Now that you have learned to walk, you will hold increasingly demanding postures with your upper body while walking around the circle. In traditional Baguazhang practice, we call these the Mother Palms, or the Standing Palms. The name Standing Palms implies the palms are standing, or fixed in place, while the legs are moving.
Do not underestimate this activity’s physical requirement. Circle walking with the fixed upper body postures is a serious exercise program. These postures will stretch and strengthen your torso, challenge your balance, and invigorate you.
I present these Mother Palms in a sequence that calls for an increasing amount of twist in your upper torso. If you cannot perform a posture, you can practice the postures that preceded it until your torso loosens.
Each of the Mother Palms builds on the previous posture, and once you have learned all eight of the Mother Palms, you can link the postures by changing from Lowering Palm to Pushing Palm, and so on, as you walk around the circle.
The sequence of eight Mother, or Standing Palms I present is my own, and I refer to them as Standing Palms since they are not from a traditional school. Different schools of Baguazhang use different postures for the Mother Palms. Some schools have eight or ten Mother Palms; others use only one.
The postures and the sequence are less important than the practice. Each of these Standing Palms contributes to the more complex changes that follow. Once you have learned all eight of them, they should be a part of your daily practice.
The number of circles you walk in each posture is your decision, but it should be an equal number in each direction.