Explorations in Time and Style
What is the human heritage of Martial Arts? Few other human activities can claim a longer trail of descent. In this section we open up a bit on the questions and primciples, insights and legends handed down over millenia. We have here, for example, the special relationship between Chinese Kung Fu and Okinawan Karate. He have historical lessons about true heritage and wishful lineage. Here's a place of literate as well as authentic and questions.

KG007  The General Tian Wubeizhi:
The Bubishi in Chinese Martial Arts
Exploring the growth of Chinese Kung Fu into Okinawan Karate
reg $54.95, Plum price: $48.95, 268 pages, photographs and illustrations, color reproductions of antique illustrations, high quality paper, hardbound text, colored pages for illustrations

General Tian Wubeizhi PLUS Patrick McCarthy Bubishi (below): reg: $71.90 Special $60

The Bubishi, respectfully and fondly called “The Bible of Karate”, is considered by karateka the world over as the most important karate text. Because of its unrivaled status on the one hand and its obscure origins on the other, the Bubishi has been the subject of intense curiosity and the object of serious research. However, because the Bubishi’s association with Karate—today a Japanese martial art—made Japanese and Western researchers focus on the Japanese side of the Bubishi’s story, i.e. its relationship with the ancient Ryukyuan martial arts and with modern karate.

Yet this manual bears a Chinese name (Bubishi is read Wubeizhi in Chinese), is written in classical Chinese, contains Chinese knowledge, history of Chinese martial studies, description of gongfu forms, Chinese philosophy, gongfu ethics and Chinese medicine and was most probably compiled in China. For these reasons it must have a place in the history of Chinese martial arts too. Thus, in The General Tian Wubeizhi: the Bubishi in Chinese Martial Arts History we set out to tell the Chinese side of the Bubishi story.

In the first chapter, Martial Manuals and Bronze Statue Notebooks, we explain how the medical pursuits of martial artists led to the creation of a new medical tradition (martial-medicine) and a new literary genre, Bronze Statue Notebooks. We argue that the Bubishi is an exemplar of the Bronze Statue Notebooks tradition and as such contains substantial amount of martial-medical knowledge.

In the second chapter, Contents and Structure of the Bubishi, we review the contents and structure of four different Bubishi editions. Considering the structure of those editions against the general outline of Bronze Statue Notebooks we reach a surprising conclusion on the Bubishi’s original scope even while addressing some of the Bubishi more puzzling aspects.

Chapter Three, Revere Heaven, Emulate the Ancestors, is dedicated to explaining the role of guardian deities (as was the deity General Tian) in gongfu schools in general and for the Bubishi’s authors in particular. The discussion here is especially enlightening because it sheds light on an overlooked (but highly important) aspect of gongfu culture—Chinese religious beliefs and practices (especially ancestral worship).

The Ryukyu House was name of the Ryukyuan embassy of Fuzhou City, Fujian. However, it also served as a prestigious college of Chinese studies, an institution where Chinese masters were grooming elite Ryukyuan students to become scholars and diplomats. In chapter four, The Ryukyu House, we discuss the possibility that this colorful establishment, located in the martial arts hotbed of Fuzhou, was also the birthplace of the Bubishi.

In one of the Bubishi’s historical-philosophical tracts there appears the somewhat enigmatic sentence “Luohan is also Crane”. In chapter five, Craneformation, we read this sentence against the background of martial evolution in 19th century Fujian. We believe that it points to a pivotal stage in martial arts history as well as shedding light on the nature and martial style practiced by the Bubishi’s authors.

The great emphasis we put on gongfu culture and history makes this book an asset to karateka and gongfu practitioners alike. It takes the reader on a journey to the time and place when gongfu and karate as we know them today were created. By going on this journey karateka and gongfu practitioners can learn a great deal about the origins of their arts and the mindset of their creators.

General Tian Wubeizhi Plum price: $48.95  

General Tian Wubeizhi & Bubishi: The Classical Manual Special Price: $60 for both  

KB026   Bubishi: The Classical Manual of Combat
Patrick McCarthy et al.
Reg $16.95 Plum Price 14.95
319 pages, photographs, brush drawings, facsimile pages

General Tian Wubeizhi (above) PLUS Patrick McCarthy Bubishi: reg: $71.90 Special $60

“This is the first translation into English of an ancient work known as the “Bible of Karate.” Its influence on Karate masters in China and Okinawa has been immense for many centuries. Until this translation was published, the Bubishi was a secret text passed down only by a master to his student. It contains high level teachings on the philosophy, strategy, medical knowledge and techniques of Karate….”

What is the Bubishi?
Undated and unsigned, the Bubishi—a record of Martial [Art] Preparation—is an abstract collection of Chinese writings about Fujian gongfu-based fighting arts and related subjects. Hand-brushed in old Chinese script, and linked to turn-of-the-century karate in Okinawa, its articles range in variety from gongfu history, attacking anatomically vulnerable targets, tactical strategy, and moral philosophy to identifiable acts of physical violence, prescribed application practices, escapes and counters, herbal concoctions, and medical remedies. Far from being the definitive book on karate the Bubishi is, nonetheless, a treasure trove of information. In the right hands, this penetrating work tells us much about the Okinawan pioneers of karate valued most.”
Bubishi: Classical Manual: Plum Price $14.95

General Tian Wubeizhi & Bubishi: The Classical Manual Special Price: $60 for both  

Read about the weird circumstances that brought these two books to Plum.

KS038 The Spring and Autumn of Chinese Martial Arts - 5000 years
Professor Kang Ge-Wu
$14.95 Plum discount 15% or $12.70, Softbound, 108 pages,

The first ! A complete historical reference for Chinese Martial Arts. This book is written by one of the world's leading experts on Wushu. Professor Kang Gewu of the Wushu Research Institute in Beijing has personally traveled throughout China gathering archeological data and oral histories on this valuable cultural treasure that is Martial Arts.

This book is a vital text for anyone interested in the origins of such diverse styles as T'ai Ch'i, Shaolin, ancient wrestling and Qi Gong. It offers a time-line that covers thousands of years of significant developments in the long history of Martial Arts. Styles and masters are included by the dozens. The product of years of research and study. Not to be missed!

KL010  Lone Sword Against the Cold Cold Sky
$24.95, Plum Price: 22.45

Without a doubt one of the finest series of writings ever to appear in English on the art and practice of Kung Fu. These essays and articles will become a permanent part of your reading and thinking about this complex, beautiful and highly effective art. Adam Hsu expresses opinions and displays research that challenges and re-thinks the common cliches. At the same time he offers real solutions for the "Kung Fu mess", and methods for people even without proper instruction to improve and deepen their arts. These writings span almost two decades and are the cream of the work that helped to make Adam Hsu an internationally recognized and respected teacher.



click to see additional discounts

Adam Hsu's Sword Polishers RecordKS043 The Sword Polisher's Record
by Adam Hsu
$16.95 paper, 204 pages

Highly recommended.Originally a monthly column that appeared for fifteen years in several Kung-Fu magazines, the Record is now collected, updated and expanded. It is loaded with important concepts, tips on training and philosophical insights into the practice of true Kung Fu. A major book by one of Kung Fu's most significant thinkers. This is a book that discusses what so few people in the martial arts talk of: the meaning and soul of the art. Enjoy!

A scholar and a great teacher, Adam Hsu, is outspoken and thoughtful. Of late he has almost become controversial but that could not be avoided. Mr. Hsu has a impeccable background. College professor in Taiwan in Chinese Classical literature he is a third generation Kung Fu practitioners. In addition his status as one of the primary disciples of Liu Yun-Chiao and the editor of Wu Tang magazine lend his voice authority. His opinions are strong, but informed. We have heard many criticize but never substantially disprove any of his views. You, too, may disagree but Adam Hsu's straightforward honesty contributes just as much as it debunks. Definitely a book that will make you think.

Topics include:

Myth and Reality of Kung Fu styles
Role of form in Kung Fu
Internal Training, is it necessary?
Kung Fu Mind, Multi-dimensional Mind
Counterfeit Kung Fu
Adapting Western Methods to Kung Fu Take me to a review of this book



Scholar WarriorKS001 Scholar Boxer
Chang Nai Zhou's Theory of Internal Martial Arts
and the Evolution of Tai Chi
Translated with Commentary by Marnix Wells
$18.95 SALE COPIES AVAILABLE for $9.50, Click HERE

247 pages, softbound

It is our belief that every one interested in the history of Tai Chi Chuan, and really the history of Kung Fu in general, should be familiar with the writings of Chang Nai Zhou. It will not change significantly anyone's practice but it will show a key point - one we often make along with other instructor's - and one that may indeed change one's attitutdes substantially. This key point is that Tai Chi, for instance, is in no way divorced from the general history of the Chinese Martial Arts. It is simply another branch of that history.

Change Nai Zhou was a scholar who worked around 1750. He not only practiced martial arts but left key writings on the subject. In this book Mr. Wells, a highly educated and knowledgeable writer, has translated Chang's work and added commentary. Many of Chang's writings are so similar - and predate - the Tai Chi Classics that there are those who believe Chang's work may have been the forerunner for Tai Chi's acknowledged Bible. Contained within this text we have:

Introduction: Towards a martial philosophy
Chang's writings: Nourishing Central Energy
Chang's writings: Martial Defense
Boxing Laws
24 Word theoy
Rising and Springing Explained
Spear Laws

In addition the original illustrations, charming and basic, are reproduced along with pictures of living members of the Chang family performing and some other correlative historical works. Overall a major volume on a crucial part of Chinese martial history. Marnix Wells has done a fine job. If he had not, some other translation of this text would necessarily be in our libraries. Chang's work is that important to grasping the general schema of Wushu.

See the movements of the actual Chang Family style



Kung Fu training manuals
KC018 Chinese Martial ArtsTraining Manuals
A Historical Survey
by Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Guo
 $21.95 Plum Price $18.95

310 pages, softbound, photographs and illustration

MING DYNASTY GENERALS WROTE THEM, Qing Dynasty soldiers studied them, Republican-era warlords pondered them, Shaolin monks consulted them, bodyguards and sports coaches took lessons from them - and they still line shelves in bookshops across China. They are training manuals, the do-it-yourself guides to Chinese martial arts.

Chinese martial arts masters of the past created special training manuals with text and images, sometimes themselves appearing in the illustrations. These manuals now provide an invaluable glimpse into how various martial arts were practiced in the period spanning the mid-seventeeth through the mid-twentieth centuries. Along with biographical portraits of thirty of the most influential masters, Kennedy and Guo provide contextualizing information on the history of martial artists and martial arts, how Chinese martial artists made a living, the Imperial exams, and the place of the Shaolin Temple in Chinese martial arts history. Beautifully designed, and illustrated with hundreds of photographs and drawings, this book presents a multifaceted portrait of Chinese martial arts and their place in Chinese culture."

Brian Kennedy, an attorney, has practiced Chinese martial arts since 1976. His previous books, published in Chinese, include Witness Examination Skills and American Legal Ethics. This is his first martial arts book.

Elizabeth Nai-Jia Guo is a professional translator and practitioner of qi gong and hatha yoga. She has translated a wide range of books into Chinese, including titles on church architecture, the history of science, and criminal law. Together, Guo and Kennedy write a regular column for the magazine Classical Fighting Arts.

See a list of original sources from this book available through PLUM.







Some Excellent Reprint Chinese Editions of Famous
Books Listed in "Chinese Training Manuals"

Sun Lu Tang's works on what he termed "Internal Styles"

Jiang Rong Jiao on Xing Yi Mother Son Boxing

Jin Yi Ming His box on Tan Tui for young people, great illustrations.

Li Xian Wu This early "WU" style Tai Chi book is a find.

Xu Yi Quan A Kung Fu hand form of the Muslim style, 1936.

Yan De Hua Wonderful drawings on this early BaGua text.

Liu Jin Sheng One of the first police grappling manuals, Chin Nah.

Shanghai City Police Great old restraints methods with a rope.

Huang Bao Ting A 1934 text showing form and usage- Graceful Fist.

Yin Yu Zhang A 1932 of Yin Fu's son showing special hacking knife.

Tong Zhong Yi A major book on the Chinese wrestling method (shuai Jiao) from 1935.

Yang Kui Yuan A 1929 compendium of the joys of studying Wushu.

Sun Xi Kun One of the most famous early BaGua books.

Ren Zhi Cheng & Gao Zhi Kai The famous "other" BaGua style!

Tang Ji Ren From the EMei Mountains, a family style...

Lum Sai Wing One of the most famous of forms, and some of the best illustrations of the period...The Tiger and the Crane.

Li Cun Yi Xing Yi expert, Boxer rebel, body guard...

Chang Nai Zhou The true inspiration for the Tai Chi Classics, we think it might be so...

Wan Lai Sheng A famous champion and early writer on martial arts shows their common basis ...