The term Ba Gua is known from the times of the Chinese emperor Fu Xi. According to the legend it was him who discovered that the forces of the sky and of the ground, as much as those of the man have eight manifestations, which diagrámicamente were symbolized by means of a circle of movement of energy. This first diagram was expressing the forces in his fixed manifestation.
Later King Weng (Weng Wang) expressed 8 forces in movement. This changed the disposition of trigramas into the diagram. Eight trigramas are the base of the mysterious Book of the Mutations (the Ist Ching), who explains the way and the destination of the life. In the oriental traditions it is considered that the world can carry out 64 transformations or changes, which express to themselves in 64 hexagramas of the Book of the Mutations, which regulate any possible situation between the sky and the ground, representing all the possible combinations of 8 forces.
The teachers of the antiquity knew that only the changes are invariable, more one can intervene in his manifestations. Hence the need to learn to listen to 8 forces - trigramas and to be able to modify them adequately. In the monasteries taoístas of B.C. there was already known the practice of 4 rolling domes. And 300 years ago, when the system was transmitted to the layman Dong Hai Chuan, the art of Ba Gua stopped being an inaccessible secret. In our time the system exists practically in his original form. Compared to other skills, it is very small what it has lost with regard to his traditional shape.
Ba Gua also is known under the denomination " to walk in circles ". The skill of 8 trigramas is the sequence or method that makes possible to dominate 8 forces, that is to say, to execute the process of the development of agreement with the laws. In the center INBI, Ba Gua is practised as skill of alchemy of the movement. The forms execute according to line of Huo Dong Li style Ba Gua Liang Shi.
Bagua-zhan, "the Palm of Eight Trigrams", is one of the three basic Taoist internal practices. Its name corresponds with Bagua system - of eight qualities or eight forces - which makes the basis of the Chinese concept of Changes.
This concept reflects the interaction of the polar forces - Yin and Yang, united in one whole but manifesting from this interaction eight qualities or forces. Schematically these eight forces were represented by the trigram - a set of three broken (yin) or unbroken lines (yang).
Bagua, as a system embodies these eight trigrams describing everything that exists. Heaven, Earth, Fire, Water, Wind, Pond, Mountain and Thunder are natural forces corresponding to the trigrams.
A palm in Bagua-zhan technique is a basic "transformer" of these eight forces or qualities. There is no other technique which allows the energetic centre of the palm to open. There are ‘blows’ in this technique and that means that in the first place Bagua was created not as a martial art but as a practice of internal transformation. In the past Masters spoke that the use of a fist strengthens the center and involves available forces while the use of a palm develops these forces.
The movements of Bagua-zhan are realised in a circle though there are also linear techniques. Depending on the school the ways of transition between circles and forms may vary, but the forms (the positions of palms) are practically identical. Bagua techniques reminds one of ritual circular steps which can be met even now in some Daoist monasteries during ceremonies.
A distinctive feature of bagua practice is development of a sensation of rhythm. Rotations and transitions set a definite rhythm to a body - as rotation of constellations in the sky sets rhythm to the change of the seasons. Today it is considered that Bagua is more difficult to study than Taiji, and consequently it has not became so popular. However the problem here is hidden not in complexity of the movements but in a skill to follow the rhythm of this practice.