Displaying posts written by

Ted Mancuso

who has written 341 posts for KaiMen.

Mar
30
2020

Beng Jin: Kung Fu’s Hidden Skill

Here’s a new short video on Beng Jin (Beng Energy) that we created for our local sequestered students. If you are a Tai Chi student, you have most likely heard your teacher lecture on this special quality, and are undoubtedly practicing this right now! But Beng Jing exists in all styles of Kung Fu, and […]

Feb
19
2020

A + B = PUNCH

I woke up thinking about a property in math: that between any two points on a number line*, there are infinitely many points between them. Now, I know I have used the scary word—“math”—but if you are still with me, let me go on and give you the second part of my morning thought: that […]

Feb
2
2020

How To Change (A Tire)

  Last night, driving home from teaching, my mind filled with ideas, I cut too sharply on a left turn, and bumped over a curb. The mishap arrived with an explosion of sound, followed by a consistent galug-galug-galug as I limped through the last two miles of my trip. My wife, Debbie, and I have […]

Dec
20
2019

1984

I’ve been going through some boxes, unearthing photos, notebooks, old patches, and all manner of things from my 50+ years in the arts. Here’s a poster from one of Brendan Lai’s famous expos. It was a time.   Among those present: Cliff Look, Shek Kin, John Leong, Marc Singer, Mok Poi-On, Lee Koon-Hung, Ping Chow, […]

Dec
11
2019

Instructor’s Notebook: Tiger Hook Blades

INSTRUCTOR’S NOTEBOOK The life and death of our art depends on the Quality of shared knowledge we maintain. Proper teaching informs the student while educating the teacher.  Confucius told us that “wherever a few are gathered, I have a teacher.” As we see, all faces of Kung Fu offer a deep well to draw from. […]

Nov
25
2019

Spear Learning

Some of my articles come directly from what is taught at my school that day. One of my favorite spear training exercises is “Ghost Shakes Body” (also called “Lan Na Zha”), and when I saw some students practicing this the other day, it reminded me of the extensive usage catalogue each weapon carries with it. […]

Nov
13
2019

Ferocity and Accuracy

Every Kung Fu style has its Yin and Yang attributes: open/close, light/heavy, soft and hard. But not all complementary pairs are oppositional. A good martial artist can also be both fierce and accurate—how is this accomplished? Accuracy brings to mind a controlled, almost intellectual state of mind—that is, a state of mind, not of heart. […]

Sep
28
2019

Tai Chi: Loss and Gain

  It’s true. The older you get, the more people want to force feed you a philosophy of loss. Everything appears to dwindle, leaving whatever you were gripping to stabilize yourself, a phantom in a shadow.  Sometimes the effect of this “negative advancement” is itself positive and salubrious. But even in positive circumstances this proper […]

Sep
15
2019

Why We Practice Drunken Boxing

I sit here in a state rare for me: a little drunk. I sip my single serving cautiously, slowly. Both my parents were drunks and their drinking left a bitter taste in my mouth for decades, turning me into a spectator, not a participant—a nurser of cokes, a stretcher of seven-ups—instead of an imbiber of […]

Aug
12
2019

The Road to Tan Tui (Redux)

A long while back, we created and posted a free series of video tutorials on the famous 12 Road Tan Tui; the series is made up of 14 videos which include step-by-step instruction PLUS applications for each road.  For years, this has been popular on our site, but when we recently reviewed it we were […]

Aug
1
2019

The Mighty Pen

I want to engage you in an activity more often associated with prom nights, small losable keys, and annoying younger brothers—that’s right, keeping a diary. Whether it’s called a journal, a notebook, a workbook or the alluded to diary, it’s all the same. Any martial artist can benefit from this, but for advanced martial artists […]

Jul
17
2019

Q&A: The Yoke Punch in Tan Tui: North and South

Q: I’d like to ask why is there a different alignment of the arms with the Yoke punch as demonstrated in the Tan Tui 12 Road and the 10 Road forms respectfully? In the 10 Road video Sifu gives specific details about the arm alignment (90° in one instance and 135°? In another instance… depending […]

Jul
6
2019

The Evolution of Forms Practice

A form is a traditional set of significant actions where you can shine brilliantly in impeccable performance, or balk so that nothing moves. Forms are what you work to perfect, aware that form is not perfectible; aware that there are countless wrong turns possible; aware that the forms themselves improve you, even if you are […]

May
10
2019

Anatomy of the True Teacher

My first taiji instructor, Lin Shih-Kuang, told me a story about a tragedy in his family. His father, involved in the government of Taiwan, suddenly fell from favor-in a hard way. Soon after this, Shih-Kuang had a birthday party. The usual friends and family were invited. Not one of them showed up—no adults, no children. […]

May
1
2019

INB: Instructor’s Notebook—A “Perfect” Lesson

Layers of Teaching Martial arts hands us examples of the close relationship between what we teach and the way we teach it. As a sifu, I have experimented with many approaches. Years ago, when I opened my martial arts studio, I tried to orchestrate topics as best I could. Each class was planned like a […]

Jan
19
2019

Speed and…uh…Timing

I tell my students over and over to “go fast, but don’t hurry.” In the martial world, too early can be as bad as too late. After all, how long do you want to wait for the plane to land? On the other hand, who wants it to arrive maddeningly early? Timing is a necessity. […]

Dec
23
2018

Personal Practice

What is a practice? What can it do? Practice is not just a workout. It is a recognition of engagement at that moment. It records, immediately, every nuance expressed in your story, laying those tiles piece by piece. Often, workouts sidestep the mind and can barely be remembered by dinnertime. From practice we recall the […]

Dec
14
2018

How Legends Grow

After 5000 years, an ocean of rumor and a mountain range of myth still proscribe the land of Kung Fu. And the stories that most attach themselves are often related to the origins of weapons. Not every weapon has a backstory and a legend. But the folk stories that accompany weapons—believable or not—range from the […]

Nov
27
2018

The Sophistication of Simplicity

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to work with a group of beginning Tai Chi students. A few hours later, I met with another group of students in my advanced Tai Chi class. Now, relaxing at the dusty end of the day, I realize that what I had taught to these two classes was essentially […]

Nov
24
2018

Q & A: Single Move, Same Way?

Dear Plum, I have been thinking a lot about repeated moves in Tai Chi Chuan sets. In Chen style, for example, Single Whip is done in Eighteen Movements, 7 times in Lao Jia (Old Frame), 7 times in Xin Jia (New Frame), once in Lao Jia 2 (Cannon Fist) and one in Xin Jia 2. […]