CHANGES OF GROUND REACTION FORCE AND CENTER OF MASS IN BAGUA GAIT: A QUALITATIVE OBSERVATION.

  • Chengzhi Wang
Keywords: ground reaction force, gait, center of mass, Tai chi, Bagua

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Tai chi and Bagua are forms of Chinese martial art that consist of exercise techniques and self-defense disciplines. They are characterized by gentle, slow and continuous movements. The major difference between these two disciplines can be seen in the direction of movement. Tai chi is performed along a straight line, whereas the movements of Bagua are performed with practitioners walking around a circle with Bagua gait (Fig1). Both Tai chi and Bagua were employed as effective self-defense techniques in ancient battlefields before rifles and cannons were used in China. Today, many people practice it for sports, health and fitness, recreation and rehabilitation. Bagua gait differs from normal walking gait. The center of mass (COM) of the body in Bagua gait is always lower than that of normal gait. Practitioners can adjust their level of COM to meet individual requirements, obtaining different training intensity and degree of difficulty. The trunk posture should be maintained as illustrated in figure 2 during practice sessions. Furthermore, Bagua practice provides mental relaxation, should be performed at a constant and slow speed, and requires concentration on the technique. The COM should not move up and down or left and right. Finally, Bagua gait should adhere to the requirements mentioned previously for as long as possible throughout training. Based on Bagua master’s experience, this training principle can help practitioners reduce energy expenditure during Bagua gait when sustained at a constant speed and at a certain COM height. The purpose of this study was to profile the kinetic characteristics of Bagua gait so as to provide scientific basis for this martial art form.