Explaining Pa Kua to those unfamiliar with it can be tricky. We aren’t defined by the belief that there is only ONE WAY to do things. We can’t point to a book and say, “This is Pa Kua.” There haven’t been any hit western movies romanticizing the martial abilities of someone studying Pa Kua. It’s not as simple as saying, it’s a martial art, or a yoga practice, or a checklist of things you do. We are all passionate about our school and it’s teachings, so what do we say when someone ask us, “What is Pa Kua?”
The first thing I would say is: To truly understand Pa Kua, you must experience it. It can’t be learned from a book. It’s not about logic or intellect. Learning Pa Kua from a book would be like learning how to love someone from a book. It is an oral tradition used to study the changes in both ourselves and the world around us. We study how things transform. We do this through several different disciplines including Martial Arts, Tai Chi, Edge Weapons, Archery, and Yoga. Each of these disciplines teaches us how to deal with different aspects of both the external and internal forces which govern our lives. They allow us to ask ourselves questions about the actions we take, the movements we make, and even what we eat.
Martial arts, for example, is the study of physical actions, self-confidence, and facing your fears. We learn that every day is a battle against something, whether it’s the fight to get up in the morning or the fight to be kinder to ourselves. Through martial arts, we learn how to face these obstacles and deal with them with grace and discipline. Yoga, on the other hand, teaches us about our “Sky Minds”. The intangible stuff. Who would I be without the pressures of my life, society, and my environment.
What is important to understand about Pa Kua, is that all these disciplines are interconnected, they exist on the spectrum of Yin/Yang and it is through the development of all of these aspects, that we can work to lead fuller, more effective lives.