Displaying posts tagged with

“tai chi”

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 […]

Jun
27
2019

4th Annual Gathering of the Masters

Heading down to LA this weekend to attend Sifu Donald Hamby’s 4th Annual Gathering of the Masters, hosted by the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts Federation. For those in the area, we highly recommend stopping by; we attended last year’s event and were pleased and delighted, not only by the great performances, but even more so […]

May
1
2019

INB: Instructor’s Notebook—A “Perfect” Lesson

Layers of Teaching Martial arts hands us examples of the close relationship between what we teach and the way we teach it. As a sifu, I have experimented with many approaches. Years ago, when I opened my martial arts studio, I tried to orchestrate topics as best I could. Each class was planned like a […]

Mar
27
2019

Framed!

What is “frame?” If the answer doesn’t come immediately, don’t worry—this is a concept that confuses a good segment of the martial student body. At first glance, it simply consists of standing a certain way and holding your limbs in an agreed upon configuration. Of course, people assume different shapes—but sometimes what they think of […]

Mar
12
2019

Peasant Master

As promised last week, we are happy to announce the addition of a new biography of Chen style Tai Chi Chuan master Chen Zhenglei. This book has something for everybody interested in the topic of Tai Chi Chuan—this includes the martial artist seeking Tai Chi’s principles; the person interested in Tai chi as a health […]

Mar
3
2019

A Chen Routine by Chen Zheng Lei

Master Chen Zheng Lei was in our area, co-sponsored by our favorite Chinese martial arts magazine, and they generously posted this 5 1/2 minute piece of performance—a beautiful and meaningful demonstration. This comes just in time (almost) for our announcement of a new recommendable biography of Chen that will come in next week to Plum. […]

Jan
19
2019

Speed and…uh…Timing

I tell my students over and over to “go fast, but don’t hurry.” In the martial world, too early can be as bad as too late. After all, how long do you want to wait for the plane to land? On the other hand, who wants it to arrive maddeningly early? Timing is a necessity. […]

Dec
14
2018

How Legends Grow

After 5000 years, an ocean of rumor and a mountain range of myth still proscribe the land of Kung Fu. And the stories that most attach themselves are often related to the origins of weapons. Not every weapon has a backstory and a legend. But the folk stories that accompany weapons—believable or not—range from the […]

Nov
27
2018

The Sophistication of Simplicity

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to work with a group of beginning Tai Chi students. A few hours later, I met with another group of students in my advanced Tai Chi class. Now, relaxing at the dusty end of the day, I realize that what I had taught to these two classes was essentially […]

Oct
24
2018

The Lightest Touch, the Heaviest Load

Kung Fu hides many of its secrets in terms of opposite qualities such as fast/slow, open/close, light and heavy. But don’t let the words obscure the story. The names are significant, but it’s their entwined relationship that holds the real stash. Take heavy and light. In the martial arts community, especially the Chinese branch, there […]

Oct
21
2018

Bak Sil Lum Sash Event

Today there are nine new Black sashes in the martial art of Bak Sil Lum (Northern Shaolin) style. At an event hosted by Sifu Scott Jensen a contingent of his senior students were awarded black sashes, a solid rank requiring years of training. Each candidate demonstrated skills, starting with a set from the empty-handed division […]

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
20
2018

Tai Chi’s Long Bow

Addressing its reputed character, we get the impression that every earnest instructor tries a different approach to proclaim Tai Chi as a martial art. Considering those instructors who do try and make the point feasible, the spectrum of possible arguments is endless. For instance, one common example has the instructor picking a bystander on whom […]

May
13
2018

Coming Events

Plum will be travelling in May and June to a couple of kung fu tournaments: 10th Annual Tiger Claw Elite Kung Fu Magazine Championship, May 19-20, 2018, San Jose, California This year’s 2 day event will feature a NEW EXTERNAL DIVISION dedicated exclusively to Songshan Shaolin — the Kung Fu directly from Shaolin Temple alongside […]

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
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, […]

Dec
22
2017

Come To The Party

Right before the end of the year, we welcome back a few old friends, Chinese Kung Fu books that are always welcome at Plum. We’ve got a lot of new material coming, too, in the next little while, so keep an eye on this spot. (Click each book to get more info, and to purchase). […]

Dec
18
2017

Allen Ginsberg on Tai Chi

In my kitchen in New York by Allen Ginsberg (for Bataan Faigao)       Bend knees, shift weight Picasso’s blue deathhead self portrait tacked on refrigerator door This is the only space in the apartment big enough to do t’ai chi Straighten right foot & rise–I wonder if I should have set aside that […]

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 […]