With Mike Martello

Mike Martello made another trip to Seattle last week, and I and one of the young Dojo Rats attended the Yin-style Bagua session. The seminar, sponsered by Jake Burroughs, was well attended. Many of the participants had also been to Sun-style Bagua seminars taught by Tim Cartmell, so most people were familiar with the material. Below is a video of Mike teaching a similar class in Europe:

As you can see in the video, Mike takes the class through many fundemental yoga-type movements. These postures teach correct body alingment and the hour-or-so of straining to achieve correct position results in the foundation for a short Bagua training form. This form, Xaio Kai Men, or "small opening door" Is a beautiful linear form that prepares the body for the more advanced circle-walking palm changes.
Mike explained how the power in Bagua comes from the coiling, "spring loaded" natural compression and release of these postures. Once the torso can be held in the correct position, there is inherent energy ready to be released.
As I've mentioned before, Mike is one of the absolute best instructors I have met. His wirey five-foot-two-inch body is deceptively powerful, and his ability to communicate difficult concepts are outstanding.
We concluded the seminar with two-person circle walking. In this Bagua form of "push hands", both people assume the circle walking posture with the wrists of the extended guard arms touching. The circle is walked in this fashion for eight steps, with a single palm change of direction. In freeplay, one partner at a time will attempt to grab, push, slap or sweep the opponent in a non-competitive manor. The defender responds accordingly, moving with the attack and not against it. This adds a nice new approach to the more linear and fixed-step Taiji push hands we have been previously doing. All-in-all, we came back from the seminar with some nice new tools for the toolbag!
For further information on martial arts seminars and classes in the Seattle area, contact Jake Burroughs at Three Harmonies Martial Arts Center , and Mike Martello's website can be found here.


mike said...


Once again it was a pleasure working with you and your fellow dojorat, besides all the rest of the group...

Jake was a great host and I learned a lot from working with everyone... I want to make the seminar better, so please give advice where I can make it better...

One bit I told Jake:
I would liked for the Seminar to be longer next time... I really wanted to work with everyone more hands on ideas that where from xiao kai men, like the circle drills you so well describe in your write up.... Thanks for a great write up too....

Thanks again and talk soon... and practice practice practice... mikemartello

Dojo Rat said...

Thanks so much Mike,
We had a great time at the seminar, next time I'll try to make the Mantis session also.
We got the xaio kai men form down, I will look at your video of the third level for more ideas.
It would be great to explore more of the partner circle-walking and the unique Bagua applications .
-Stay in touch, I look foward to seeing you again!