QA: Baguazhang and Strength building?

I just wanted to ask a question about Bagua.  Ive been practicing the circle walking methods on Sifu Mancuso’s DVD and I usually just do the first palm change.  The past 2 weeks I feel myself getting really stronger.  I don’t understand if it’s internally or externally or both, but it feels like I did when I use to lift weights.  I find this very odd considering I don’t do any type of strength building. I was working out with a friend from another style (hapkido) and I found myself besting him much more than I use to.  Bagua is all that I have been practicing so it has to be it.  My friend said my fighting style has changed and he can’t follow me anymore.  I just wondered if Bagua can have that effect?  I don’t have a teacher to talk to about it so I hope you don’t mind if I ask if Bagua could be enhancing me in ways I don’t understand.  Nice problem to have huh?

What you describe in your letter is more than possible. As my teacher, Adam Hsu, says: the main thing about BaGua Zhang is that it changes your thinking. But in addition to that the twisting and untwisting are, from a martial point of view, “genius” training. BaGua is highly compressed and works on all sorts of levels at once. That’s why sometimes, when I see it looked at as a philosophical art I understand but I also think it’s a shame since on the day to day practical and training level it’s a masterpiece of martial construction. Bagua is an art where any one move can have ten meanings depending on your skills, experience and creativity.
Glad you are enjoying the training,
Yours in the Martial Arts,
Ted Mancuso

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