The art of Pa-Kua

Relaxation isn’t just something you achieve by sitting still, getting a massage or taking a nap. It can also come from fighting, self-defense, health, energy and reflexology. These are the teachings of Pa-Kua.

Pa-Kua is a combination of martial art, self-defense, ancient weapons, and healing arts such as reflexology and traditional Chinese medicine. These teachings are based off of the ancient Pa-Kua symbol, an image of a ying-yang sign surrounded in the eight “changes” of life: heaven, earth, thunder, wood, fire, water, mountain, and lake. Each of these changes is symbolic to a different part of life, and Pa-Kua teaches the necessity of understanding each part of yourself in order to become whole.

Studios teaching the art of Pa-Kua can be found in two different locations in Orange, and they are both run by a man who has trained himself to become a “master” in the highest level of this art, Master David Clawson.

“Pa-Kua, as an ancient study of learning the different ways to understand different relationships, different ways to improve our quality of life, and the lives of those around us,” said Clawson. “The symbol shows eight characteristics that a person can have and the best way to understand the different ways in which these characteristics can mix together.”

Clawson, 29, has taught and been a master of Pa-Kua for the past seven and a half years. He has taught many classes on Chapman’s campus, most often during stressful times, such as midterms and finals. His classes range from martial arts to nutrition, and each class has a similar theme and purpose.

In each class, students are taught to achieve clarity, discipline, and understanding in their own life. In addition, students are able to understand the importance of respecting peers and elders, having concentration and coordination, and a general fluidity in their thoughts and movements.

“In all of these classes we try to include a little stretching and a little relaxation as a way for us to get in better physical condition and also better mental condition,” said Clawson.

Classes are taught for every age, ranging from 14-months to 68 year-old students. Certain classes relate more to certain people, though each of the Pa-Kua teachings can be important in their own ways.

“I would recommend either the martial arts or the yoga class to college students as a way to turn off [their] mind to the stresses of college activities” Clawson stated. “Also, the kickboxing classes are a great way to get in shape … we have different forms of Tai Chi for those who want a little bit more of a relaxing mental experience.”

If you’re looking for a more active way to relax your body and your mind at a location that is extremely close to Chapman’s campus, then the Pa-Kua studios are the places for you. There are two locations within walking or biking distance of campus at:

Circle Pa-Kua
133 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 628-0153

Orange Pa-Kua
1746 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 940-9900

The times of classes vary between the two studios, and the cost depends on how many classes you take per week. For more information on the teachings of Pa-Kua and the class schedules and costs, you can visit the website at:

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