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May
13
2022

The Role of Continuous Movement in Yang Style T’ai Chi Chuan

~Reprinted from T’ai Chi Magazine Millennial Issue, February 2000 At one time T’ai Chi was known as River Boxing (He Quan). The reason is obvious, even to the non-player. T’ai Chi’s smooth, continuous flowing motions move along like a gentle mountain stream turning and tumbling occasionally but never halting its fluid progress. And to make […]

May
7
2022

Sifu Jack Yan Teaches Mandarin (Plus a Whole Lot More)

Sometimes, here at Plum, we circle back and take a second look at a book or DVD we rediscover in our own catalogue. Adding almost 4000 items over the years has, hopefully, matured our tastes and understandings, and we often find nuance and new meaning among the treasures. But today, it is not a stack […]

Mar
20
2022

Why Practice the Tai Chi Sword?

If you are learning the art of TC sword, or even just want to appreciate the style, you have picked one of the great martial arts weapons. This double-bladed instrument — whether wooden practice or combat steel — is unlike any other in the Tai Chi arsenal. It encourages direct concentration aligned with movement — […]

Mar
5
2022

Spinning Bagua

When we think of Kung Fu and its long history, we tend to think of its venerable age, lineage, and established methods. But everything in Kung Fu was new once — VERY NEW — and innovative. Responding to environment, population and, most influentially, technology, these impulses sparked revolutionary changes, as well as temporary (and sometimes, […]

Jan
28
2022

All of a Sudden: A Brief Lesson on Speed

Initial Speed is an endless topic. It is a transformation of a moment. Initial Speed leaves your opponent still reacting to what is past. There are endless ways to acquire Initial Speed by eliminating the useless. Initial Speed is a marriage of the extremes. External keypoints may include posture, an alignment of the structure, the […]

Jan
1
2022

QA: The Benefit of Reeling Silk in Bagua

A little while back, we published a short video tutorial on Reeling Silk exercise in Bagua Zhang. We just received a nice comment on it from Lyn, plus a couple of questions… Q: Very interesting little video. The informal style of it made it easy to watch–& a disappointment when it ended! I always tend […]

Jan
1
2022

Happy New Year!

Sep
5
2021

Two Great Wrestlers

It’s been 5 years since our beloved cat, Carthage, died. She was 19. It took a while for the time to be right, but we are happy to announce the new wrestling team of Uxmal (whitish) and Notte (blackish) to Plum. These sisters spend endless hours tussling, rolling, pinning down, chasing, attacking (brooms, mostly), defending […]

Jul
24
2021

Paul Koh Interview Part 3: Present and Future Approaches to Kung Fu

This is the third in a four-part interview with Sifu Paul Koh, who has just released a series of beautifully designed books on traditional forms.  Sifu Koh was gracious enough to grant Plum an interview, which turned out to exceed our expectations in terms of length and depth. Since the interview is lengthy, we decided […]

Jul
7
2021

Paul Koh Interview Part 2: On Masters and More

This is Part 2 of a 4 part interview with Sifu Paul Koh, who has recently published a series of beautifully designed books on traditional forms. Although we know Sifu Koh to be a thoughtful teacher and good writer, we were delighted by the unexpected depth and breadth he applied when addressing our questions. Since […]

Jun
27
2021

Interview with ‘Fu Jow Pai’ Sifu Paul Koh, Pt. 1

When we learned that Sifu Paul Koh was setting off on a new publishing venture, to bring out a series of beautifully designed books on traditional forms, we asked if we might interview him, to expose a few more of our Plum followers to his Tiger Claw system. Although we know Sifu Koh to be […]

May
8
2021

A Brief Lesson on Reeling Silk Energy in Bagua Zhang

In this short response to a video sent to us by Steven, a Bagua student, Ted Mancuso briefly describes one of the most—if not THE MOST—important elements of Bagua Zhang: reeling silk energy, or Chan Ssu Jin. Reeling silk energy is in the DNA of all of the traditional Chinese martial arts, but is particularly […]

Apr
14
2021

Tai Chi Training Secrets: How Do You Practice Martially, When You Are By Yourself?

A recent letter from one of our favorite correspondents, Gary Shapiro, put the question: “We spoke about how practicing taiji with the martial aspects in mind enhances it’s health effects. So— how does that work?  Can one practice “martially” solo? (and how?).” In our newest video, Sifu Ted answers this and offers some training tips […]

Mar
7
2021

From Basics to Mastery: Jibengongs and the Bear Palm Gong in Bagua

As we have mentioned (more than once, I’m thinking), I am working on a new book/dvd project on Bagua Gongs, those special exercises that teach by principle and really infuse your practice with the flavor of your style (in this case, Bagua Zhang). The project keeps growing, and looks like it is veering into one […]

Feb
28
2021

Recommended Seminars

As a longtime teacher, I do not get much opportunity to actually be a student myself. So I was delighted to be invited to take a seat (well, take a stance) in Ken Cohen’s recent online zoom class on Yiquan. Cohen Shifu is all that one could hope to find in a teacher; everything from […]

Feb
14
2021

Two Paths, One Road

Praying Mantis Fist (TangLang Quan) is a famous style with a distinctive hand position known as a “Hook.” Although I shouldn’t write “a distinctive,” when, actually, this famous style has TWO versions of the key hand style, each to represent the same special hook shape for the hand. The first and most iconic version starts […]

Feb
5
2021

Year of the Metal Ox: Narrye Caldwell’s Annual Outlook

One sure thing: as soon as the calendar page turns from December to January, we start to get inquiries about when people will see Narrye Caldwell’s post for the Chinese (Lunar) New Year. Well, here it is! As always, enjoy.   Year of the Metal Ox—February 12, 2021 Let me start with a true story. […]

Feb
3
2021

Dispelling Some Myths

Sifu Lorne Bernard reminds us to be thorough in our consideration of the Arts,  and to think reasonably. Don’t be duped! Here are 11 great points to set you on your practice. Time to dispel some myths and have some fun! Misinformation and lack of understanding have affected all spheres of human activity since we […]

Jan
1
2021

Sage Advice for Martial Artists

Sifu Lorne Bernard, Director of the Shaolin White Crane Academy in Quebec, shares with us his short article on the importance of keeping a martial journal. We highly recommend Sifu Bernard’s Shaolin White Crane book and DVDs, all available on Plum, and look forward to his new DVD in the series, that should be available […]

Dec
7
2020

A Perspective on Chi

More than 50 years have gone by since I began studying martial arts. In those Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris dark ages, all of us who practice Kung Fu knew of this thing, “Chi” (vital energy). Few of us suspected it would ever become so widely known outside the training halls. Of course, “known” and […]