The basic circle walking style with the hands out to the side and fingers open is utterly unique to baguazhang. Unique of course unless you're an actor and you've had to play a sneaky, frightened character who is trying to get around the outside of a fight in order to make off with the money, (like mister Pink at the end of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs).
In Capoeira there is an idea called poison and honey. Here is how it works. One tries to appear submissive and vulnerable in such a way that it will draw an attacker into a trap. For example, it looks like you could step on my leg, but when you try to do so you get kicked or swept by my other leg.
We all know that Baguazhangs's open and extended fingersÂ are used to develop a type of power training. But they really look like an enticement to grab that will perhaps trap the attacker. Even so, the side walking with hands out is pretty much what anyone trying to walk around someone else's fight would do.
Hunch up like a turtle or a rabbit while doing the walk and you'll really look scared and pathetic. Is this part of the tradition? Could it be that the original inventors of Baguazhang were trying to synthesize the qualities of a frightened body with the qualities of a fearless body? (Here I'm talking about before Dong Haichuan, since I don't find the single inventor story all that credible.)
P.S. The great picture above is of Dr. Her Yue Wong founder of the Ching Yi Kung Fu Acadamy.
P.P.S. Capoeira Science has great videos!