Displaying posts tagged with

“martial arts”

Jun
14
2017

Daniel Mroz on Tao Lu: Formal Movements from the Martial Arts

 Here is something wonderful. Daniel Mroz, an associate professor in the Theater Department of the University of Ottawa and also a longtime friend, correspondent and Plum customer presented a lecture at last year’s Martial Arts Studies Conference in Wales. The subject of his engaging talk is Tao Lu, the martial art routine we call set […]

Apr
8
2017

Who is Your Audience? Martial Consciousness

Martial arts can be a mirror. Like Alice, I stick my hands out and they sink into the loking glass.  The nature of martial arts encourages looking inward, staring outward and trying, somehow, to get audience and self-perception to agree. It’s important to know just who and what you are looking for. It’s important to […]

Jan
9
2017

Stillness & Movement: Part Two

Thinking About Movement Learning movement—and therefore footwork—is a progression through four modes of stepping. First, when the beginner has just walked in off the street and you ask him to punch,  he will shoot arm first, before stepping. Envision tense shoulders, chest out and arm fully extended as he steps/falls awkwardly. Here’s the first, or […]

Aug
5
2016

Managing Forms

You’ve been practicing awhile. You are no longer a novice. Your belt or sash no longer wears stiffly as though it were just a larger version of a bow tie. You now have “rank” whether or not it is formally recognized in your style. You have accumulated some formal training, too. You may have collected […]

Mar
18
2016

Reprint: Stillness in the Martial Arts

Here is a piece I wrote for the now defunct Journal of Asian Martial Arts. A number of people have asked about the “myth” at the front of the piece. I believe it hints at the dialog between stillness and movement that can—and must— be found at the heart of martial practice. If nothing else, […]

Mar
6
2016

Another Modest Proposal

Through my entire martial career I have been listening to everyone’s questions and problems with traditional forms. For most people, it all centers on practicality. For some people, the answer lies in detailed analysis of the forms and what self defense and fighting treasures are hidden therein. For still others, it’s a lost cause and […]

Nov
7
2015

Deep Practices

Learning Kung Fu can be a unique experience or, if you are not paying attention, it can be just another subject with the same tired educational template thrown over it. By a “unique experience” I do not mean the kind advertised on vacation posters. I mean an experience that shoots through your veins and hovers […]

Jul
27
2015

The Water Styles

The class is warming up, you can hear the uniforms snapping, the floor jumping; but you are in the office with a potential student. He called your studio, set up an appointment. Now he sits across from you hoping you will answer his burning question: which style should he start with? I sit back, think […]

May
5
2015

Adam Hsu Article: Black Tiger Steals the Heart

A Straight Talk about the Straight Punch: Technique, Principles & Usage You may not have realized it (how could you?) but PLUM has a brother we never told you about. This new addition is a site devoted to the works and writings of Adam Hsu. We have been feeding this site with much of PLUM’s […]

May
30
2014

Finding Freedom Everywhere

A good question to ask once in a while, knowing that the answer may be different this week from last week, is “What makes me feel free?” This varies a lot from person to person. It also varies a lot, if you stick with the martial arts for a long time, with your personal evolution […]

Sep
8
2013

Keys to Kung Fu

…if you teach long enough, you realize that special hints walk right through the studio every day, and many of them even leave muddy tracks.

Jul
23
2013

Spirit Training

We can mystify the whole question and explain esoteric practices in sophisticated terms but it is the simplest spirituality that is also most intriguing…

Jun
19
2013

Information vs. Knowledge

The Chinese doctor of old was trained on a very different mode than we use in current medicine…

May
22
2013

Retreat

There are times when the only way to advance is to back up…

Jan
14
2013

The Other Side of the Martial Story

There is another side of martial practice, a very good and important side, which might be called the “Yin” portion.

Jan
6
2013

Terrible Terrain

“Under everything is the land” may sound like the slogan of a professional real estate organization but it is also the truth of martial practice. Thousands 0f years ago it was pointed out by one of the first major military writers, Sun Zi: “The natural formation of the country is the soldier’s best ally…”

Dec
25
2012

Martial Arts: How Good Can You Get?

Of course children rarely wonder. When you are nine just about anything is possible…

Dec
18
2012

The Real Power of Martial Arts

There are many histories to the world, different from the “official” story. One history might be written about non-scientists who have made major breakthroughs. Another might be about the importance of popular media and its effect on the dreams and ambitions of people. Martial arts also has a history much larger and more influential than […]

Nov
25
2012

Martial Arts … and Crafts

For thousands of years the Chinese character has celebrated those arts known as martial. Hundreds of thousands have studied it, written martial novels, performed martial routines in opera, sung brave songs dealing with bandits and heroes, wrote drunken poems about the joys of swordplay, painted contests in open matches and dreamt heroic dreams. A combination […]

Oct
12
2012

Why My Knees Still Work

I am superstitious; I have two records which I assume will instantly break (literally) once I mention them…