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May
31
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 […]

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 […]

May
10
2019

Anatomy of the True Teacher

My first taiji instructor, Lin Shih-Kuang, told me a story about a tragedy in his family. His father, involved in the government of Taiwan, suddenly fell from favor-in a hard way. Soon after this, Shih-Kuang had a birthday party. The usual friends and family were invited. Not one of them showed up—no adults, no children. […]

May
2
2019

Su Yu Chang’s Passing: April 29, 2019

SU YU-CHANG (1940-2019) Su Yu Chang started his training in martial arts at a early age with the famous Kung Fu style known as “Lost Track.” Master Chang Te-Kuei also introduced him to the art of Praying Mantis. When he was 17, in Taiwan, he continued his studies there with Wei Xiao-Tang and Li Kuen […]

May
1
2019

INB: Instructor’s Notebook—A “Perfect” Lesson

Layers of Teaching Martial arts hands us examples of the close relationship between what we teach and the way we teach it. As a sifu, I have experimented with many approaches. Years ago, when I opened my martial arts studio, I tried to orchestrate topics as best I could. Each class was planned like a […]

Apr
23
2019

Vince Black on Li Zi Ming’s Bagua Zhang

One of our favorite items at Plum is the Pa Kua Chang Journal CD, containing the entire 38-issue run of more than 1,000 pages. The original journal, published by Dan Miller, is a treasure for the martial and Bagua community. In many cases entire issues are devoted to a single topic, and contain interviews with […]

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 […]