Like everything presented by Bruce Frantzis and his teachers, Bagua Mastery program is impeccably presented: broken down into sets of sequential components that can be mastered w/the appropriate time, effort, and humility, by which I mean being realistic about what you've accomplished thus far and what is the next small step you must take to take you practice to a higher level. What's more, the relationships among the components are carefully explained and presented in such a way that you are accessing what you can fully understand right now while at the same time are being pointed to higher levels.
I've been practicing for 7-10 days now and started, as suggested, by reading (and rereading) the Module 1 .pdfs, (all but two, so far). Then I watched all the videos, to get an idea of what's involved, as well as listened to the audios for the beginning exercises.
I'm 71 years old and have been pretty active throughout my life, which has kept me fit but also resulted in damage to one ankle, a partially torn achilles tendon, knee damage, and lower spinal issues. Normal wear and tear, really. Thanks in no small measure to Taoist Breathing, Five Keys to Taoist Energy Arts, Dragon Tiger, and Cloud Hands, which I've been practicing for something like 2-3 years now, plus a good diet and herbal supplements, the discomfort and pain from all of those issues has been diminished to the vanishing point a good deal of the time. This stuff works on a purely physical level if you put in the time and effort -- fun, really. It's also tremendously calming. That calm lasts beyond your practice session. And that calm points to even greater/deeper spiritual levels. Stuff covered in the BaGua materials, by the way, as well as in other EnergyArts materials I use.
How does all this relate to the Bagua Mastery Program? My experience has been that as an older person w/preexisting physical issues, the five programs I've been doing for a while, have prepared me to try to take it to the next level: BaGua. It's not that I'm a master of Cloud Hands or Dragon Tiger, and certainly not any kind of spiritual adept, BUT I have, I believe, gained enough physical competence to begin BaGua, which, because the goal is integrated, rapid, spiraling movement, is on a higher, deeper, more complex level than Dragon Tiger and Cloud Hands.
So far, I've only been doing only the first two warmups (for about a week) now. I'm already feeling (not imagining) what one is supposed to feel -- because the BK Frantzis's video instructions, combined with the text and audios, is so clear. Just those two stretches -- the beginning of the beginning -- are incredibly powerful.
The interesting thing is that they also have improved my Cloud Hands and Dragon Tiger work. And, from a practical point of view, the practice has improved my overall physical performance and strengthened my calm, non-monkey, mind. I have a dog. We spend a lot of time in the woods.The terrain is hilly and rough. Dragon Tiger and Cloud Hands made it possible to do that without serious pain and discomfort. But now, after just those two basic BaGua stretches, I'm finding that I am striding a lot more fluidly, with more control over how high and far I step. I really am looking forward to beginning the next phase which -- in addition to the Third Stretch -- is Straight Line Walking. And this is just the first module. It can only get better.
I've gone on like this mostly in case there are people out there whose situation is comparable and who are contemplating the BaGua Mastery Program. If there is anyone out there like that: if you are ready, willing, and able to practice, you will experience great results!
This tai chi training was a tranformational experience, breaking through one's sense of expectations, releasing stagnant areas in the body, mind and spirit.