Hung Gar booklets back in stock

LOTS of exciting new and returning titles coming over the next couple of months!

For right now, these three ever-popular Hung Gar booklets (below) are finally back in stock. Click each picture to go to the page.

Hung Gar Books

Shi Zi Mei Hua Quan

Hu Die Zhang (Butterfly Hands)

Hu Die Zhang (Butterfly Hands)

Liu Family Boxing

Liu Family Boxing

Back with more, soon!



You Are Hired: Bodyguard Kung Fu

 art_bodyguartd_3_wuhuiqingPut yourself in the thick of it. What would you do? Your world is split into two—principals and enemies in a constant power struggle. Many hidden factions promote ninja-type fighting skills. You must protect your principal at all costs, yet not every situation requires deadly force so you have to be an expert at making lightning quick decisions. That flash of light may not mean a rifle, but it could mean a deadly weapon, in deadly hands.

Add one more level of strategy and pain: the very act of taking out one assassin might reveal a pathway for the bad guys to capture your principal. You have to keep all balls moving at the same time—your principal’s position, the number of attackers, escape corridors and types of weapons. And, on top of everything else, you may be guarding someone truly important, like the Emperor of China. What do you do? Despite modern scientific methods, many aspects of combat are still squarely resting on human potential and commitment. Read more →


Who’re You Calling Hurt?

Sale priced Chinese Martial Arts booksWe just refreshed our “Hurt” books section and, boy, do we have a great selection of sale-priced gems—there are about 40 of them!

As we’ve said in the past, the title “hurt” is a little misleading, since 99% of these are indistinguishable from new copies of the same title. “Hurts,” in the book industry, are books that stores return to the publisher due to overstocking. Publishers decided a long time back that it was cheaper to sell them to “hurt book dealers” than to examine each one before re-selling them. Their loss is our big gain, since these books are half the price and still looking pretty.

We hand-pick these books like we do every single item at Plum. Our goal is to offer not only the best of breed, but titles we believe are relevant and important for a good martial library. As always, stock is limited on these, so head on over to our hurts book page and see if something delights. We added a few titles not previously represented at this price, in Tai Chi, Bagua, and Taoism, plus the return of some favorites we always run out of.



Chen With Your Hands Full

Chen Tai Chi WeaponsA quick announcement of three new book/vcd packages in one of our favorite series; these are on Chen Style Tai Chi Ball, Double Maces, and Eyebrow Staff.

This series, which you will find scattered throughout the Plum site, gives you a book in both Chinese and English (en face) plus a VCD (in Chinese, subtitled in english) with the instructor teaching the routines. Their value is remarkable, and the work itself is above par for contemporary looks at traditional forms.

We’ll try to follow up in a while with an updated list of all those in the series, but in the meantime, check out these new and worthy additions.


Adam Hsu’s Secret Files on Bagua Zhang

Adam Hsu Bagua DVDsThis, our third post on this new 2 Volume set of DVDs (6 dvds in all) on the art of Bagua, is to say that these outstanding DVDs are now available. If you want to read our earlier announcement, click here.

If you would like to read more about the series, and to order, click here.

Exceptional instruction, truly secret material, and enough training to inform any Bagua Zhang practiitoner’s practice for a long time to come.




Understanding Basics, The Chinese Way

understanding bsicsEverything starts with basics. And when you are young or just beginning a long term study of expertise, or your taste runs to the piano or the basketball hoop, there is always a sentinel line of basics to be crossed before you get to the “good stuff.”

But the surprise—sometimes disappointingly painful or tedious—is that there is no end to the study of basics. When you have learned the most exotic parts of some discipline—let’s say martial arts, for instance—and mastered the strangest weapons, you will put them aside at various points, and return to basics.

People think they hate basics. But what they really hate is the repetition, an assumed implication of lacking skills (“You’re still practicing those moves?”) and the indication that mastery may well out-last your lifetime.

understanding basicsIt’s true. Basics are not always fun, unless you happen to be lucky enough to study Chinese Martial Arts.

Believe it or not, basics of Kung Fu and its sister arts, never get boring. As you learn more about this ancient tradition you realize that you may get bored but basics are not boring.  Basics are a test of consciousness, not of will. Read more →


Fundamentals of Pakua Chang, Restocked

Fundametals of Pakua Chang Volume 1Just a quick note to say that we are now back in stock on the elusive and terrific Volume 1 of Park Bok Nam’s Fundamentals of Pakua Chang.

This book’s reputation from back in the day is still worthy; it was one of the first to detail Pakua Chang’s (Bagua Zhang’s) training, and is still valuable for its insights and methods.

Volume 2 to, hopefully, follow within the next couple of months, but for now, Volume 1 is here.


Three Classic Training Texts Translated

Published anywhere from 50 to over 80 years ago, here are translations of Kung Fu books emphasizing applied technique and training. We now offer Iron Thread from Hung Gar, one of the crowning forms of this style. Then there is the popular text on Shaolin training methods,” which has been reprinted over and over for decades. Published in 1934 there are so many weird and clever skill challenges that at least a few must capture your whimsy. Shaolin Chin Na, among the first major books ever published on this subject (1936), showing a lot of very simple, straightforward locks and holds with great old pictures. And, finally,

Three reprint texts from a crucial period in Chinese and martial history.


Deconstructing Yin and Yang

Deconstructing Yin and YangYou 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 the Yin Yang philosophy.

yy_halves1This school of thought influenced almost all of Chinese life.  Its symbol is recognized worldwide. But most people know next to nothing about it. I tell my students, this is not just a symbol, more like an equation—a picture worth considerably more than 1000 words—showing some essential patterns of change. Read more →


This Is How Bagua Is Done

How Bagua Is DoneThere 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 that aids Shaolin, Hua, PiGua, Cha and more. On Plum, we represent some good sources for “fundamental” information about Bagua styles, such as Fundamentals of Pa Kua Chang, Bagua: The Art of Change, Kang Ge Wu’s A Course in Bagua, Tom Bisio’s 3 DVD set. Some are more style specific some are not.

How Bagua is DoneIn his new series, Adam Hsu has crafted a series of lessons able to heighten any practitioner’s Bagua performance. These DVDs really do “decode” some key concepts. Volume One concentrates on the valuable basics of footwork, drilling, spine exercises and other crucial points unique to Bagua. Volume Two goes into numerous applications of the palms, hi-mid-low stance training, a whole discussion on Bagua’s Qigong, pole work with multiple poles, marching practice and more. It concentrates not on the general Bagua walking circle and form, but on major twisting and coiling concepts, and other examples proving Bagua to be as exceptional a style as Adam Hsu contends. Some of these (the Kuen-Zhong-Zheng-Guo Four Hands, the pole exercises, etc.) inspired me, years ago, to include them in my own teaching DVDs.

THIS is how Bagua is done.

This series is divided into TWO VOLUMES, each volume containing THREE DVDs (over 3 hours per volume).

Each Volume:
Regular Price: $105,  Plum Price: $95


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 the martial arts will come from the rich tapestry of Chinese martial artists, as world practitioners study this and synthesize it with what they already know and what makes sense for their context. 

Partner DrillsIn particular, I feel that the partner drills are deeply significant.  They offer an alternative to the mean mma stuff, while bringing people together, sharing energy and engaging them in amazingly varied “games”, or “dances” that have the potential (if done with proper guidance) to develop the somatic skills of self-defense in a nearly subconscious way.  Outside of children’s games like “paddycake” and partner dance, there is no parallel to these partner practices of the Martial Arts. When combined with the Qigong Grand Circulation, concepts of Taiji, Heqi and self-defense, we can see that these partner practices, once held more secretly, now offer the world something amazingly unique, fun, interesting and PRACTICAL!

Thank You so much,


We couldn’t agree more!

And we sincerely encourage you to submit, through email or the weblog itself, comments or articles. Talk about what you are training, controversial topics, questions, observations, reports from tournaments. Plum was designed to be a garden where, among other things, traditional Chinese martial artists could gather after practice and compare notes, share stories, ask each other questions. So, speak up!


Restocks of Rare Editions, North and South

You’ve proably seen our little “Want List” boxes throughout the site. And you may have also noticed that some of them stay in the “not available” state for months without being taken down. Are we really trying to torture people? No, it’s just that hope springs eternal.

For instance here are two products we thought we would never see again: The Five Family Fist of Grandmaster Ark Yuey Wong’s Grandson SeMing Ma, and the Triple Sticks Preying Mantis of Won Hung Fun. As items like these continue to creep toward oblivion we will keep drawing them back.

Ark Yuey Wong and Wong Han FunArk Yuey Wong and Wong Han FunA little context: Ark Yuey Wong was probably the first person in North America to open a Kung Fu school teaching non-Chinese, that was long before WWII. Wong Hun Fun was a main organizer of Northern Mantis and this is the only triple-stick in that style I have ever seen.


Pa Kua Fundamentals, Circling Back to Plum

Park Bok Nam Fundamentals of Pa Kua ChangOne of the most popular series of books on our “want” list Is Park Bok Nam’s 2 volume set, Fundamentals of Pa Kua Chang. Both volumes have been out of print for several years.

A while back, Plum reprinted the 2 disk set, and we are happy to announce that we now FINALLY have, back in stock and fresh from the press, Volume One of the books. Volume Two will, hopefully, follow in several months.

For those waiting, wait no more! And for those unfamiliar, here is Volume One of one of the most recommended books on Pa Kua Chang (Bagua Zhang).

A Note for our international customers: After months of restructuring, Plum has a new system which makes shipping MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE. As of this time, it’s working: international customers are saving 20-30% on shipping RIGHT NOW!


From Taiwan: An Old Frame and a Lost Track

Jou Bao Fu Chen Style Tai Chi Lao JiaThere are a lot of well meaning martial practitioners out there that have probably never posed in front of a camera. They make honest, traditional and studied demonstrations of each particular style. Despite the special qualities of the style, the survey of their forms may be tepid and self-conscious. No disrespect to them, they did not sign up to be actors, just teachers.

On the other hand there are teachers who are dynamic from the salute. Jou Bao Fu is one of these. His explanations are direct and even a little edgy. His performance is never lukewarm. He moves like he’s taking a chance, even on the simplest actions. There’s an old saying that the school is held up by the spirit of the teacher. Sifu Jou’s may dip occasionally, but it never sinks.

We have just received a rendition of his Chen style Tai Chi which, as you may guess, has Jou Bao Fu Mizong Quana lot of very martial movements along with some original insights and occasional applications. We have also added a DVD of his Mizong or Lost Track style and in that he really lives up to the name especially with the Lost footwork, crossing, leaning, twist, recovering. This would be a very difficult dance lesson.


We have a lot more coming but so far this year we have seen some of the best quality instruction and demonstration in a relatively short time. Let’s see what the rest of the Monkey year has in store.


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.

Kung Fu Weapons TrainingI’ve mentioned a few times that I have a slightly different idea about the relation of weapons play to martial arts and, even, human life. Usually I focus on the cliché that any weapon is “an extension of our body.” Of course there’s truth here but it’s not exactly a revealed secret.

However, looking at weapons training in a different way we can actually gain some insight by saying “the human body can be an extension of the weapon.” We all do it. Think of the spear, for example, as a ten foot extension of our fingernail. But we forget that if we want to really master the spear we will have to make our bodies fit into the spear’s nature, not the other way around. The arms do not move too much. The hands must work in accord. Most importantly, we must do incredibly small movements to get the correct big effects. If we work too big, the spear will leave our service and may even turn against us. Read more →


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.

Chinese Martial Arts booksC087 Bagua Sword Studies
by Sun Lu Tang, $12.95
60 pages, many photos of Sun Lu Tang himself
Published 1927

Some people think of Sun as the most famous internal stylist of all. Here is a classic Bagua sword in a first edition facsimile. We also offer a nice translation (available on the sale page for this book).

Hand-Arm Record, Wrestling, Archery notes, Shooting record
by Wu Shu Deng $15.95

Hard to believe but there are few surviving texts, even from the literate Chinese scholars, on the real details of warfare, strategy, techniques and customs. The so called “Arm Record” is one of the few, and has over the centuries been employed as a kind of standard, not only for what was exceptional but for what has been lost, too.


Nei Gong 13 Sections Illustrated
by Bao Ting, $11.95
Published 1927

Some strange photographs which appears to have been taken at a boardwalk. Qigong of an almost Yoga-like style. Much reclining. Some lying flat. Some objects to be used for “patting” or what is often called Luo Han Qi Gong. All demonstrated by a noted Xing Yi player. This book is meant to be clear enough in its Chinese instructions to substitute for a live teacher.


In Good Standing

WujishiWe 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 first books to be published on what is now a rather popular topic—Zhan Zhuang—or standing exercises. It is a component of the qigong of most traditional martial practice and, of course, is the basis of Yiquan.

Tim writes:

“It might seem counter-intuitive to many people that so much can be accomplished “just standing there” rather than doing a lot of complex movements. Some people might find what is described in the case-histories in the book hard to believe. I am experiencing some of the changes described in the book:

My hair color is changing from gray back to darker color
The hair on my head is getting thicker (balding reversing)
Cysts (fat deposits) on my arms are slowly dissolving
Spider veins in my ankles are disappearing
My energy and mental clarity are improving
Type 2 diabetes reversing (this might be partly diet changes, too)

These changes take time to happen–but they do happen. It works like a slow moving magic bullet.

From my experience I would say to people–yes, what is described in the book is real and it is worth spending the time to take up the practice of Zhan Zhuang. While I don’t claim to be an expert on Zhan Zhuang, my impression of “Wujishi Breathing Exercises” is that it teaches what is essential in a simple manner, yet is also very effective.
I am starting to learn the Zhan Zhuang practices taught by C S Tang in his “YiQuan” book. Starting with “Wujishi Breathing Exercises” is good background for further study.

After seeing that Zhan Zhuang practice can actually reverse aging, I’ve been giving copies of “Wujishi Breathing Exercises” to relatives and co-workers. I just sent a copy to my employer’s wellness library–this book is so remarkable I want to share it with anyone who will listen!”


Anyone else have things to say or report about standing practice? We would love to hear…



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.

FormsYou have accumulated some formal training, too. You may have collected or been taught enough forms that their practice looks to be a little out of hand. You like forms. You don’t want to lose them. You practice pretty diligently your CURRENT form and some others but you feel a little slippage. What to do? Read more →


A Glimpse into Bajiquan

Adam Hsu Baji ThunderBaji 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 at this moment. He has also combined authentic Kung Fu tradition with modern practical concerns by teaching far more information than the average presentation. Typically, a series centered around key forms would devote 70 per cent to the form and 30 per cent or less to applications and usage. Here the formula is reversed. Baji has a unique training method that results in its signature mix of power, simplicity and beauty.

Yes, we know that this is a large series and can be seen as something of a financial commitment—though pricing out each DVD you’ll find them well under $30 each, not to mention the fact that you can buy this series in parts as your bank account allows. And, yes, we know that showing you a few minutes of video can’t fully demonstrate such a rich style or such a vest landscape of information and training. But we couldn’t resist placing a sample of each volume here.

So enjoy watching the style that has protected kings and presidents for centuries.


Natural Speed: Three Step Program

unlocking martial speed 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 part is not fluid to fast; the real difficulty comes from nursing fluidity out of slowness. This concept is just weird to those born into a digital culture where every question is answered with too many hits and not enough solitude.

Read more →