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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 […]

Jan
19
2020

Second Look: Wisdom of the Taiji Masters

Our renewed look at Nigel Sutton’s “Wisdom of the Taiji Masters,” was inevitable. Like a good British murder mystery, there is more to the search and intuition than to the closet full of clues. Despite the wealth of time spent by professor Cheng’s and other Tai Chi students on the secrets and questions posed by […]

Jan
9
2020

Book Review: Adam Hsu’s “Life Is Too Short For Bad Kung Fu”

Traditional Chinese Kung Fu is dying. When it dies it won’t be a homicide but a suicide. Shifus are peddling tricks to kids. Shifus that are preserving Kung Fu can’t find students to undergo the hardship of practice. Students that are willing to undergo the traditional training can’t find a Shifu to train them. Kung […]

Jan
5
2020

Year of the Metal Rat–Jan. 25, 2020 to Feb. 11, 2021

Once again, we delight in posting Narrye Caldwell’s column on the upcoming year, seen through the perspective of Chinese Astrology. Narrye is a longtime practitioner and teacher of Tai Chi, as well as her other pursuits, and has published two books with Plum, “Blossoms in the Spring: A Perfect Method of Qigong” (co-authored with Ted […]

Dec
27
2019

Everything Old Is New Again

“A guy who can stand for two hours is a guy you don’t want to fight.” -Sifu Ted Mancuso Traditional Tai Chi training, back in the day, was markedly different from what is practiced today.  There was considerable emphasis on stance training. Before students were taught a form, they spent countless hours perfecting/holding postures.  It […]

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. […]

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 proper […]