This is our old weblog which has been superceded by our new weblog with hundreds of free articles, training tips, video tutorials, reviews, and announcements. Browse this at your leisure but know that most of the links are broken. Or, even better, visit our new weblog, KAIMEN, by clicking HERE.
October 27: A few more thoughts on the Wushu
tournament in Toronto and the role of the artist.
Here we are in Toronto, Canada celebrating the Tenth
World Wushu Championships. Our opening night notice.
A few days ago it was Hop Gar and now the Southern fighting style
of Jow Gar.
We see from this the "familial" nature of Southern Boxing.
October 17: We complete the Hung Gar offering (definitely some differences) with the remainder of Lam Yan's VCDs (as well as links to his Wing Chun and previously mentioned Hop Gar).
October 14: We are looking forward this Sunday to our local seminar presentation of the Blossoms in the Spring Qigong for the first time since we published the book ...
October 13: We've been waiting a long time to offer some information on this famous Tibetan style: meet Hop Gar ...
October 13: Many, many more products and changes coming soooo Mother Nature decides to send a big storm to Santa Cruz to threaten our coast. Here's a report from our in-the-trenches reporter...
October 06: A nice little book on Dragon Boxing from Shaolin, with clear pictures, simplified Chinese text, some beautiful postures and a few bonus features ...
October 05: We were happy—and impressed—with the turnout and the strong spirit at our Wu Dang Qigong seminar yesterday. If you want to read about it just visit our companion site.
September 30: Look what we've got for you! Two new DVDs from Randy Williams on Wing Chun Gung Fu Ground Fighting techniques.
(And, yes, just a daily reminder...see more here on our new, soon-to-be unique weblog )
September 25 : It's surprising but there aren't all that many books on Chin Na—at least good ones. Oh and this one had a special discount...
(To see other new products and recent articles check out our new weblog in process of construction...)
September 22 : Like tea? Here's a book on what are known as Chinese Medicinal Teas and here's an accompanying review of this book (on our new weblog) by an herbalist/acupuncturist ...
September 21 : We had a great seminar on the basics of Qigong, which we'll tell you about a little later. Also exciting news in one of our favorite lines of products and the significant price reduction you will want to know about...
September 16 :
You'll be seeing more and more posts here, subtly and not so subtly
suggesting you take a look at some article or posting that is on our
new (developing) worpdress weblog. We are inching things over to that
clean new page replacing this one. Anyway, we have started an 'events'
category over there to call your attention to tournaments, seminars,
etc, and the first entry today is for our very own Qigong
Sunday Seminar Series. This is a pretty great opportunity, if
you are in our area, to learn or practice certain topics in the Qigong
canon. And if you have a seminar or tournament you want others to
know about, send it to us!
September 14 : It may seem like we're not putting much time into the weblog out there but it's the exact opposite. Ted has been busy converting every article we've ever published (and a few that we never got around to publishing) into our new Wordpress version. It will organize everything for you in the information wing of our site and make all the articles by different authors easy to access. In the mean time we have literally been stacking up the goodies. Here's a DVD set on Gao style Bagua usage we've been meaning to offer for, well, a while. Marcus Brinkman and Bagua San Shou Eight Moves.
September 09 : For a number of years now we've published our Instructor's Notebook, receiving many kind words from teachers who found it useful. Now, with our twentieth installment of this sometimes-record, we welcome the voice of another teacher, Russ Smith, discussing the very act of "Becoming a Teacher".
September 07 : We've started some major transitions on Plum as you will become aware of in coming weeks. We still have time, though, to welcome new products such as Tak Wah Eng's new book entitled "New York Zen". And just as a bonus for waiting for us to catch up when you read our REVIEW of this book you'll get the newest two articles by Ted that we haven't posted yet.
August 21: Thanks, we've had many kind responses to our newsletter sent out a couple of days ago. One renovation we hadn't mentioned is that we will have a completely new Weblog soon and you'll be hearing more and more from us—if you can stand it.
Right now we're adding four new Xing Yi additions (one with a very fine "Warrior Saber" form) to one of our least recognized series. These are a series of VCD (video compact disks) but each with both English and Chinese titles and narration. Ounce for ounce these are some of the best buys we have because, though DVDs are higher resolution quality, we suspect most people buy them for the English. Well check out these unique dual language VCDs. We have more in other styles is you find you like them.
August 21: We have another treat for that growing contingent of George Xu fans. This time he teams up with noted Yang Tai Chi teacher Yu Xiao Lin to create a double DVD chock full of exercises, drills, ideas, qigong and more. There's even a partial demonstration of Yu's Yang BanHou form
August 19: Hear that pounding and swearing in the background? That's us building a New Look for Plum with all sorts of features we've been planning for months. In the mean time we are also stacking up all sorts of new items by the door just for when we get a chance to post them. Today's additions are to Jiang JianYe's one man attempt to record hundreds of forms. Spear is the theme to both of these new entries.
August 13: Many years ago I read "Atlas Shrugged" which, politics aside, told the story of talented, frustrated innovators and productive people who essentially went on strike, removing their genius and influence from the world. Do such things happen? From my experience all too often leaving the field often to the less than spectacular. Hitting a little closer to home we might even consider whether there is any truth to the old martial belief in Hidden Masters.
August 11: Much very strong material coming up that would be hard to find anywhere but PLUM: a dynamite short series on Wing Chun ground fighting, a Baji/Pigua DVD that's beautifully done, some wonderful classic reprints and more. But there's also house keeping, such as our glacial attempts to consolidate and focus this monster site. A small step in that direction, we've just grouped all Chinese material on Qigong—traditional and simplified—on a single page.
And for a completely different order of business... we've been tossing around the idea of posting video tutorials on some Kung Fu best practices. These might range from begining to high middle level. Our plan would be to cut a wide range, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Bagua with an emphasis on universal principles. We know a lot of people have expressed interest in studying with Sifu Mancuso and this would be a way to start sharing some information and maybe helping out with all those technical questions we get. (And of course we would welcome presentations by other instructors, too.) Your thoughts?
August 08: Here's another entry in our "Fun Stuff" category, an intriguing blend of the sharp and the shushed, the out of print book that tells it all: Swords of Silence! (By the way if you've never seen, much less submitted an idea to, our Fun Stuff section you really should give it a glance because it lives up to its name.)
August 05: It is a perfect summer day here in Santa Cruz (we are on the coast, which means it is warm with cooling breezes off the ocean) and it has just been made all the more wonderful as our new book, Blossoms in the Spring: A Perfect Method of Qigong, has just arrived. Want to know what makes this book special in the world of Qigong books? Click here to find out and, of course, order your copy...! (Our Feng Shui expert also says this is a good day to start selling this product!)
July 29 : It's nice to see your collectibles go up in price, isn't it? On the other hand there is a limit. Here's a famous collectible little book, H. B Un's book on Praying Mantis, which we have seen as high as $90.00 a copy on Ebay. However, we have found a stock and offer the softback here for ...
July 27 : One of those returning DVDs we thought we might never see again. Here is a 1995 demosntration, Chinese and Japanese sponsored, by students through the lineage of Chen Pan Ling, that famous teacher and historian. Mostly what we have here is a forms exhibition in his memory but it does give a great reference from his original generation of students performing Bagua, Taiji and more. A casual, communal tribute to a famous teacher...
July 22 : Though we try to resist it (we are traditionalists after all) we are adding bells and balls like video and audio to the site as we have the time. Here are a number of new video clips you will no doubt enjoy on Lan Shou, Xing Yi and more...
July 21 : We hereby add two more lectures from our popular George Xu series, one of our fastest expanding sections. Here is a straight lecture by Wang Tang on the development and history of Bagua (translated, of course) and a demonstration lecture by Li Tian Wei on his art of Xing Yi Liu He.
July 16 : If you know anything about Southern Kung Fu you know about Hung Gar and if you know about Hung Gar you know about Lam Sai Wing. We are happy to present four major translations of Lam Sai Wing's work commissioned by well-known Hung Sifu, Donald Hamby. These are in workbook form and cover the famous three sets recorded with legendary illustrations in Chinese and, a rare addition, Lam's Personal Workout Book.
July 10 : Shhh...There are so many secrets in Kung Fu. But who is willing to share them? Click here and find out (but don't tell anyone) ...
July 09 : Eddie Chong, a long time teacher in Northern California, is an expert in Southern style Kung Fu systems like White Eyebrow and Wing Chun including the Pan Nam variety. Here we introduce his line of DVDs with, among other things, a Chi Kung set handed down from Pan Nam himself.
July 07 : Okay, you're right, yesterdays' posting wasn't much of a notice. It's hard to talk about your own work. So Debbie wrote the following: "We've been sitting on our hands here, waiting to officially make the announcement of our newest Plum book...but we've now seen the galleys and can declare, with certainty, that very soon, there will be a new entry in our catalogue: Blossoms in the Spring, A Perfect Method of Qigong. Click here for a little info on the book, and a nice Plum Pre-pub discount, and a chance to hear both authors (Ted Mancuso and Narrye Caldwell) discussing Qigong and the text."
July 06 : Here is our special pre-publication discount on Plum's new book and links to interviews with the co-authors on the why's and wherefore's of Qigong.
July 02 : You keep trying and you get lucky, that's the basic rule. We were really happy to offer such a rare book as Cai Mok style Kung Fu in Chinese, having seen just a few copies over a ten years period. But now were have this short bridge style in English too, complete and almost the exact replicate its Chinese original...Judging from the bridge work, a find form of Southern Boxing.
June 29 : Even though we sell a lot of books on Amazon we're more of the bookshelf and old volume sorts ourselves. People speak of the smell of a new car. We like the odor of old books. We have a lot of books in our library we assume we will never see again. But this third offering in our Tan Tui series, by the grandmaster himself—Ma Yong Shen— was one we had written off. Published almost three quarters of a century ago...
June 25 : The second of our Tan Tui Triumvirate may well be the most interesting. Derived from the famous Han Qing Tan of Taiwan, this Chinese language text contains THREE famous sets...
June 24 : Instructor Joanna Zorya returns to a previous topic in "What is Your Intention" Part 2. With her characteristic honesty and heart, she scrutinizes the whole contemporary idea of what "fighting" really means. You know she is striking a chord because there will be many challenged just by the common sense of this piece. We had planned to write a long introduction about open discussion, re-framing the argument, and bringing a little reality into what is rapidly becoming a fad, but have decided that since Joanna's article already does all this, it might as well speak for itself
June 22 : Even though it is the summer equinox we were loath to let spring disappear this year so we decided to devote this week to Tan Tui often known as the SPRING Leg form. So for those fans (like us) of this form we introduce the first, and newest, of three texts on the world-famous routine...
June 20 : There is an old New Yorker cartoon (and I mean life before my time) where two matronly ladies are chatting at a cocktail party and once says to the other, "Not THE Charles Dickens!" Here's a book by our official "practical fighter", Gao Xiang which claims to reveal techniques from the beloved
Five Ancestors style, but the Wu Dang version, and the Seven Immortals branchs, and, well even we aren't sure if its margarine or ...
June 15 : What did Anne Frank and Leonardo Da Vinci and Bruce Lee have in common? They all kept notebooks. Our newest article explores the role of that valuable paper witness to our progress and foibles.
June 13 : It's fun making decisions for publishing: what kind of paper, glossy or matte cover, and such. And, yes, we're excited about our new Qigong book and will have an announcement for you early next week (with a pre-publication discount).
•And speaking of good stuff here's another entry from the Xu/Matthews camp with a very interesting discussion on that burgeoning style: LiuHe BaFa from one of the top teachers Yun Yin Sen, who not only discusses with George Xu but demonstrates some valuable general principles.
June 09 : The Wing Chun system is logical and extremely clear. It might be said that Southern styles tend to this being modular to a larger degree than Northern Kung Fu. It is no accident that Wing Chun is particularly lucid due to its structure. And here is one of the most detailed examples we've yet seen in Shaun Rawcliffe's new Wooden Dummy text.
June 08 : Many practitioners admit that Taiji Push Hands can be a frustrating experience. Here is a re-framing of that issue in Ted Mancuso's new article, with Push Hands as an illustration.
June 05 : With great sadness we just received this notification of the death of Kung Fu instructor Michael Martello, a well known and respect promoter of the arts. Here's is the message from Jake Burroughs:
June 04 : Invented by a master of sleep, a Taoist sage who, it is said taught the founder of the Sung dynasty, then passed down teetering on extinction for generations, now one of the fastest growing styles: LiuHe BaFa gets better and better as more and more information is known. Here's a pretty unusual book/DVD combo which we've hesitated for months to put up—the first item we've ever said BUYER BEWARE on...
June 02 : We have a new article by instructor Joanna Zorya. As she often does, teacher Zorya combines the functional with the circumspect. What I persoanlly enjoy in pieces like this is the consideration of the moral questions involved. I remember the repeated experience, particularly during my "kenpo years" when I showed some of the rougher moves and students would look almost alarmed. You could see the confusion. When WOULD you use this movement? What would be the provocation? Considerations like these are far more prevalent in martial arts that many would admit. Here is a thoughtful presentation of this and the real considerations of battle...
May 27: One of the most interesting aspects of martial training to those who have studied for a long time is the mental: combining neurological and psychological. Any style without this is just a form of grunting exercise. There are some really intriguing aspects of this art which, we feel, are the reason for such long-term interest for those in the know and a source of complete mystery to others. We here introduce a classic form known as the "Ambush Fist" as just a teaser for a more in-depth forum we hope to expand in the next few weeks, with our next offering in a day or two, an excellent lecture on the concept of "bi-dimensionality" and CMA. The only thing we promise is that no matter how modern of unexpected some of this material seems it will all be from traditional arts.
May 23: When you look at all of the hundreds of forms we have represented on PLUM you might get the wrong idea: namely that forms are "a dime a dozen". But forms represent more than a good find at an estate sale: they are the family heirlooms that also record the histories and relationships of the members. So when you wonder about your specific style, or want to research your genealogy, you may find your lineages reflected among Plum's pages. This was part of our original concept. For instance, in the world of Tai Chi we have some highly respected but relatively rare lines of descent such as Li Shen Duan (from Wu teacher Hao Wei Zheng); a plethora of Sun style inheritors; the Yang stylist Yan Zhen De (from teacher Chu Gui Ting a student of BOTH Yang Chen Fu and Li Cun Yi), and a new survey on Wang Pei Sheng including his first generation students such as Zhang Quan Liang, Li He Sheng, and Zhang Bao Sheng. Who knows, looking through all the old pictures you may find a portriat of your martial grandparents ...
May 19: If you want a quick list of newly stocked or restocked items example, today we just re-stocked about five books on Yang Tai Chi) you can take a quick look at our docket available through the home page. The docket contains new books, dvds, vcds, chinese and english texts and restocked items. A quick way to see what's new or re-newed...
May 13: Shhh, Ted's working outside so I went ahead and posted his new article on ... what he's doing outside ...
May 11: Yesterday was Mothers Day which most people remember as a Hallmark occasion, not a political protest against war, as it once was. Just another reminder for most of us at how easy it is to lose the essence of things. And speaking of essence, we post this extensive survey of great and famous instructors showing the Essence of the Wu Tai Chi style which, to our eyes, might be the fastest growing of Tai Chi practices (Finally! we aren't even Wu practitioners but can see all sorts of benefits for Wu having a stronger presence in the art)...
May 08: Out the door to teach QiGong, but we just added one of the best representations we've ever had of the rare White Eyebrow system which includes it's special Chi Kung (speaking of Chi Kung/QiGong) ...
May 06: We have enough of his material now to give him a page of his own... Here is that well-respected teacher, the man from Ding county, Zhu Bao Zhen with a series of his that includes applicatons, forms and weapons...
May 04: We've had a number of people buy Dennis Rovere's book on the Xing Yi of the Chinese Army based on the work of Chang Hsiang Wu, former chief instructor of military strategy and Xing Yi at Whampoa Central Military Academy. Trouble is when the new edition came out the DVD was not then available. Well for those who wanted the companion disk here it is at a very reasonable price. ....
May 02: We add to our lists of thoughtful essays a favorite book by Aikido master and Buddhist priest, Kensho Furuya: Kodo Ancient Ways. His pithy stories and wonderful anecdotes drill right to the core of the martial experience and, if you don't already know about this book, now's the time. ....
April 28: Ever think about which martial system you would study other than those you've chosen? For me one of the candidates in the Kung Fu world is Eagle Claw. I just find it beautiful, strong and intriguing....
April 25: It's probably a universal character; that fellow sneaking off around the corner and taking a "little nip for his health" ... Actually, though, tonifying wines have long been a fixture on the shelves of Kung Fu schools, right next to those smelly embrocations. Here we have an authentic text from ancient records. Why don't you just mosey over there and see for yourself ...
April 22: Wu Lian Zhi is one of the most famous Baji masters in the world. Here is the first of a series of VCDs which we've been sitting on for months. They are "a cut above" much of what we've seen previously and are particularly interesting because many of them are dedications to one them such as a famous Sifu or a particular branch of martial studies. Here is a celebration of Wu Sifu with a festive demonstration of Baji, Piqua, Xing Yi and much much more...
April 20: Here we have another presentation from Susan A. Matthews. This is a very clear explanation of one of the oldest sets in Qigong: The Eight Pieces of Brocade. We've seen many and more examples of this form and we like Sifu Matthews clear and personal presentation.
April 18: The interactions and origins of martial styles throughout Asia is finally getting some concentrated attention. It's a fascinating subject like a gigantic version of "telephone" in which each speaker modifies the message without even meaning to do so. As far as the origins of Karate, it is obvious that certain styles contributed greatly. One of these is Ngo Cho or Five Ancestors Boxing. Jose Panam, one of the best writers in the field, has released a DVD companion to his book on his art and its shows some fascinating connections in just this study.
April 15: Today we hanker for something less, well, taxing. Martin Boedicker (yes, of Wu Tai Chi fame) has just released a new hardback called the Philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan and we have accordingly stashed it in our newly reorganized (spring cleaning, don't you know) THOUGHTS section...
If you glance at the bottom of this page you will also see the newly reprinted, formerly un-gettable Taoist Yoga book.
April 13: One of the first real bargains we found when we started this site was an incredible range of VCDS (video compact disks) from China on all sorts of Kung Fu styles. Frankly we went mad and soon had over 1000 posted. But in recent months there have been so many DVDs with English subtitles we haven't been able to post a VCD for MONTHS. Now we got stacks of really good ones and, personally, we still enjoy these: their prices is about half that of the DVDs, sometimes there's information you can get nowhere else, and the fact they are in Chinese add, rather than detracts, from the charm. Anyway we re-initiate our reviewing of these gems (which, we might add, are also coming up in quality) with a very nice Push Hands demonstration and instruction of the Yang persuasion...
April 11: Continuing with our VHS close out for the China's Living Treasures series we have added more great tapes but, if you want one, better hurry since we are down to one or two copies each in many cases. ...
AND here's the fourth installment of Lion Books Grappling BaJi Quan series, this time the filmstrip additons of other famous instructors showing their form is greater than ever and adds spice to the instrutional material about BaJi's grappling and throwing applications. Also a new edition of the first of this series in a new format.
April 07: Wow, great news! We stopped everything to post this page of one of our favorite series... for years One Hand Video has been producing information-loaded VHS tapes but they never converted to DVD and people have been waiting a LONG time. We announced earlier that we had a few of their presentations converted to DVD. Now we are offering far more and will be able to offer the whole line as we bring it in. This fine series, filmed years ago, has wonderful information mostly associated with George Xu, Yu Hua Long and other associates. Not only that but this allows us to give a BIG DISCOUNT on the remaining VHS tapes we have in stock. This page tells everything...
April 04: Much happening. An entirely new distributor, a big piece of news on one of the most respected martial instruction film companies, our book on Qigong just about done and the next one already on the boards! Meanwhile, with spring, martial artists will probably be springing around and causing a few bruises. What better than looking in our new Health section and seeing a new book on the art of Tui Na (which we HIGHLY encourage martial practitioners add to their interests, even if peripheral).
March 31: The Kun Wu Jin reprint we just posted is part of a trilogy on the sword which includes Tai Chi Hidden Sect and the justly famous San Cai Jian. This is a HUGE page with many of the fine collector's editions from our associate Lion Books. We are attempting to revise a lot of pages like this so they will come up on your computer faster and cleaner so please bare with us while we complete this project. Thanks!
March 25: Here is a nice collector's edition of one of the all-time favorite sword forms: The Kun Wu Jian. In addition, undissuaded, we have posted another of our in-house video chats . Which reminds us that we mentioned in the weblog the DVDs of Zhu Tian Cai mentioned in our first "Tea Time". Ah well, ...
March 20: LiuHeBaFa just keeps growing in popularity and, as we see a higher grade of practitoner, we understand why. For many years George Xu has helped bring top instructors to the West. Now here is a lesson by Sifu Yun Yin Sen on the art of LiuHeBeFa . (You might also look at our new listening of George Xu's work on our DVD title page.)
March 17: Hey, we all need a little nourishment at times (especially THESE times) so here's a translation from Eva Wong of some ancient Taoist writings on "Nourishing the Essence of Life". Why not?
March 09: Debbie and I had a creative weekend. And one of the best parts was taking time for a little tea which transformed into something new for PLUM... (Tell us what you think and if there are any problems.)
March 04: We knew that in some cases it was just a matter of time, but how much time? One of our most popular VCD series has finally been converted to DVD. What is it? The WuDang series from Lu Shan mountain—without a doubt one of our most successful short series based on the WuDang approach. Wang Ping trains you in Bagua, Tai Chi and Xing Yi.
February 24: The "Mantis King" Won Han Fun seemed to like writing about the Mizong or Lost Track style which we see was the source for many sets folded into the Mantis regimen. Translator Joseph Crandall has competed a new volume which incorporates two of these great weapons sets: Praying Mantis Saber Arts .
February 20: Sifu Rick Wing, the author of Northern Shaolin, returns with a new book on the Three-Sectional Staff. Using the Sectional vs. The Spear as his basis he explores the strategy, history and twists and turns of this imaginative and versatile weapon.
February 17: "The Ferocious Enchantment Staff of the Ancient Monks" calls up a few images doesn't it. Well it should because it's one of the first translation of Shaolin texts made by that well known Ving Tsun teacher, Leung Ting. And, back in the day, it was one of our first offerings in the English book divisions, now back, and if we didn't know better we'd say these are pretty early editions of this collectible book .
February 12: Just a few stocking notes: we've replenished our supply (at least for a little while) on the Wujishi Breathing Exercise book (the first influx disappeared in a single breath!) We also wanted to remind those who were waiting that the massive Kung Fu Survey Text from Kang Ge Wu is back in stock. This book floats in and out of availability, and every time we find more copies we are happy. What we have learned over the years about martial texts is that you can just never be sure that they will be there the next time you order. For instance, we just found out yesterday that Brian Kennedy's useful book on Chinese Martial Arts Manuals is now out of print.
February 10: If you have been in the Chinese martial studies for a while you've probably played around with locating pressure points and acu-points on yourself. Well here's a book for self-relief that seems a little unusual, Chopsticks Acupuncture. We thought so when we first heard of it as did our Chinese medical advisor, Narrye Caldwell, but as her review says ...
February 06: Leung Ting wrote a "big red book" on Wing Chun years ago which has now become something of a collector's item. Through the years he has updated and re-photographed parts of this text one section of which we offer: just published: Chi Sao parts 3 & 4 ...
February 04 (Debbie's birthday!) : Once in a while we realize that in the rush to post what's new we don't really give full credit to the item itself. We just realized that this book, posted a bit ago, is a posthumous volume with the writings of Guo Gu Min, a very famous Bagua Zhang instructor. For those building a library this may deserve a second look...
February 03: We don't generally mention re-stocking a single item but this has been one of our most popular and sought-after (and expensive) books: Record of the Chin Woo Association: in Chinese and with an excerpt from a customer review this time...
February 02: The Year of the Ox will be a great time to get things done! We're trying to cleave to that furrow by including many new sections we've been cogitating on for far too long. First, humble as the ox but important, is our new Health and Maintenance section. One of the requirements (and advantages) of martial practice is maintaining your own health as much as possible with items like our newest book on self-massage. Have a glance at a section we think will grow and grow...
January 29: The martial arts is always interesting because it contains so many connections. For instance we read a book on the art of standing WuJi Qigong many years ago which turns out to be by Cai Song Fang, a noted Yi Quan teacher. We're happy to finally be able to offer this classic now the same day we re-stock the Warriors of Stillness by Jan Diepersloot (with a new introduction by the author) and accidentally notice his acknowledgment of Cai as his Grand teacher and at the same time, well we could go on ...
January 27: The Year of the Ox is upon us: a good time for concentrated effort and a steady heart. We have a few special items for this special time but first a musing about, of all things, oxen and chain ...
January 20: Espy-TV for a number of years had the only syndicated TV show that was dedicated entirely to martial arts. They made many VHS instructional films especially of martial teachers around the New York area. The camera work is sometimes rough, the lightning and sound not always inspired but much of the information is hard to find in any other format and enduring in its own right. Here are two Tai Chi representatives of this line on both Yang and Wu styles ...
January 19: Choy Li Fut has been around over 150 years now and we see it as one of those Kung Fu styles which will continue far into the future. Here is a large chunk of the system taught and performed by Doc-Fai Wong, the head of one of the largest Choy Li Fut organizations in the world and a student of both Lau Bun and Wong Gong.
January 16: Just checking in with an assortment of books and items which we have to post of walk around..
Leung Ting's Fourth book on Wing Chun teachers, stories and gossip...
January 13: Joanna Zorya, our guardian angel of guiding principles, once again returns us all to the spiral and narrow with her newest article: Will The Real Reeling Silk Please Stand Up ...To Scrutiny?
January 10: Bagua is finally catching on as we predicted a decade ago. Here is another edition to the story with Liu Bin's Zhuang Gong Bagua Zhang, a branch of the famous Cheng style. Many stories, and some definitely different versions of that elusive truth we call Bagua.
January 08: Over ten years ago Bob Flaws came out with his "Secret Shaolin Formulas for the Treatment of External Injury" a seminal text compiled by Da Chen on the real herbal formulas related to Die Da (injury medicine). Here is a REVISED EDITION of that famous text for the expert or the accident prone ...
January 06: We always feel so guilty leaving all of you waiting for the next installment of new articles, thoughts and products that we decided to start the new year off with a bang by listing FOUR new texts all on the same page. We welcome an entirely unfamiliar style of Bagua, a new (old) form of Kung Fu boxing; some of the first information in simplified Chinese on the famous Yang paragon, Li Ya Xuan; and a text showing some of the more usual weapons of the ZhaoBao Tai Chi style.
•We haven't just been playing up there in the Yosemite area though. We've been going over the last (we hope) revision of PLUM's new book on Qigong. We're excited about this project because we are including some information rarely found in Qigong books in any language. On top of that we have a training program for this wonderful method of Daoist Qigong which we will hope to offer when the book is published. More as we get closer to deadline...
December 29: Well, our school is closed for another week or so and we are driving up north to an undisclosed destination for a bit of R & R. But don't worry we will be sending postcards of articles, comments and ideas. Winter is a good time to move inward and re group especially for the martial artist. This is the time the general sits at the fire and writes poetry. Not to mention that dark shape on the horizon is the Year of the Ox
•We are obligated, when we see something like this, to mention a new book by Jason Tsou and Arthur Schonfeld which so radically re-al gins concepts about Tai Chi that they've called it Yang Taiji the Untold Story. This interlocks with every thing that Jason Tsou has been compiling from his very sophisticated blending of modern mathematical/scientific though with his absolute loyalty to the functionality of traditional concepts. More than worth a look...
December 24: It's probably one of the best times in English language martial publishing we've ever seen (we have our own efforts in this quarter coming soon). The quality and attention given to martial arts books is a cut above previous periods in memory. Many self published efforts are now finding representation. Here's a good example: Dennis Rovere's manual on the Xing Yi of the Chinese army from the famous "bayonet book" by Huang Bo Nien: now available through Blue Snake Press.
December 23: Here's the thing, people love Drunken style AND they love Snake style and here they are in the same series, separate but unique. On the other hand we have to say Buyer Beware because there are a few reservations... oh, read it yourself. And while you're there, check out the items with dropped prices on this same page...
•The Wu Dang sword is one of the most famous and most complex in the Chinese Martial Arts. We do something unusual even for us as we are simultaneously listing a new book by a life long practitioner, the painter Wang En Cheng, in both traditional and simplified characters. Take your pick.
December 22: Restocked item, Tiger Crane Double Boxing Traditional text.
December 16: People often have the wrong idea that the styles of Kung Fu they know about, the celebrities in other words, are the best. More generally the reverse is true. Take Lan Shou, a fine style ostensibly geared to fighting (George Xu once confided in us that Lan Shou practitioners weren't necessarily long lived: too much energy issuance, he thought). Like Baji before it was well known, this is a strong and no-nonsense hand. Two more additions to our growing George Xu collection: Lan Shou Lessons.
• Also, by the main coordinator of the above seminars, Susan Matthews, a very good DVD on Breast Self Massage, where updated information meets an ancient Daoist technique.
• And, continuing on the theme of styles hardly ANYONE knows about but are really interesting, we have our first and probably only book on the rare "Word" style of Southern Shaolin.
December 13: Anyone in the Mantis World who doesn't know Jon Funk? Here is a collection from the 80's: inexpensive, made in New York, and so chocked full of information you get two forms for every set. Much 7 Star Mantis in a small space.
December 12: Who creates an entirely new style and why? Generally new styles begin as ideas on how to improve, not the moves—there's darn little new after 3000 years—but the instruction. Here's a new style acknowledged by the martial community on the mainland as worthy. It has since taken root there and even traveled to foreign countries. Just for fun look at what the creator, Liu Qi Rong, thought was important enough to inspire his "Great Emptiness" Boxing
•And—for what will probably be a short time—we re-stocked the book and VCD set on Tai Chi Ruler by the rather popular Zhang Guang De.
December 10: There's a "little difficult to get" and then there's "very difficult ". As you may have noticed there are darn few good Baji Quan DVDs available. And one of the largest instructions sources—teacher Su Yu Chang— is so busy traveling we can hardly keep even his VHS tapes in stock (for those adding to that want list, have faith; we're trying). So here's double score as we add one of Sifu Su's Baji presentations: Liu Da Kai which is twice-blessed in being a NEW addition and in DVD format. Yay!
• And that's not to mention ANOTHER hard to find which, we were told, was out of print— till now: Chen Di Shih's Chen Tai Chi, just a great old book.
December 09: The treasures, finds and just plain new material is swamping us, but judging from first impressions, the quality level is rising right along with the water margin. Here's a find for some people, a set of books all dedicated to the Pan Nam lineage in Wing Chun: all in simplified Chinese.
December 08: This morning I read a piece that publishers are joining hands with digital distributors like Apple to save their faltering industry. It seems that the publishing industry is in hot water. On the personal level, though, Plum is doing great. The difference resides not in what we are doing right but what so many are doing wrong. The publishing industry used to be about making quality-based decisions. The same guys now kvetching and pretending to care about the "nobel industry" sold out long ago. These are the same people, in and out of the martial arts field, who flooded the market with ten books for every one that was needed. They engaged in what is known as “me too” publishing. "If X has a hot Feng Shui book we'll get one too," it didn't matter who wrote it or if they had real credentials. This is publishing by imitation— not imagination— and following a template. I'm talking about the entire industry, but you can find some choice examples in the area of martial publishing: Can anyone say that Ohara was anything but a hack publisher almost from the beginning? I had a multiple book deal with Ohara after the first, popular children's book I did for them, but literally (no pun intended) could not bring myself to add to their cookie cutter system in which each book looked the same and resolved to the same repetitious format. Unique was similar with a parade of uninspired editors and look alike books because it was easy to set up a pattern and stick to it mindlessly. We're not saying that they didn't print some important or fine books but that was due to intrinsic quality brought to the subject by specific authors, not these publishers contributions or presentation. And don't kid yourself that making all systems appear the same by fitting them into the clone-book format did not damage the public perception of true martial practice. There are a hundred subjects in the martial arts with NEXT TO NO information available at present. These will never have big enough audiences (make enough money) for standard publishers to concern themselves. But who knows?—they might be classics in the field and they might be written by you or someone you know. Publishing isn't dying, it's diversifying. And if you wonder sometimes why we don't offer that newest “me too” text on passing the guard it's because we're probably in a dusty book shop somewhere looking for a volume that might otherwise sink out of sight. As far as those endangered publishers (about as endangered as mortgage lenders right now, and for good reason) they get what they deserve. Centuries ago Cervantes, who singled handedly started half the publishing industry with the first real novel, pondered on the issue noting that the problem lay not with a public who wanted superficial amusements but with those who could give them nothing else.
December 05: Probably the best-kept secret on the site is our Visual Bibliography section. This is a catalog of books we DO NOT SELL. We established it strictly for those who know the fun of viewing old hard-to-find Kung Fu books and for people doing research. Occasionally a text that we once sold ends up there which generally means we don't think we'll ever offer THAT ONE for sale again. There are exceptions like this book on the rare hybrid southern style Cai/Mo Family Fist which we've not only discovered a stash of again but, amazingly, for a reduced price ...
December 03: We add another to our Chen Pan Ling collection: Push/Listening Hands will be a welcome addition for all those CPL enthusiasts out there. And we have a story about Push Hands to tell you in a while...
November 26: Back Home: We have numerous notes and things to say about our trip to New York. But it's also nice to be back reporting on the batch of new items that piled up while we were away. First, a couple of books. Here's a just-released volume on that quietly controversial style Pak Mei, or White Eyebrow. This one represents a new approach we're seeing to writing martial texts and you may find out about this in our review. And speaking of controversy, real or imagined, Paul Dong has just released another text on Chi Gong and— since he is a proponent of the more mysterious and exotic branches of the art—we expect that readers will have a spectrum of reactions to this real puzzle. And that raises an idea: how many of you out there have actually had a shall-we-say different experience through Chi Gong or related methods? You don't have to worry, we'll hold your name from publication. But, really which among you have ...?
November 23: New
contributor, physical therapist and Tai Chi aficionado, Gary
Shapiro, met us at the Carnegie Deli today to help us devour one of
their famous cheesecakes. Back at the hotel we sat down and talkedhaving
met for the first time in personabout cabbages, kings, healing
therapies and unusual experiences with subtle perceptions of human
energy. Meeting some of the people who actually read and write to
our web site has been great, not only for the community feeling but
also the many ideas and suggestions we hear from those who care. Gary
shared some of his observations from years of working with people
on all levels of therapy and healing. More and more we see and believe
that the Chinese martial arts develops a very personal relationship--not
only to what is in you but to every aspect of your daily life. Gary
is one of those people who can attest to the martial influence in
his work and life, both living and working.
We are on our way this evening to celebrate the 70th birthday of Sifu
Willy Lin (Lin Shih Kuan), the first teacher in the west of the Heaven
Mountain Style and our good friend. We've spent the last few days
walking the New York Chinatown picking up a few treasures for you
and meeting a lot of nice people (not to mention meeting and devouring
a lot of nice food). Yesterday we spent a long time discussing the
nature and future of Kung Fu with masters Tak Wah Eng and Paul Koh.
We had a great and deep discussion which we will report on as soon
as we get back. Shared martial interests, good people and wonderful
food: what could be better?
November 14 : We
continue to sell the excellent demonstration of Hakka and Southern
style Kung Fu in Malaysia. Think about it, so many styles which people
generally have only a small experience in such as: Chou Gar, Jin style
Praying Mantis, Sleeping Crane, White Crane, Hung Gar, Yue Family
Boxing, Silambatam, Chu Gar Phoenix Fist, the rare Hai Pun and Ban
Pun Wing Chun,Tai Zu southern branch, Feng Yang Boxing, Five Ancestors,
Fuzhou White Crane and more such as the very direct no non-sense Feeding
And speaking of demonstrations, here is another from our collection of China Camp films including a two disk set of performances with the cream of Shanghai area martial arts including Lan Shou, Yang Tai Chi, Dragon Tai Chi, Tong Bei, 12 and 10 animal Xing Yi, Bagua Sword, and much more.
November 13 : When you practice LiuHeBaFa you want to become like water, hence its other name water boxing. One of the best ways to achieve this feeling is shown by instructor YunYen Sin as he demonstrates the LHBF wooden ball exercises and lectures on some key principles to the system ...
November 11 : Traveling again: later this month we will be on the East coast, New York area, celebrating the 70th birthday of one of our first Kung Fu instructors. If you have a school in that area send us an email and who knows, we may be able to drop by and say hello.
Here's another installment of our popular but extremely procrastinated series: Unlocking the Form. This one is about the staff - sort of.
For Jiang Jian Ye fans we have added his Five Element Linking Xing Yi Fist .
November 10 : As fans of this style, we are delighted to see increased interest in Bagua Zhang. As interest grows more and more specific information on each style comes forward (never forgetting of course that all Bagua is essentially the same) and, in this case, we concentrate on a new Chinese book on the Cheng Ting Hua branch as it passed through teacher Lu Xue Xi. This book; The Way of Bagua, gives a branch of the Cheng lineage not that often seen.
November 07 : What not everyone knows is that there are many branches of that extremely popular style: Wing Chun. Here, in the Chinese Masters series, is an example of Malaysian Wing Chun expert Ku Choi Wah and his rarely seen brand of this beloved system. •Not to mention that we add another of our growing George Xu series this time lecturing "On Being a Predator". This lecture is one of the best presentations we've seen of this material delving into the way to get right to the core of your practice. Xu's views are always worth a listen.
November 05: The scene was convivial, a nice restaurant. We always tried to eat someplace special when our Sifu was in town. The four of us Adam Hsu, Linda Darrigo, Debbie Shayne and I had just finished our meal and sat there chatting about Kung Fu. Adam was, as usual, trying to make a point about where so many people fall a little short. I looked over to Linda, my long time friend in the martial arts, at that the time a student of Adam's. “So, who is practicing right?” I had to ask, expecting Adam to name someone in an obscure village on the edge of, say, Tibet.
He thought for a moment then pointed to Linda. Now, Adam is no flatterer. I glanced at her and she at me. We were both in shock. “Why?” I asked.
“Because she’s willing to change,” he said, and meant it.
This is, without a doubt the point that separates the good from the great: Kung Fu demands change. If you are good at something whether it be fighting or forms, you must change to explore new territory. Kung Fu is not about who can generate a harder kick, or look ripped or tighten down a choke. It’s an evolution without speciation, a continual Darwinian process where the selection is toward the natural and never random. Change is the secret ingredient. Last night we saw change occur in America. Not just a change but a change that surprised even the optimists among us. I talked to so many people who cried unexpectedly because, to be truthful, we never thought this would happen in our lifetimes. We need a change, we have gone wrong in so many ways. But to make a change of this magnitude is indeed a historic moment for us. People were honking horns and hugging one another as I drove home through my little town. I had not seen this since the end of the Viet Nam war. There is absolutely no guarantee what the future will bring but, for the moment, the race is won and the cup held high. We found change in the midst of our anger, fear and cynicism. Either candidate's victory would have been a step forward but this was bountiful beyond expectation. Last night was not about defeating John McCain it was about a victory for Barack Obama and all of us; and change. Here are some comments of the last hour from our foreign friends. My most sincere congratulations for Mr Obama's victory. Let's hope for President Obama's success in the manyfold and complex tasks of governing this great nation and re-establishing peace, justice, and a fair economy, worldwide.Warmly
S in Spain
Before I ask a question let me first congratulate you on your new president. I assure you that all of old Europe and especially Germany is much relieved after this election.
F in Germany
Just woke up and heard on the radio that Barak Obama will be next President of the US. And I cried.
Congratulations to you all
K in Great Britain...and to you all at Plum Pub.Here in the U.K. we have been following your election with intense interest for a long time.Not since the time of President Kennedy.(being that old), have I seen such excitement and pure joy. Please accept my humble and profoundest congratulations today. An historic day, when the world's greatest democracy spoke with one glorious voice for all that is good and great in the human heart. The election of Barak Obama is an event in which we,the watching world, witnessed a triumph which only the United States could dare to dream.
Here in Britain I can tell you that to say we are all delighted, is an understatement!!!! We have never seen the United States so united!
Enjoy your party!
November 01: Sitting aroung and just thought we'd save you some money. That is if your recorder can still play VHS tapes. We're having one of Plum's few close out sales. People have been so thrilled to get Adam Hsu's converted DVDs that we ended up with a few videos on the shelves. In our constant attempt to make room for more good stuff we are finally clearing the shelves of what remains. There aren't many left. Buy them now, you'll be sorry if you don't and want them later!
October 28: We just have time to brag that we've found another Zhang Xiang San book for you Mantis collectors. We only have a few copies in stock but, not to worry, more coming. We have friends in this line of Six Harmony Mantis and, to our minds, Zhang was probably the best of his style to go to Taiwan— ever. Also we've posted more notes on a famous southern style Chu Gar or Phoenix Eye Fist.
October 27: We plan to do an article on the Shaolin heritage but it won't necessarily make everyone happy. Nonetheless the fact remains that this is probably as much authentic Shaolin outside the monastery as in. Here, especially for the enthusiast, is the presentation of a teacher, Yan Zhen Fa, who is the inheritor of the Damo (Boddhidharma) branch of Shaolin. He is also expert in Tai Zu and Duck style, also Shaolin derivatives... •Back in the day one of the best known and ONLY known books of Shaolin Kung Fu was the famous Phoenix Eye Fist book we still sell. From out Malaysian Kung Fu series here is a taste of the subject of that book, still going amazingly strong after how many decades? Cheong Cheng Leong, master of the Hakka Chu Gar style!
October 24: Tai Zu Quan is a famous style with many, many interpretations. Here is a demonstration added to our Malaysian master section, of this famous form by a strong practitioner. Note the similarity to Karate. Evidence of the thread between the styles grows daily. Overseas Chinese actually have an important place in CMA history since, in many cases they preserved a pure and unsullied style (though certainly not in ALL cases). Here is a southern fist version of the style attributed to the first emperor of the Sung Dynasty. • Six Harmony Xing Yi instructor, Qian Zhao Hong, shows his special abilities with the 10 Animals including some special Qigong and numerous non-trivial applications. This two part DVD is meaty with information and examples of these "predatory" styles.
October 23: This morning when I checked emails, amid orders, donation requests, SPAM, and the other correspondence, there was an email saying that Jon Murdock, of Cedar City, Texas, had died at the beginning of the month of a massive heart attack. Jon was a longtime customer of Plum and, although we never met, I thought of him as a friend. He was always kind and enthusiastic in his emails, anticipating each new vcd or book as a real treasure. In his last order, less than a month ago, he suggested I double-check his selection because he was so excited about the Bagua book he was ordering, he thought he might have typed the wrong number. He always closed with "God Bless" or something similar. He often dropped in a line about how much he appreciated Plum.
I don't know if any of you knew Jon. I know almost nothing about him except that he was a self-described lover of martial arts, was always balancing his budget to fit in another vcd, and as I said above, was very kind. Yet his death traveled with me all day.
This thing called Plum is a very unusual thing. I can't speak for you out there, but I can say for myself that it is very personal. I don't know if you know how much you mean to us: as martial artists, as correspondents, as customers, as teachers, as students, as friends...as people living in this same world, trying to make sense of the same things. I have been in the retail business (my day job) for more than 30 years--most of that time selling books--and I have enough experience to know that Plum is blessed to have you as part of this experiment; as a group, you are overwhelmingly polite, warm, and understanding. You are gentle with us about mistakes you find in the site. And you make me laugh! So, in Jon's memory, I just wanted to say thank you, and to also make sure you know how much we appreciate you.
October 22: Years of searching and talking to instructors is really paying off not only for PLUM but for our loyal fellow enthusiasts because we are finding better and better information available about core martial practice. We are continuing with our excitement over the Southern styles represented in Malaysia and have just hooked up another section demonstrating the Whooping Crane style. People who are fascinated by the style and soft power of the crane should check this out and also the site it came from, martialartsgathering.com ... •We are also very happy to present one of our favorites teachers in the Western world, George Xu with a group of lectures, demonstrations and applications. George is not just a fine martial artist in his own right but a tireless liaison between those traditional masters you will never see on a "tour of the Shaolin Temple". He likes fighting and theory and often gives away valuable information in his attempt to explain his love: Chinese Kung Fu. We will be posting a lot of his work but we decided to start with his Lan Shou and a very interesting lecture called, "What is Tai Chi, Really?" along with Sifu Susan A. Matthews ...
October 20: We have JUST started to introduce a new series of DVDs from Susan Mathews and the estimable George Xu. We have enough of these to review it will take at least a week to finish but they cover such topics as George's great art from TianJin: Lan Shou or, as we like to call it, Barring Arm. •And, yes, we have Tim Cartmell's Standing Grappling DVD back in stock ...
October 17: We all know Bagua is becoming popular and might indeed fulfil the prediction that it will be the "Tai Chi of the 21st Century". The two most famous and popular styles are, of course, the Yin and Cheng sects. Another important one is the Gao style as witnessed by the popularity of Tom Bisio's fine book. A fourth excellent style is the Liang (Zhen Pu) side of the family. Here's a new collection, in simplified Chinese, on just this subject (it even contains Liang style applications!).
October 16: Just for a bit of a change, a poem from the Chinese...
October 10: For you completists out there, we have filed in the gaps in out Shun style section. Once again, a very interesting aspect of this style is their Yue Kung Fu section which, as the legends might indicate, actually resemble Xing Yi more than many other claimants.
October 08 : It's time to admit you are special ...
October 06 : In martial arts we often make analogies to water. But water can be treacherous and even dangerous. And what about teaching? Our newest entry in the Instructor's Notebook takes a little different view... of course. September 30 : Many new items coming. Today we add an Eagle Claw Chin Na book in simplified Chinese, and a new style to us, the Shun style with it's graceful movements (anyone out there know anything about this one? It's difficult to learn much about in Chinese or English.)
September 24 : We Martial Artists--like all artists--have moments where we evaluate where we are and where we are going...not how high we kick or how many trophies we have lugged home from tournaments, but where we are in our own development and evolution. Ted Mancuso's new article considers this from a different perspective : It Gets Better.
September 23 : The way the human body can move is wonderful. And martial arts has increasingly been influential on our ideas of the body and its range for a long time. Even in the last few years there has been a lot of borrowing from the arts without always acknowledging the source. Think of: Feldenkreis (a Judo man), break dancing, Pilates (a martial arts instructor), Contact Improv (Aikido inspiration here), physical therapy (particularly from Tai Chi) and others. This is the unsung part of the arts with unrecognized participation such as the influence of Chinese medicine on Swedish Massage and Chiropractic. When we see the opening ceremonies for the Olympics or the beautiful routines of Taiwan's Moon Water-Cloud Gate (Adam Hsu instructing the troupe) we get a glimpse of the power and also the beauty of the arts. .
September 22 : As we've been saying for months now, one of the more exciting additions in a year of great advancement for Kung Fu knowledge has been the Malaysian Kung Fu Masters series we are just beginning to promote. This is a real treasure house brought to us by Eric Ling and Russ Smith. You'll definitely be hearing more from this quarter as the year progresses and the new DVDs planned for distribution are truly worth a look. Here's a sample (different from the full blown DVD) of what's available with a little demonstration of the famous but not often seen Five Ancestors Boxing .
September 17 : Where have we been? Since Plum is an ever-present conversation in our daily lives--not to mention reviewing new products, translations and such--sometimes we shock ourselves when we find that we haven't posted anything to the weblog for a few days! Rest assured, we are busily working in the background...what are we looking at? A new article, an addition to the ever-popular Chen Pan Ling DVD collection, expanded information on our newest Malaysian Master series, and Plum's new traveling school seminar series (where we come to you!). Oh yes, also...we are devoting some well-needed time to the back end too: fixing broken links, cleaning up pages, stuff like that. Whew! Not much time to sleep here at Plum. Check back soon!
September 11: Sometimes it's fun to meditate a little on meditation...
September 09 : Our new grappling DVDs with Tim Cartmell have been up only about a week and we already have an excellent review of one by author Brian Kennedy, the author of the book on Chinese Martial Training manuals.
See his review of "Standing Grappling" ...
September 04: At last! We just got in our first batch of the new Malaysian Masters series with an amazing line up of styles and demonstrators. Among the performers is Ruan Dong of the Whooping Crane, Cheong Cheng Leong the model for Draeger's famous Phoenix Fist book and much more. We'll be writing about this over the next week but we just wanted to let you have a chance to see these rare flowers. Here ...
September 01: When Tim Cartmell comes out with anything new there's a fair sized line of people who don't need to hear anything else. Tim's continued high quality productions have made him a favorite with our customers. His two newest offerings "Standing Grappling" and "Ground Proofing" are sure to be some of his most popular DVDs yet. Here they are ...
August 27 : We get his question all the time: "I like One Hand Video's stuff but is it available in DVD?" When they are asking about this well-respected series we've always had to say, "Nope, sorry." BUT NOT ANY MORE. One of the most famous series of high quality taped instruction is now available through PLUM... well, kind of... so far they've released just two DVDs (Hey, they have A LOT of titles and it's going to take some time) but we have them and we're happy to offer these excellent presentations. Also we add a new On Hand VIDEO with George Xu demonstrating his Qigong prowess in Wu Wei Qigong, a Taoist exercise. . .
August 26 : We're in an eternal state of closet cleaning because we have so much material (and a lot more to come). We've just restructured the docket so all the new additions, books and DVDs, are easier to find. Here's the place to check in whenever you come to our site for a quick update on things that have been out of stock and are now back with us. (In case you wonder how we get out of stock with such a great order person as Debbie; supplies from China, Taiwan, etc. are something less than predictable.) . . .
Joseph Crandall, who has been translating martial texts for many years, has come out with a new addition: one of those books we most like to see: this one is the famous text by Jiang Rong Qiao, himself a practitioner of Mizong or Lost Track style. In this important book he proposes that Lost Track was once a very real candidate to join styles such as Tai Chi or Bagua; often called "Internal. A key text in modern martial writing with much interesting background on the style.
August 20 : Researchers Alert! We add a few nice books for those wanting to do a bit of CMA research. First is a nice, new Wushu dictionary translating terms form the Simplififed with numerous features. Also we have a series of "rambling notes", all last centuries essays on the art of Chinese weapons. We add to the Chen Pan Ling library we are assembling by re-posting a book by his student, Lei Xiao Tian, on the Twelve Animals. And some news in a day or two keeping you abreast of the soon-to-be released Malaysian Masters. . .
August 19 : Wow, have we been busy. We're spending a lot of time creating Ted's Bagua curriculum for our up-coming semianr series. We haven't even had time to write the three articles we've been working on. Nonetheless, treasures keep passing in front of our noses. Here is a book we thought we would never get in again: ever. We have a few copies of Chen Pan Ling's Xing Yi text with his son. In additon we are re-posting the famous Tai Chi volume with the young Yang Chen Fu and Lee Ying Arng's masterpiece: his modified Yang Tai Chi Set.
August 12 : And speaking of Kung Fu weapons (which we did in the last paragraph) teacher Scott Rodell has just come out with another sword book: this time on the historical practice of Test Cutting with a sword. That simply means to cut real objects to test your skill and the integrity of your sword. He's put a lot of time and thought into this subject and this is one of the first books in English on an exciting adjunct to one's practice of ancient weapons.
August 11 : Interest in Kung Fu weapons is on the increase and there's a real focus on the art of the sword. Here's a threesome of books in traditional Chinese on bladed weapons for your perusal.
August 09 : Dai Xin Yi is said to be the original Xing Yi style. It certainly has a distinctive and interesting approach to movement. Our new series has many boxing forms but also some unusual weapons such as the Iron Chopsticks and the Emei Dagger. Taught by Guo Jin Gang, a well known master of the style...
August 05 : Just for your amusement, a reprint of our first article on the Lost Track style. We've been so busy we've almost lost track of when we wrote this. Jump over to our Kung Fu school site and have a look ...
August 02 : Let's see, first we've had good reactions from our new Master Class series with Sifu Paul Eng. Among those who Sifu Eng introduced us to were Sifus Huy Chiang and Hung Chiang who demonstrated exceptional skills during the recent Tai Mantis Tournament. If you are near the Avon, Mass. area we suggest you check out this top-notch father, son team.
The quality of our hand picked VCDs continues to improve dramatically. Our newest survey of Xing Yi styles has top instructors, good camera work and a load of information. Check it out. We have a number of these next-generation VCDs which we will be reviewing and suggesting, panning and promoting in coming weeks.
Oh, we should mentioned that "He Quan" is also on the way...
July 30: Liuhebafa, not one of the easiest styles to pronounce. For the longest time we've has only one really respectable VCD representative of this increasingly popular style and, guess what?, we STILL only have one but now it's been translated in English subtitles and DVD format. See for yourself and, if you haven't purchased yet but have thought about it see our recommendations...
July 28: Chen Xiao Wang is a man dedicated to his family Chen Tai Chi. His last presentation on DVD of Reeling Silk exercises is particularly popular. But here is an entirely new presentation by him of almost his entire system. What's special here is that it's in VCD form yet subtitled in Engllish. Not only is the content and price great but the series has a really good straight documentary (subtitled) on the history and origins of Chen Tai Chi.
•We had a great time at the Tai Mantis Chuk Kai Memorial Tournament last Saturday. We took a lot of photos, met some great people and will post some comments and observations in a few days. A truly exceptional experience and a pleasure to see this Kung Fu family.
July 23: Not much more to say than our full one-hour interview on DVD with Sifu Paul Eng is now available. If you have any interest in Mantis, Fu Jow Pai, or the early history of Kung Fu in America—not to mention the feelings and observations of a lifelong teacher in the arts—see this first of our new Master Class series. Find out how you can get this exclusive Plum interview FREE.
July 20: Here's a nice, new survey of Bagua styles all through China with some top notch performers and a wide variety of information. Probably the best Double VCD representation we've see yet of this exploding area of interest.Our Master Class interview with well-known Tai Mantis Sifu Paul Eng will be out this week. We're very happy to start this series dedicated to recording the thoughts of top notch practitioners and teachers. So here's a sample (our first sound clip, put up at midnight!) of some of Paul's lively observations on the subject of Kung Fu from someone who has spent his life in its study. By the way, we'll be at the Tai Mantis Tournment mentioned below this weekend. Hope we see some of you there.And though our next major project, all we can tell you right now is that "Chu Gar is coming!".
July 18: We add here a new series of DVDs dedicated to the life's work of one man: Yan Zhen Fa. Now 73, he is an instructor who has spent his life in the Shaolin camp studying such styles as Tai Zu, Shaolin and Damo. He is also one of the few transmitters of the Duck Boxing (yes, there really is such a style). This we find—and will write about in time—in distinction to the general presentation of some of the popular branches of Shaolin which we are more and more finding untenable as true representatives of what is meant by the Shaolin achievement. More of this later, but for now here is the work of a single student of three major instructors and a gold medal winner in his own right.
July 16: Back in the Fifties and Sixties we had what might be called "closed" tournaments. These were the early competitions where a specific style, such as Shotokan Karate, would hold its own gathering. There were actually a lot of nice things about this. First, everyone had about the same idea of what they were about: the same language and the same rules. There was a friendliness, too, and a respect for the instructors and the students. You got to see a certain consistent idea of the martial arts. There are those who feel the whole thing was wrong, of course, for the well-worn reasons. But, after all, holding a closed tournament didn't preclude holding an open one. It was just a different focus. Anyway here is an opportunity to attend one of these very interesting events. Click on our sister site to see information for a special tournament of the famed Tai Mantis style.
July 12: Today we begin a whole new category, this time for the martial artists out there wanting to learn some Chinese. In the process of learning a language one of the most enjoyable and reinforcing steps is when you start using readers to get you above the "dick and jane" level. Today we start with just such a reader geared to martial interests; the first of many more we intend to suggest.
July 08: People love to say, "Martial arts is a way of life." Maybe. Maybe anything is a way of life if you make it so. But what we've enjoyed a great deal here are PLUM is to bring the other perspective on the practice, the silent battles so many people have to fight every day. We print the kind of piece you will never see in something like Black Belt because, from our experience, there are far more people who benefit from martial arts strategies, disciplines and unique traits in daily life than there will be in future combats. Here's another honest and hopeful example from contributing writer, Gary Shapiro.
July 05: A number of projects are inching closer to fruition. First, as we mentioned earlier, we are going to be exclusive distributors for a whole new line from Eric Ling and Russ Smith. Eric, as many people know, is engaged in a large project in Malaysia to collect, record, promote and preserve the traditional Chinese arts represented there. His first product will be a double DVD showcasing some of the finest local practitioners and styles. The DVDs are at the duplicators right now and we hope to have them in the next two or three weeks. •Not only will our Master Class #1 with Sifu Paul Eng, also at the duplicators, be available but we will soon have an announcment about a Tai Mantis tournament this month. •Finally, not really, we will soon be offering a series of Bagua Zhang seminars at our Santa Cruz school for visiting students and teachers. Contact us if interested.
July 02: For those Kung Fu scholars out there, here's is the fourth lesson in our series: once again showing not only some words but how a character is constructed.
June 30 : We collected some money from our Twin Schools Benefit performance for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital last Saturday. We had everyone from youngsters to oldsters like yours truly enjoying themselves and showing their skills. If you'd like, here are some photos (on our sister site) .
June 28 : Continuing with our exploration of the legacy of Feng Zhi Qiang, we present our newest offering: Taoist Qigong. This is the type of book you read when you want to understand the concepts as well as the exercises involved in real Qigong practice. Written by one of Feng's close students.June 26 : First, if you happen to be in our area on June 28th, Saturday, drop in at our Santa Cruz School. We're having a benefit for St. Jude's and will have a few demonstrations going from different Kung Fu schools (who knows, even we might do something).
*Here's the third of our Martial Language Lessons. We hope you are scanning those books covers and surprising yourself by recognizing a word or two...
June 23 : The range of Kung Fu books that comes out of China is amazing. It includes the highly technical and the sometimes surprisingly archaic. One batch of books, all from a single author, we've just added to our bibliography covers ritual practices, hidden skills, needle forms, wall climbing and more of the exotica from Chinese martial arts. These are all meant to be "secret manuals" just like in the movies. Take a look just for fun since, in most cases, we don't even have enough to offer for sale. But great fun anyway...
June 19 : It seems like the work of Feng Zhi Qiang is popping up everywhere and with good reason considering his strong influence on so many people. We're going to create a "nexus" page of just work associated with Feng's teaching. In the meantime we have two new offerings, both good. The first is his 48 movement version of Lao Jia in a Chinese text form. The other is another of our personality VCDs focused two disks on a survey of Feng's accomplishments and teachings.
June 18 : We have actually changed our teaching schedule to devote more attention to PLUM. For the first time in decades we're taking a sabbatical from the teaching of Shaolin Kung Fu. We're continuing our Taiji, Bagua and Qigong offering for students throughout California and are even expanding our seminar offerings and workshops. So, if you are interested in finding out what we're teaching and where just drop us an email and we will keep you posted.
•All this is part of our general push to increase people's understanding and appreciation of Chinese martial arts. In the same vein, we long ago set up a special series of pages which, we think, very few of our visitors know about. We created a special Bibliography for martial arts research. We've noted recently that SOME people must have seen it since we see some of our entries appearing on other Kung Fu sites. That's great, our bibliography was created to help people know about their styles, teachers and history. It's strictly for research and that's why we don't even offer them for sale. (Also, PLEASE don't ask where you can find these texts. If we knew we'd be offering to all you collector's out there. Most are from our own collection.) If you get a chance take a look. We have eight pages of scarce and strange texts...
•In keeping with today's theme of research we've added a huge survey text from Professor Kang Ge Wu to our traditonal Chinese offerings.
June 15 : Yes, for those of you who have so kindly asked, this is the section of Northern California with the fires. Every day we see fire engines speeding back and forth. One of our old students, a well known fire fighter, is up there climbing trees with a fire hose in hand and showering a stream of water down the core to douse those smouldering redwoods which could re-start the whole blaze. We have about 2000 fighters in No. California right now bravely fighting only partially contained fires. With tonados and floods attacking all over, our country seems to be taking part in disasters of Biblical proportions.
• Our newest addition to our VCDs of esteemed teachers and "human treasures" continues as a student of the famed Yang Yu Ting demonstrates the Wu Style Tai Chi he learned from this major teacher.
June 12 : We want to take a moment to remind you of a few key points around the PLUM site. First is the docket. Whenever we make an additon or restock an item, such as some books we've been waiting for over a year to re-stock, we list it in the docket available from the home page.
•Next, our VCD sale is still going on where you can save money and see styles you may never have seen before.
We have added some great new information on the Sun style Taiji. This has —finally—allowed us enough to start a new page exclusively for this fast-growing segment of the Taiji family.
June 11 : Perhaps you've never seen "Anthony Hopkins Plays the Guitar" or Jackie Chan play Shakespear for that matter but such musing can sometimes lead to interesting conclusions.
•You may bump into some more than usual bad links here and there since we should have a "Men at Work" sign out. We're trying, as ever, to revise and simplify the site so if you bump into a few indecipherable pages just let us know.
June 06 : You would think that of all the Chinese texts we handle that the famous set of books by Sun Lu Tang would be the easiest to find and carry. Not always so. Different editions keep coming in and going out of print. But we have, again, a complete addition of the five famous texts from this world reknown teacher.
June 05 : And here's another lesson in Chinese from a martial view. Hope you enjoy.
May 30 : Our newest Instructor's Notebook deals with that time when you need help to teach all those eager students. By the way, a number of teachers have complimented the series. That makes us feel good. We aren't sure if anyone BUT instructors read these, or should, but if they help we're happy to be of some service.
May 29 : You enjoy martial arts. You have a lot of fun studying it. You thought, what the heck I think I'll just learn some Chinese to round out the experience, so you opened a Chinese text and got immediately lost in the twists, turns and curves. Ah, but we've got a solution and a fun one at that, check out our new Martial Language lessons ...
May 28 : Well, we've been fiddling with Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Live Type and DVD Studio Pro just to get out our first Master Class DVD. But we're close enough, we think, that we can at least reveal the name of the subject. Our series starts off with an interview, and a delightful one, with Sifu Paul Eng of Tai Mantis fame. We've had mutual friends and acquaintances for years but never met before this taping session and we're happy with the results. A little more patience and we should have it out, unless we have to read another of those technical manuals...
• A new little book on Shuai Jiao, the every growing popular Chinese wrestling, joins our grappling texts in traditional language...
May 27 : Joanna Zorya returns with a pair of comprehensive DVDs on warming up, stretching and strengthening for martial artists. She proposes a mixture of Yoga, exericses, and stretches (with a little section on the Taiji Bang or stick) for those isolation exercises so essential to martial practice ...
May 26 : We freely admit that our book representation of the Chen style Taijiquan in English is a bit slim. Today we add a new book by Ren Gungyi with which should please most. Besides very good photos it has an introduction by musician Lou Reed. See our new Taijiquan Hand and Sword...
May 19 : We want to reiterate something we haven't said in a long time. One of the best "deals" on our site is the hybrid of book and magazine known as a "mook" in asia. Our partner house, Lion Books, handles some of these valuable special editions (which only run about 15.00) with their rare photographs, focused reporting on specific topics and just general historical interest for serious martial artisits. Yes, they are in traditional Chinese. But the information, photography and illustrations-not to mention layout and presentation- make these rather obvious collector's items. We've just DOUBLED our offering with three new and one restocked title on such diverse topics as Yue Style Kung Fu, Taizu, the ever-popular White Crane (much more great information coming from us on these styles) and a significant section on the man who was considered the top Chen Tai Chi player in Taiwan: Du Yu Ze; student of Chen Fa Ke's father. This really interesting and important figure (yes, to give full discolosure we do this style of Taiji) has left a somewhat controversail legeacy behind. You can catch a rendtition of Du himself on youtube at
Du's style is not as fancy as Chen has become but look carefully and you will see a very respectable and much older version of what Chen was like at the firs half of the last century.
May 13 : We add a new volume of our (so far) only magazine series, those Taiwanese Mooks (magazine/books). These are beautifully created volumes on "special interest" topics. This issue is on two styles, famous in China, which should be better known in the overall Kung Fu community...
•And here we have the newest update on our ever-expanding VCD sale...
May 12 : We have been experiencing the pleasure of meeting and greeting a number of long time practitioners. Besides our friend John Ottenberg of First Response note, we've been visited by Mile Coleman of the Ark Yuey Wong lineage, and Rudy Tuiolosega, son of Tu’umamao Tino Tuiolosega, the creator of Limalama.We sense a rising tide of people concerned about the future and preservation of the real arts. In fact this and other things have inspired us to develop a new section of Plum which will air the views and experiences of senior practitioners and teachers. It will be called "Master Class" and our premiere interview is with a well known Sifu who has spent a lifetime in the arts.• We're trying to be more disciplined on listing those long awaited books which are only now back in stock. Please remember to periodically check out DOCKET for returning titles that may not be listed in this weblog. May 06: We re-stock an item that was so hot we thought we'd never see it again at a discounted price. And to make things even better we've added a companion book! All this refers to Marc Tedeschi's huge work on Ground Fighting and now The Art of Throwing, each a beautiful hardback with over 1000 photos and, at a discount no less ( or more properly, yes less). The Throwing book which we have just added for the first time has a nice section on the same throw performed in different styles. This makes a point we wanted to underscore: though we have never had a peep of disgruntled sentiment from anyone when we list extra-Chinese style products we want to express our belief that throws and locks and grappling in general are so universal (all elbows bend the same way, etc.) that we interchangeably offer sources from Jujutsu, Aikido or whatever we think may be of interest. If you want to see a rendition that is UNIQUELY Chinese, check out Jason Tsou's approach below. But in this field there is much to learn and much to trade and, after all this is a great resource at a great price... •See how we cleverly update our entire ONGOING VCD SALE list whenever we add a few new items. And you thought we were just Kung Fu experts ...May 05 : We've been wanting to put this one up for WEEKS! But it took a while to create a review that gave the proper representation of the depth of the subject matter. So why wait? Go directly to Jason Tsou's Chin Na seminar set (Book plus DVDs) and see what we say...
May 03 : Wu Shi Jun is a prolific and energetic teacher. We have here some new contributions, mostly based on the work of Chen Fa Ke no less, which he is adding to his Tai Chi portfolio ...•Yes, we have an ungodly number of WANT TAGS on our site at present but it's not our fault: it's yours. We are having temporary problems in keeping all these great books and videos in stock. You guys are eating everything up as soon as we get it. We promise to increase our stock but, in the case of the rare and hard to find--like the ten year Chin Woo record and our new book (still to come) on Feng Zhi Qiang's Taiji Ruler, please be patient. (It's so bad I'm taking books off MY PRIVATE SHELF to fulfill orders. How's that for self-sacrificing?) May 02 : Today we had breakfast with Eric Ling and Russ Smith. Eric is an expert, and then some, on the Kung Fu styles of Malaysia. He is a wealth of knowledge about Hakka and Fujian styles particularly of the Southern persuasion. Russ, Eric, Debbie and I discussed Hung White Eyebrow, rare varieties of Wing Chun, Tai Zu, Southern Mantis/Chu Gar, Southern Shaolin, Karate and, of course, White Crane in its many forms. Both Eric and Russ confirmed our long held feelings that there are treasure houses of authentic Kung Fu out there among expatriated Chinese and a wealth of top notch traditional practitioners who need to be recognized to assure the continuance of their gifts. We discussed at length ways in which PLUM can help with this dissemination and will keep you posted on this very exciting project... April 29: And, keeping right up to date with our ever-expanding VCD Blue Panel Sale... April 24: We again welcome Inner Circle Tai Chi from Sacramento, under teacher Robert Nakashima. Today we meet at the Santa Cruz Studio for a seminar on Jiang Style Bagua. We always look forward to sharing the arts, especially with such a fine group of people. Our special sale VCDs now cover the following styles. Pick a style you've never seen and take a look... April 23 : Finally! For years we've been trying to get our hands on this official Chin Woo Memorial text, a reproduction of the Shanghai headquarters of the Chin Woo's tenth anniversary. Stuffed with period pictures, articles and illustrations this CHINESE TEXT is a valuable collector's item for anyone who is interested in China's first open Kung Fu school. Like a first graduating class high school year book this shows the cornerstone of what is still one of the most successful organizations for Kung Fu in the world. We don't have many in stock right now (about four) but we will be getting more in. Visit here just to click on the book and see some great old photos. April 21 : And more of our VCD blue panel sales...
April 21 : We have some really great additions to our VCD blue panel sale... April 18 : We now have a DVD edition of our very first Dim Mak series; from the ebullient presenter Xie Zhi Kai. This is a series where the addition of English, will be of major help especially in undestanding the finer details of point striking. Don't try it on your friend are they will end up looking like Xie's assistant... April 17 : As many of you already know we have a companion site for our school in California. We will be using this site to announce the many seminars (including our own) which are appearing. Next, if you can get to the Alaska area, is what will no doubt be a fine exposition of Praying Mantis by Sifu Kurt Wong. See this under our Announcements section.... April 15 : Yes, we have another BLUE PANEL SALE. This one will go on for a number of weeks and, we hope, allow you to consider some styles and VCDs which might broaden your Kung Fu enjoyment and experience. We will keep you up to date as we add on more and more titles at discounted prices. April 08 : All right we love books and the thrill of finding "special editions". We know not everyone shares our enthusiasm but, when it involves Chinese Martial Arts (CMA) we often think about those of you who, through email and letters, have told us you share the same interest. Some times we are lucky enough to find pieces that aren't only collectible but that literally NO ONE offers because, frankly, they didn't do the detective work. Here is a rare hardback edition of "Entering the Fu Jow Pai" and, just to make it REALLY rare, it is signed in Chinese by Master Tak Wah Eng himself . How limited is this? Well, try to find one in all the millions of books on Amazon and see for yourself. ...April 05 : Notes on our new GU style Taijiquan DVD offering:
When we first saw LiuHeBaFa we had an interesting experience. Here was a form just like Taijiquan that shared very few movements with Taijiquan. You may have a similar experience here when watching Gu style which shares, generally, very few movements. Of course any selection of slow WuShu patterns will take from the general bank of movements but the order, arrangement and selection in Gu style is very different from the Lao Jia derivatives. The principles are maintained, slow movement, controlled steps, generally hidden power. This may be a little like seeing Taijiquan for the first time again. .....
April 04 : Our Fun Stuff section we offer only the silly, strange and suspect aspects of the martial arts. It's rare (like never before) that we actually have some of these collectible oddities for sale, our newest Jiu Jitsu manual is the exception ... April 03 : About a week ago we posted an article on the Crescent Kick (March 26). One of our readers, Chad Eisner, an expert in sports medicine, disagreed with many of the ideas and has sent in a rebuttal. We of course have our own slant on this but decided that the topic contains wider ranging implications about martial arts and encourage other readers to enter the discussion...