I learned about BaGua Zhang about 15 years ago when reading a book on the internal martial arts. I was instantly fascinated by the coiling, circular motions that are a main part of the forms, and I felt like it was the martial art style for me. Unfortunately, there was no one in Portland really teaching it at the time. Fast forward to 2015 and I decided to look into it again. Thankfully, I found Flying Tortoise. I LOVE this studio!
There is a great mix of students at Flying Tortoise. Many have a back ground in varying martial art forms. Some have none at all. The format in which the classes are taught accommodates for this, and the instructors make sure that everyone is comfortable moving and learning at their own pace.
You gotta respect a teacher, Joseph Haber, that takes time each year to return to China and train within the direct lineage of both the Cheng and Liang family styles. Not only does this keep the training on point, but it keeps it fresh and new as he is continually enhancing his own skill level and education. You, as a student, have the option of going with Joseph once you reach a certain skill set. Pretty fab in my opinion!
Robert is another instructor I've trained with at Flying Tortoise. He has this amazing way of breaking down the logistics of all the tiny internal movements (ie. the source of your power and a key component in BaGua), and relating those movements to everyday actions that increase your mind-body awareness in your practice. I'm sure it has nothing to do with his degree. Nothing at all...
The studio itself is big, open, airy, clean, and light. It feels good to be in the space. Classes are at times that work for people who have real lives and everyday jobs. People are nice, relaxed, and fun, while still being legit about their kung fu. Like I said, I LOVE this studio.