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.