The practice of circle walking, or "Turning the Circle", as it is sometimes called, is baguazhang's characteristic method of stance and movement training. For a beginner the circle is six to twelve feet in diameter. Practitioners walk around the edge of the circle in various low stances, facing the center, and periodically change direction as they execute forms. Students first learn flexibility and proper body alignment through such exercises, then move on to more complex forms and internal power mechanics. The internal aspects of baguazhang are similar to, yet distinct from, those of Xingyiquan and Tai chi chuan.
Baguazhang contains an extremely wide variety of techniques as well as weapons, including various strikes (with palm, fist, elbow, fingers, etc.), kicks, joint locks, throws, and distinctively evasive circular footwork. As such, Baguazhang is considered neither a purely striking nor a purely grappling martial art. Baguazhang practitioners are known for their ability to "flow" in and out of the way of objects. This is the source of the theory of being able to fight multiple attackers. The most basic and fundational stance is the Single Palm Change.
Many distinctive styles of weapons are contained within Baguazhang; some use concealment, like the "scholar's pen" or a pair of knives (the most elaborate, which are unique to the style, are the crescent-shaped deer horn knives (Chinese: 鹿角刀; pinyin: Lùjiǎodāo). Baguazhang is also known for practicing with extremely large weapons, such as the bāguà jian (八卦劍), or bagua sword, and the bāguà dāo (八卦刀), or bagua broadsword. Other, more conventional weapons are also used, such as the staff (gun), spear (qiang), crutch (guai), hook sword (gou) and the straight, double-edged sword (jian). Baguazhang practitioners are also known for being able to use anything as a weapon using the principles of their art.