Evelyn Olivares | Bagua
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The Chinese Motif Packed with Leadership Value

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” – Morihei Ueshiba, creator of the martial art, Aikido

Bagua is a Chinese religious motif that incorporates the eight trigrams of the 5,000-year old I Ching, or Book of Changes.

Like emotional and social intelligence, Bagua packs some fascinating and meaningful ideas that can guide our work as leaders.

Flowing with Change

ESI acknowledges that people – our emotions and relationships – are fluid and ever evolving; and that through practice, we can become more aware of and more adept at managing our own selves, and our relationship to those around us. http://www.teleosleaders.com/howwedoit/emotional.php

Bagua – like ESI – acknowledges our that our internal and external selves are part of an ever changing reality, and that by becoming more in tune with those changes, we can more easily work in harmony with ourselves and with those around us. http://www.energyarts.com/bagua-zhang

Bagua and ESI are both rooted in the art of internal and external awareness, and in the art of change.

Change: The Heart of Life

Bagua’s eight trigrams represent the fundamental principles of reality, and are arranged in an octagon around a symbol denoting the balance of yin and yang, or around a mirror.

According to the Taoist Studies Institute, in bagua, “special stepping techniques are used to walk a circle, while various coiling methods are used to change direction around the circle.”


This idea of change is fundamental to bagua, just as it’s fundamental to leadership and ESI. As leaders, we are constantly facilitating, guiding, and managing constantly changing situations.

“Change is at the heart of life. Bagua zhang practice is about learning to flow with change rather than against it,” says Energy Arts, a school for the study and practice of martial arts. http://www.energyarts.com/bagua-zhang

It’s true, as leaders, the more adept we become with change, the more rewarding the journey.

Mastering the Art of Change

“If you can Master the Art of Change, you will become capable of overcoming obstacles in your life and allow happiness and joy to emerge from within your being,” says an article on by Energy Arts. http://www.energyarts.com/bagua-zhang

Great leaders are strikingly like great martial artists; taking situations at hand and entering, turning, and leading those situations to new and more wonderful places.