Displaying posts filed under

Article

Apr
2
2019

Where is Bruce?

Is he still with us? Should we light an incense stick to his memory? Why not? Bruce changed the world. He revised the image of the downtrodden who re-emerges and makes his way to victory. He brought a pair of cultures together—internally and externally—at just the perfect moment in history. And, some will say, he […]

Mar
29
2019

Two Passings

Back in February, the martial world lost two of its pillars. Vince Black died on February 26 at the age of 68. A practitioner of Chinese martial arts as well as Chinese medicine, Sifu Black had a lifelong relation with his studies, students and teachers. Among other well known instructors he studied with Li Zi […]

Mar
27
2019

Framed!

What is “frame?” If the answer doesn’t come immediately, don’t worry—this is a concept that confuses a good segment of the martial student body. At first glance, it simply consists of standing a certain way and holding your limbs in an agreed upon configuration. Of course, people assume different shapes—but sometimes what they think of […]

Mar
24
2019

How to Make Friends With 60:40 Stance

We have been practicing and discussing how to make friends with 60:40 stance in our recent community classes. This is where 60% of the weight is on the back leg, and 40% is on the front leg. Often the most uncomfortable or difficult to understand stance, where many students are just bearing it until they […]

Mar
18
2019

Teach Your Students Well

As we previously mentioned, we are working on the production of Sifu Adam Hsu’s newest book in English—we hope to have it out by mid-year. Since Hsu Shifu is in Taipei and we are in California, a lot of our communication over the fine details happens through email, so we were particularly happy to get […]

Feb
13
2019

The Righteous Blade

INTRODUCTION You grip the Kuan Dao but you haven’t lifted it yet. Something is different here. The blade is thicker than a saber and yours may have more edges; at the butt end, the metal or wood shaft may be capped with bronze. Your Kuan Dao looks fierce as well as heavy, the kind of […]

Feb
3
2019

(Almost) Hot Off the Press

The Spring 2019 issue of Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine is dedicated to Shaolin, and will feature, among many other fine articles, a new piece on Long Fist Secrets Revealed by Plum’s director, Sifu Ted Mancuso. We received our advanced copies, but if you would like a copy for yourself they will be available soon […]

Jan
21
2019

Year of the Earth Pig: Feb. 5, 2019-Jan. 24, 2020

Plum’s resident Chinese Astrologer, Narrye Caldwell, once again graces our site with her annual post on the upcoming New Year—this year’s party is hosted by the Earth Pig. The year of the Earth Pig arrives on February 5, 2019. If you’re feeling a bit, well, dog-eared, after last year, I’m happy to tell you that […]

Jan
19
2019

Speed and…uh…Timing

I tell my students over and over to “go fast, but don’t hurry.” In the martial world, too early can be as bad as too late. After all, how long do you want to wait for the plane to land? On the other hand, who wants it to arrive maddeningly early? Timing is a necessity. […]

Jan
12
2019

Stand Still, Be Fit

The CDC released some disturbing data on falls for the year 2017. More than one in four seniors experienced falls. Among Americans, falls were the number one cause of injury and death from injury. The CDC recorded 29 million falls, 3 million emergency room visits, resulting in $31 billion in medicare costs. Most alarming was […]

Jan
2
2019

The Passing of Wong Jackman

We are sad to announce the passing of Northern Shaolin Sifu Wong Jack Man. Known long before his famous fight with Bruce Lee, Wong Sifu had become a major proponent of Bak Sil Lum, Iron Body, and Golden Bell skills. With the death last year of Kwong Wing Lam, Gu Ru Zhang’s lineage has lost […]

Dec
23
2018

Personal Practice

What is a practice? What can it do? Practice is not just a workout. It is a recognition of engagement at that moment. It records, immediately, every nuance expressed in your story, laying those tiles piece by piece. Often, workouts sidestep the mind and can barely be remembered by dinnertime. From practice we recall the […]

Dec
19
2018

Caylor Adkins

We recently learned of the passing of Caylor Adkins, who died in November at the age of 84. Mr Adkins was well-known for decades as a Karateka, but his work bridged both Japanese and the Chinese martial arts, most specifically in his insightful text on Iron Ball, Wooden Staff, Empty Hands. We mourn his passing, […]

Dec
18
2018

The Dragon in Bagua Zhang

One of Plum’s longtime favorite and recommended books is Tom Bisio’s “Essentials of Bagua Zhang.” Below is an excerpt dealing with his view of the Dragon’s influence on one of China’s greatest masterworks in the world of martial arts. You get an actual ‘two-for-the-price-of-one’ in the passage below, in that Bisio himself quotes Francois Jullien […]

Dec
14
2018

How Legends Grow

After 5000 years, an ocean of rumor and a mountain range of myth still proscribe the land of Kung Fu. And the stories that most attach themselves are often related to the origins of weapons. Not every weapon has a backstory and a legend. But the folk stories that accompany weapons—believable or not—range from the […]

Nov
27
2018

The Sophistication of Simplicity

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to work with a group of beginning Tai Chi students. A few hours later, I met with another group of students in my advanced Tai Chi class. Now, relaxing at the dusty end of the day, I realize that what I had taught to these two classes was essentially […]

Nov
24
2018

Q & A: Single Move, Same Way?

Dear Plum, I have been thinking a lot about repeated moves in Tai Chi Chuan sets. In Chen style, for example, Single Whip is done in Eighteen Movements, 7 times in Lao Jia (Old Frame), 7 times in Xin Jia (New Frame), once in Lao Jia 2 (Cannon Fist) and one in Xin Jia 2. […]

Nov
23
2018

Q & A: Yi (意-Intention) and the Levels of Tai Chi

I have been told that tai chi can be done on three levels: up high and lightly for stress relief, down low working the muscles for health, and in the middle for combat. But as I was drawing a diagram for my students, it didn’t seem complete. The more I looked at it the more […]

Oct
24
2018

The Lightest Touch, the Heaviest Load

Kung Fu hides many of its secrets in terms of opposite qualities such as fast/slow, open/close, light and heavy. But don’t let the words obscure the story. The names are significant, but it’s their entwined relationship that holds the real stash. Take heavy and light. In the martial arts community, especially the Chinese branch, there […]

Oct
21
2018

Bak Sil Lum Sash Event

Today there are nine new Black sashes in the martial art of Bak Sil Lum (Northern Shaolin) style. At an event hosted by Sifu Scott Jensen a contingent of his senior students were awarded black sashes, a solid rank requiring years of training. Each candidate demonstrated skills, starting with a set from the empty-handed division […]