Pa Kua Chang

Celestial Circling Dragon


The Pa Kua Chang taught at Vanderbilt University by Sifu Phillips was taught to him by James Cravens as taught to him by his teacher, Christopher Casey. Mr. Casey actually learned Pa Kua Chang from four teachers, but his primary teacher was the legendary Wang Shu-chin. Thus, our Pa Kua Chang is a synthesis ( Kai Sai Pa Kua Chang ) of Casey’s training.
Pa Kua Chang, unlike Tai Chi Chuan, is rather unorthodox in its methods, but the one thing in common is that most systems practice circle walking. Circle walking develops the following attributes in a Chinese Boxer:

  • Root
  • Changeablility
  • Excellent footwork
  • Centeredness
  • Centrifigal and Centrepital force
  • Fluidity
  • Endurance
  • Stillness within motion
  • 360 degree awareness
  • Balance
  • Chi

Pa Kua is a martial art that is based on the from the I-Ching that states that all of the universe is in a constant state of flux. Thus, Pa Kua is the ultimate art for training one to be changeable and adaptable in combat situations. It trains the body to move to and from various postures within the context of circle walking that can even sometimes be awkward, with the idea that things are not always perfect in a fight; thus one must have a body that is trained to deal with this while maintaining fluidity. Pa Kua Chang’s main combat theme is that it does not allow an opponent to get a clear sense of one’s center, and to either be in front or behind the projection of the opponent’s energy. A good Pa Kua fighter will often end up behind their opponent while applying chin-na, throws, etc. The Pa Kua Chang curriculum taught in the Vanderbilt University Kung Fu Club includes the following:

  • Circle walking
  • Circle walking with 8 palm postures
  • Short form – circle walking with 8 changes
  • Circle walking with 8 palm postures
  • Short form – circle walking with 8 changes
  • Linking form
  • Combat Form – 8 animals – Hawk, Phoenix, Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Snake,
    Eagle, and Monkey
  • Joint hands
  • Applications