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Apr
5
2018

Four Things Hard to Believe

At the start of your training, if you’d asked: “What do I need to be a good martial artist?” you might have gotten a list which included strength, endurance, patience, humility, Ben-Gay, and a good pair of shoes. What would probably have been missing is the word “faith.” But anyone who’s done any kind of long-term […]

Apr
3
2018

Spring Into Summer with New Classes in Santa Cruz

Just a quick announcement for those in the Santa Cruz area: New 6 week and 13 week classes starting at our Academy in April and May. Here is a great opportunity to train with Narrye Caldwell in Tai Chi Chuan, and Ted Mancuso in Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua Zhang, and Adam Hsu’s Kung Fu Linking […]

Mar
27
2018

Tutorial: Steps to Tai Chi Stepping

If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes at Plum, you know how highly we prize basics as the foundation of good movement. ‘Stepping’ in Tai Chi, is one of those fundamentals that you might learn on the first day of class, and which you might be refining well into your advanced practice. We prepared a […]

Mar
9
2018

The Yi Bone’s Connected to the Qi Bone

Q: I started reading a book which examines the 5 major Tai Chi styles and uses quotes from the classics to show what they all have in common, and what is unique to each style. Anyway, lots of repetition of “yi leads the chi” and “chi leads the body”. I kind of always thought that, […]

Feb
5
2018

206 B.C.E.: THE DANCING ASSASSIN

Just a short excerpt from Professor Kang Ge-Wu’s martial history, The Spring and Autumn of Chinese Martial Arts. If you are interested in the broader view of Chinese Kung Fu, this is a must have. It is the first—and only— book issued in English on the 5000 year history of Chinese Martial Arts, and Plum’s first […]

Jan
31
2018

Verses & Thoughts

Geometry The shortest distance between heaven and earth is a straight spine – Peter Thelin                    Swordtip   Sticking simply to the point, the sharpened sense which in us moves, that subtle probing of the blade might flick aside this dunce’s crown – Simon Cowper

Jan
17
2018

Chinese Year of the Earth Dog

Every January, we look forward to the New Year post from Narrye Caldwell, Plum’s resident Chinese astrologer. She describes this one as “quirky and irreverent.” This year, we add something extra: A colorful PDF version you can download to your computer, or even print out and give to friends. Click link above for PDF. The […]

Jan
15
2018

Being Off Balance, For All It’s Worth

When you lose your balance, you can also lose orientation. When you don’t know which direction to turn, can’t determine the ceiling from floor, feel as though your are on a mile-long fall, you are disoriented. We are told, from the earliest lessons, to keep our balance and preserve our orientation. We do forms that […]

Jan
7
2018

Gary Shapiro: Looking Back

In the past, I’ve written some articles for Plum detailing my Tai Chi adventures on cruise vacations. After nearly 40 years of work as a physical therapist, I decided that it was the right time to take a permanent vacation. On Aug 4, 2017, I made my last patient visit, went to the “big” office, […]

Dec
31
2017

From Us to You

Happy New Year to all of our dear customers. We treasure and appreciate all of your correspondence, contributions, friendship and patronage. We would not be here without you. In this last year we have taken some major steps in reducing the price of international shipping. In the coming year, we have big plans to further […]

Dec
18
2017

Allen Ginsberg on Tai Chi

In my kitchen in New York by Allen Ginsberg (for Bataan Faigao)       Bend knees, shift weight Picasso’s blue deathhead self portrait tacked on refrigerator door This is the only space in the apartment big enough to do t’ai chi Straighten right foot & rise–I wonder if I should have set aside that […]

Dec
11
2017

The Passing of Porf Jou (Jou Po Fu)

It is with great sadness that we belatedly report the passing of Shifu Porf Jou, who died back in October. Jou Shifu was well-known in at least two areas: as a martial artist and teacher, and also as a  writer. From a martial perspective, his training was traditional, but he brought an original eye and […]

Nov
29
2017

The Teacher’s Teacher

Last Sunday, I got a double-treat: my teacher, Adam Hsu, is in town for a couple of weeks and I had the opportunity to not only see and spend time with him, but to make his Long Fist Kung Fu class available to my own students, most of whom had never met him. Of course, […]

Nov
15
2017

10,000 Times Answers All

The Real Meaning of 10,000 Repetitions and What You Can Do While You Are Doing Them and Whether or Not You Need to Do 10,000 repetitions Before You Are An Expert. This is a piece about the old saying that it takes 10,000 repetitions to really master anything and the huge number of people who […]

Oct
31
2017

George Xu: Pioneer

Normally we reserve these weblog spots for a quick teaser, and designate the product pages for fuller reviews. However, since the works of George Xu often attract our special attention, we thought that this time, with his new DVD on Reeling Silk Energy, we would post our more in-depth interview along with our usual product […]

Oct
20
2017

Martial Meets the Road

Screeech! It’s been just a few days, and we’re still shaking a bit. A week ago, Debbie and I were struck by the same automobile while walking home from the market. The car took a sudden jump from a quick turn. Immediately, the driver started too fast on the new street. Nothing looked to stop […]

Oct
10
2017

A Final Contribution: Joanna Zorya’s Martial Power

We are gratified to announce a new Joanna Zorya DVD, Martial Power. Before Joanna’s untimely death several years ago, she told us of several unfinished projects that she was working on. Sadly, she did not have time to finish them all, such as the anticipated second volume to the Xing Yi series. But her friend […]

Oct
4
2017

The Fierce Eye: Focusing on Martial Focus

I think this is true everywhere: there’s always someone giving advice, or rules of thumb that drift downward from earlier days and, lo and behold, these become watchwords of inherited intelligence. Verifiability is not even an issue because these ingrained insights constitute that thin yellow line between truth and—certainly not evil, but at least—superstition. In […]

Sep
16
2017

Why Relaxation is Not Easy

The problem posed in the title is a constant concern in all CMA (Chinese Martial Arts) training. Of course, one immediate answer recognizes that relaxation and exercise are just plain difficult to coordinate. This is especially true when you add thinking to the mix. But the true approach, like all martial training, is both more […]

Aug
29
2017

3 Southern Styles

Southern Kung Fu styles are under-represented in martial literature, as almost any Southern practitioner can tell you. So we make a special effort at Plum to seek out the best material we can offer.   Which is why an announcement of two new products and a long-waited restock is a bit of a celebration: A […]