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Oct
12
2016

Deconstructing Yin and Yang

You do not need to know anything about Asian philosophy to study Chinese martial arts. But that’s not to say that some understanding might not really enhance your experience. I hope that by deconstructing the parts of the famous Yin Yang diagram, I can show you some fighting principles and patterns of change based on […]

Oct
7
2016

This Is How Bagua Is Done

There are two ways to make a DVD, irrespective of a particular style. The first way is to follow your style’s structure: warm ups, basics, form and sampled applications. The second way, less common, is to offer, derived from your style, skills that might be universally helpful to appropriate seekers. Imagine a Long Fist practice […]

Sep
24
2016

Letter to the Editor: Partner Drills

Quite often, we receive emails from customers whose comments are worth a post of their own. Dear Debbie, I really appreciate that you send the orders so fast!  It helps me a lot! You are providing a very important service bringing traditional Chinese Martial Arts to people.  I, for one, see that a resurgence in […]

Aug
26
2016

Expand Yourself

Just in the final stages of the book I’m writing on Kung Fu Saber. I had an insight about why I’m fascinated by weapon’s work. Below is a rounding out of some of these thoughts. I’ve mentioned a few times that I have a slightly different idea about the relation of weapons play to martial […]

Aug
18
2016

Classics Texts for the Scholar’s Shelf

Three more for the martial scholar, the warrior or just someone who likes books (some such people still exist, thankfully). In each case, just click a picture to see and learn more. C087 Bagua Sword Studies by Sun Lu Tang, $12.9560 pages, many photos of Sun Lu Tang himselfPublished 1927 Some people think of Sun as […]

Aug
14
2016

In Good Standing

We received this (unsolicited) review of Wujishi Breathing Exercises, from our friend Tim, in Alaska. Wujishi is one of those important resources in the martial world that eventually goes out of print and drifts away…except in this case, we tracked down the publisher, bought the copyright, and republished it in 2013. It is one of the […]

Aug
5
2016

Managing Forms

You’ve been practicing awhile. You are no longer a novice. Your belt or sash no longer wears stiffly as though it were just a larger version of a bow tie. You now have “rank” whether or not it is formally recognized in your style. You have accumulated some formal training, too. You may have collected […]

Jul
29
2016

A Glimpse into Bajiquan

Baji Thunder, Adam Hsu’s 3 volume course on the elusive art of Bajiquan, has been one of the most ambitious projects ever seen from a single instructor. Sifu Hsu has created a series of 14 DVDs teaching the core of Baji Quan (Eight Ultimates Boxing,) probably the fastest rising style of Kung Fu out there […]

Jul
21
2016

Natural Speed: Three Step Program

I won’t keep you in suspense about what the three step is, so here’s the saying: “Slow is fluid, and fluid is fast.” On at least one level, pretty much everyone might agree with this. And, as your Kung Fu skills increase, that border between fluid and fast will start to wash away. The hard […]

Jul
10
2016

There Are No Secrets

I often read of well-meaning martial instructors using this phrase, inferring that hard work is the guarantee to progress, and that long-held and closely-kept secrets are the stuff of legend. Whenever I hear this statement applied to martial arts or, for that matter, any other pursuit, I try to avert my gaze so my eye-rolling […]

Jun
26
2016

Wong Fei Hung’s Five Animal Fist

We’ve been seeing a lot of books on the Hung Kung Fu system lately. Now here is one of Hung’s great forms; the Five Animal Boxing. Presented by Frank Yee with hundred of color photographs, this world-famous fist captures the essence and the shape of each of the original Shaolin animals: dragon, tiger, snake, leopard […]

Jun
16
2016

Fifty

Today I celebrate fifty years in the martial arts. It has been long enough now to seem natural that it became my fate or, at least, a “way of life,” as everyone calls it. People ask me what could possibly be the attraction. I have to tell the truth and admit that I always believed […]

Jun
13
2016

Bajiquan Celebration in Taiwan

We were delighted to see this clip from a recent Liu Yun Chiao memorial held in Taipei. Sifu Adam Hsu leads the whole room in a simple exercise that GM Liu reported he performed over 200 times a day; he recommended this two-move loop for improving all Kung Fu training. Note the esteemed teachers of […]

Jun
10
2016

Remarkable Adam Hsu

Not for the first time, Sifu Adam Hsu is doing something remarkable. And, as with many projects that fall into the ‘remarkable’ category, it is also different enough that a few words of explanation are not mis-spent. In fact, he is producing something completely new based on one of the most traditional methods for teaching […]

May
31
2016

Instructor’s Notebook #29: Metaphorically Speaking

Teachers have tools, great teachers make tools. But that’s not all. Students also make tools, in their minds. And the persistent teacher will go inside those active minds too, creating new ideas and ways to view things. All, of course, to the student’s benefit. Everyone who teaches the martial arts can fall victim to micro-management […]

May
16
2016

Snap of a Sleeve: Training for Martial Speed

When he was covering sports and at the top of his form, Hemingway wrote about things like the squeak of the boxer’s shoes as they rotated on the canvas. Just a poignant little detail like something Roger Angell might use in a baseball piece. The martial arts is loaded with such details. Some are so […]

May
8
2016

Li Tianji’s Xing Yi Legacy; Andrea Falk’s Dictionary

Plum is adding another text by Andrea Falk, a translation of significance to Xing Yi practitioners: Li TianJi’s The Skills of XingYiQuan;  311 pages, with hundreds of illustrations. This is a thorough text on the style handed down to Li Tianji from his father, Li Yulin. It’s very well laid out with sections covering basic […]

Apr
23
2016

Tong Bei, Loose and Powerful

Here is a pretty advanced Kung Fu puzzle: along with Bagua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan and Taijiquan, what do all of the following styles have in common:  Liu He Ba Fa (Six Harmonies, Eight Methods,) Mi Zong (Lost Track,) BaFa Quan (Eight Methods,) Liu He Quan (Six Harmonies Boxing) and Tong Bei Quan (Through the […]

Apr
21
2016

The Happiness of Wushu

Here is a new/old article I wrote for the organ of Adam Hsu’s Traditional Wushu Association. It discusses some of those “hidden little” pleasures harvested from years of practicing martial arts. Enjoy!

Mar
28
2016

Twin Roads to Mastery

Things go better if we’re clear at the outset. This is a meditation on mastery—not a claim to it. I’m still trying to spell it correctly. But, after watching and judging many, many practitioners for more time than I want to admit, I’ve come to the conclusion that mastery has two paths. If you find […]