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Jul
2
2020

Chang Gong

Whether you are the ancient hermit of the Dark Forest or a week-in week-out practitioner, martial training always rewards perseverance with increased skills you have gathered and accumulated like rain. Skills like these come mostly from just hanging in there and that’s the reason they stay in the shadows, unnoticed. The results of CHANG GONG, […]

Jun
6
2020

Stretching For The Art

 You’ve finished your workout and the idea comes to you: why not stretch a little? It can only help, right? But immediately your brain floods with questions: How important is it to stretch? If I have just worked out, is stretching necessary? Which is the best for me and, even more importantly, which should I […]

May
26
2020

Adam Hsu on Chen Style Taijiquan

It is no secret that we at Plum greatly admire Adam Hsu (Hsu Ji) and his teachings. We have published some of his books and DVDs, excerpted and reprinted articles, and referenced his many principles and theories. He is also our teacher. Although many have read his works and seen his videos, it’s not exactly […]

May
22
2020

Sanshou: Partner Practice in the Age of Quarantine

Why is partner practice so different from solo practice? In my daily Taijiquan practice in a time of sheltering-in-place, the answer of course is quite obvious. As a martial artist, I find I am missing the feedback I feel, the energy from a partner’s response, and our discussion as we explore via push hands, partner […]

May
20
2020

Practiced Intent

Internal martial practice is an important step to deepening and improving your kung fu. In this video, Sifu Ted Mancuso demonstrates and teaches a short exercise learned decades earlier from Sifu Wing Lam, for developing and incorporating intent into movement. Following the instruction is an interview with Ted, where he further elbaorates on these concepts. […]

May
17
2020

Telescoping

This guy has a huge jaw! A damned big jaw. By far, the largest jaw I’ve ever seen. At least, that’s what twirling around my brain as I face my sparring partner. Of course, the truth is that his jaw—in real life—is just average size; but in my imagination, his jaw has an appetite of […]

May
9
2020

Xingyi Sheltering

Practicing in isolation due to Shelter in Place orders has me reflecting on the time-honored tales of incarcerated Kung Fu masters. There is a story of when Xingyi Grandmaster Guo Yunshen (1829–1898 郭雲深) was imprisoned for accidentally killing an opponent in a duel. By some accounts, he was shackled in handcuffs and leg irons, limiting […]

May
7
2020

Reflections of a Changeling

We wanted to share this thoughtful article written by one of our longtime students for our studio in Santa Cruz, California. As I sit in reflection over the last two months I am impressed by the power exchanged through change and adaptation. Surfing during this time has also informed my impressions on these subjects. Many […]

May
5
2020

Staying on the Path During Quarantine

During the great Coronavirus Lockdown of 2020 through which we are all now living, we find ourselves reluctantly gifted with a different perception of time. Amid the constant anxiety and uncertainty over employment, insurance, imminent death and the dreaded disruption of the supply chain, a certain opportunity may at least be found in chaos (though […]

Apr
28
2020

Why I Like Bagua

Everything is spinning crazily. The fact that facts are scarce does not prevent them from flying at us, relentlessly.  We spend our hours looping and diving, just to keep upright. In times like this, Bagua sounds just about right. It is no wonder that people recognize that Bagua is the truth-speaker of a relatively untruthful […]

Apr
24
2020

Kung Fu Training: You Always Hurt The One You Love

Over my years of teaching martial arts, I’ve had quite a good time explaining some of the more obscure switches of Kung Fu’s winding pathway: the splits, front and side; gyrating and rolling children, long past their bedtimes; and the fine art of setting things on small altar stacks, then crushing them. And that is […]

Apr
23
2020

Shaolin Sheltering: Weird Weapons

Among the first commandments for stifling COVID-19 is ‘do not touch your face’. This was extremely difficult for me. Spring is allergy season. It makes me cough and sneeze, and the last thing I want to be right now is a coughing sneezing Asian. What’s more, my nose is always itchy. To keep from scratching, […]

Apr
21
2020

The Simple Art of Breathing

This simple method of breathing works well for people practicing Chinese martial arts, Chinese medicine, meditation and what is commonly referred to as Qigong (Chi Kung). We call it simple, but it is also profound; as it relates the physical act of inhalation and exhalation with the mind’s intent, keeping a special focus on a […]

Apr
11
2020

Copper Whiskers

    This is an article about one of the great weapons, a weapon that has been employed in real combat but which is also considered an instrument of beauty and style. People react variously to a two-edged straight sword; some see its performance as art. This is rare. Traditionally, scholars wore a straight sword […]

Apr
10
2020

Shaolin Sheltering

Master Ted Mancuso, the proprietor of Plum Publications and founder of the Academy of Martial and Internal Arts, is my elder Kung Fu brother, or my Sihing (師兄) in Cantonese. We both trained in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu (Bak Sil Lum 北少林) under Grandmaster Kwong Wing Lam and our friendship spans nearly four decades now. […]

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 […]

Mar
10
2020

Lost in Translation: The Hidden Gems of Kung-Fu

 In speaking with another shifu a few weeks ago, he brought up something that I took notice of quite some time ago, something that has always stood out to me, something that I have always made it a point to rally against in my Kung-Fu training and teaching. He spoke of today’s state of affairs […]

Feb
26
2020

Pakua Journal: Vince Black on Li Zi Ming

One of the richest resources we represent on Plum is the CD compilation of Dan Miller’s Pakua Journal. This CD contains ALL 38 issues (over 1000 pages) of this extraordinary magazine that ran from 1990 to 1997. CLICK HERE for a complete article from Volume 5, written by Vince Black, on the remarkable Li Zi […]

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 […]