Aug
17
2019

Southern Exposure: Pak Mei and 10 Animals

YIKES! Update!

Wait! We were wrong about one of the Pak Mai books—instead of sending us 2 Sam Choi books, the publisher sent us one Sam Choi and one Thomas Cheng book on Pak Mei! This is the revised post. So sorry!

Some great news: we have been (finally) able to restock three extremely popular and hard-to-find books: two wonderful titles on Pak Mei Kung Fu (White Eyebrow Boxing)—one by Sam Choi and the other by Thomas Cheng—and an old standby, that is harder and harder to come by, on Shaolin Ten Animals. They’re all on the same page, so find them here or click on the book pictures below.

pak mei southern kung fuShaolin 10 Animal Kung Fu

Aug
12
2019

The Road to Tan Tui (Redux)

Tan Tui 12 Road #5 Spring Leg Kung FuA long while back, we created and posted a free series of video tutorials on the famous 12 Road Tan Tui; the series is made up of 14 videos which include step-by-step instruction PLUS applications for each road. 

For years, this has been popular on our site, but when we recently reviewed it we were a bit horrified at the sound/picture quality—we did film it 9 years and several good cameras ago, after all.

We have done some quick repair to the sound and color and re-announce it here. It still has that vintage look, but the information itself (in our opinion) is worth getting past the inconsistent lighting, sound and questionable haircut.

Enjoy! Below is the playlist for the whole series. If you want to go directly to individual roads, click Youtube button, lower right on player (once playing).

Aug
9
2019

More, and Then Some

Continuing our summer of great titles, here are three new classics, the last, Shaolin Luo Han, being dual language (Chinese and English) and accompanied by a dual language VCD. These “en face” (two languages, face-to-face ) titles are scattered all over our site, giving practitioners additional opportunities to pick up a few Chinese terms by having side-by-side text.

Kun Wu Sword Record

Tai Tzu Quan Kung Fu

Shun Wu Tang Tai Tzu Luo Han Boxing

Shaolin Luo Han 13 Form

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, we neglected to mention a couple of weeks ago, when we announced that new Wu-Hao Style Tai Chi book, that we also represent Sifu Zhai’s material in our VCD section, here. Read the book, see him teach and move. What a treasure.

For those who have never entered the VCD section of our garden, there are great riches among these inexpensive videos (most priced around $8 for an hour’s instruction).They were some of Plum’s first finds, and we still consider them to be some of the best things we represent.

Aug
1
2019

The Mighty Pen

martial arts notebookI want to engage you in an activity more often associated with prom nights, small losable keys, and annoying younger brothers—that’s right, keeping a diary. Whether it’s called a journal, a notebook, a workbook or the alluded to diary, it’s all the same.

Any martial artist can benefit from this, but for advanced martial artists especially, a notebook can be a real life/time/brain saver. I recently discussed with a colleague of mine the philosophical, athletic, and martial ups and downs of keeping, feeding, and grooming the true notebook. Though continually training, dutifully applying herself, ceaselessly refining every nuance and detail, I wanted her to obtain the advantages of recording her superior efforts in a medium other than physical.

Her immediate objection was, “But what if I record it imperfectly? Or maybe I’ve just had a bad day.” I told her that one of the important missions in keeping a notebook is to also record the failures and flops; this is where the noisy, irritating, spine straightening and unforgettable problems are always hidden, like low tables in a dark room, just waiting for one of your shins.

So a notebook (NB) shouldn’t record only your supreme triumphs, nor your grand failures; recording even the smallest sticky problems can bring eventual enlightenment or, at the very least, gradual progress.

Below are a few bona fide types of content you can scribble down in your book. Read more →

Jul
26
2019

Tai Chi Books: Wu (Hao), Hong, Chin Na, Essays Plus 5 Ancestors (for good measure)

Look what’s new!

Wu-Hao Style Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chin Na

Five Ancestors Southern Shaolin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and look what’s back in stock!

Hong Branch of Chen Tai Chi

Taijiquan book

The Length and Breadth of Tai Chi by Jung Wen Yuan

Jul
22
2019

Spirit of Five Animals: Returned!

five animals boxingGreat news: The Spirit of Five Animals, is now back in stock. Sifu Tak Wah Eng has licensed Plum to reprint this valuable text with a gorgeous new cover, and the copies have just landed.

More to come!

 

Jul
21
2019

New Chinese Books: Taijiquan and Chin Na Restraints

What a slew of great new books we have for yew you…

ma hong tai chi

Ma Hong’s comprehensive Chen Tai Chi Theory and Practice

Chen Pan Ling’s son Chun Yun Ching doing Pure Yang Sword

shuai jiao

Taiwan Police-style Restraints: Shuai Jiao at its most useful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to those above, we have restocked the following previously out-of-stock titles:

Chen Style Tai Chi Cannon Punch (only 2 copies)

One of our most popular books: Tai Chi 100 Leg Breaks

 

 

Jul
19
2019

Navigating Your Fate

We are thrilled to announce our newest publication, The Spirit of the Stars: Navigating your Fate with Pole Star Astrology, written by Plum’s resident astrologer, Narrye Caldwell, and published by Plum.

There is much to say about Chinese Astrology, in general, and Pole Star, in particular—discover more about it in the longer description of the book and, obviously, in the book and its accompanying DVD themselves. But it’s worth a minute to see how the cousin arts of Chinese astrology and Chinese martial arts enjoin.

Chinese astrology and Chinese martial arts share qualities, such as pattern identification, alignment with Qi or nature, and the progression of energy. One thing that distinguishes Chinese astrology from Western astrology is that it is not psychological—it does not try to ‘fix’ you, but rather identify your true nature so you can more closely align with it and your environment. It will not prevent a safe from falling out a 10th story window, but it might help you to step aside.

These are the same aspects of martial training that are rarely discussed but foundational to its practice: knowing yourself, knowing your opponent, and really getting the space you share. The taoist concept of “the way of the water’s going” helps us understand martial movement, whether in solo or partner practice. And it applies equally to how we live our lives, both inside and outside the guan.

Of course, most people are just interested in astrology, unrelated to martial practice. For those who have used other systems, or for those who are just curious, Narrye’s step by step instruction will take you from novice to chart-maker, while providing real insight, not only into Chinese astrology, but also the larger concepts of Fate, Qi, and a life well-aligned.

Jul
17
2019

Q&A: The Yoke Punch in Tan Tui: North and South

Q: I’d like to ask why is there a different alignment of the arms with the Yoke punch as demonstrated in the Tan Tui 12 Road and the 10 Road forms respectfully?

In the 10 Road video Sifu gives specific details about the arm alignment (90° in one instance and 135°? In another instance… depending on which arm is punching) but in the 12 Road presentation the arms are effectively in alignment pointing forward and back.

Thanks so much,
T P

A: Great question! As a matter of fact, it inspired us to videotape our answer for all of you, which you can see below.

At Plum, we represent many different versions of Tan Tui, a Muslim Kung Fu gift to both Northern and Southern styles. Below are links to just a few of our favorite Tan Tui presentations. Enjoy!

12 Road Tan Tui Video Tutorial (this is a free, full-length series on this Southern form, including applications)

10 Road Tan Tui DVD (Ted Mancuso)

Tan Tui: 4 Disk DVD set (Adam Hsu)

3 Steps of Tan Tui: DVD (Adam Hsu)

Cha Style Kung Fu 10 Road Tan Tui VCD (Liu Hong-Chi)

Tan Tui: Gateway to Kung Fu Book/DVD (Jason Tsou)

Coiling Dragon 12 Road Tan Tui VCD (Sun Xiang)

Gansu Style Tan Tui VCD (Zhou Jian Rui)

 

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Jul
8
2019

Sifu Hamby’s 4th Gathering: Expertise & Camaraderie, Side by Side

Once again, Sifu Don Hamby has indeed “gathered the masters” in the 4th exhibition of long-studied and highly trained lovers of Chinese martial arts. Watching the skills displayed we are reminded of the power and beauty in this vast art.

This well-attended showcase in Monterey Park (Los Angeles), sponsored by the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts Federation, offered top level teachers displaying a rainbow of styles, a few of which are Hung Gar’s dynamic and powerful forms, Bagua’s Sleeve Knives, Hakka Boxing, a staff set from Pigua, Internal Training showing advanced folding and unfolding, the most famous Yang Tai Chi sword. The audience was treated to not only Chinese forms, but a re-enactment of Praying Mantis’ origin, the Indonesian Art of Pencak Silat, a mixture of Escrima and Wing Chun, Kung Fu weapons, martial applications from different styles and more. We also enjoyed a performance of a “hard Qigong” rarely seen, by Vincent Yu, displaying excellent power and body control.

We would be remiss in not also saluting, alongside the inspiring demonstrations, the incomparable attitudes of friendship and support this Gathering exudes; certainly, one must bow first to Sifu Hamby for imbuing every moment with grateful and gracious acknowledgement; but all of the participants—whether performers or audience members—displayed authentic enthusiasm for their own styles as well as others’. The spirit of competition was overwhelmed by the spirit of cooperation.

As this event grows, we look forward to seeing an even greater audience and longer roster of traditional participants.

If you have only attended tournaments, or never spent an afternoon watching teachers and senior students share their arts, do yourself a favor and circle the date for the 5th Annual Gathering next year. It can never be too early to anticipate a Gathering like this.

And please enjoy a video we made of many of the performances.

 

Jul
6
2019

The Evolution of Forms Practice

evolution of forms practiceA form is a traditional set of significant actions where you can shine brilliantly in impeccable performance, or balk so that nothing moves. Forms are what you work to perfect, aware that form is not perfectible; aware that there are countless wrong turns possible; aware that the forms themselves improve you, even if you are not aware of how they do it.

Here is your entire school, struggling to synchronize one form; here you are working your solitary disoriented practice, turned inside-out like a sock, vainly trying to visualize what’s next when you can’t remember what was last; here you are on stage—how did you get here?—in front of a huge audience, each pause garnering applause, each landing reminding you of the beginning.

When you started martial training you practiced forms just because they were required; you were expected to jump into the game even though you had never performed anything more than a momentary shudder before taking that first, tentative step onto a moving escalator, assuming the worst. Read more →

Jun
27
2019

4th Annual Gathering of the Masters

Heading down to LA this weekend to attend Sifu Donald Hamby’s 4th Annual Gathering of the Masters, hosted by the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts Federation.

traditional chinese martial artsFor those in the area, we highly recommend stopping by; we attended last year’s event and were pleased and delighted, not only by the great performances, but even more so by the feeling of comradeship among the fellow teachers and practitioners. In these days, what could be better than watching, without competition, a group of dedicated, supportive and traditional Chinese martial artists performing for other dedicated, supportive and traditional martial artists?

Hope to see you there!

4th Annual Gathering of the Masters
440 S. McPherrin Ave (Clubhouse)
Monterey Park, CA

2pm – 6 pm

Jun
21
2019

Two Views of Sifu John Leong

John Leong Jung GarAt Plum, we are lucky to represent not one but two views of Hung Gar Kung Fu Sifu John Leong, in two new books added to our collection: Beginning Hung Gar Kung Fu, a classic text, and Living Kung Fu, a recently released photo collection of Sifu Leong’s martial journey.

“Beginning Hung Gar Kung Fu” shows the wheels and bars that make Hung Gar so effective. The special photographic tribute of “Living Kung Fu” is a light show of visual testimony that showcases the martial life, celebrations, Lion dancing, and studio floors filled with mixed generations, just like a true family.

Jun
16
2019

System, Not Style

di guoyong on xingyiquanWe are pleased to offer this presentation—long overdue by us—of Di Guoyong on Xingyiquan, Sifu Di’s systematic explanation of that deeply loved and appreciated style, Xing Yi Quan.

Contained in these three volumes is a full roster of forms along with comprehensive descriptions, from  basics all the way to weapons forms and partner practice. We have represented Di Sifu’s Xing Yi VCDs and DVDs for years, and find these books complement with principles, thoughts and even personal asides, sturdy companions to the videos themselves.

Many practitioners show good familiarity with Five Element Boxing, but we have only seen a few take such a direct and clear approach to the Art as a system. We are impressed, not only with the material itself, but also with Sifu Andrea Falk’s excellent translation of the Chinese (which is also included) into English. (Watch this space for the announcement of Sifu Falk’s new and expanded edition of her Wushu dictionary.)

Jun
7
2019

Slices: Running Horses

Every style has a story. We like to give  readers a glimpse, a scene, a taste of the classical fighters and teachers who gambled in a deadly game of skill and courage.

In the 1920’s, houses in Beijing were heated with coal, which came from the mountains to the west. One day, a coal seller brought coal into town. He had a car full of coal and three horses pulling it. They were riding down the main commercial street of Beijing, called Chian Men Da Jie. There were lots of people around, including Master Wang (Wen Kui). For some reason, the horses bolted and began galloping down the street. The driver fell out of the car, and it looked like there was going to be a serious incident in which many people could get hurt, especially women and children. So the driver called out, “Help, anyone! Help!” Master Wang happened to be standing near the path of the galloping horses. When they came near, Master Wang raised his hand and let out a big yell, which startled the horses and slowed them down. Then, quickly, Master Wang stepped to the side of the first horses and pushing it from the side, using Yan Zhang…The horse fell down, and the other horses and the car came to a stop, preventing a disaster.   The driver thanked him profusely and said that Master Wang had saved him…

From
Liu Bin’s Zhuang Gong Bagua Zhang: South District Beijing’s Strongly Rooted Style
Zhang Jie et al.

Jun
6
2019

Back in Stock: Sun Zhi Jun

sun zhi junWe know you are supposed to love all your children books equally, but some you just love a little more. And Cheng Bagua stylist Sun Zhi Jun’s masterpiece, “You Shen Ba Gua Lian Huan Zhang” (Swimming Body Bagua Linked Fist) is one of those. What’s not to love? It is a complete illustrated English language translation of his six forms, plus history and principles, and it is accompanied by a DVD, also in English, also with Sun Shifu instructuing.

Well, we’ve raved about it on pages before, so just let it be known that it is finally back in stock and can be found HERE.

Jun
5
2019

Many Great Titles

Plum has seen an upsurge in English language texts for Chinese Martial Arts. Great! However, this has taken some energy from the site’s mirror-side of Chinese texts. Not that we don’t have a pile of those, too, to catalogue, but they take a little more time due to translation, acquisition, etc. Still, we will try to energize our presentation of these interesting—and, increasingly, en face (English and Chinese)—offerings.

This week we talk about three books, two of which are entirely new, with one rejoining us in traditional characters (the previous being in simplified characters).

wan lai shengThis first outlines the work of Wan Lai Sheng, a reality-combat proponent dating back almost one hundred years. Wan is best known for Ziranman and LiuHe, and also as a no-nonsense fierce fighter. This text contains great old photos of Wan.Kung Fu books

There follows a traditional Xing Yi sword text in the Li Cun Yi lineage—also well-photographed—teaching a set which contains a lot of dropping and angular movements. Good sword work, with a lot of lower level attacks.

praying mantis kung fuFinally, a small book on Tang Lang (Praying Mantis), which we feel to be an under-appreciated style. This rendition of the Lan Jie set, represented in photos by a teacher and his son alternately posing, is slight but solid; an unusual presentation in this world-popular style.

May
30
2019

The Faces and Fists of Wong Jack Man

Since posting the sad announcement at the beginning of this year, of Sifu Wong Jack Man’s death, we’ve had the opportunity to speak to and hear from several of his students, each with his own story. For instance we—along with, apparently, many other people—did not know that Wong Sifu practiced the additional styles of Xing Yi and Tai Chi, along with his more famous Bak Sil Lum.

When a teacher has been teaching for many decades, myths and legends will naturally abound. In Wong Sifu’s case, the legend most associated with him concerned his famous fight with Bruce Lee. But I remember hearing another myth, that he taught in complete silence. However, some of his students report something far less exotic: that he was a teacher of sparse words and great actions—in other words, a classical teacher.

From some who trained directly under him, Wong’s exceedingly “heavy bones” were not an outgrowth of either Iron Palm or Golden Bell practices; there is little evidence that he practiced either. Does that mean that Wong Sifu did not know them, or merely that he did not give them much credit? Opinions on both sides, here.

All this in hand, Wong Jack Man was known as a high level practitioner of kung fu, thoroughly familar with his varied systems and teachings. There is no doubt that his memory will live for a long time in the hearts and hands of players and students.

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May
26
2019

Jiang Rongqiao’s Bagua Zhang—Now in English AND Chinese

Jiang RongQiao BaguazhangAndrea Falk is doing wonderful translations.

Actually, she has been doing wonderful translations for a long time, but now she is going back, revising and improving on some of her earlier works to make them even better. We are still awaiting the massive expansion and rewrite of her earlier Wushu dictionary (this one promises to be almost double in size) which, she tells us, should be available through Plum shortly.

In the meantime, we have just received her new edition of Jiang Rong Qiao’s Baguazhang, and the delight is that she has added the original Chinese text. For those studying or even fluent in Chinese, this encourages and assists in understanding not only the original text, but also how a master translator works.

Look forward, in the near future, to her dictionary, as well as her three-volume translation of Di Guo Young’s texts on Xing Yi (we have a couple of those sets in stock now, and are awaiting more. If you would like a set, CLICK HERE).

May
22
2019

Fun Stuff: Bruce’s Older Kung Fu brother

Secrets of Kung Fu—a popular publication, especially during the Seventies—hosted a huge variety of topics. For this issue, we have a drumming platform, a wooden man, a banner dance, an ancient arms dealer, Bruce Lee’s senior classmate, Ancient Chinese rocketry, a 20 year old exponent of Chou style, Kneeling to a Kung Fu teacher, and more…

 

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NOTE: We’ve been investigating a glitch in our “comments” section. Until it is fixed please leave your comments on the form below. They are important to us.