Displaying posts filed under

Training

Sep
9
2018

Speed: Unpunch & Unkick

The following simple techniques will drastically improve your martial speed. My confidence in this teaching tip stems from the fact I have used it so many times and it always delivers.  It is based on a key concept in what people call “reptile response,” or conditioned reflex; in other words, actions that are hard-wired to […]

Aug
28
2018

Listening to the Wind: On Internal Practice

About a week ago I asked my Tai Chi class if they ever get bored doing the form. They unanimously answered “No,” their explanation being that the form always provides new material to concentrate on, things to master. This suggests that the act of repetition can be either boring or freeing, and leads me to […]

Jul
7
2018

Principle-Driven Skill Development

A book like Principle-Driven Skill Development was inevitable. The western attraction to de-construction can be highly functional and, as demonstrated here, is particularly applicable to martial principles. In this book, teacher Russ Smith not only presents solid information but dissects years of experience to show the foundational principles of martial studies. He really thinks about […]

Jun
18
2018

Triple Irony

Martial artists always have something to do. In my case I have been reconstructing and improving my weapons skills—at least, I hope so considering the practice put in. It can be a slow process. It’s tough enough to fight through the quirks of each weapon. You also have to overcome the tendency for former ghostly […]

Apr
5
2018

Four Things Hard to Believe

At the start of your training, if you’d asked: “What do I need to be a good martial artist?” you might have gotten a list which included strength, endurance, patience, humility, Ben-Gay, and a good pair of shoes. What would probably have been missing is the word “faith.” But anyone who’s done any kind of long-term […]

Mar
27
2018

Tutorial: Tai Chi Tips, Stepping

If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes at Plum, you know how highly we prize basics as the foundation of good movement. ‘Stepping’ in Tai Chi, is one of those fundamentals that you might learn on the first day of class, and which you might be refining well into your advanced practice. We prepared a […]

Jan
15
2018

Being Off Balance, For All It’s Worth

When you lose your balance, you can also lose orientation. When you don’t know which direction to turn, can’t determine the ceiling from floor, feel as though your are on a mile-long fall, you are disoriented. We are told, from the earliest lessons, to keep our balance and preserve our orientation. We do forms that […]

Jan
7
2018

Gary Shapiro: Looking Back

In the past, I’ve written some articles for Plum detailing my Tai Chi adventures on cruise vacations. After nearly 40 years of work as a physical therapist, I decided that it was the right time to take a permanent vacation. On Aug 4, 2017, I made my last patient visit, went to the “big” office, […]

Nov
29
2017

The Teacher’s Teacher

Last Sunday, I got a double-treat: my teacher, Adam Hsu, is in town for a couple of weeks and I had the opportunity to not only see and spend time with him, but to make his Long Fist Kung Fu class available to my own students, most of whom had never met him. Of course, […]

Nov
27
2017

Caylor Adkin’s Iron Ball, Wooden Staff, Empty Hands Training

Caylor Adkins is a well-known instructor, recognized even outside his art of Shotokan. His contribution, “Iron Ball, Wooden Staff, Empty Hands: Understanding Structure, Flow and Maneuver is Martial Arts,” is a well laid-out book of methods utilizing these traditionally used kung fu training aides. More and more we see cross-training and instrument exercise as important […]

Nov
20
2017

Evolution of Wing Chun Kicking Techniques

Happy to announce the arrival of an important new text in the Wing Chun canon: The Evolution of Wing Chun Kung Fu Kicking Techniques.  Osmond Lam’s beautiful book not only shows us some of the principles behind Wing Chun’s special and only sporadically known kicking methods, but adds a good portion of background technique on […]

Nov
15
2017

10,000 Times Answers All

The Real Meaning of 10,000 Repetitions and What You Can Do While You Are Doing Them and Whether or Not You Need to Do 10,000 repetitions Before You Are An Expert. This is a piece about the old saying that it takes 10,000 repetitions to really master anything and the huge number of people who […]

Oct
31
2017

George Xu: Pioneer

Normally we reserve these weblog spots for a quick teaser, and designate the product pages for fuller reviews. However, since the works of George Xu often attract our special attention, we thought that this time, with his new DVD on Reeling Silk Energy, we would post our more in-depth interview along with our usual product […]

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
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 […]

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 […]

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 […]