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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bagua Zhang Master Ma Gui (马贵) (1857-1941)


Read all of this article HERE

Ma Gui (马贵), also known as Ma Shiqing (马世卿) (1857-1941), was the earliest disciple of Yin Fu (尹福).  Born in Beijing, he practiced several hard styles like Tiangangquan (天罡拳) and Shaolin Shiba Luohanquan (少林十八罗汉) before starting his Baguazhang training as a teenager.

Although small and short in statue, Ma had a genuine love for fighting and practiced diligently.  Consequently, Yin often brought him to meet other masters to try out his fighting skills. For many years, Ma also followed Yin in working security for King Su (肃王). It is said that when he was first introduced to the other palace guards, everyone thought this small boy could not possibly be good enough to do the job, and that the only reason he was there was because of his relationship with Yin.  Very soon however, no one would belittle him anymore, as he beat many of them severely in challenges. Ma always practiced hard. While working for King Su, Ma was required to patrol the area around the palace at night under the high palace wall which had big stones around its base. It is said that on his patrol, he would kick the foundation stones of the wall with every step he took. After years of this practice it was found that the foundation stones were badly damaged.

Dong Haichuan (董海川), founder of Baguazhang, took a liking to this grand disciple.  It is said that for many years while working at King Su’s palace, Dong would supervise intensive daily training for Yin and Ma. Since Dong had no family, when he retired from service at the King Su’s palace, he initially lived at Ma Gui’s home for several years, before finally moving in with Shi Jidong (继栋).  So even though Ma belonged to the third generation of Baguazhang family, most likely he received more direct training from Dong than most second generation masters. It is a common confusion that many people think Ma was in the second generation of Baguazhang family.


Read the rest HERE

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Gao style Bagua Zhang - Hong Kong Branch

Gao style Bagua Zhang - Hong Kong Branch

Mr Samuel Cheng performing Gao Bagua Zhang at KungFu Corner, Hong Kong, 2012.10.07
鄭風成師傅表演 - 高式八卦掌先天八大掌

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Sword/ Jian - Spring and Autumn of Wu and Yue 吴越春秋 - Translation and Commentary by — Scott M. Rodell



凡手戰之道,內實精神,外示安儀。見之似好婦,奪之似懼虎。

Fán shǒu zhàn zhī dào, nèi shí jīngshén, wài shì ān yí. Jiàn zhī shì hǎo fù, duó zhī shì jù hǔ

In all ways of hand combat (using sword/ jian), internally the spirit is full, the outside manifests a calm appearance. Appear as a friendly woman, (then) seize the moment like a threatened tiger.

From Spring and Autumn of Wu and Yue 吴越春秋

Image is of Lady Sun (孫夫人) for more about her see- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Sun?oldformat=true


Translation and Commentary by — Scott M. Rodell

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

Essential Points of Sword Fighting - Translation and Commentary by — Scott M. Rodell




對劍要領
Essential Points of Sword Fighting

待敵恃奇正。追敵須奪門。莫使人佔手。起伏要分明。欲左先攻右,欲右先攻左。

Dài dí shì qí zhèng. Zhuī dí xū duó mén. Mò shǐ rén zhàn shǒu. Qǐfú yào fēnmíng. Yù zuǒ xiāngōng yòu, yù yòu xiāngōng zuǒ.

I await the enemy’s (move) relying on unexpected and orthodox (methods). Pursuing the enemy, one must seize the opening. Do not let him control your hand. Moving up and down must be clear. If you want to go left, first attack right. If you want to go right, first go left.

Commentary -
The first line contains the binomial qí zhèng and alludes a line from Chapter Five in Sunzi’s “Art of War.” Samuel Griffith translated that line as, “That the army is certain to sustain the enemy’s attack without suffering defeat is due to operations of the extraordinary and the normal forces” where qí zhèng are translated as the extraordinary and the normal forces. (奇正相生,如环之无端,孰能穷之. Qí zhèng xiāngshēng, rú huán zhī wúduān, shú néng qióng zhī.) 


In military terms, qí zhèng has also been translated as, the “unorthodox and orthodox” and as “maneuvers direct and indirect.” In terms of battlefield tactics, military commentators describe qí as encircling or surprising the enemy with a flanking attack. While zhèng is a frontal assault or facing the enemy head on. (More discussion and detail maybe found at: https://suntzusaid.com/book/5). Aside from the physical shape qí zhèng represent in actual troop movement, in principle qí zhèng means that one should not be dogmatic, that while maintaining a solid frontal formation, one is watching for side doors through which to enter and even creating these possibilities by how one is facing the enemy. 

This is sound advice for the jianke, who must maintain a position that does not unintentionally offer any windows or doors for the duifang to sneak in, but also not ridged or inflexible, but rather ready to follow into any opening that presents itself. Thus the “orthodox” ready position is used to create the “unorthodox” or unexpected entrance from the side. In this manner, there is a yin-yang relationship between qí and zhèng where one transforms into the other as the flow of the action requires.

Essential Points of Sword Fighting - Translation and Commentary by — Scott M. Rodell

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Yang Taiji Jian - Yang Chengfu - Translation by Scott M. Rodell



劒氣如虹劍行似龍
劍神合一玄妙無窮
廣平楊澄甫題

Jiàn qì rú hóng jiàn xíng shì lóng
jiàn shén hé yī xuánmiào wúqióng
Guǎng Píng Yáng Chéngfǔ tí

The sword’s qì is as a rainbow, the sword moves like a dragon.
Sword and spirit meet as one, its profundity is boundless.

Yang Chengfu of Guangping

From: http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Wudang-Sword-Method-Swordsmanship-ebook/dp/B0155MS13A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1441883366&sr=1-1
 — with Scott M. Rodell.

Yang Taiji Jian - Yang Chengfu - Translation by Scott M. Rodell

Friday, March 2, 2018

Yue Fei's Xingyi, 1934 By Li Cun Yi Translation by Scott Rodell


In order to study martial arts, one must be diligent in two areas. 

First, one must be willing to travel great distances in order to 
study with those of higher skill and sincerely request instruction. 
Second, one must also be diligent in speech, 

humbling one's self and ask for guidance.

Quoted from Yue Fei's Intent Boxing - Xingyi - , 1934
By Li Cun Yi Translation by Scott Rodell 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Taiji Sword by Chen Weiming - translation by Scott M. Rodell



觀此比劍專中腕臂與太極劍之用
合顧其法皆不傳
世之能劍者大抵皆舞劍之
類如風捲如電馳如鳥落如龍翔
容觀雖美未必適於用也
《太極劍》陳微明

Guān cǐ bǐ jiàn zhuān zhōng wàn bì yǔ tàijí jiàn zhī yòng
Hé gù qí fǎ jiē bù chuán
shì zhī néng jiàn zhě dàdǐ jiē wǔ jiàn zhī
lèi rú fēng juǎn rú diàn chí rú niǎo luò rú lóng xiáng róng guān suī
měi wèibì shì yú yòng yě

Demonstrations of sword matches that focus on (striking) the wrist and arm are used the same in taiji sword. (I’ve) noticed that this has not been passed down. 
Generally speaking, those practicing the sword dance today are like a rolling wind, very fast like a swooping bird, and with an appearance like a soaring dragon; it looks beautiful but is not necessarily of any use.

Quoted from the introduction to Taiji Sword by Chen Weiming (1929)
trans: Scott M. Rodell

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Jian Chinese Straight Sword - Paul Andrews - Xingyi Academy


"A picture I made some time ago for students to learn the names of parts of the Jian. I think we should strive to use the traditional terminology more, it is a sign of respect for the culture and the art of Chinese swordplay and shows our sincerity and dedication to the art. The design is based from a picture ofGraham Cave's Tigers Den mujian (wooden jian) which are the training swords we prefer." Paul Andrews - Xingyi Academy 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Xingyi Quan Classes - Colorado - Hsing I Chuan Classes in Boulder

Boulder Internal Arts offers a complete system of traditional Chinese Internal Kung Fu training.  Xingyi Quan (Hsing I Chuan) classes give you a method for building self awareness, lasting health, and personal transformation through movement and martial contact in Boulder, Colorado




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    Sunday, February 18, 2018

    Wudang Swordsmanship 13 Techniques 武當劍法十三勢

    Wudang Swordsmanship 13 Techniques 武當劍法十三勢


    Wudang Swordsmanship 13 techniques (武當劍法十三勢)are introduced by “Magic Sword” General Li JingLin (李景林) in 1920s. General Li met and learnt Wudang Swordsmanship from a Wudang Sword Master Song WeiYi (宋唯一)from 1922. Ji(Strike), Ci(Stab), Ge(Block), Xi(Wash) are four main techniques in the original Wudang sword techniques which is taught by master Song WeiYi.
    General Li JingLin introduced these swords techniques to his soldiers, after he created his swordsmanship company(劍術連) in the army. General Li also invited other swordsmanship teachers such as Xing Yi Master Sun LuTang, Bagua Zhang Master Jia QiShen to his swordsmanship company as an adviser. From numerous sword sparring and experiments inside the swordsmanship company in the army, general Li and his crews extracted and analysed the practice movements. They developed 13 main techniques and called “Wudang swordsmanship 13 techniques (Wudang Jian Fa Shi San Shi)”
    This clip shows how the movement look like and application base on wudang sword techniques in "The Major Methods of Wudang Sword" by Huang Yuan Xiou (武當劍法大要- 黃元秀)

    Free english translation is available in this site: https://brennantranslation.wordpress.... 武當劍法十三勢 武當劍法十三勢 武當劍法十三勢 由"神劍"李景林 將軍於1920年代推廣開來,。李景林 將軍於1922年向 武當劍傳人 宋唯一 習得 "武當劍法"。之後 李景林在軍中成立"劍術連 "把武當劍術授與部下,當中更邀請了劍術名家如孫祿堂, 賈岐山等作顧問。李景林在"劍術連" 中與其部下在不斷以劍對打及實驗中, 抽取實用技法, 並共同研究出劍術實用方法。 在原來武當劍法 中"撃,格,洗 ,刺 " 四母劍之基礎上, 整理出劍法十三勢。稱之為武當劍法十三勢。 以下影片是我們試演 。參考自"武當劍法大要" 黃元秀 著一書

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018

    Chinese Swordsmanship - Kunwu Sword Manual 李凌霄 by Li Lingxiao -trans. Scott M. Rodell


    The image above is of Zhang Liao (張遼), a general who served under Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty. Zhang was considered one of the Five Elite Generals of his time. For more information about him, please see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Liao

    心,眼,身,手,步,本屬聯合動作。各種拳技,莫不講究。劍術亦然。學者不可忽也。

    Xīn, yǎn, shēn, shǒu, bù, běn shǔ liánhé dòngzuò. Gèzhǒng quán jì, mòbù jiǎngjiù. Jiànshù yì rán. Xuézhě bùkě hū yě.

    Mind, eye, body, hand, steps, are all united in action. Of all types of boxing arts none doesn’t pay attention to this. The sword art is also this way. Practitioners must not neglect this.

    昆吾劍譜
    Kunwu Sword Manual
    李凌霄
    by Li Lingxiao [published Feb, 1935]
    -trans. Scott M. Rodell

    Saturday, January 27, 2018

    Taiji Sword (太極劍) by Wu Tunan (吳圖南) - Translation: Scott M. Rodell



    From the introduction to Taiji Sword (太極劍) by Wu Tunan (吳圖南) -

    夫劍法無運用不能因敵致勝,微變化焉能出入神奇。是以初學劍術者,或姿勢不正確,或動作不自然,或應用不純熟,或轉換不玲琍。是皆由於不知運用之變化使然也。蓋用劍之法,紐勁為上,靈捷為先。目宜速,身不可滯。手宜敏,步不可遲。 久之,自然動作儒雅,舉止大方。其形勢似飛鳳。其勁力透中鋒。使用腰力,運動全身。故發勁用勢,非僅徒用手指着力而已耳。

    Those practicing sword who do not practice applications can not achieve victory over different types of enemies,*(*There are different types of swordsmen and one must practice applications to deal with them in different ways analysis each, then taking advantage of their weakness.) (without practicing applications) if the enemy makes little changes you can not move the sword in and out with miraculous skill.
    Therefore, when first studying the sword art, maybe the postures are not correct, maybe the movements are not natural, maybe the applications not skillful, maybe the changes are not nimble. This is all due to not knowing the changes in applications. Concerning the application of sword techniques, the higher skill is turning power, being spirited and quick is also a priority. The eyes must be fast, the body cannot be sluggish. The hands must be agile, the steps cannot be late. After a long time, your movements naturally become refined, with a graceful bearing. Your postures resemble a flying phoenix. Your power passes through your center. Use the power of the waist, move the entire body. Therefore, when releasing power in a movement, do not merely use the power of the hand.

    Translation: Scott M. Rodell

    Thursday, January 25, 2018

    Bagua Zhang - Circle Walking Practice

    Bagua Zhang - Circle Walking Practice


    Circle Walking Variations

    As discussed above, there are many benefits the Ba Gua Zhang practitioner can gain from the circle walk practice. The circle walking method employed will depend upon the result desired. Below I will discuss several of the most common circle walking methods employed by Ba Gua practitioners. I have divided this section into stepping methods, body methods, and mental methods (use of intention).

    The Step

    While there are literally dozens of different stepping methods Ba Gua practitioners will employ while walking the circle, there are three main methods which are practiced by most all schools. Each school may have their own special names for these steps, however, these three methods are most commonly known as the mud walking step (or snake step), rolling step (or lion step), and the crane step. Below I will outline the characteristics of these steps as practiced by several different schools of Ba Gua.
    The Mud Walking Step: The "mud walking" step ( - tang ni bu), also commonly known as the "dragon step," the "gliding step," or the "snake step," is one of the most common Ba Gua stepping techniques. This step is not a method that is used very often in combat, however, it is an excellent training step and thus it is practiced by beginners in many schools. This step trains balance and stability in motion, thrusting or shoveling power in the legs and encourages an increased energy flow to the legs and feet. 
    Read the rest HERE

    Friday, January 19, 2018

    Thich Nhat Hanh "15 Practical Ways To Find Your Zen At Work",


    15 practical steps Thay says we can take to bring mindfulness to our work:
    1. Start your day with 10 minutes of sitting in meditation.

    2. Take the time to sit down and enjoy eating breakfast at home.

    3. Remind yourself every day of your gratitude for being alive and having 24 brand-new hours to live.

    4. Try not to divide your time into "my time" and "work." All time can be your own time if you stay in the present moment and keep in touch with what’s happening in your body and mind. There’s no reason why your time at work should be any less pleasant than your time anywhere else.

    5. Resist the urge to make calls on your cell phone while on your way to and from work, or on your way to appointments. Allow yourself this time to just be with yourself, with nature and with the world around you.

    6. Arrange a breathing area at work where you can go to calm down, stop and have a rest. Take regular breathing breaks to come back to your body and to bring your thoughts back to the present.

    7. At lunchtime, eat only your food and not your fears or worries. Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Change environments. Go for a walk.

    8. Make a ritual out of drinking your tea. Stop work and look deeply into your tea to see everything that went into making it: the clouds and the rain, the tea plantations and the workers harvesting the tea.

    9. Before going to a meeting, visualize someone very peaceful, mindful and skillful being with you. Take refuge in this person to help stay calm and peaceful.

    10. If you feel anger or irritation, refrain from saying or doing anything straight away. Come back to your breathing and follow your in- and out-breath until you’ve calmed down.

    11. Practice looking at your boss, your superiors, your colleagues or your subordinates as your allies and not as your enemies. Recognize that working collaboratively brings more satisfaction and joy than working alone. Know that the success and happiness of everyone is your own success.

    12. Express your gratitude and appreciation to your colleagues regularly for their positive qualities. This will transform the whole work environment, making it much more harmonious and pleasant for everyone.

    13. Try to relax and restore yourself before going home so you don’t bring accumulated negative energy or frustration home with you.

    14. Take some time to relax and come back to yourself when you get home before starting on household chores. Recognize that multitasking means you’re never fully present for any one thing. Do one thing at a time and give it your full attention.

    15. At the end of the day, keep a journal of all the good things that happened in your day. Water your seeds of joy and gratitude regularly so they can grow.

    - Thich Nhat Hanh "15 Practical Ways To Find Your Zen At Work", 
    Jo Confino - The Huffington Post.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Bagua Zhang - "The life of Dong Haichuan" by Yin Fu

    When Dong Haichuan, the founder of Baguazhang, died in winter 1882, Yinfu with other disciples buried him in a cemetery based at the south of Xiao Niu Fang village, beside the Red Bridge ouside Dong Zhi Men in Beijing. On his burial site were written all the major facts of his life. However as time passed, the burial site suffered progressively from wind and rain erosion first and more recently heavily damaged during the Cultural Revolution, the epitaph becoming barely readable.
    In 1981 under the authority of the Third Generation Baguazhang Great master Li Ziming, a group of practitioners decided to move Dong Haichuan tomb and its four steles to the west of Beijing in Wan’an Public Cemetery, in order to preserve for the posterity the invaluable information written on these steles.

    I The first stele (1883):  "The life of Dong Haichuan" by Yin Fu and by Li Zhiming (1981)

    Front side of  first stele (Fig.1)

    On the front side of this stele is written “For the following generations”. The epitaph was written with cursive characters.

    Here is the translation of the epitaph:
    “His family name Dong and his given name was Haichuan, originated from the village of South Niujiawu in Wen An county. When he was young he was not inclined to do countryside works, but rather to help the poor and defend the weak against robbers and injustice. He was very fond of hunting and used to pass all the day long in the forest. He was very fond of travelling which brought him to visit many places around China but especially Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces, crossing mountains and rivers to enlarge his vision of the world and meet more adventures. Later he met a Taoist who taught him a very special style of martial art which he will confer him invincibility in combat. Unexpectedly reaching middle age, he will be forced to follow the unorthodox way of Si Maqian (famous Chinese historian and poet who was submitted to castration), to serve as an eunuch servant inside a palace. Facing injustice as his main enemy, he had no choice but hide his skills and patriotic beliefs while serving obediently in the Prince Su palace. Reaching an advanced age and requesting further care, decided to move in one of his disciples house. This time he can spend all his time to teach his large number of disciples, around several thousands… among them were some illustrious and influential officials but also scholars and merchants, personalizing his teaching to each of them.He demonstrated once his talents on the Great Wall surrounded by numerous opponents all armed with weapons and trying to pierce or hit him. Stirring in all directions, Dong was counterattacking in all angles, rotating rapidly like a hurricane, to the stupefaction of all spectators, all recognizing the phenomenal level which Dong Haichuan has reached in martial arts.
    Before dying, many followers came to touch his hands and feet, he stayed three days sitting before joining the immortals. The day of his funerals all his disciples with several hundreds of people all dressed in white, followed the funeral cortege bringing Dong to his grave site several miles away from Beijing’s Dong Zhimen Gate. He will leave to everyone a deep sorrow. In order to commemorate him this stele was erected to preserve his memory for the coming generations.

    Stele was erected in February 1883.” (Fig. 1).

    On the rear of the first stele was written the following epitaph.

    On its top: “To be preserved for the coming generations”.

    The main text: “He was a very loyal man and who can bear comparison to his life’s dedication?
    Coming from poverty then joining the army with his sword skills, how can we really know what was his real task? Suffering from his most intimate part of the body, loosing his male organs, how can he continue to serve with the wall of the city? He is the symbol of all those who endure private mutilation and continue to serve a secret cause.”

    Names of Dong Haiquan’s disciples written of his tomb.


    Rear side of  first stele (Fig.2)
    Names of Dong Haiquan’s disciples written of his tomb.

    Senior disciples (56):
    Yin Fu, Ma Weiqi, Shi Jidong, Cheng Tinghua, Song Changrong,
    Sun Tianzhang, Liu Dengke, Jiao Yulong, Gu Yushan, Ma Chunzhi,
    Zhangyun, Qin Yukuan, Liu Dianjia, Lu Chengde, An Fen,
    Xia Mingde, Geng Yongshan, Wei Jixiang, Yangkun, Wang Xinsheng
    Wang Huaiqing, Shen Changshou, Wang Deyi, Zhu Ziyun, Song Yongxiang,
    Li Wanyou, Pan Zhiyong, Song Longhai, Wang Yongtai, Peng Liangui,
    Fu Zhenhai, Wang Hongbin, Gu Buyun, Chen Chunlin, Wang Tingju,
    Shuang Fu, Li Changsheng, Xu Zhaoxiang, Liu Baozhen, Liang Zhenpu,
    Zhang Yingshan, Guo Yuting, Zhao Yunxiang, Zhang quankui, Jiao Chunfang
    Liu Fengchun, Si Yuangong, Zhang Ze, Qing Shan, He Wu,
    He Liu, Guo Tonghai, Xu Henian, Feng Guanglian, Li Chunnian, Chen Pan.

    (12) Junior disciples:
    Qian Benshan, Zhang Yimin, Ma Gui, Yang Junfeng, Liu Jinyin
    Wen Zhi, Kui Yu, Wang Zhi, Shi Ting, Ju Qingyuan
    Liu Yinzhang, Geng Yulin

    Composed in Qing Dynasty 10th generation (1883) by Cen Guirong and graved by Qing
    Shan from Shenyang (fig. 2).

    These following disciples did not figure originally on Dong’s stele but was included by Li Zhiming after relocation of the site (1981).

    (9) additional disciples:
    Quan Kaiting, Ruan Zhengu, Liang Shizhen, Zhang Huaishan, Zhong Xianglin,
    Wu Maoting, Li Yungui, Liu Deguan, Liang Le.

    READ THE REST HERE: 


    Bagua Zhang - "The life of Dong Haichuan" by Yin Fu

    Friday, January 5, 2018

    An old Chinese Saying - translation and commentary by ~ Scott M. Rodell


    一寸長, 一寸強
    一寸小, 一寸巧
    一寸短,一寸險
    ~古人說
    Yīcùn cháng, yīcùn qiáng
    yīcùn xiǎo, yīcùn qiǎo
    yīcùn duǎn, yīcùn xiǎn
    ~Gǔrén shuō
    One inch longer, one inch stronger
    One inch smaller, one inch (more) skillful
    One inch shorter, one inch closer
    ~ an old Chinese saying
    This is an old martial saying that seems to originate at least in part with General Qi Jiguang who wrote, “Short weapons cannot intercept long weapons, one inch longer is one inch stronger (Duǎn bù jiē zhǎng, yīcùn cháng yīcùn qiáng, 短不接長,一寸長一寸強).” In general, the phrase addresses the difference between long weapons, such as spears, and shorter weapons, including swords.
    It terms of sword work itself, this may be interpreted in another manner as~
    If your sword cuts are an inch longer, they will have more power. However, if they are an inch smaller, that is more skillful. Then the distance to the duifang is an inch shorter, and you are an inch close to land a blow.
    This describes the evolution every diligent swordsman moves thorough. At first, one tends to rely on power. Further training brings refinement leading to one’s movements becoming smaller, tighter, and thus quicker. Deflections are then only as big as needed and the sword isn’t swung at the duifang’s body in general, but at a small, exact target. This compacting of one’s technique changes the timing of actions so that your sword ends up moving closer to the target even as the duifang is attacking. Thus the distance to your target is shorter though the starting distance has not changed.
    Note that the last word in this saying, xiǎn, is typically translated as danger in common vernacular Chinese. It can however also mean to be near as in anear miss or a close call.. The overall structure of the saying is one where a specific condition leads to a improved result. Following that structure, the distance being an inch shorter, places the swordsman in a better tactical position, one inch closer to landing his or her blow. Certainly, that is also a more dangerous position (for both swordsmen). However, if one has deflected properly, leading the duifang’s weapon into a void while maintain tip control, so that one’s sword is aligned with its target, then in this dangerous position, there is a strategic opportunity.
    ~ Scott M. Rodell found HERE