Xin Yi Liu He and Chen Taijiquan: Two Great New Books

It is complete coincidence that our two newest books — James Counsilman’s, “Ten Animals Kung Fu: Xin Yi Liu He Quan,” and Andrea Falk’s, Shadowboxing in Shanghai: A Memoir and a Guide to the Traditional Chen Taijiquan From Dragon Park” — have something in common: they both come from records of the authors’ experiences studying in Shanghai.

Counsilman’s book is compiled from years of detailed notes he took while studying with his Master Li Zunsi in Shanghai. It is the first (and only, to our knowledge) book in English on the lesser-known practice of XinYiLiuHe; even in Chinese, there are not many texts on the subject. Counsilman’s book is unusual in that there are almost no photos or illustrations accompanying the precise textual instructions. Nonetheless, longtime Plum customer AJ had this to say when he got an advanced copy of the book:

“I truly cannot thank you enough for notifying me of James Counsilman’s treatise on XinyiliuhequanAs for his Xinyiliuhequan book: WOW!
It is undoubtedly one of the finest martial arts treatises I have ever read. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have this. A lifetime’s training lies within.”
Andrea Falk’s newest book shines on its own. We are big fan’s of Falk’s translations, writings, and her cannot-be-praised-enough martial dictionary, but this new one exceeded expectations. She has combined detailed instruction on the 108 move Chen Taijiquan Yilu (first set) she learned in Shanghai (in the Chen Xin lineage), with notes on Taiji concepts, discussions with her sifu, conversations with other students and teachers, then added memoirs of living and studying in Shanghai in the 80’s and 90’s, with moving portraits of a city that refused to lay still as just a background. It’s an exciting work, and one we highly recommend.

New Books!

We’re starting up the engines again, and digging into the ever-growing pile of new material coming to Plum. We’re excited about these first three:

Paul Koh's Tiger Claw Eight Diagram Tiger Claw Fighting SetLee Kam Wing Seven Start Mantis Volume 7Adam Hsu Baji book









Sifu Paul Koh once again brings us a comprehensive book on Tiger Claw’s Eight Diagram Fighting SetThis new text, literally, takes it to the street, with an extensive section (over 100 pages) of applications and usage (done, not in the studio, but on the streets of New York). As always with Sifu Koh’s books, this one is beautifully presented and generous in its instruction. Click the image to learn more about the book, and to purchase.

We are delighted to represent Sifu Lee Kam Wing’s newest volume (#7) in his Traditional Seven Star Mantis series. Representing several routines in the system, the well-acknowledged Sifu Lee is compiling an almost encyclopedic collection from this large and popular style. Click the image to see more about the book, including its list of routines.

How many times have we been asked if Sifu Adam Hsu, acknowledged as one of the masters of Bajiquan, has a book on the subject. Well, now we can answer, “Yes!” This volume, Baji XinFa, is a collections of articles (all in Chinese) on both Bajiquan, and its sister style, Pigua Zhang. It also includes QR codes for videos of Sifu Hsu demonstrating the various forms. We only have a few of these at the moment, but hope to get more in the near future. Click image to learn more, read his intriguing Table of Contents, and to purchase.


Safe In Santa Cruz

Hi all,
A lot of people have contacted us, after seeing Santa Cruz on the news this week. Thank you so much!

Just want to let you know that we are all ok here. Our house, and Plum are both a few blocks from the coast, and about a mile from the mountains where most of the flooding is occurring. The waves are high, and the sky is mostly grey with long stretches of rain. Last night, we had a mighty windstorm, something out of the ordinary for us. But, no trees or wires down in our neighborhood, and we’ve only lost power once, for about three hours, so not too bad.

Linda has a creek next to her house, which has almost topped the bank, but her house is high enough that, even if it did, the water would not reach it. Today she had to call out someone to come and remove a huge tree that had floated downstream and was damming the creek.

The cats, on the other hand, are bored, and really can’t wait for this to end!

We’re kind of sorry we cannot celebrate this rain more, since we need it so badly to relieve the annual drought.



BP Chan Students and Colleagues

We received this email from a longtime customer and friend of Plum who is collecting memories and stories of BP Chan, for a book that he is writing on the famous teacher.

My name is Ron Lambert. I’m writing a book on the life of BP Chan…

I’m in the process of interviewing students of his as well as martial arts teachers who were contemporaries of his and knew him. I was hoping that you may be able to refer me to some martial arts practitioners who want to share anecdotes, experiences, and knowledge about BP Chan, both as a person and a martial arts teacher they knew.

Thank you.

If you would like to contact him, please fill out the short form below so he can get in touch with you.


Boxing Day Sale at Plum!

Here it is! Our Second Annual Boxing Day sale at Plum.

OK, we know Boxing Day does not refer to the boxing (拳, Quan) we practice as martial artists. But the name so perfectly lends itself to our purposes, that we borrow it to create a Boxing Day Sale (节礼日特卖, Jiélǐ rì tèmài) for martial artists. And, as it has become our custom, we will extend the sale into the New Year.

So! For all you Plumpub boxers (拳击手, Quánjí shǒu:)

15% off SITEWIDE, From Dec 26, 2022 – January 2, 2023. Coupon Code: QuanjiShou15

By the way, we had such a full year of new and returning books and videos, that we encourage you to review our weblog, Kaimen, before ordering.

If you haven’t checked recently, we have so much!

Sifu Ted Mancuso’s new book/DVD on BaguaZhang’s Jibengong (Practice to Mastery)
Sifu Paul Koh’s continuing series on Southern Shaolin Tiger Claw (with a special nod to the newest one on Wooden Man practice)
• TWO new titles from Andrea Falk, one a translation on Cha Chuan, the other a memoir of early training days in Beijing
• The first book in English (and, an excellent one) on Meihuaquan
• A new-to-us comprehensive series on Taijiquan from Andrew Townsend
• A jaw-dropping return of some books so long gone that we had (almost) given up on ever seeing them again
              (think Ark Yuey Long, H.B. Un, and Jimmy Lee, just to name a few)
• And there’s more, of course, including articles and video tutorials.

As always, we wish you great health during this season, and beyond.

Warmest wishes for the new year,
Ted, Debbie and Linda


Pak Mei Kung Fu: A Rare Find

Pak Mei Kung Fu White Eyebrow HB UnWell, how excited are we about this?

Today marks the return of Pak Mei Kung Fu White Eyebrow, a book so long gone that we cannot remember when we last had copies of this to sell. As a matter of fact, we may NEVER have had this collector’s item. All of HB Un’s books are out of print, but this one was reprinted several years ago, and we now have a limited stack to sell.

This little gem is a small book, written by Mr Un, showing his teacher, Master Cheung Lai Chun, demonstrating and instructing Nine Step Push, the first set of Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) Kung Fu. The photos are accompanied by written instruction, in English, along with a generous introduction of Master Cheung’s history and many encounters with other teachers.

To read more about this book, and to order, click the image.


Winter Is Coming

We LOVE to hear from our Plum customers, correspondents, friends, and are constantly asking, nudging, and begging people to write and let us know their (martial) thoughts, or tell us what their practice is like these days, that kind of thing. Happily, we just got an email from someone we have known through Plum for many years, Tom Karls, and with his permission, want to share this short, beautiful piece with you all.

I’m taking you up on your last email.  No order this time but a brief reaching out.   What has been on my mind the last couple of weeks is: first, the coming of Winter here in Wisconsin.  We expect our first substantial snowfall here in Madison tomorrow, although Northern Wisconsin has had a couple of good sized storms already.   Second is the advancing of Age.   I turned 68 this year and seem to be feeling my years more and more.  In my head I keep thinking I’m between 30 and 35, but my body reminds me that I’m much closer to 70.  So a different sort of Winter is coming, that of age in the last quarter of life.

Touching briefly on martial arts, my workout partner and I bundle up and continue to work out, even if the temperature is in the 20’s.  We stretch, we breathe, we move and enjoy our time doing hsing-i and bagua.  The fresh air is invigorating and anytime we get to workout together is wonderful for the mutual support and continued developing ideas on the arts we practice.

We also believe that the martial arts are helping us deal with the advancing of age.   We know of many people our age who cannot do the physical things that we can do. Yet, even with that encouraging thought, we also know that we cannot do the things we used to do as young people.   At one time it was not a hard feat to kick head high with no warm up. Alas, that is not something I would even be tempted to try at this stage, even with a warm up.

But I like to think that we are a little bit smarter than we were in our 20’s and a little more appreciative of the arts we practice.  Being a little smarter and more appreciative then carries over into our general life.  To be able to enjoy the company of friends, to sit quietly with a good book or to look at the winter sun or the falling snow and see the beauty of the natural world; yes, Winter is coming and it is not something to be feared.  

I wish you all a Peaceful and Rich Holiday Season, 
Tom Karls

P.S. The only other thing I would say is that at this stage of life, how important it is to continue to practice the arts.   I spoke last week with my teacher about shifting practice emphasis with the change of the seasons.  While talking together I was thinking about how vital he still is in his late 70’s and what an inspiration that is.  (And I think we can all use inspirations whether from a teacher, a good book or watching a 3 year squatting with ease!)


Have something you want to say? We’d love to hear from you.

NOTE: There is an annoying glitch in our “comments” section that does not allow for the normal comment process. Please leave your comments on the form below. They are important to us.


Tiger Claw’s Wooden Master

Paul Koh's Tiger Claw Wooden Man Wooden Master wooden dummyJust added to our collection an exciting new book, Tiger Claw’s Wooden Master, from Sifu Paul Koh, who is brilliantly carrying on the lineage from his teacher, Sifu Tak Wah Eng.

This new title is, like all of Sifu Koh’s books, a labor of both love and color. He outlines Tiger Claw’s system of using the Wooden Man (or, Wooden Dummy) in several routines, then follows with techniques from that routine against a human partner. The while approach works well, providing a thorough set of classes in this incomparable Kung Fu training tool, the Wooden Man.

BIG price drop, and STILL save $5 off the price using Plum’s introductory special.


ChaQuan and Its TanTui

Zhang Wenguag's ChaquanWe at Plum freely admit that we are big fans of Andrea Falk, in her roles as martial artist, writer and translator. It is this last role that we celebrate today.

When we started Plum, almost 30 years ago, there were so many important texts available in Chinese that we never thought we would see in English and, of course, there still are (many of which we represent). But Falk, and a scattered few, are slowly chipping away at the canon, and this new book is a great example of her work.

Thanks to her translation, Zhang Wenguang’s book on Chaquan, and his smaller text on Tan Tui Kick Drills, (published as one volume) are now available, in English, on Plum. As is typical of Andrea’s work, it is not just a xeroxed copy, but contains additional notes, prefaces, discussions, and a glossary. The format, in English, is accompanied by both pinyin and Chinese character names for each move.

We are just so pleased that the literary martial library continues to grow with quality books like this one.



Lee Kam Wing Praying Mantis Volume 2

Lee Kam Wing Seven Star Mantis Volume 6Today we add two new/old books to our catalog from the esteemed Sifu Lee Kam Wing.

Sifu Lee has created a compendium of Mantis forms and practice texts, covering the foundations and routines of Seven Star Praying Mantis. Some of the volumes are now out of print, but Plum has gained access to Volumes #2 and #6. Each is self-standing, and the richness of the material, combined with the full color layout, make these books valuable additions to any Mantis library. Also, for those who read or are practicing their Chinese language skills, these books have both Chinese characters and English translation.

By the way, click images to get more information, and to purchase, or CLICK HERE to see the Tables of Contents for each volume.



Newest Excitements

Well, we won’t be able to use our “Summer of Stars” cliche much longer, so we have a mixed bag of new titles today. There is still a short but powerful stack of books yet to catalogue, so keep a close watch for those.

Today’s batch mostly centers around Tai Chi, with a nod to Qigong and an swift punch from an unexpected contender, which will go first.

Most people do not know this, but one of the very first items Plum carried was a VHS from Master Ed Parker. It was an exclusive item shot at a seminar in our area (that we attended) and that one item gained us enough attention that we thought, “Hmmm…maybe there are other books and videos we could find that people might like.” Well, Plum is not at the end of its road, but today we are bringing back Ed Parker to our catalogue, in one of his earliest works, Secrets of Chinese Karate. This may seem an awkward fit to some, but click on the title and read what we have to say.

We have been pleased with the great reception of Andrew Townsend’s series on Taijiquan, so we have added two more to the catalogue, one on The Solo Form, and one on Taiji Weapons. Sifu Townsend takes a multi-style approach to his comprehensive books, discussing the overall principles of Taijiquan, in a compare and contrast way. Click the cover to see the 2 new titles.

Keeping with Taijiquan, we have brought in a previously unavailable title in the Combat Tai Chi series by Andrew Lum, Tai Chi Chuan Ultimate. Sifu Lum’s work was early in its use of usage for Tai Chi, and we are happy to add it to the series.

Finally, a curious text from Paul Crompton, in England. We had never seen Five Steps before, although we are well familiar with Sifu Crompton’s work. At first, we thought it might be too basic a text, but now we find it to be a little work of insight. See what you think of it yourselves.



Jimmy Lee’s Poison Hand, and some Clean Staff Techniques from China

Continuing our Summer of Stars, we have two new offerings today.

Jimmy Lee's Poison Hand bookIf your jaw drops on this first one you are not alone: Plum’s was on the floor when this book came to us: Jimmy Lee’s classic on Iron and Poison Hand Training, Modern Kung-Fu Karate.” We have  been in business for almost 30 years, and this has never been available to us to sell. The first edition came out in 1957, and for those counting, there were not a whole lot of books available on Kung Fu in English at that time. This classic brings with it all the charm of those early writings (including Sifu Lee’s wonderful illustrations), not to mention the actual usable information which remains valuabAdvanced Staff Techniques in Kung Fule. Limited stock on these; the last of the pile.

And a kind of great little book on Staff Techniques. This one has also been out of our grasp, but we snagged a few copies, and can recommend it as a solid text, in English, to what is usually only offered in Chinese.

Click each image to go to the page to read more, and to purchase.


Yiquan Seminar with Sifu Ken Cohen

We want to make sure that you all know about an upcoming 7 week online seminar on Yiquan, taught by the inestimable Sifu Ken Cohen. These classes, which can be viewed live through Zoom and/or downloaded after each session, will approach Yiquan as foundational to Qigong practice. Please read the catalogue description below, and click the link to find out even more (register by Sept 1 to get bonus material).
Yi Quan: Healing Movements & Dynamic Meditations
with Ken Cohen
7 Week Livestreamed Zoom Training, starting September 7, each 90 minute session downloadable & available to view anytime.

Although there are numerous styles of qigong, many people consider Yi Quan the best foundation, as it trains students in the skills on which Chinese healing and martial arts are based: posture, alignment, grounding, coordination, and relaxation. Like Taijiquan, Yi Quan is both a healing art and a vocabulary of martial arts skills. But unlike Taiji, it does not require learning a long and complex choreography. Rather, the founder of Yi Quan, Master Wang Xiangzhai, took a radical approach to healing, body energy management, and athletic training by asking a simple question: “What is the quickest and most direct way to help people realize their innate potential, without imposing a ‘system,’ a new form of conditioning that might limit awareness and expression?”
Precise instruction in Yi Quan Standing Meditation, 5 Methods of Yi Quan Walking Meditation,  Shi Li (Experimenting with Energy) based on the Turtle, Bear, and Tiger, and Yi Quan Visualizations for inner strength and spiritual development. Yi Quan is a complete system for well-being and to improve skill in the martial arts or any sport.
The course includes recorded downloads of the programs, access to a dedicated group FaceBook page, and various written, audio and video materials, including Ken’s original translations from Chinese works about the founder of Yi Quan. Registration:

Ten Essential Techniques of the Tiger

Continuing our Summer of the Stars lineup of new material, we are happy to announce the arrival of a major book in the Fu Jow Pai system, Sifu Paul Koh’s Ten Essential Techniques of the Tiger.

Sifu Koh, along with his teacher Sifu Tak Wah Eng, has set himself the difficult task of preserving the traditional aspects of the Kung fu styles he represents while, at the same time, modernizing or updating the presentation. With bold splashes of color, this new book outlines and teaches the basis of his style, exercises fundamental to practicing and advancing correctly.

This is a major addition to his series, and Plum has a nice introductory price on this oversized and comprehensive book. Click picture to get more details, and to purchase.



At Plum, we keep a wantlist for things that go out of stock, out of print, or just disappear into the ether. This is such a common occurrence with the traditional material that we represent, that despite our sincere collecting of customer lists, even we must admit that many books and dvds never return.

But when they do come back…

This is, by far, the largest collection of unavailable titles to reappear in our near-30-year history. We even acquired titles that we have never been able to sell. The return of these books has taken our breath away.

We’ll make it easy for you: below are the pictures. Just click each to see the book descriptions, and to purchase.

However, the first offering is in a class all its own: we have never had this book for sale, despite having a first edition copy in our own library.

Enjoy the feast! (more to come…)


Ark Yuey WongYes, oh yes!

Sifu Ark Yuey Wong’s early text containing a plethora of material, from early advertisements to his methods of Kung Fu, Qigong, and everything in-between.

This reprint of The Secret of Kung-Fu, originally printed in 1960, is of one of the great classics of Kung Fu (from 1960) had been languishing in a warehouse for who-knows-how-long, and Plum now has the remaining stack. Once gone…well, no promises, but it’s unlikely to come back. Click book to see more information and the incredible Table of Contents.




Taijiquan, Martial Power and Andrew Townsend’s Fine Books

Principles and Practice of Taijiquan: Martial ApplicationsSome business problems are ones you want to have: too much good stuff coming in at one time; too many customers ordering; too much media attention.

The six new books we have just added from Andrew Townsend present a different (good) problem: although he is essentially teaching and writing about Taijiquan, these volumes cross categories, making them difficult to catalogue.

Take, for instance, Sources and Applications of Internal Power. If you examine the Table of Contents you’ll see that it is a topic near and dear to any traditional martial artist, not just a Taijiquan player. Even his book on Auxiliary Training in Taijiquan is as much of a study in Qigong as it is for Taijiquan (see Table of Contents here). As a matter of fact, we were so impressed by the breadth and depth of his material, that we decided to reprint the Tables of Contents for each book for the curious to explore.

Each volume averages about 400 pages, and Townsend suggests reading one chapter a week, almost as though taking a course. They are well-illustrated and well-written, clearly coming from a person who has spent decades in the art and has the ability to translate that experience into words and thoughts.

Titles in the series: 3 volumes from his Principles and Practice of Taijiquan (Auxiliary Training, Pushing Hands and Martial Applications); The Art of Taijiquan: An Examination of Five Family Styles; Cultivating the Civil and Mastering the Martial: The Yin and Yang of Taijiquan; and Sources and Applications of Internal Power.







Learn more about these great books and special Plumpub prices HERE, or click any image.

And, as a special treat, Andrew has allowed us to reprint an excerpt from his introduction to “The Art of Taijiquan: An Examination of Five Family Styles” (see post below this one).



The Similarities Among the Various Styles of Taijiquan (revised to include images!)

This is an excerpt from Andrew Townsend’s The Art of Taijiquan: An Examination of Five Family Styles. You can find this and several other books from Andrew on the Principles and Practice of Taijiquan by clicking the book image. Plum represents 6 of his fine volumes on Taijiquan, Martial power and Applications, Pushing Hands and Auxiliary Training.





The Similarities Among the Various Styles of Taijiquan

As the various family styles of taijiquan evolved and diverged from one another, each family style developed its own distinctive defining characteristics. While some postures, such as Single Whip (dan bian) or Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane (ye ma fen zhong), retained their original names, the postures themselves began to change in appearance. These differences can appear, at least superficially, to be quite distinct, as the photographs of the posture of Single Whip from three of the five family styles shown below illustrate. Read more →


The Excitement That is Meihuaquan

Meihuaquan: Plum Blossom BoxingYou’ve probably noticed that we have a hard time containing our enthusiasm when we add special items to our catalogue. As many know, we hand-pick each title that we represent, so by the time we offer it to you we already have a good assessment. But face it: some books and DVDs are even MORE special than others, and this is one of them.

Meihuaquan: The Link Between Man and Heaven, by Enrico Storti, Luca Bizzi and Giuliano Furlini, is the first book in English to comprehensively cover all aspects of this fascinating system. Well-researched and -illustrated, it deals with the philosophy and secrets, as well as foot patterns and usage. It is a book for martial practitioners and scholars alike. 

We think this is a worthy addition to the canon.

Click book to take you to more information and to purchase.

(And, watch this page! We have additional new titles plus some surprises coming up in the next couple of weeks.)


5th Annual Gathering of the Masters: Clips

The 5th Annual Gathering of the Masters was a success, with over 150 people attending, and some terrific demonstrations. Sifu Hamby once again managed to highlight friendship across the styles, instead of competition.

If you would like to see a nice clip of the performances, click the image to the left.


A Mighty Book: 300 Years of Praying Mantis Boxing History

wong han fun praying mantis discourse of 100 years of praying mantisOnce upon a time, we were fortunate to represent an exceptional book: “A Discourse on the History of the Praying Mantis Boxing for the Last One Hundred Years,” written by Huang HanChao. Sadly, it sold out, with demand seriously exceeding supply.

But wait! Never say “Never” at Plum.  We have just received a gorgeous new book, “The True Biography of Mantis Boxing,” by Huang HanXun (Wong Han Fun) which not only includes the original text of Discourse, but adds another 240 pages to expand Mantis’s 300 year history back to Wang Lang, the presumed founder of this great style.

And what an expansion. This new volume adds more than 200 pages of photocopied original boxing manuals, many illustrated in full color, showing hand-painted illustrations of weapons and open-handed form postures. Its premise: the True Biography of Mantis deriving from Shaolin.

(At the moment, we have only 5 copies, but more are on order and we hope to have them within the next 2-3 weeks. In any case, click any of the images to read more about and order our newest treasure.)