Displaying posts tagged with

“kung fu training”


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 […]


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 […]


Teach Your Students Well

As we previously mentioned, we are working on the production of Sifu Adam Hsu’s newest book in English—we hope to have it out by mid-year. Since Hsu Shifu is in Taipei and we are in California, a lot of our communication over the fine details happens through email, so we were particularly happy to get […]


Play Ball! No, Really, It’s Good for Your Martial Practice

If I’ve learned anything in my martial career it is that knowledge never walks in a straight line; while wandering through a labryinth, things like to leap out from behind the next hedge. We just acquired a new text, Ball Playing for Health, Illustrated (Nongwan Chienshen Tushu), a partial inspiration for Caylor Adkins text on […]


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


The Hidden Power of Kung Fu Slapping

Can you explain the reason some styles like Tong Bei Quan and Kenpo use so much slapping? A fellow martial artist recently asked me about this. Little did he know was that I used to lecture obsessively on this subject to black belts and teachers. Even now, I still incorporate some of this technique in […]


Tong Bei, Loose and Powerful

Here is a pretty advanced Kung Fu puzzle: along with Bagua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan and Taijiquan, what do all of the following styles have in common:  Liu He Ba Fa (Six Harmonies, Eight Methods,) Mi Zong (Lost Track,) BaFa Quan (Eight Methods,) Liu He Quan (Six Harmonies Boxing) and Tong Bei Quan (Through the […]


The Back Parking Lot

Some classes are so silent you can’t tell. Everyone is concentrating, their legs are quivering, every move is blindingly fast. A hard hour of practice creates a glow but often it also hushes the voices. You teach advanced stuff in an atmosphere of intense reflection. Listen, then move, then try again. The mirrors are steamed […]


Anticipation Traps

Anticipation can be a good thing, especially around times like Christmas. It can also be a scary state of affairs when you are anticipating the unpleasant. Anticipation is found in the house of timing. It is one of the rooms there, one that bears inspection. In the martial arts, you want to control two centers […]


Stand Up, Hollow and Round. Now try to fight.

There are rules and there are rules. When practicing the martial arts, people often find the rules and principles easy to understand and next to impossible to manifest. In some senses these are no harder than the basics we learned in kindergarten: put things back where you found them, don’t steal the other kid’s lunch […]


Kung Fu’s Back and Forth Problem

There are two kinds of people, as Robert Benchley wrote, “Those who divide everyone into two kinds of people and those who don’t.” When we are talking about Kung Fu styles—good ones only, please—we often encounter another two-way path. Before I even go into this, let me tell you that this causes a lot of […]


One Note Symphony

As the story goes some fans were issued into Itzak Perlman’s house. A secretary told them that it would be just a little while, “The master is practicing, you know.” Even though they knew that a professional practices diligently, they could not help speculating and then imagining what someone of Perlman’s skill level might find […]


“Why do Native Americans like to eat horse’s hooves?”

The answer to this riddle, as the Chumash spiritual leader once told me, is  “Because we get a kick out of them.” I have met some gifted kickers in my martial career. I’ve also become convinced that being a great kicker does not require superb limberness, high flying leg attacks and acrobatic flips. Of course, […]


Which is Your Better Hand?

Quick Question: What Do You Think? The indomitable Joe Lewis was once asked about the best hand to lead with. The questioner identified ‘leading with the right’ as a kung fu trait, compared to the Western boxing idea of keeping the right hand back. Lewis always had a different take: side-stepping the issue he replied […]


The Rubber Band Lesson

Tai Chi’s slow-motion movement and focused concentration seem to lull students into a state of receptivity. Even difficult Kung Fu concepts may slip more easily into consciousness with a little push from Tai Chi Mind…


Training: Arms like Banners

This may sound like I am a candidate for the Wrong Way Corrigan Award but I sort of like that about Kung Fu practice. It reinforces that very true statement that the direct route is always nice, if you can get it. But there is no guarantee.