QA: Does Size Matter (in a Bagua Circle?)

qaredDear Sifu,

… I’m thinking through various ways to make this study of Bagua tangibly work as a daily practice. And that excites me.

I’d love nothing more than to paint a circle on my nice concrete floor and would do so in a heartbeat, but I don’t own this home and therefore doing so is out of the question. For that purpose…the picture from Australia shows brilliant uses of a little ingenuity spawned from desire, and standing water bottles demonstrate that there are endless ways of designating a circle without painting one.

But my question is about size of the circle. From what I have read and from the few pictures I’ve glimpsed from inside Sifu’s studio, it looks like a preferred circle is around six feet in diameter. Unfortunately, the ideal space available to me would accommodate a circle somewhere between three and four feet. In your opinion, would a three to four foot circle be too small around which to practice? I hope that will work. I hope, I hope. I’ve read that the early practitioners determined the size of their circles according to the available space, so I know the sizes can vary, and do. My only concern is that there might be a limit as to making a circle too small. Hopefully three to four feet is not too small. Can you help me with this?



circle1Dear R,

It is a pleasure to hear from customers and fellow practitioners who are so concerned about their practice. That’s one of the real incentives we have at Plum, people like yourself.

circle2It IS important what your basic circle is, but there are all sorts of workarounds to deal with lack of space. Start with the circle you have suggested, but also do a lot of linear stepping as if your were walking on the Great Circle that straddles the whole planet. That way you will get some small and some huge practice. Probably the BEST circle size to start with is eight steps around. Not only is that classical circle3but it just about perfectly matches most people’s strides. Do a lot of stationary exercises with a special emphasis on turning the waist. Combine stationary and moving practice: standing and twisting then take one step, just one step, without losing the twist. In the old days beginners walked much slower than people do now and had even more body torque, sometimes looking all the way back along the circle as though they were being chased.

Circle walking is imperative, but it can be supplemented by conscious and clever methods.

I do wish you the best in your exploration of this great art,


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