I read where Sun, Lu-Tang was a big fan of the Sparrow Hawk bird. One of his contributions to Xingyiquan is the Hawk Eight Steps, which is the Sparrow Hawk from the Xingyi animals with a few extra punches in the middle.
Sparrow Hawk Palm Change of Sun Style Baguazhang
How to Perform the Sparrow Hawk Palm Change
The Sparrow Hawk is associated with the Li trigram. Li represents Fire, the single Yin line between the two Yang lines represents the radiance of a fire burning. Li is visualizing and represents the eyes on the outside of the body and the heart on the inside. In the martial arts, it is the Lying Palm.
From the left Pushing Millstone Palm toe-in with the right foot to begin the change.
Toe-out with the left foot and turn the palms over so they are pushing in the direction of the change.
When you toe-in, do not pierce the right hand past the left arm, turn the right palm out as in the Sky and Ground Palm posture. The feeling should be like the right arm is pushing against something solid, causing the lower part of your spring to get stuck while the upper part continues to load for a strike.
The left hand does not remain fixed as in the Single Palm Change, it turns palm up, above the head, preparing to perform an arcing chop with next movement.
Spin on the toes of the right foot as in the Double Palm Change and bring the left hand and left leg around in two arcs. The left hand performs a chop across the head and neck of your opponent while the left knee comes up to strike their lower body.
From this posture, lower the left leg and foot into a large toe-out posture along the edge of the circle. Then perform a large sweep of the right leg as you toe-in for a Single Palm Change to end the form.
Essential Points of Sparrow Hawk Palm Change
The sparrow hawk has special significance in the internal martial arts. In the Xingyiquan tradition there is a complete routine based on this agile bird. In my neighborhood, red-tailed hawks are common. They hang on the wind like a kite, then suddenly swoop down to capture a pigeon or chase a squirrel. The other birds are always wary of the hawks, and I have learned to recognize when they are warning others the hawks are in flight!
The Li trigram has one yin line, so you might imagine this palm change is more flowing, like the Qilin. Instead it is it is more forceful, like the Lion. Think of both striking and cutting.
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