Bagua Zhang is based on the philosophical doctrine called Bagua, whose origins go back six to seven thousand years ago, and which was further elborated upon in th famous book the Yi-Jing (I-Ching).The Bagua, represented by the diagram, represent the eight principle components of nature, and the changes that occur between them. Each set of three lines represents a gua, or trigram, composed of a combination of solid and broken lines. The solid line represents the concept of yang, and the broken line represents the concept of yin. Each trigram represents a component of nature. The changes between the components are represented by sixty-four hexagrams... two trigrams combined... since the changes are too complex to capture in just eight trigrams.
Although the philosophical system is quite ancient, the martial style is much more recent. Dong Hai Chuan was the first to public teach this style in the 1800's, and most believe he actually created Bagua Zhang.
Since the Bagua philosophy is fundamentally about change, the martial arts is also predicated upon the idea of changes of yin and yang. Eight skills form the foundation of this style with sixty-four application skills. Bagua training is typified by circle walking, constant movement and skillful footwork. The fighting style overall is characterized by continuous walking and changing; combining soft and hard, internal and external qualitie; appearing and disappearing suddenly, moving in and out quickly, and never stuggling with the opponent, using change instead.
Physical conditioning is part of the overall training regimen. Note, however, that the conditioning may differ from that of Ying Jow or Baiyuan Tongbei.As is often the case, Bagua Zhang is taught in the same class with Xing-Yi Quan.