Joanna Zorya, instructor, head of the Reeling Silk Kung Fu School and frequent contributor to this site, here demonstrates and elucidates on many aspects of martial practice... You might like to see our review and some comments from her DVD covers (below).

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Integrated Martial Training

Martial Rotation with Joanna Zorya DVD 12038 Martial Power
by Joanna Zorya and Julie Hinder
56 minutes, NTSC, $35.00

Momentum, Undulation, Rotation: on these three solid foundations, Zorya builds a whole series of power augmenting exercises. At the start of instruction, an absolutely relaxed arm must fall, maintaining that relaxation. The relaxed arms then express the power of the waist and legs. Turning arm-swings, at first incredibly simple, can be done in different ways, such as to the sides, and to the front. Most of these movements look like simple relaxations, the difference being that martial intent adds martial characteristics. As teaching continues, she builds to a more three-dimensional shape.

Martial Rotation with Joanna ZoryaNext, she introduces seated practices that encourage a wave-like movement threading its way through the body. From there she releases this exercise into “heavy forearm” smashes to the thighs. The next section explains, with the use of a striking cat analogy, how to maximize speed and minimize Martial Rotation with Joanna Zoryatelegraphing; all are performed seated with front and side views. She does this breakdown with a number of martial strikes. Back to standing, she applies these above principles to a whole body version.

Every step of this training relates principles of relaxation to those of momentum. Joanna unlocks movements designed to release and increase ANYONE’s martial power.

For more about Joanna Zorya

In addition to Joanna's series of well-respected DVDs, her approach finds resonance in the work of some other fine instructors that you might enjoy checking out:

Sifu Glenn Hairston, who Joanna came to know through their mutual representation on Plum, offers very straightforward combat and usage instruction for Tai Chi in his 3 DVD series, Tai Chi For The Street

Sifu George Xu, whose unparalleled approach to obtaining true martial movement and intent can be found over a wide assortment of DVDs; in this case, his videos on Martial Qigong and Martial Workout are particularly appropriate.

John Ottenberg, most specifically in Beyond Technique, outlines a method that incorporates natural movement and real power. His other two DVDs follow, and Explosive Punching is one of the best videos on how to actually create an effective punch.

Quantity   $35.00  


Martial Rotation with Joanna Zorya

Teacher Joanna Zorya once again has produced an instructional DVD with solid content and, most importantly, an open hearted exposition of essential actions. As in her other DVDs she aims to the heart of her subject. Zorya has shown the kind of moves on which instructors concentrate their greatest efforts. These spiral moves are not just "Martial Rotations" but key actions for all Chinese Wushu. In addition she demonstrates these actions while avoiding the two great errors which everyone — no matter how advanced— must cope with: cocking and leaking. Zorya's movements rarely miss as she performs the correct coordination of waist, joints and intention: a crucial charactertistic of Chinese martial training. Her work reminds us of the excellent actions of Chen Pan Ling. Sometimes she might, as Chen did, appear formalized or even stiff but this is because she shows such finely geared motions without loss of structure in transition: a task that even the best of teachers often fail. Then she takes these very important actions and shows plausible and logical applications with even an occasional surprise tactic. Let's put it this way; were you attending a class with an exceptionally dedicated teacher, the contents of this DVD would be very similar to those techniques you would be asked to master. Frankly the work is hard, precise and demanding, but Zorya's intelligence and humor leaven the effort.

Quantity   $35.00  
around 55 minutes

Taijiquan: Form & Applications

Martial Warm Ups  with Joanna ZoryaNEW!! DVD 21032 Warm Up, Strengthen & Stretch
by Joanna Zorya and Julie Hinder

From the cover:
"While it's important to move with your whole body as a connected unit when performing the martial actions of Taijiquan, Baguazhang, etc., it is also very important to isolate specific joints and muscles for individual attention when warming up, stretching, developing strength and improving functional flexibility. Otherwise, weak and less flexible parts of your body can be compensated for invisibly by the stronger and more flexible parts. However much time a martial artist spends on contact training and refining solo movements, there is much additional work to be done, developing overall physicality, fitness and functional flexibility.

In our classes we consider it important to teach the skills of self reliance and self discipline, so students are expected to be able to coherently warm themselves up, strengthen their bodies and perform a stretch down at home as part of their solo practice.

As usual for our DVDs, rather than worrying about any single lineage or tradition, we've simply compiled a comprehensive, systematic and practical guide. Here the subject matter is warming up, toning, strengthening and stretching the whole body. Old and new exercises have been combined, guided by modern anatomical knowledge."

DVD #1 contains a full regimen of warm ups with an emphasis on flexibility you can use in the martial arts.

DVD #2 contains a range of strengthening exercises for the whole body and a bonus section on the Taiji Bang or training stick.

Quantity  $59.95
Two DVDs

Taiji Concepts                 with Joanna Zorya

Ms. Zorya conducts this visual essay on the essential features of Taijiquan as a martial art. She shows the martial reality of Taiji armed at times with shield and sword against spear and other times with convincing and logical analysis of the Taiji Classics. Supplying point by point breakdowns on the Eight Essential Energies with applications she goes beyond the obvious by correlating each nuance to classic Taiji theory. Along with Julie Hinder - the recipient of this gentle mayhem - Joanna gives a wide series of examples validating the real fighting technique of Taiji with succinct and lucid explanations. To quote from the cover, "I cannot recommend this DVD strongly enough, but then I made it! Quite honestly, though, I would have loved to have been able to buy this DVD when many of these factors were still a mystery to me. And yes, I'm still learning."

Among topics attended, we find:
The Six Harmonies • The Eight Methods and Five Steps or "thirteen strategies" • The Three Essential Qualities of expansiveness, rotation and undulation • Reeling Silk • Yin Yang as a strategy • parallels to the battlefield

Quantity   $35.00  
around 55 minutes

Taiji Applications  with Joanna Zorya

DVD #12036 Putting the QUAN back in TAIJI
(Note this replaces the individual DVD formerly #12031)
Teacher Joannna Zorya here reprises her earlier DVD with expanded information and applications. She takes the first seven moves of the Zheng Man Qing form as a base and gives explicit instructions on their formal structure. She then adds numerous applications calling on her knowledge not only of the Zheng, but also of the Yang form and the Dong branch of Yang Taiji. She augments this with the flavor of Reeling Silk which she considers most significant.

Quantity  $60.00 
TWO DVD Set, around 50 minutes each

Taiji #2  with Joanna Zorya

DVD Two #12032 TAIJIQUAN #2
This DVD (which follows #12036) shows the form for the second section of the Zheng man Qing style (Lift Hands to Embrace Tiger) and then major martial applications for the actions of this form.

Quantity   $35.00  
around 30 minutes

Taiji Foundations  with Joanna Zorya

This DVD examines in depth the essential qualities of Tai Chi movement as the martial methods of Peng, An, Lu, Ji and Cai. We are shown how they can be combined to create effective martial techniques and short Form sequences for repetitive practice.

Quantity   $30.00  
around 52 minutes

Bagua Zhang
Sun style Bagua Zhang  with Joanna Zorya

DVD#12005 A Double DVD set on Sun Style Baguazhang
This is a twin DVD set of instruction on the art of Baguazhang by teacher Joanna Zorya.

These include...
A Martial Foundation for Baguazhang:
"...shows circle walking, postures and stepping methods as well as palm striking and kicking techniques. It should give you a reasonable grasp of how and why the system works and enable you to "make your training your own." I've always felt that if you want to get good at something you need to know why you're doing it."

Sun style Bagua Zhang and forms:

"...shows the 10 Sun Style Palm Changes as described in Sun Lutang's book, plus plenty of combat applications."

This set of TWO DVDs is now only

Quantity  $55.00
with about fifty minutes per disk

Here are Ms Zorya's notes from her slipcase...

Xing Yi Quan
Xing Yi Quan  with Joanna Zorya

DVD #12033 Xing Yi: Pi and Zhuan applications

Joanna Zorya is the instructor and head of the Reeling Silk Kung Fu School. She has years of experience researching the internal arts. She is a firm advocate of the practical and accessible self defense knowledge held within these practices.

Quantity   $35.00  
around an hour,

From the DVD slipcase: "GONGFU students are sometimes told to 'look beyond the obvious application.' Unfortunately, if you are a beginning student with no martial background at all, you may not know what the 'obvious applications' are. This was certainly true of me when I started out. The DVD aims to teach you how to fight, even if you have no previous martial knowledge.

Another phrase sometimes used by Xing Yi teachers is that 'to know one application is to know ten.' This DVD will show you lots of simple and very literal applications with variations and tactical considerations. I also show you how to maximize your striking power and how to practice safely with a partner. Basic training methods and important postural factors are also covered."

Section One shows "Forms & Foundations" such as standing practice, stepping drills and hand methods.
Section Two shows "San Ti and Pi Quan" with fighting applications for Splitting (Pi) and the basic SanTi (Three Powers) fighting posture.
Section Three shows "Zhuan Quan" with combat applications for Drilling Fist (Zhuan).

See ShiFu Mancuso's comments on J. Zorya's work



From the slipcase:

"Authentic Taijiquan (Supreme Polarity Boxing) is a study of soft and hard techniques, slow and fast tempo and importantly spiral movements and sudden explosive strikes. However, an alarming number of Taijiquan practitioners today, particularly in the West, have no notion of its crucial combative techniques. Instead, the art is seen simply as a form of gentle, low-impact exercise, or else as a purely meditative pursuit. I have spent almost a decade researching the fighting techniques of Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang and I require my students to deal with martially-realistic levels of contact from the outset of training. While many teachers just teach empty Forms, I focus on training students to be complete martial artists with strong, healthy and robust bodies, true martial morality, confidence and martial spirit."




Sun Style BaGua
Presented by Joanna Zorya with Julie Hinder

"OK, here's the story. Bagua was our very first martial style. It's the one we've been studying the longest and the one we've taught the least. We'd always hoped to introduce our students to it one day, perhaps when they'd "finished" learning a complete Xing Yi or Taiji system. The problem was, we only had a few months left in the country. And that is why this double DVD presentation was made. These films were originally intended to be something to leave our students so they could continue training after we'd gone.

Filmed in the heart of an English winter while our students stalwartly turned up to learn a palm change a week (plus martial applications of course!), most of the footage is set in our living room (our dog, Charlie, stalwartly keeping guard on the sofa).

We managed to fit the 10 Palm changes (with applications) on a DVD, but then we thought "what else can we say about Bagua?" so we made a "Martial Foundation" DVD too and made it "Disc One". We ended up returning to England as it happens, but we were left with two Bagua DVDs, jam-packed with useful information - basically an entire system on two discs. We decided to release them to the world at large, because we think they will be useful to Bagua lovers everywhere.

One thing that struck us is just how clear, concise, and modular the Sun Style is. We know it's not as flashy as many Bagua styles, but that's why we love it. And if your emphasis is simply on learning how to fight rather than learning something that looks impressive, I feel that there is probably enough here to last you a lifetime.





Shihfu Mancuso's comments:
I have just viewed Joanna Zorya's DVD's on Tai Chi Applications.

A few comments: I have been in martial arts most of my life. What wows the crowds no longer lifts my eyebrow. What IS rare is not the flashy, powerful or sexy. What is rare is the accurate, simple and balanced. Was it Verlaine who criticized French verse by stating, "We have many poets who can write brilliant lines. But do we have any who can write three competent lines in a row?" In these disks Ms. Zorya guides us through the Cheng Man Ching form of Tai Chi Chuan. She is an educated guide. She show us applications which are accurate, classical and interesting. You think that is common? Even Cheng himself was not so accommodating. We see many varieties of Tai Chi Applied but the movements are general Kung Fu with a lemon twist, supposedly making them Tai Chi. Zorya is very clearly breaking down her form move by move with classical but not obvious interpretations. What will you see here? The British countryside for one. Two women very simply and slowly showing dozens of applications derived from the Short Form. Zorya is so understated, so honestly pedagogical you may just miss the fact that the applications are good, clever and truly representative of their source. You should know that she's given herself a task. It seems people in the U.K. are less than poignantly aware of Tai Chi's martial features. As a good instructor should, she approaches the issues of education clearly and directly. She is concerned that a hip injury will make her performance inaccurate in some way. So she notes the limitation. Would that some instructors warn about their attitudes so honestly. You will not see grunting, fake-speedy attacks or flashy moves here. What you will see is an intelligent and forthright person who wants to transmit, not impress. If there is a critical point we might make it is that we expect to see a deepening of Ms. Zorya's torso engagement as time passes. But look straight and you will see it already manifest. Given the stylistic requirements of the Short Form and her obvious dedication to developing skill, Ms. Zorya's program is already in place.

I think this series can be particularly useful to Tai Chi instructors and study groups.


A list of articles by Joanna Zorya...
Will The Real Reeling Silk Please Stand Up ...To Scrutiny?
To Push, To Stick or to Hit
Five Steps (Wu Bu)
What's Your Intention?
8 Uses of Reeling Silk
The Way of Water
Pupose, Quality and Direction
Understanding the 6 Harmonies