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Oct
10
2017

A Final Contribution: Joanna Zorya’s Martial Power

We are gratified to announce a new Joanna Zorya DVD, Martial Power. Before Joanna’s untimely death several years ago, she told us of several unfinished projects that she was working on. Sadly, she did not have time to finish them all, such as the anticipated second volume to the Xing Yi series. But her friend […]

Oct
4
2017

The Fierce Eye: Focusing on Martial Focus

I think this is true everywhere: there’s always someone giving advice, or rules of thumb that drift downward from earlier days and, lo and behold, these become watchwords of inherited intelligence. Verifiability is not even an issue because these ingrained insights constitute that thin yellow line between truth and—certainly not evil, but at least—superstition. In […]

Sep
16
2017

Why Relaxation is Not Easy

The problem posed in the title is a constant concern in all CMA (Chinese Martial Arts) training. Of course, one immediate answer recognizes that relaxation and exercise are just plain difficult to coordinate. This is especially true when you add thinking to the mix. But the true approach, like all martial training, is both more […]

Aug
29
2017

3 Southern Styles

Southern Kung Fu styles are under-represented in martial literature, as almost any Southern practitioner can tell you. So we make a special effort at Plum to seek out the best material we can offer.   Which is why an announcement of two new products and a long-waited restock is a bit of a celebration: A […]

Aug
27
2017

Mei Flower Boxing

Here’s a reprint of a popular article on Mei Hua Quan I wrote for Kung Fu Wushu magazine.  The Mei flower is a delicate thing. The slightest breeze stirs its petals. Against the hardness of bark its softness shines like spots of moonlight. Its delicacy is a dab of beauty in the world. But sometimes […]

Aug
20
2017

Instructor’s Notebook: Revelations

Sometimes, words that once held deeper meanings are now expressed in shallow terms. It’s just “aaawesssomme.” For instance, when people use the word, “revelation” they are probably pumping up some slight thing, like office gossip, or promoting the discovery of the correct word in a crossword puzzle. But the core meaning of revelation has more […]

Aug
15
2017

A Martial Stance

Plumpub is a site for traditional Chinese martial arts practitioners, and in this guise it is “not political.” We assume that our customers and readers come from all positions on the political spectrum and are, thankfully, brought together in community by a shared love for the art. To pointedly decry white supremacism, naziism, and other […]

Aug
9
2017

The Taiji Ruler System

Every once in a while, we at Plum discover, to our embarrassment, that an article that appeared in our old weblog somehow managed to escape the transition to WordPress. This one by Rich Mooney is a classic, not to mention a generous and concise discussion of the Taiji Ruler in practice. We (re)represent it below. […]

Aug
4
2017

Muslim Kung Fu: The Fist of the Bodyguards

Comment: Of the over 700 articles and opinion pieces on the martial arts I’ve published, this one on Muslim Kung Fu has probably gotten the most reactions. Letters and question from all over the world have flooded in. There is a lot of interest there in Jiao Men, Islamic martial arts. Here is the first […]

Jul
21
2017

Who Are You?

A foundational idea of western culture, a platform for all our perfections and trials, is the Psychological Self (PS). It is constructed of qualities supposedly as solid as building blocks. It is the motivating force behind much of our fiction and all of our worries. Many of us have been conditioned to see the PS […]

Jul
7
2017

A Poem About Yue Fei, Martial Genius

One of China’s greatest culture heroes and intimately linked to Chinese Martial Arts (Guo Shu), Yue Fei was betrayed even as he rescued the empire. 岳鄂王墓 赵孟頫 鄂王坟上草离离, 秋日荒凉石兽危. 南渡君臣轻社稷 中原父老望旌旗. 英雄已死嗟何及, 天下中分遂不支. 莫向西湖歌此曲, 水光山色不胜悲.   The Tomb of Yue Fei by Zhao Meng Fu On Yue’s tomb the grass grows luxuriant, The autumn sun […]

Jun
28
2017

The Cane, Practical Self Defense

Our Shaolin Cane DVD has engendered more questions and reactions than almost any other DVD we developed. This article focuses on those questions, partially in the hope that this weapon—which some people  actually rely on for self defense—grows in popularity and improves in technique. Let’s first recognize the diversity of the instrument. It’s more than […]

Jun
18
2017

Structure and You

Martial arts comes from a long period in human history when the closest correlate to scientific thinking was pattern identification. This was a time made wondrous with the rules of magic, codes and ciphers, ritual and ceremony. For example, I think this act of pattern recognition is much more significant when talking about the animalistic […]

Jun
14
2017

Daniel Mroz on Tao Lu: Formal Movements from the Martial Arts

 Here is something wonderful. Daniel Mroz, an associate professor in the Theater Department of the University of Ottawa and also a longtime friend, correspondent and Plum customer presented a lecture at last year’s Martial Arts Studies Conference in Wales. The subject of his engaging talk is Tao Lu, the martial art routine we call set […]

Jun
9
2017

Wubeizhi Koujue Translation

For those scholars out there, working with and admiring the General Tian’s Wubeizhi that we introduced just at the end of last year, we got this exciting email today from the co-author, David Nisan. He writes: I send today a short discussion on the General Tian Wubeizhi’s illustrated section and a partial translation of the […]

May
31
2017

Mina at the Kung Fu Tournament

The noise in the Kung Fu tournament hall never lets up. The waves of brass and drumming rolled along the ceiling fabric only to crash against an opposing wave of raucous sound from the opposite direction. To me, it vibrated like someone in leather and beard revving a Harley directly between my ears, but I […]

May
25
2017

Plum Attends Its First Tournament

Well, we had a great weekend at the first tournament/demonstration we’ve attended in years (and our FIRST as PLUM representatives). Friday started with a nice spread in the patio of the gorgeous and refurbished California Theater in downtown San Jose. The place was a-buzz with so many well-known teachers, such as Lily Lau, David Chin, […]

May
16
2017

Appreciation: Double Swords, Flying Blades

There is at least one weapon in Kung Fu practice that is generally taught only to women. In fact, I have never—that I recall—taught this to a male practitioner. Leaving aside the irony of a male teaching a “female only” weapon (I’ll discuss how THAT works at the end of this article), I think it […]

May
5
2017

Meditation’s Secret Treasure

Meditation’s Secret Treasure, by Steve Strasnick, is the story of someone who was not already indoctrinated with mystical assumptions, who did not bring a cosmology (at least, not a religious one) to the table. Yet, he found himself  “Awakening to the Mystical World,” despite his feeling about himself that he was not “inclined” in that manner. […]

Apr
8
2017

Who is Your Audience? Martial Consciousness

Martial arts can be a mirror. Like Alice, I stick my hands out and they sink into the loking glass.  The nature of martial arts encourages looking inward, staring outward and trying, somehow, to get audience and self-perception to agree. It’s important to know just who and what you are looking for. It’s important to […]