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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. […]

Nov
3
2019

Sitting—The New Smoking?

I’m an unabashed fan of old movies, good and bad. The time period between 1930and 1960 holds a particular fascination for me. I enjoy watching the cultural norms as compared to the present day. Men wore wide brimmed hats, married couples slept in separate beds, and cigarette smoking was rampant. Chain-smoking appeared to be the […]

Oct
28
2019

An Interview with Hung Gar’s Sifu Donald Hamby

Here is a wonderful interview conducted by Sifu Pavel Macek, with our friend, Hung Gar Sifu Donald Hamby. Sifu Hamby talks about his roots and the LA Kung Fu scene back when he started in the 1970’s, and some of the qualities and applications of Hung Gar (with a short demo showing usage, at the […]

Oct
17
2019

Drunken Boxing, Chicken Boxing, Duck Boxing, and so on

After our recent article on Drunken Boxing, a friend sent us a Q & A he had synchronistically seen on the subject, from Sifu Mike Sigman. We were not only in agreement with Sifu Sigman, but were also impressed by the way he had handled the question concerning reeling silk in Drunken Boxing, so we […]

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 […]

Sep
16
2019

The Passing of Brian Kennedy

It is with great sadness that we report the sudden death of Brian Kennedy, longtime practitioner and historian of the Chinese Martial Arts. Although we never met Brian or his wife and writing partner Elizabeth Guo, he was a good friend starting from our wayback days at Plum, when he still lived in Taiwan. May […]

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 […]

Sep
2
2019

“Baji” vs. “Taiji”—Only “One” “Dot” Different

Here is a new piece by Adam Hsu. This article contrasts two superstars of Chinese martial arts: TaiJi Quan Chuan and Baji Quan, each of them a brilliant martial art, each based on  some profound principles, each a model for understanding Chinese Wushu. Never disappointing, he examines these two seemingly opposed arts and uncovers similarities […]

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
8
2019

Sifu Hamby’s 4th Gathering: Expertise & Camaraderie, Side by Side

Once again, Sifu Don Hamby has indeed “gathered the masters” in the 4th exhibition of long-studied and highly trained lovers of Chinese martial arts. Watching the skills displayed we are reminded of the power and beauty in this vast art. This well-attended showcase in Monterey Park (Los Angeles), sponsored by the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts […]

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
30
2019

The Faces and Fists of Wong Jack Man

Since posting the sad announcement at the beginning of this year, of Sifu Wong Jack Man’s death, we’ve had the opportunity to speak to and hear from several of his students, each with his own story. For instance we—along with, apparently, many other people—did not know that Wong Sifu practiced the additional styles of Xing […]

May
22
2019

Fun Stuff: Bruce’s Older Kung Fu brother

Secrets of Kung Fu—a popular publication, especially during the Seventies—hosted a huge variety of topics. For this issue, we have a drumming platform, a wooden man, a banner dance, an ancient arms dealer, Bruce Lee’s senior classmate, Ancient Chinese rocketry, a 20 year old exponent of Chou style, Kneeling to a Kung Fu teacher, and […]

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
2
2019

Su Yu Chang’s Passing: April 29, 2019

SU YU-CHANG (1940-2019) Su Yu Chang started his training in martial arts at a early age with the famous Kung Fu style known as “Lost Track.” Master Chang Te-Kuei also introduced him to the art of Praying Mantis. When he was 17, in Taiwan, he continued his studies there with Wei Xiao-Tang and Li Kuen […]

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 […]

Apr
23
2019

Vince Black on Li Zi Ming’s Bagua Zhang

One of our favorite items at Plum is the Pa Kua Chang Journal CD, containing the entire 38-issue run of more than 1,000 pages. The original journal, published by Dan Miller, is a treasure for the martial and Bagua community. In many cases entire issues are devoted to a single topic, and contain interviews with […]