Welcome, and a Proper Introduction

A Yin Style Baguazhang throw. I'm being thrown.

One of my students throwing me with a solid toss.

Welcome, which for some of you will be welcome back, although really I’m the one who has returned after a long sabbatical from keeping public notes of my thoughts on training martial arts. This blog, Six-Step Circle, can be thought of a revamped continuation of my old training blog, Becoming the Lion, which I kept with Blogger for a number of years much earlier in my training.

This first post may be a little perfunctory, but it will seek to elaborate upon the goals and anticipated direction that this blog will take, hopefully for some time to come.

For those who do not know, I train a martial art called Yin Style Baguazhang and have done so for a number of years. Baguazhang in general is not well-known, with Yin Style in specific being even lesser known, so this will present some degree of impediment to reaching as broad an audience as I like. I’m glad you’re here, though, whatever brought you.

What this is about

My objectives with this blog all center upon sharing some of my thoughts about the martial art known as Yin Style Baguazhang, as I am learning it from my teacher, He Jinbao of Beijing. For those who practice, this may be rehashing a lot of what you already know or have heard before. Of course, as it’s a blog related to my training in YSB, as we often abbreviate, I’ll talk about my own training as well–what I’m up to, what challenges I am facing or face routinely, my thoughts on productive avenues for training, and so on. As I’ve been running a Yin Style study group in Knoxville, TN, for quite some time, I run into a lot of opportunities to try to get concepts of this art across to others, and much of that effort will serve as an inexhaustible wellspring of new material for me to share with you.

Full disclosure

I have other goals as well. First and foremost, so that I’m not in any way ambiguous in my disclosure, I do hope to make a little money doing this. I don’t intend to install ads on this blog (though maybe WordPress does that for me, no matter what I want?), but I am running a Patreon account for it. Patreon is a crowd-funding platform that’s something between a voluntary subscription service and an online tip jar. You can read more about that by clicking the “Support My Work” tab at the top of the blog, clicking here to go to that page, or clicking here to go directly to my Patreon page, or you can not bother with any of that for now and just try to enjoy the blog.

I’m not asking anyone to contribute, and I’ll keep the blog going as long as it interests me, which will certainly be longer and with richer content the more I’m being compensated for my time and effort here. I’ll not go into detail about that account here, leaving it for my Patreon page for those details, but I’ll mention that I will be posting paid-only content there that will not be available here, such as detailed notes from the group training sessions I lead, perhaps more esoteric philosophical pondering, and eventually maybe even video (maybe!). In the future, I may write at least one post detailing the Patreon business more fully–how it works, what it does for me, what I hope with it, what I expect (not much), and all that good stuff. No more of that for now, though.

Themes and topics

That said, my other objectives include discussing a number of topics pertinent to martial arts, especially Chinese martial arts, and particularly Yin Style Bagua. I want the blog to be specific enough to keep my Yin Style audience focused and interested, but I will probably make commentary about martial arts in general, training in general, and, as a pet project of mine that I feel is very important (especially for Chinese martial arts), skepticism in the martial arts. This last bit is sorely lacking, and bullshit-busting is likely to be a somewhat common theme here.

Most of the topics will be directly relevant to Yin Style Baguazhang or bent to it, so those of you who do YSB will get plenty of content that’s right up your alley. I’m especially interested in analyzing various aspects of our training methodology (as compared with others), considering points about strategy in the martial arts and the unique way in which Yin Bagua uses it, and developing my thoughts about the various kinds of fighting skills that YSB has to offer. I’ve also got quite a repository of training-relevant sayings that I’ve come across over the years that the philosopher in me would love to plumb in greater depth. Of course, as was quite popular on Becoming the Lion, I want to dedicate a good deal of space to my thoughts on how to get good at martial arts and Yin Style Baguazhang in particular.

So, thanks!

That, then, is what this blog is intended to be about, and hopefully it will be engaging enough to keep you all reading. Again, I’m glad to be back, and I’m glad you’re here with me.

2 thoughts on “Welcome, and a Proper Introduction

  1. Two questions:
    (1) What is the origin of or reference intended with the blog title, “Six-Step Circle”? Why six (and not some other number of) steps?
    (2) When are you going to post again to this blog? You’re still training, so you must have something to say.

    Three questions, I guess. ;- )


    • Hi Tom,

      Been buried with other things, not that that’s much of an excuse for vanishing for nigh on eight months. I’m still buried too, but I’m working on it (and kind of saying f**k it to a lot of it).

      To answer your admirable questions:
      (1) The title of this blog refers to walking the circle, which is the cornerstone practice of baguazhang, and six steps is considered, to rough approximation, the ideal number of steps to take to get around the circle if you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. There are a few caveats to that, and maybe I’ll answer your second question by publishing a post about it specifically.

      (2) Soon. The guilt of ignoring it is finally getting to me. Rather than elaborate too much, I’ll give some account of myself since my last activity here.

      I got really busy with some huge projects going into September and October last year, and then I fell and broke a vertebra in mid-October. That actually pretty much shut down my training for almost ten weeks, and it led in parts to neglecting this blog for a couple of big reasons.

      One was simply that I was discouraged in that I wasn’t training, so I didn’t really want to talk about it much either. Nor was I able to rely upon my training for inspiration for things I wanted to share on here. The other is that as I wasn’t training, I was filling the time I would have spent training and thinking about training with the kinds of work-related projects that were keeping me so busy. That turned into a real mess because my working capacity had gone up, and then when my upper back and neck were righted enough to get back to training, I didn’t know how to make time for it.

      That gets us roughly to December, and then my work-related busyness exploded on me. I had really hoped going to China in March would reboot me on that and get me back to my full usual level of training and, hopefully, writing about it, but I came home to a pile of things to do that I’ve only just managed to mostly sort through–hence replying to this comment, at long last, today. Next up, writing a new post, probably about the six steps of the circle thing.

      There’s more to it too, like kind of losing my faith in the chosen direction with the blog, and I’m only just now deciding that I don’t care about that and will just do what I should have done in the first place: just post whatever I want.


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