For an esoteric principle to be valid and therefore authentic, it must work on all levels. It needs to resonate across and cause response from all dimensionalities. There is no such thing as purely mental or strictly physical techniques within legitimate esoterism. The mechanic of the principle is required not only to invoke but involve the holy trinity- mind, body, and spirit.
Directing our attention to the Wudang Mountains, we find the Daoist holy lands, comprised of 72 peaks (an auspicious number to be sure) and launch pad for the ascension of numerous immortals, deities and other supernatural beings. Here we enter a secluded world of authentic mysticism, and within its vault of secrets, the practice of Daoist circle walking (Baguazhang’s signature training method) is one of its most prized treasures.
A cornerstone of the Daoist belief is the earth mirrors the Heavens, or, “earth follows the mandate of Heaven.” The precession of the stars and planets, as well as celestial events, are the result of divine precision. The wise observe the earth being receptive to the happenings above and then yield to and reflect the mandate of Heaven themselves.
It is considered beneficial to be in harmony with, move -like, mimic qualities of, and adopt the positioning of Heaven and Earth. One should cultivate and internalize the expressions of power around him or herself, looking to nature (nature as the natural disposition of the universe expressed through creation) as the supreme teacher. Internal Feng-Shui only corrects and empowers external Feng-Shui.
Daoist circle walking reflects the positioning of celestial bodies to one another and the circumambulations of the small around the big. The Daoists not only sussed that the earth orbited the sun before the Greeks, but went a step further and emulated it by mimicking a satellite circling the gravitational field of a more massive object. This pull and drag effect stimulates cellular ebb and flows within us, which is not unlike the moon influencing tides. Over time this practice restores our north/south pole magnetic balance by re-aligning the human axis (in direct relationship with the earth’s axis) known as the spine or Chong-Mai.
Walking is an essential function of living, at least on this planet and in this dimension. The human body was designed to walk and not only that, be benefited from walking. A hidden directive hardwired into our core prodding as to explore and be rewarded for it. The benefits of walking are many, but here are a few major ones:
1. Burns calories
Walking initiates the burning of stored energy, massages the lower intestine and bowls encouraging regular movements.
2. Strengthens cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Exercise tones the heart and lungs as it requires steady supplies of blood and oxygen.
3. Lowers blood sugar.
Exercise requires energy and sugars burn quickest and first.
4. Eases joint pain.
The on and off pressure felt by the feet during walking creates a pump action circulating synovial fluid through the body. Synovial fluid lubricates joints and warms tendons. This fluid also travels up and down the spine, and I personally believe it is highly conductive of bioelectricity.
5. Boosts immune function.
Supplying your body with steady increases of fresh blood, oxygen, and circulation of nutrients to cells helps to maintain your body’s upkeep regularly. This helps your immune system to put its full energy towards fighting infections, viruses, and diseases while they are still minor, not allowing them to become a severe threat.
6. Boost your energy.
Circulating blood and oxygen along with synovial fluid triggers more effective use of cellular ATP.
7. Improve your mood.
Exercise stimulates the release of dopamine and other painkillers chemicals. This improves feelings of overall well being.
8. Extends your life.
Walking is an aerobic but low impact exercise. This allows for improved and prolonged circulation of bodily fluids and glandular secretions but does not violently jar or break down the body like jogging or running.
9. Tone the legs.
The muscles of the legs are the biggest muscles in the human body. They require a large amount of blood and oxygen. The stronger and more active your legs are the more calories, and nutrient uptake is needed to fuel them.
10. Improved creativity.
The increase in fresh blood, oxygen, and synovial fluid heighten cognitive function, strengthening abstract thinking capabilities.
As we age, we have a tendency to drift apart from those we associated with it. This self-imposed isolation leads to cognitive defects and backslides, lacking social stimulation for our brains to grow or at least maintain a baseline. Inside our body, a similar action is taking place through what is known as “organ drift.”
With age, muscles atrophy quicker, and tendons lose their elasticity if they are not exercised. Excess weight often accumulates in the stomach and gravity starts a downward pull. This pull creates space for internal organs to drift apart from each other. Like us, our internal organs are “social” and do better with fewer degrees of separation.
The rattle and hum of our internal functions is a resonate tone unique to each individual. A personal mantra of sorts. When our organs are near, they synergize and harmonize. However, as they drift apart, each becomes more isolated, more burdened and our resonate tone become weaker. Disease and death soon fill the spaces in between.
The constant strong but gentle twisting and frequent turnings preformed in Daoist circle walking produce a counter against gravity’s downward pull and massages the internal organs. After 3 months of daily circle walking, astounding differences in health can be reported. Detoxification, higher and sustained energy levels, as well as tighter, firmer muscles around the midsection. Circle walking pulls the internal organs back together, strengthening our resonate tone and greater vital is the result.
Both Daoist circle-walking and the martial art of Baguazhang hold the principle of Yin and Yang in the highest regard. All things balance out, whether we know it or want it too. The purpose of adhering to the Dao is finding benefit from the balance out, instead of a detriment. What you do with yin you do in equal measure with yang. Walking the circle eight times counter-clockwise requires eight clockwise in return.
The “mirroring” of movements on the right and left sides of the body has positive and empowering effects on the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Building stronger hemispherical linkage via the corpus callosum. Right and the left hemispheres initiate brain integration and collaborations of each’s respective functions. Opening up avenues of truly unlimited potential in terms of creativity, problem-solving, and intuition.
How the body twists during circle walking, especially while holding the most commonly seen upper body shape, the Dragon or more correctly the Dragon’s Heart, has a profound effect on the Coeliac Ganglion otherwise known as the Solar-Plexus. The Solar-Plexus is regarded as a grand-central station for bio-electrical and Automatic Nervous System (ANS) impulses. A mass of nerve tissue seated above the upper abdomen and branching throughout the upper to lower toro. The Solar-Plexus connects the spine with the brain to the vagus nerve and the stomach. It regulates adrenal flow, blood pressure, manages pain, and a host of other vital systems.
The unique way in which the internal mechanic of Daoist circle walking joins the solar center of the person to the solar center, or just the center, of the circle; opens and closes the Solar-Plexus, allowing it to stretch and flex. In the same way, running defragmentation protocol and regularly installing software upgrades to your computer makes it run smoother and more efficiently, exercising your Solar-Plexus increase it’s longevity and output.
Daoist circle walking has a potent Parasympathetic effect on the body, which means it counters the Sympathetic hindering action which the majority of people are needlessly under the prolonged influence of.
Sympathetic: Dilated, better to see when frightened.
Parasympathetic: Constricted, no threat.
Sympathetic: Frightened and anxious, needs more oxygen and glucose to pump faster.
Parasympathetic: Feels safe and confident, no need for to irregular or increased heart rate.
Sympathetic: Cold. The blood is drawn in away from the extremities and saved for the heart and brain as in survival mode.
Parasympathetic: Warm. The body does not feel it is in survival mode. Blood flows freely and unrestricted.
Sympathetic: Anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness.
Parasympathetic: Deep and restful sleep.
Male Sexual function
Sympathetic: Inability to achieve an erection.
Parasympathetic: Full erection.
Female sexual function
Sympathetic: Inability to lubricate.
Parasympathetic: Promotes lubrication.
The martial art of Baguazhang takes directly from the Daoist circle walking, mimicking the movements of celestial bodies in the medium of earthly powers, or emulations, such as walking like a tortoise or a snake. The different types of walking produced different effects in the body and coupled with specific upper body postures, the result could be powerful indeed.
The emphasis of Daoist circle walking is assuming and maintaining an upper body posture, not upper body movements, per-say. The pose is held as if an action is about to occur. This enlivens the otherwise static position, giving the mind, body, and spirit a chance to intermingle within it. Primming for all actions which could eventually follow.
The employing of Daoist walking and Baguazhang will, without question, produce and promote a high degree of full-body muscularity. However, it is the overall promotion of muscularity, which takes center stage. Engaging in regular Baguazhang practice and also participating in heavy but basic strength training will build more useful muscle quicker than lifting weight alone. Legs, however, are another matter. The healthy constraint placed on the legs from Baguazhang practic forges exceedingly athletically muscular, and injury resistant legs.
From the perspective of the physical world, Daoist circle walking makes sense. It is aerobic, honing an essential life skill, enhances endurance, improves athleticism, and promotes both flexibility and strength. Baguazhang is a supremely capable martial art combining fluid combination striking with deviously clever wrestling and fast-paced maneuverable footwork. However, the betterment of physicality alone is not enough to be considered a legitimate esoteric practice. There remain the mind and spirit, and both of which I will cover in part 2.
*I am currently working on what will be the most user-friendly and comprehensive Baguazhang video series to date to be released via Vimeo. Complete practice, strength training, combat applications of the most dependable and ruthless variety as well as beginner to advanced spiritual development all practiced at the SAME time.
I have scoured the internet and found only a small hand full of good Baguazhang. Many of these teachers only do high priced seminars now. The rest are utter frauds. If you are eager to get started (and I don’t blame you if you are) here is a link to a decent break down of circle walking and single and double palm changes. The stance and walking demonstrated are solid enough that I feel comfortable endorsing this video for the beginning of someone’s circle walking practice.
Be mindful of your knees and lower back. Everything below your solar-plexus (unless engaging in palm changes) should be facing the direction you are walking. Only your solar-plexus and above should orientate towards the center of the circle you are walking.
Here is the video Dragon Body Bagua.
Kevin Wikse is a near 30-year student of the Chinese Daoist martial art known as Baguazhang. Inherited from the Wong family, he has successfully used this fast, fluid and ferocious martial art to protect himself and others from elements of the 1990’s gang culture, from Neo-Conservative nutbags during the Bush-era nightmare while being followed home from 9-11 Truth movements and early 2000s Tea-Party rallies (before the co-opting). Most recently Kevin Wikse has used Dragon, Tiger, Lion, and Hawk body Baguazhang methods to literally mangle the vile idiot left and its agents. Stepping in to put Antifa and Satanic/Nazi-themed paramilitary on the ground, or under it (as the situation dictated), when they attacked the elderly, woman or engaged in terrorist activities against this country.