Wednesday, December 28, 2011


"Wu style Taiji Quan form by Benjamin Wu until 9:39 then Novell Bell does Jiang Rong Qiao Baguazhang. At 12:11 they do push hands. Skill and mutual respect evident."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kung Fu Pictures From the 1920's

Here are 3 slightly different pictures of Kung Fu Practitioners from China. The Pictures were all labeled "Ting Hsing Martial Arts". It almost looks like the man in the back with the double broadswords is doing Bagua. Enjoy

All Photos by Sidney Gamble

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Undiscovered Yang Tai Ji Quan!

Re Blogged From Masters Of The IMA

Zhao Bin and the Yang family

Zhao Bin
It is not often realised that, of the commonly listed disciples of Yang Chengu, 3 were actually relatives of his, namely Fu Zhongwen, Zhao Bin and Zhang Qinglin. Both Fu and Zhang are fairly well known in the West through the efforts of their students and grandstudents, but Zhao (perhaps unfairly) is much less well known.

An account of his formative years, of which I’ve translated an extract below (written by Zhao’s son, Zhao Youbin, who teaches in Xi’an), is a precious snapshot of growing up in one of the ‘homes’ of taiji.

“…Yang Jianhou had 3 sons, Yang Zhaoxiong (known as Yang Shaohou), Yang Zhaoyuan (Yang Zhonghou), and Yang Zhaoqing (otherwise known as Yang Chengfu). Yang Zhaoyuan inherited much of his uncle Banhou’s temperament and was quick-tempered and had a prodigious appetite for food and drink. Because he had no son but two daughters [in those days it was considered most unfortunate to not have to son to carry on the family line], he became depressed. Later, he developed diverticulitis and died at a young age. He left behind two daughters, Yang Cong and Yang Min, who were brought up by Yang Jianhou and his wife.

During the years of these events, another Yongnian family, the Zhaos, was prosperous and growing. The master of the house, Zhao Lin (Zhao Bin’s grandfather) had five sons, who people called ‘the 5 tigers of the Zhao family’. The Zhao family owned a restaurant near the front gate of Guangfu village called ‘Wan Xing Lou’, which was run by the second son. The eldest son was a scholar, the third was purchaser for the restaurant, the fourth was the restaurant’s book-keeper and the fifth studied in Beijing.

The fourth son, Zhao Bin’s father, was called Zhao Shutang (1882-1951). From a young age he displayed a cautious and loyal nature and was generous to others less fortunate. In his years as book-keeper of the family’s restaurant, he was very generous to customers, always rounding bills down to the nearest 10. Whenever poor people came into the restaurant begging for food, he would straight away instruct the waiters to give them mantou (steamed buns) with some meat and veg. Friends who came to him to borrow money found that he was only too happy to help. As Zhao Shutang got older, his elder brother kept an eye out for suitable girls in the town for him to marry. As luck would have it, he set his sights on Yang Zhaoyuan’s elder daughter, Yang Cong (1888-1962). Both families agreed at once to the match, and the two were married in 1904 when Yang Cong was 17 years old.

Legend has it that, at the ‘hui men’ part of the wedding ceremony [where the new groom visits the home of his new in-laws according to Chinese custom], Yang Zhaoyuan had already passed away a year before, so it fell to Yang Jianhou and Yang Shaohou to welcome the new groom. During the banquet, they asked Zhao Shutang if he knew any martial arts. With a shy smile, Zhao pulled aside his chair and performed the Yang family’s low frame set underneath the table. At this, Yang Jianhou laughed and said ‘You’ve got potential; when you have some free time, please come over, I’ll have Shaohou take your studies further’. And so this episode has come to be called ‘Yang Jianhou tests his new son-in-law at the banquet’ by their descendants.

From then on, Zhao Shutang took on the responsibility of looking after his new wife’s mother and sister. Two years later, Yang Cong gave birth to a son (Zhao Bin 1906 – 1999) and two daughters: Zhao Guizhen (1908 – 1875, who would later marry Fu Zhongwen) and Zhao Xiuzhen.

Yang Chengfu (L) with Zhao Bin (R) c.1930

Zhao Bin was not only Zhao Shutang’s only son, but also the Yang family’s precious first grandson. Although his grandfather Yang Zhaoyuan had passed away, his great-uncles Yang Shaohou and Yang Chengfu treated him as if he were their own grandson. Zhao spent much of his early years playing at his grandmother’s house, and from the age of 6 or 7 would deliver roast chicken, donkey meat and crispy pancakes (you su bing) to the Yangs. His great-uncles also taught him to practice taiji from an early age. Even Zhao’s original name ‘Zhao Wu’, carried the meaning of inheriting the Yang family’s martial traditions. Zhao’s primary school teacher was none other than the famous Wu (Hao) style master Hao Weizhen, who taught taiji as a one of the school subjects. Zhao was intelligent, had a good memory and liked to fight…At that time, there were a dozen or so male cousins in the Zhao family, and Zhao Bin would be the one leading the fights…

Speaking of group fights, my father mentioned enthusiastically that back then it was mainly the Zhao family kids fighting against the Li family (the grandchildren of the taiji master Li Yiyu). In these fights, Zhao Bin would lead the Zhao family, while the Lis were led by Li Huaiyin (Li Yiyu’s grandson, who would also later go on to become a master of his family’s taiji). Of course, these fights weren’t serious, and neither side held grudges. When Zhao Bin met Li Huaiyin many years later in Nanjing, they had great fun reminiscing over their childhood escapades and decided there and then to become sworn brothers. Unfortunately they never met again. In the early 90s, the chief editor of ‘China Taiji’ magazine, Li Guangfan, wrote to Zhao requesting him to submit an article. My father casually asked Li if he knew of Li Huaiyin’s whereabouts, and was stunned to be told that he was Li Guangfan’s father! Upon hearing that Li Huaiyin had already passed away, Zhao began corresponding with Li Guangfan and the two became good friends.”

Re Blogged From Masters Of The IMA

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kuoshu Fighting KO 1998

Internal Martial Arts at Work!

Alex Shpigel's 1998 final match, resulting in KO. Alex was trained by yours truly (Mike Patterson) in Xingyi, Bagua and Taiji. Watch to the very end of the clip to see a slow motion closeup of the highlight of the fight.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another Gao Style Bagua from Taiwan

Here is another branch of the Yi Zong school. Enjoy!
Snake Palm

Dragon Palm

Tiger Palm


Turning Body Palm

Twisting Body Palm

Behind The Back Palm

Spinning Body Palm

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tim Cartmell Ground Proofing DVD PREVIEW

Love this material! I took this from Tim a few years ago and i get mileage out of it every time i spar!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Shuai Jiao Bad Ass Tong Zhongyi

Reblogged from Masters of IMA

Tong Zhongyi and his Shuai Jiao

Tong Zhongyi (1879 – 1963), styled Tong Liangchen, was a famous wushu master of Manchu extraction.

Tong Zhongyi

His ancestors were bannermen in the Qing army who followed the Manchu royal family from Liaoning into ‘Han’ China and eventually settled in Cangzhou. Tong’s grandfather Tong Mingkui was garrisoned on China’s frontiers and gave his life defending them. Tong’s father, Tong Enrui,was a skilled martial artist as well as an accomplished bone-setter. At the age of 6, Tong Zhongyi began to learn both the martial and medical arts which had been passed down within the Tong family, which included shuai jiao and liu he quan. By the time he was an adult, he was a master in his own right and was particularly adept at shuai jiao and flicking shot-pellets (tan wan).

In the dying days of the Qing dynasty (in 1902), Tong followed his elder brother (Tong Zhongcheng) to work as a caravan guard in the De Sheng guarding agency in Fengtian (modern-day Shenyang). His work as a guard took him all over China, and in his travels he met many great masters of the time. It was during this period that Tong and Wang Ziping won the accolade of ‘the 2 heroes of Cangzhou’. After the fall of the Qing and the Xin Hai revolution, Tong spent most of the early Republican period working as a martial arts instructor in various local militias in Fengtian, Baoding, Anhui, etc.

In 1922, Tong arrived in Shanghai at the invitation of the Guo Yu Wushu Research Society and soon afterwards set up the ‘Zhongyi Guoshu Academy’, which taught 5 subjects, namely shuai jiao, quanshu, weightlifting, archery and weapons. In the 1928 ‘Guo Kao’ inNanjing, Tong placed in the ‘Excellent’ category.

Upon opening the ‘Zhongyi Boxing Academy’, Tong set 3 rules:

- he would not compete with swords or spears;

- he would not compete with sticks and staffs;

- he would not compete at kicking and punching.

He made clear that challengers could only challenge him at 4 contests:

1) Pole-shaking: whoever shook the pole the most times was considered the winner;

2) Drawing a bow: whoever could fully draw a 100-pound bow the most times was considered the winner;

3) Flicking pellets: whoever could hit bronze cymbals suspended from a tree at a distance of 30m the most times with 30 pellets won; and

4) Shuai Jiao: whoever could beat him 2 times out of 3 bouts would be considered the winner.

No challenger ever managed to beat him at these 4 contests.

Tong’s methods of teaching shuai jiao were very special. He would first teach willpower and endurance, along with leg and arm strength drills. For example, he would have his students practice the shuai jiao techniques ’single hook and comb’ (dan gou gua) and ‘double hook and comb’ (shuang gou gua) in a horse-riding stance in order to train leg and arm strength at the same time. Each session of horse-riding stance training would last about half an hour.

Tong Zhongyi in traditional shuai jiao uniform, the 'dalian'

He would also have his students train in common shuai jiao methods such as low-stepping whilst doing left and right kicks, shaking leather strips, ‘wringing’ small and big sticks (bangzi – much like the ‘rolling pin’ type stick used in taiji ruler), and ‘jumping and exploding’ (tiao bengzi – see link here: . There were also characteristic training methods of his like carrying wicker baskets, moving vats of water, etc. Although these methods may seem a bit unsophisticated, they were extremely effective.

Tong Zhongyi practicing thows with his disciple Liu Fei

(Note that both photos above were taken in 1948, when Tong was 69 years old!)

Tong taught the 24 traditional shuai jiao techniques (banzi) in a sequential progression from easy to hard, simple to complex. He also allowed his students to learn techniques by applying them on him (i.e. allowing his students to throw him out).

One story will suffice to show the level of his shuai jiao skill:

Not long after Tong had established the ‘Zhongyi Boxing Academy’, one day a dozen young men walked in to the academy, saying that they wanted to become Tong’s students. However, it was clear from their tone and demeanour that they had actually come to challenge Tong. At their head was a famous strongman called Zha Ruilong, who was not only good at martial arts but could also lift a 100+ pound stone barbell over his head as if it were a toy. Tong, discerning the visitors’ real intentions, agreed to a wrestling match. Zha’s friends took on Tong one by one, losing each time. Finally, it came to Zha’s turn to wrestle Tong. Before the match, Tong asked Zha if he had a handkerchief. Zha, puzzled by this request, pulled one out and gave it to Tong.

Tong then took the handkerchief and blindfolded himself, saying “Before becoming a student of a shifu, of course students want to see the teacher’s skills – this is normal. I’m going to wrestle this young man blindfolded – if I say that I’m going to throw him to the front door but he actually lands somewhere else, that will count as losing the match.” So saying, the two of them started to wrestle. Suddenly, Tong employed the move ‘gai ba wo’ (盖把握) and said “Zha Ruilong, to the front door with you!”. And sure enough, Zha had been thrown so that he landed next to the front door.

In the second bout, Tong said “This time, I’m going to throw you to the back door.” A few moments later, Tong surprised Zha with a leg hook throw (tiao gouzi) – all onlookers saw was Zha flying behind Tong to land in front of the back door. Tong made to help Zha up and begin the 3rd bout, but by this point Zha was convinced of Tong’s skill, and asked to become Tong’s student there and then.

Tong passed away in Shanghai in 1963 at the age of 84, having trained dozens of champion wrestlers and published several books on Wushu, Qin Na, Shuai Jiao, and other subjects.

Reblogged from Masters of IMA

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kuoshu Fighting KO 1998

Internal Martial Arts at Work!

"Michael Corradino's 1998 final match, resulting in KO. Michael was trained by yours truly (Mike Patterson) in Xingyi, Bagua and Taiji. Watch to the very end of the clip to see a slow motion closeup of the highlight of the fight."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Real Dai Family Xinyi

Modern Xingyi Quan originated from Dai Xinyi. The videos here are mostly a village demonstration of various Dai Family Xinyi forms and sets.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sea Riots! Dragon Kings! Nezha 哪吒 Takes Over!

Nezha, Na Zha or Nata (Chinese: 哪吒; pinyin: Nézhā or Núozhā[1]; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lô-chhia; is a Taoist protection deity, the trickster, originally of Chinese Buddhist mythology. His official Taoist name is "Marshal of the Central Altar" (中壇元帥). He was then given the title "Third Lotus Prince" (莲花三太子) after he became a deity.

Little Nezha Fights Great Dragon Kings:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cung Le - Flying Scissor Takedown!

Cung Le breaks down the scissor take down from an issue of Black Belt Magazine

Flying-scissor-kick takedown: Cung Le (right) distracts his adversary with a mid-level side kick (1-2). When he chambers his leg for what appears to be another such technique, the opponent reacts the same way (3-4). Le then leaps forward, placing his right leg in front of the man’s abdomen and his left leg behind his thighs (5). As he drops, he forces his foe to fall backward (6).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Liang-style Bagua Zhang 64 Hou Tien Post Heaven Palms!

Liang style Eight Diagrams Palm Boxing-64 straight palms:the form remains in the old primitive simplicity of the Eight Diagrams Palm. It is post-natal Baguazhang, brief, simple, elegant and effective in combats.Performed by Zhang Quan Liang,3rd generation master and successor of Li Ziming.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Muay Thai Chaiya: A Different Art

Muay Thai Chaiya is a fascinating fighting system deeply rooted in the martial traditions of ancient Thailand. Host, Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo studies with Kru Lek, one of Thailands leading practitioners of this effective art. Chayia uses a low stance, bare knuckles, elbows and knees out, like a prickly pineapple waiting to impale the opponent when he moves in.

Thanks to Steven for the links!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monkey King! : 大闹天宫 Havoc in Heaven

A 1964 cartoon release of the classic Chinese story; Monkey King or Journey to the West with English subs! Enjoy

Monday, November 7, 2011

Broadsword Sample

A Sampling of Various Xingyi Broadsword sets.

形意搖轉刀-戴明委(Xing Yi Screw Saber): 2 Handed Sword

形意連環雙刀-李宏(Xing Yi Linking Double Broadswords)

形意連環刀-李宏(Xing Yi Linking Broadsword)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kung Fu Bad Ass: Xingyi Master Guo Yun Shen (郭云深) (1829 - 1898)

Kuo Yun-Shen
Kuo Yun-Shen's given name was Yu-Sheng. He was born in China's Hebei Province, in a town called Hsi Luo Ma Chuang. He was short in stature, standing only about shoulder-high to most men, but he was strong and healthy by nature. He is said to have been the best disciple to ever have studied under Master Li Luo-Neng. No matter when he fought, using Peng Chuan ("Crushing Fist"; one of the five elemental forms of Hsing-I) and its half-step he could fell any opponent. No-one could stand against his use of P eng Chuan, and he was known throughout the Empire as Ban Bu Peng Kuo; Kuo of the Half-Stepped Crushing-Fist.

Kuo was a violent man who loved to fight. Because of this, he committed not a few violent acts, as we will see below.

In the beginning, he wanted to study Hsing-I, and so went to pay his respects to the famous master Li Luo-Neng in hopes of becoming a student. However, Master Li despised his rough and violent nature, and refused to teach him. But with all his heart he wanted to study Hsing-I. So he disguised himself as a workman to be able to come and go in Master Li's house, and in his spare time practiced what he had seen Master Li teach.

At the time it so happened that Peng Chuan was very popular. So it was that Kuo studied this particular form with the utmost dedication. After diligently studying for three years, he had perfected Peng Chuan.

One day, Kuo again went to pay his respects to LiLuo-Neng, and showed him Peng Chuan as he had been practicing it. His style was in almost all aspects in accord with the principles of Hsing-I. When Master Li saw that his determination and dedication we re so great, he agreed to teach Kuo all of the secrets of Hsing-I.

Among the great masters of Hsing-I, there are more stories about Kuo Yun-Shen than any other. Kuo's strength was without equal. It didn't matter how his opponent attacked; at his first move with Peng Chuan, they would drop to the ground.

It didn't matter how powerful the enemy he faced - he could easily defeat them all. There was a saying among the people: "Under all of Heaven, nothing may prevail against Peng Chuan" Kuo was the embodiment of this saying. Kuo was righteous in actions a nd truthful in speech. His disciples and succeeding generations in general all thought of him with the utmost veneration. In his later years he wrote a book called An Explanation of Hsing-I Chuan. Thanks to this book we have some taste of what kind of man he was.

The following are just a few of the stories concerning him...

"The Tiger Fist"

According to Master Wang Shu-Jin, one day Kuo Yun-Shen was sparring with a master of another style. In the course of the fight he was too forceful in his use of Peng Chuan; his opponent began to spit blood, and died. Because of this, Kuo was sent to prison.

After three years he was finally released. One of the top students of the Master he had killed came and declared his intention to avenge his teacher's death, inviting Kuo to compete with him. People knew that for the three years he had been in prison, Kuo had been manacled hand and foot, unable to move with much freedom, and so unable to fully practice his art. All thought that his health was probably weakened, and his vehemence doubtless dimi nished from its former state. His opponent was undoubtedly taking advantage of all this to get his revenge.

As soon as they crossed arms, however, Kuo struck violently with both fists, and his opponent was actually thrown back some fifteen to twenty feet and collapsed. It was very obvious that everybody was mistaken in their belief. During the time that he w as in prison, even though Kuo Yun-Shen did not have complete freedom of movement, he thought incessantly about his fighting style; although his hands were chained, borrowing from Hu Hsing Hsing-I's Tiger Form) he was able to come up with a new hand style. Morning and night he developed and practiced his "Tiger Striking Hand".

There exists yet another version of this same story, told in A Biographical Sketch of Master Kuo.

Kuo Yun-Shen was appointed as warden of Shen County. When he went to take over his post, the county magistrate presented him with money and gifts in recognition of his achievements. Because of this he drew the ill-will of the local bandits, who took ev ery opportunity to make trouble for him.

One day, Kuo found himself face-to-face with a sword-brandishing brigand. He easily took the sword from him, and using it to return the attack hacked him to death. The penalty for killing a man was very severe, and Kuo found himself facing this penalty . But the county magistrate was fond of Kuo and so lightened his sentence to only three years imprisonment.

When the day for his release arrived, Magistrate Ch'ien asked, "Have you lost your kung-fu?" Kuo Yun-Shen declared "Absolutely not." His glance happened to fall on the courtyard wall. He struck it with his "Tiger Fist", and with just this one blow, the wall collapsed in a thunderous roar. For the three years that he was in prison, even though manacled, he found a way to practice, and created his "Tiger Fist". For this reason, his fame shines even today.

"Battle with the Shaolin Priest"

In an unnamed temple at the end of Steel Alley in Beijing, there lived a priest whose strength was without equal. It was said that he could lift a stone lion weighing 600 jin. He had wanted very much to study Hsing-I Chuan, but was refused as a student; instead he studied the Shaolin style. His skill was known far and wide. Everyone thought that someone this skillful and powerful would be able to defeat a Hsing-I practitioner with one blow. In order to prove this, the priest went to Beijing.

At that time, Liu Ch'i-Lan's chief student, Li Tsun-I had established a studio in Deck Alley. He accepted the priest's challenge, and was defeated. Thinking of the disgrace this must surely bring to Hsing-I Chuan, he asked Kuo Yun-Shen to face the chal lenge.

Kuo Yun-Shen stepped up and began to demonstrate his Peng Chuan. Advancing with the half-step, he attacked the Shaolin priest. The priest flew back some ten feet and fell at the base of a wall. "Come try again", Kuo said. The priest came forward and Ku o advanced again, adding even more strength and ferocity to his half-step, and again attacked with Peng Chuan. He hit him in the chest so hard that he hurt the ribs in the priest's back, leaving him in such pain that he was unable to stand.

Kuo pulled some medicine from within the folds of his robe, saying "Take this medicine, Priest, and after you apply it rest gently while you heal." He then walked away. The next day, this Shaolin priest prepared lavish gifts and went to pay his respect s to Kuo Yun-Shen, acknowledging him as a teacher.

Later, Kuo Yun-Shen was heard to say, "When I first saw the priest, I could tell that he had potential, was teachable. Because of this, I only used the Chi from my lungs to steal the strength from his; this was curable with medicine. Had I used Chi from my kidneys to sap the strength in his arms, he would have never recovered." The listening crowd all clamored their approval.

"Kuo Yun-Shen and Tung Hai Chuan"

At the time, there was a Pa-Kua practitioner named Tung Hai-Chuan, whose skill was renowned. Kuo went to pay his respects to Tung Hai-Chuan, asking that they compare skill in fighting. They fought for three days and three nights without rest, neither g aining a clear advantage over the other. Later, when. talking together, they discovered that there were many similarities in the underlying Theories behind their two respective styles, and so decided to combine both into one school; those who studied Hsin g-I must study Pa-Kua, and those who studied Pa-Kua must study Hsing-I.

So the disciples of Li Tsun-I and Tung Hai-Chuan worked with Masters Kuo and Tung to combine Hsing-I and Pa-Kua into one school. This feat was something that no ordinary person could have accomplished: only Masters Kuo and Tung could have brought it ab out. And in fact even to this day, the tradition remains unchanged.

About the Author:
Robert Brewer is currently completing his masters degree in Asian Studies. He has studied in both Mainland China and Taiwan. He is an accomplished language teacher and a long time practitioner of the internal arts, with an emphasis on Hsing I Chuan.


Monday, October 31, 2011

“Chinese Cutting Sword” designed by Scott M. Rodell

An real Chinese Jian (Straight Sword) at a Great price!
Designed by teacher and author*, Scott M. Rodell, this simple and elegant jian is a revival of the classic Chinese straight sword. This purpose built sword is designed for both cutting and forms practice. It utilizes a special steel formulation and heat treatment regiment developed by Hanwei that optimizes edge hardness and body toughness while staying true to the feel and handling of period jian. The overall design of this sword is based on Rodell’s years of study of 1,000s of antique Chinese jian. In particular, this historically accurate jian features a blade with a curved surface edge geometry as was the standard for Chinese swords. In order to find the best, historically accurate edge for use by modern practitioners, teacher Rodell tested a number of different edge geometries during the course of the development of this cutting jian. The edge on this sword performs well whether cutting soft plastic targets or hard bamboo or wood.

Blade Steel: Specially Heat Treated High Carbon Steel with historically accurate curved edge geometry.
Blade Length: 31″ (79 cm.)
Sword Length: 39 1/2″ (100.5 cm.)
Overall Length: 42 1/2″ (108 cm.)
Sword Weight: 1 lb. 15 oz (900 g.)
Decoration/Materials: Steel fittings with Rosewood scabbard and cord wrapped grip.
Each blade is individually hand forged so lengths & weights may vary slightly.
CAS/Hanwei List Price: $399
Our List Price: $195.99

Here is a review of this sword:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Two Arm Shoulder Throw = Number One Judo Throw (?)

The number one Judo throw, Morote Seoinage,(or at least the one with a really good success rate) enjoy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

BKS Iyengar performing Yoga Vinyasa

1938 (he is 20)

1977(he is 59)

1991 (he is 73)

He is 92 years old and still alive and kicking!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hsing I History - Hsing I Tales

Translated by Robert Brewer

Throughout the history of Hsing-I, Pa Kua and Tai Chi Chuan there have been many masters of legendary stature. The stories about them, while not always based in verifiable historical fact, are nonetheless important for what they tell us about the spirit of each master's art, as well as giving us a wonderful glimpse of times and traditions of a bygone age.

Through Hsing-I Tales, I hope to make available as many of these anecdotes as possible. Hope you enjoy them!

Shang Yun Hsiang

When Shang Yun Hsiang was ten years old, he went to the capitol with his father to study the art of lamp making. By nature he was interested in the martial arts, most especially in sparring both empty handed and with the staff. He became the student of Ma Ta I, and for ten years studied Kung Li Chuan.

He once had an occasion to meet with a high-level practitioner of Hsing I, a certain Li Chih He. They began to fight, and he was very easily beaten by Chih-he. It was then that he realized the superiority of Hsing I Chuan, and so became a disciple of Li Ts'un I.

Shang practiced night and day, and his martial ability improved daily. Because of this, he had no spare time to take care of his business, so he abandoned his lamp making. In Five Cities Camp he got work as a scout, searching for the whereabouts of ba ndits in the area. For a time he lived in the ruins of a temple, economizing in what he needed to live. Sometimes he had just barely enough for three meager meals a day.

Disregarding the fact that he was living in rags, shirtless and barefoot he would practice. The soles of his feet became hard as iron. The court yard of the temple originally consisted of small pebbles, yet after he had been practicing there for a whil e, the pebbles became sand. Everyone gave him the nickname The iron-footed Buddha.

Kuo Yun Shen heard that Shang Yun Hsiang's martial ability was very good. From far away, he traveled to Beijing to see him. He decided that if he were indeed worthy of the true knowledge, then he would accept him as a pupil and teach him himself. After the two of them had met, Kuo Yun Shen began to give Shang Yun Hsiang advice about Hsing I. Shang responded so well that he did indeed accept him as his own student.

In those days, there was a famous teacher of martial arts named Feng Lao Cheng, who excelled at wrestling, a style known as Fan Tzu. He had over 1000 disciples; in Hobei province there were none who had not heard of him. People called him the "marvelo us spirit hand," and he indeed lived up to his name.

One day, Feng and Shang were talking together when Feng boasted, "All the fighting styles in the world are low-class and unbearable, none can match my Fan Tzu style. There is no one who is worthy to be my opponent; would you believe it?"

Shang muttered, "I don't believe you," and then quickly changed the subject. Feng took this as a sign of fear, and decided that he must fight with Shang Yun Hsiang.

Initially, Shang would not agree, but because the challenge was thrown down a second --and then a third-- time, he had no choice but to give in. From several steps away, Feng began his attack with the ferocity of a whirlwind, attacking Shang's Pai Hui point with a stone-like fist. Not at all concerned, Shang defended himself using the Phoenix form from Hsing I, then pressed the attack, striking Feng in the groin. That was it: with a great cry, Feng fled the scene.

Another time, Shang went to visit a friend in another county. It just so happened, at the time that a high-level practitioner of Pa Chi Chuan and the staff, named Ma Hsiu, was in the same county. They found themselves seated together, and Ma kept casti ng aspersions upon Hsing I, saying that there was no way that Hsing I could compare with his art of the staff. He made clear his intent to fight with Shang using the staff. How was he to know that Hsing I Chuan had had its origins in the art of the staf f (the author of this story says that one of the founders of Hsing I Chuan was a master of the staff), and this was passed down through Hsing I staff.

The two of them faced off with staffs. Ma thought that even though Shang was famous for his bare-handed fighting ability, he wouldn't be able to win with a staff. He opened with a high-level move, striking at Shang's throat. But Shang didn't even fli nch. Moving from high to low, he struck down Ma's staff using Hsing I's Metal staff form. So powerful was this single blow that when Shang moved forward to present an attack, Ma was already saluting him, admitting defeat.

Chan Yun T'ing, Na Yue Chen, Hsu Hsiao Yu, Ch'en Tzu Ming, and Sun Meng Chih were all extremely skilled practitioners who all came from Shang Yun Hsiang's school. Of these, Chan Yun T'ing wrote the Book of Hsing I Five Elements, and A Collection of the Lore of Hsing I. From these books, it is not hard to divine the character of his master, Shang Yun Hsiang.

About the Author:
Robert Brewer is currently completing his masters degree in Asian Studies. He has studied in both Mainland China and Taiwan. He is an accomplished language teacher and does a lot of translating for us at the Journal. He is a long time practitioner of the internal arts, with an emphasis on Hsing I Chuan.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Kung Fu Bad Ass - Wang Zi Ping (1881-1973)

Wang Zi-Ping (1881–1973) (simplified Chinese: 王子平; traditional Chinese: 王子平; pinyin: Wáng Zǐpíng; Wade–Giles: Wang Tzŭ-p’ing) was a Chinese-Muslim practitioner of Chinese Martial Arts and traditional medicine from Changzhou, Cangxian county, Mengcun, Hebei Province.[1] He served as the leader of the Shaolin Kung Fu division of the Martial Arts Institute in 1928 and was also the vice chairman of the Chinese Wushu Association.[2] Wang was known for his mastery of Cha quan, Hua quan, Pao Chuan, Bajiquan, and Tai Chi Chuan.[citation needed]

Early in his life, Wang was a member of an underground revolutionary group known as "The Righteous and Harmonious Fists" during the Boxer Rebellion. This was believed to be resulting from the fact that Ziping had lived most of his life under colonial rule from major European powers. He later resigned membership after the fall of the Qing government and became a student of Yang Hongxiu,[3] from which he learned the art of Cha Quan.

He developed an exercise regimen for long life. He published works on martial arts exercises.[4]

When Zhou Enlai visited Burma, Wang, then 80 years old, went with them performed martial arts during the visit. He died when he was 93 years old.[5]

Wang developed "Quan Shr Er Shr Fa" (Twenty Fist Method)[6] as well as "Ching Long Jian" (Green Dragon Sword). He was succeeded by his daughter Wang Ju-Rong and his granddaughters Grace Wu, Xiaoping wu and Helen Wu. From Wikipedia

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Way of the Warrior - Xingyi Quan

My Teachers Teacher (Hong Yi-Xiang 洪懿祥)and his sons and students demonstrating Xingyi Quan Animal Forms. This is the same material and style i teach.

Hsing I Swallow form from the 1983 BBC Documentary "Way of the Warrior"

Hsing I Chicken Form from the 1983 BBC Documentary "Way of the Warrior"

Hsing I Horse Form from the 1983 BBC Documentary "Way of the Warrior"

Hsing I Five Tigers Form from the 1983 BBC Documentary "Way of the Warrior"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

1911 - Jackie Chan - Official Trailer

Could be good. I like the premise.

"At the beginning of the 20th century, China is in a state of crisis. The country is split into warring factions, the citizens are starving, and recent political reforms have made matters worse, not better. The ruling Qing Dynasty, led by a seven-year-old emperor, is completely out of touch after 250 years of unquestioned power.
With ordinary citizens beginning to revolt openly, the Qing Dynasty has created a powerful, modern army (the "New Army") to quash any rebellion. But weapons are expensive, and desperate for cash, the Qing leaders are trading anything they can get their hands on with foreign countries... and selling China's future in the process.
Huang Xin (Jackie Chan) has recently returned from Japan, where he has studied the art of modern warfare. When he finds his country falling apart, he feels he has no choice but to pick up the sword, leading an increasingly desperate series of violent rebellions against the powerful Qing Dynasty and the New Army- several with tragic consequences.
From the walls of the Forbidden City to the battlefields of China, with no expense spared in production and no detail ignored in its quest for historical accuracy, 1911 is a true epic in every sense of the word."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Xingyi Quan - Five Element Chain Whip!

Liu Fuquan – Xingyi Wuxing Lianhuanbian (Five-Element-Linking-Nine-Section-Whip) pt 01

Liu Fuquan – Xingyi Wuxing Lianhuanbian (Five-Element-Linking-Nine-Section-Whip) Pt 02

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shuai Jiao Bad Ass - Chang Dong Sheng (1908-1986)

1970's footage of Chang Dong Sheng, "The Shuai Chiao King". The clip starts with Chang Dong Cheng demoing his Shuai Chiao. Second he performs his Chang Taiji and third he performs his Xing-Jing as learned from Liu Er Bao.
original source:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Seven Stars of Xingyi Quan - Mike Patterson

Li Tsun I was once quoted saying, "If you want mercy, best not raise your hand." It was furthermore said of Li that when challenged, "He put forth his hand, strode forward easily and achieved his objective."

In actual combat, a fighter needs three things, a calm mind, no hesitation and a system that supports the kind of fluid energy necessary to win. Combat should be lucid, unbridled and succinct. "Stick like glue until conclusion." The opponent must be thought of as, not a system of arms and legs, but as one big target with unlimited points of attack.

Hsing I is well known for its rapid closing and punishingly powerful attacks. Anyone who has had the unpleasant experience of crossing arms with an adept of the Art will attest to this fact. They will probably also babble incoherently about the seeming impossibility that their nemesis seemed to have many more than just two arms and two feet. Blows seem to literally rain in from all angles and elevations, sometimes several at once.

Hsing I fighters from Hsu Hong Chi's school of thought have a credo, "Fold in, fold out, stick like glue until conclusion." Just how this is accomplished is the focus of this article. We show this to our opponents through use of the "Seven Stars " of Hsing I in fluid combination. These principles of striking hold that there are seven weapons of the body that can attack with devastating power. They are as follows:

1. Elbow hit. "To strike is to be all out. To move hands and legs together. Fists as cannons, body as a dragon. Move as if you have flame all over in the face of an attacker."

The elbow is an extremely damaging tool when used by someone who understands it. It is obvious that the bony tip can be quite destructive to various areas of the opponent's anatomy. Its limitation being, of course, its range. You must work diligently o n learning to "fold in" from a parried hand attack and upon gaining control of the opponents center line, utilize quick stepping and angular footwork as a vehicle of delivery of sequential elbow attacks.

2. Head hit. "The whole body moves as one. The feet take position in center."

The head is often unexpected in the clinch position when hands have been trapped and elbows neutralized. If you strike quickly, you can control the situation adroitly.

3. Shoulder hit. "One is Yin (back) one is Yang (front). Hands are hidden. Right or left depends on the situation."

The shoulder is a punishing weapon when used in the beginning of a clinch (sometimes in conjunction with the head) or as an adjunct fold immediately after a successful elbow. The "bracing" posture must be utilized when using either the shoulder or head as a striking weapon. My teacher used to say "When you strike with the shoulder, you think 1,000 dollars stay ground. You GET!"

4. Hand hit. "Moving from your chest, it is like a tiger catching a lamb. Strength put in hands should be instantly variable. Elbows are to be lower than armpits."

All proper Hsing I hand blows exemplify this principle. Keeping the elbows down allows proper kinetic alignment of the skeletal system for massive impact, and alignment of the sinews for tremendous kinetic potential. If the elbow is raised the flow of kinetic power is diffused at the shoulder and cannot reach the hand.

5. Hip hit. "Yin or Yang, left or right is up to the situation. Be natural while moving feet. Be quick as a sword while attacking."

The hip is the hardest of all the weapons to manifest power in as it is closest to the pivotal point of the waist. Therefore there is less distance for the wave of potential energy to travel and gain momentum. The key here is as implied, you must be ex tremely quick with your issuing (fah jing).

6. Knee hit. "Strike on vital points can be fatal. Hands up balancing body."

The knee is an excellent midrange tool if used in conjunction with the hands to immobilize and then attack. The knee must be snapped up from the strength of the abdominal muscle groups. It should not be swung up as a pendulum.

7. Feet hit. "Steps are firm. The strength comes from foot rooted to the ground, never let your attempt be known. Power of a tornado."

Too often, the novice in an attempt to gain more range or elevation in their kicking techniques will violate the root from their support foot by coming up on the ball of the foot. It is imperative that there exist a strong anchor from which to rebound the kinetic wave, or much of the energy potential will be scattered.


The reality of utilization of the Seven Stars principles in combat relies strongly on the development of Fah Jing (issuing energy) skills to ensure that the very close range weapons of the shoulder, hip and head carry sufficient force to accomplish the goal. This is one of the reasons this skill is so heavily emphasized in my family's training curriculum.

Also, two person exercises in the San Shou (pushing hands) category is an excellent place to hone these skills in a relatively safe environment before putting them to the test in contact training. Try occasionally limiting your push hands practice to d oing only shoulder or only elbow strikes or any of the other weapons or combinations of weapons where you feel deficient in skill. This "isolation" approach can work wonders in virtually any deficient area of skill. Start soft and slow and as you develop more familiarity and confidence with the new techniques, gradually increase the speed for a more realistic look at the true potential.

As a secondary step, try reduced speed sparring. This requires cooperation on the part of both combatants. The idea is to move at approximately one third to one half speed in a consistent manner, without suddenly speeding up to intercept or strike. If done properly, it will allow the time to think a bit during the evolution of combative flow, giving both participants a chance to grow in their appreciation of possible technique.

Learning the use of any new weapon simply requires a focused study of that particular weapon. Learn the techniques of usage and then practice, practice, practice.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chinese Archery

Chinese Archery demonstration from Stephen Selby of the Asian Traditional Archery Research Network (ATARN)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Song of Pi Chuan by Mike Patterson

The Song Of Pi Chuan

From the mouth, come the two fists closely held.

Up to the eyebrow, drills the forefist.

Close behind the forefist, follows the hind fist.

Together with the crossing arms, the heart unites. Chi falls to Tan Tien as body moves, hind foot forward as the arms separate.

In a hemisphere the Tiger's mouth opens while all fingers apart.

Forehand pushes to between eyebrow and heart.

Under the armpit, the hind hand stays.

Hand, nose, and foot form the three point set.

So as Pi Chuan tsuans upward, to the eyebrow, turned up the little finger.

Together sink the feet and hands, upthrust the tongue.

Advancing, changing styles, hind palm sinks downward.

In performance of Pi Chuan, the Splitting posture, there are several key elements that must be harmonized before the posture will feel balanced and powerful. Until these component parts are intuitively understood, the movements will feel only awkward at best. We will address the first two lines of the song first.

Initially, the fists must twist (drill) upward from their palms downward position at the waist, keeping near the torso, so as to almost brush the skin, and then shoot outward from the mouth. This will ensure a circular connected strength in the fist and the twisting will both augment power from central muscle groups and serve to coil the limb for power in the subsequent pulling action.

And now the third line reminds that the hind fist follows at the elbow of the striking fist to protect the ribs from attack and to be closer to the opponent for secondary attack.

As this action is completed, and the thrusting from the rear foot dissipates, bring the rear foot up to light foot (foot level at medial ankle of support foot) position and feel the suspension from the Pai Hui (crown of head) point anchoring your center of balance.

"Together with crossing arms," begins the next line. And as the arms cross in preparation to perform the palm separation, the mind stills and the intention takes shape. This is what is meant by "The Heart Unites". Be sure that the armpits remain open to keep the proper energetic and kinetic linkage.

The next section of the poem is very important in that it tries to impart to the reader the necessary harmony of mind and body as the intention is completed.

As you change styles into the Splitting palm, drop your mind to lower Tan Tien (a spot three fingers below your navel) and settle your Chi as you perform the Tearing Silk action.

The next four lines of the song give details as to positioning of the posture. Tiger's mouth (the space between the thumb and index finger) must be open and stretched as is the whole hand. The attitude should be one of holding a six inch ball lightly. This shape is to aid the energetics of the posture. The forward hand should reside at a height that sits between the eyebrow and heart. "Under the armpit, the hind hand stays." This detail occurs immediately after the arms cross in transition into the Splitting Palm posture. The hind hand must circle through the armpit on its way down to the abdomen. This action creates a double interacting spiral, one vertical and one horizontal, in the torso and waist magnifying kinetic potential. At completion, the lead finger, nose and the lead toe should all be on a single plane, forming the "three point set" of the San Ti (three leg) stance.

The final lines of the song relate to the first fisted posture of Pi Chuan and again reiterate that when you perform this part of the change to tsuan (twist) the striking hand so that the little finger is turned upward in relation to the fist. The tongue should be upthrust to insure the energetic connection of the Du and Ren pulses in practice. And the body and hind palm should sink downward in the "changing styles" of the Splitting palm.

Pi Chuan is often called the soul of Hsing-I practice. What you learn (or don't learn) in your Pi Chuan practice will transfer to every other part of your Hsing-I Chuan.

The essence of Pi Chuan is Rising and Falling energy. When you advance to the light foot position, the whole body must be light and suspended while coiling every muscle fiber for the subsequent strike of the palm. Even the striking palm is brought upward in a coiled position with the pinky turned upward.

When you advance forward, you must do so with solidity. Tan tien motivates the strike and the whole body sinks at the spacial focal point. This is effortless power.

The Palm strike of Pi Chuan is mostly downward. The forward part of the blow is largely a result of the corresponding foot movement. The strike must be performed like an axe stroke. The movement must be natural, allowing the force of gravity to act on the hand, and be coerced, guided and accelerated by the rest of the muscular/skeletal system

The state of mind must be pure and focused on only the movement being performed until completion. If you allow your mind to leap ahead to the next movement in an effort to gain more speed, you shall gain only disharmony and your movements shall lack power as a result of the absence of real intention. The conscious and subconscious mind must be linked together to manifest absolute power. There can be no disparity of command issued to the body.

The strength of Pi Chuan is imparted mainly through the waist and intercostal muscles. The half step of the feet does not vector power in Pi Chuan as it does in some of the other elements. The kinetics are simply not there to apply vectored force. Rather, the half stepping in Pi Chuan should be applied in synchronicity with the arrival of the body's center at it's pre-determined spacial point when the actual blow is delivered, thereby maximizing the body's rooted connection to the ground. More solidity means more potential power.

Lastly, power originates in the waist, is rebounded through the legs, developed through the torso and manifest in the fingers. But Hsing-I has been best likened to a whipping piece of rattan. It moves at once in a brisk wave. When practicing, remember to lead with the hands when performing Pi Chuan and connect them to Tan Tien so that the whole body moves as a unit. If you think of leading with the waist, you will move too sluggishly. The wave will be too big. It is simply not possible to think about the individual parts of the kinetic process and manifest it with any speed. The movement has to be like a pulse. The image of intent is formed and the body and energy obey that intention.

Remember quality over quantity in your practice. The internal arts are unique and they must be practiced in a unique and thoughtful way...

From Hsing Yi.Com

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Luo Dexiu Denver Seminar this Weekend!

Friday September 9, 2011 ~ 5:30 - 8:30, $75
3 hours Ba Shi ~ Eight forms linking. This is a high level form emphasizing the rising, falling, opening and closing aspects of Xingyi's drilling, crushing, cannon pounding and crossing mother fists along with rooster, sparrow hawk, swallow, and horse animal shapes.

Saturday September 10, 2011 ~ 1:30 - 8:45, $125
~ 6 hours Post-heaven line 1: applications of single palm change circles

Sunday September 11, 2011 ~ 1:30 – 8:45, $125
~ 3 hours Post-heaven line 8: 8 body method applications
~ 3 hours Tai Chi Four corner push hand techniques

Monday September 12, 2011 ~ 5 - 8, $75
***@ Living Arts Center,
~ 3 hours Black dragon swings its tail 1~5

Location: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday @
Denver Dance Center

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Sword Identity (2011) - Movie Trailer

"In a martial arts event during the Ming Dynasty, a young swordsman must use not only his exquisite swordplay technique, but also his wits, when competing against the masters of four different philosophies of combat."

Kyuzo Mifune 10th Dan Judoka

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gao Bagua application1972

Gao style Bagua Zhang, showing application of Hou Tian Palms, pictures taken at 1972.
何可才老師, 黃東泉, 鄧昌成於1972年在灣仔林波天台攝影之廣華山高式八卦掌, 後天六十四掌第一路攻勢.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mind Form Fist Two Man Set

Xingyi Quan An Shen Pao - Mind Form Fist Stable Body Pounding Set

Yi Zong Founder Zhang Jun Feng - An Shen Pao at 14 sec:

Yi Zong Founder Zhang Jun Feng - An Shen Pao at 3:40

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ba Gua Founder - Dong Hai Chuan

"No one knows the origin of Pa-kua. It is only known that Tung
Hai-ch'uan of Wenan Hsien in Hopeh Province during the Ch'ing Dynasty
(A.D. 1798 - 1879) learned this art from an anonymous Taoist in the
mountain fastness of Kiangsu Province. Tung, a young man then barely
into his twenties, is said to have been nearly dead of starvation when
the hermit chanced upon him. The Taoist ministered to him and Tung
stayed several years with him and from him learned a "divine" boxing....

Near middle age, Tung became a eunuch in the king's palace. He did
not get on with his fellows, however, and soon was assigned to the
royal family of Su Ch'in-wang as a servant. Su employed a Mohammedan
boxer and his wife as chief protectors of the houshold. Sha Hui-tzu,
the boxer, held everyone to immediate obedience, and his wife, an
expert postol shot, made them a solid combination. Once at a big
banquet where the congestion was beyond relief, Tung served tea to the
guests by lightly scaling the wall and crossing the roof to the
kitchen and back. Lord Su recognized from this that Tung probably had
boxing ability. Subsequently, he ordered Tung to show his art. Tung
did: he demonstrated Pa-kua. His sudden turns and fluid style
enthralled the audience. Thereupon, Sha challenged Tung but was
defeated. Tung watched for Sha to attempt revenge. Late one night
Sha crept into Tung's bedroom, a knife in hand, while his wife aimed
her pistol through the window at Tung. Tung quickly took the pistol
from her and turned on Sha, who pounded his head on the floor seeking
forgiveness. Tung agreed to forgive him and even accepted Sha as a

Later in life Tung retired and taught only a few selected persons his
Pa-kua. Although he withered, the stories did not. One had him in
the midst of several men with weapons who were bent on his blood. He
not only emerged unscated, but soundly beat his attackers. Another
time he sat in a chair leaning against a wall. The wall collapsed and
his disciples ran up, fearful that he had been buried. He was found
nearby sitting in the same chair leaning against another wall! But
the grandest story, told by Wan Lai-sheng, concerns Tung's death.
Certain that he was dead, some of his students attempted to raise the
casket prior to burial. But the casket would not move. It was as
though it were riveted to the ground. As his students tried again and
again to lift it, a voice came from inside the casket: "As I told you
many times, none of you has one-tenth my skill!" He then died and the
casket was moved easily.

Tung died at eight-four. His most famous students (of a reputed total
of only seventy-two) were: Yin Fu, Ch'eng T'ing-hua, Ma Wei-chi, Liu
Feng-ch'un, and Shih Liu."

From "Pa-Kua: Chinese Boxing for Fitness and Self-Defense" by Robert
W. Smith. Kodansha International, 1967.

-Jess Obrien

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rare Xingyi Quan Video

Shang Zhirong (尚芝蓉, 1922 – 2004) daughter of Shang Yunxiang (尚云祥, 1864 – 1937)

Shang Zhirong (尚芝蓉, 1922 – 2004), from Leling City of Shandong Province, was the daughter of Shang Yunxiang (尚云祥, 1864 – 1937). Shang Zhirrong, being the daughter of Shang Yunxiang, was naturally started her martial arts training at very young age, when she was 5 years old to be exact. The 15-year-old Shang took up a job to teach at the Beijing police station for making a living after her father passed away in 1937. She had overcome numerous challenges and ambushes to earn the respect of the law enforcement units.

Shang Zhirong returned to her hometown, Leling City of Shandong Province, with her mother after the Communist Party has took over China in 1951. Shang continued to live as a farm woman until after the Cultural Revolution in 1976, she restored communications with her seniors and the martial arts circle. Shang was appointed as the chief instructor of Leling Martial Arts Academy in 1985, she also served as the vice-president of Xingyiquan Institute of Shandong Province, adviser of Jinan Xingyiquan Institute and Beijing Xingyiquan Institute, etc. Shang Zhirong, together with her senior Li Wenbin, has co-written a Shang Style Xingyiquan intructional book.
from Xingyi max

Monday, August 22, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bagua Zhang Flow Drill

Very nice Bagua Zhang application Flow Drill:

"A small collection of few very basic applications, these application are by no means fighting combinations, since we have none in Gao BGZ.
It's a moderate body and intent expression demo on my student...just letting the body and mind to express in one shot clip."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How To Train Xingyi Quan For Fighting

By Mike Patterson
(First printed in Inside Kung Fu Magazine - August 1997)

Working with fighters is more a process than a recipe. Consequently, the methods I employ today may, by my own perspectives, be insufficient and obsolete tomorrow. There are, however, certain basic components which will always remain the cornerstones of my regimen.

These building blocks served me successfully first as a fighter and now as a coach. If tradition holds true, they also should serve you very well.

Mind (Psychology of the Fighter)

Early in the training season, I sit my new fighters down and say, "You gotta love it." If you don't really enjoy fighting, if you're not willing to endure the rigors of full-contact Lei Tai-style training, you will never be successful. There's just too much work and dedication involved.

Many times, a fighter needs to be taught the nature of fighting in general.
Most people tend to view fighting as an "adversarial" relationship. This is fundamentally wrong. If viewed from and adversarial perspective, the practitioner will make two fundamental errors which may lead to his defeat. One, he will "lock up" his body so that, two, he may keep his opponent "out". This is an error in viewpoint of the encounter.

Fighting should be viewed as a "complementary" relationship. There is going to be an "exchange", and exchange of technique, strategy and energy.

For example, let's look at the most demanding scenario in the engagement -- "bridging". This is the most difficult skill in combat, because it places the combatant at the greatest risk. When you attempt to "bridge" into range you have left your guard and exposed numerous counterattack points. Meanwhile, your opponent is still in his guard, and if skilled, had the upper hand in counter-offense.

My question is, why keep your opponent away from you? Since bridging is the most critical and difficult of all combative ranges, if your opponent wants to do it for you, let him!

Emotional Content

New fighters always ask me, "What should my emotional state be when I am fighting?" The answer is ... there should be NONE! No emotion. Flat.

Most are confused by my response. People often think they need to cultivate anger to fight well. Not true. Anger clouds the mind. The mind must be clear to perform at optimum levels. Anger is very powerful, but undisciplined, and hence, unusable for a fighter. So, too, are the emotions of hate, rage, and vengeance. All powerful states of mind, and all are unusable because of occlusion of the mind.

I teach my fighters to cultivate a "predatorial" mind state. Consider an eagle and a rattlesnake. Both are predators in their own right. In the wild, an eagle will swoop down on a snake, catch it in its talons, climb high up into the sky and drop it on the rocks to dash its brains. Both could be killed in the encounter. The rattler can surely bite and poison the eagle for its trouble, although it probably would not have a chance to eat it. So both are equally dangerous to the other in this encounter, not unlike competitors in a full contact encounter.

But, what about the emotions of these enemies? Does the eagle hate or feel anger toward the snake? No. To the eagle, the snake is food. It does not hate the snake. Nor does the snake hate the eagle. It is simply the day-to-day dance of survival, predator and prey doing their part in the endless food chain of life.

A fighter must learn to look at fighting in a detached, business-like manner. There is simply no room for emotion here. The mind must be pristine calm, ready to evaluate and act. The fighter must not act from emotion, but out of necessity.


Training in my school for lei tai fighting is a year-round process. There is much to learn, so I believe in constant involvement.

We divide the training education into several main areas. Many of the methods I use have been taken directly from my classical training in Hsing-I, Pa-Kua and Chen Tai-Chi. I believe a practitioner should be able to adapt his style to fit the rules of the particular competition.

Also, Hsing-I, Pa-Kua and Tai-Chi hold within their structure superior strategy and application of power for actual fighting. The kinetic potential contained within the internal arts is simply phenomenal if correctly understood and applied by a fighter.

Aerobic Conditioning

Circuit training is the cornerstone of my aerobic conditioning program. A properly designed circuit should include stations which enhance speed, balance, timing, power and any specialized skills the fighter is trying to develop.
Classical form should not be underrated when discussing a fighter's training regimen. Those who disagree probably have not been properly introduced to Hsing-I as a fighting discipline. Within Hsing-I are the 12 animal and five element hsings as well as the keys to unlock tremendous kinetic potential. It also thoroughly trains the key muscle/tendon structures of the body and conditions the bones for impact stress.

Classical two-person form, at least in the Hsing-I and Pa-Kua systems I teach, is an excellent tool for teaching new fighters the theory aspects of combat. Two-person form allows the practitioner to interact in a live action scenario with a partner at full power and speed, with virtually no chance of injury. It teaches the new fighter proper distance and timing in execution of classical technique, and perhaps more importantly, outlines the possibilities in a given exchange.

Power Training

I am a firm believer in heavy bag and percussion training. I do not like my fighters to train on a bag that weighs less than 80 pounds. The bag should have a firmness consistent with that of softened rock. In other words, whatever the filling, the bag must be quite dense. A fighter must condition his hands, feet, elbows and knees to the shock of impact. Otherwise, all other preparations for combat become useless. When properly conditioned, a fighter has no apprehension about unloading a full-power strike on the opponent. Poor conditioning leads to a fear of injury.

Kinetics must be studied and understood intimately by the fighter. You can be the quickest tactician alive, but if you don't have anything behind your strikes, you will generally lose to the more powerful opponent.

Each type of strike must be broken down and analyzed for the fighter to understand how the maximum efficiency of the blow can be attained. I walk my fighters through movements over and over again, making adjustments to their body alignment. The implication here is that the coach must truly understand what he's doing. Guessing is best left outside the ring or platform.

Reflexive Training

Push hands is a generic term within the internal martial arts community applied to all kinds of touch/feeling/sensitivity-oriented, two-person training. There are numerous formats and styles included in this type of training. My full-contact fighters are treated to a freestyle mixture of classical Hsing-I tui shou, Tai-Chi tui shou and Pa-Kua rou shou, all done wearing Lei Tai gear.

Mirror boxing is our kung-fu family's rendition of shadowboxing. The practitioner stands in front of a full-length mirror so the entire body is visible. From an on-guard position, attacks to the "opponent" are initiated toward open zones in the mirror image's defenses.

Each time an attack is thrown, the "opponent's" position changes and a new attack zone presents itself. The object is to beat your own reflection, which is impossible. As the practice continues, however, seeing the zones open up as combat unfolds becomes easier. Awareness of targeting instinct is heightened and reflexive responses increase.

Tactical Training
The 24 stems are based on my 26 years of experience both as a fighter and a coach/trainer.

1. Distance should be such that when the combatant's hands are stretched outward, the fingers may interlace. When the wrists touch, attack!
2. Observe the nine gates of attack and learn to utilize them in combination.
3. Movement and stillness are one in the same; both are suitable defenses.
4. Never more than two complete steps in any single direction. Do not chase. A smart fighter will time the third step and use it against you.
5. There are four ranges of combat: foot, hand, trap and grapple. Know them well and be able to shift easily from one to another.
6. The best fighters always attack, even when defending. Learn to exploit your opponent's habits.
7. When given a choice between inside and outside closing, always choose outside.
8. Fold from hand to elbow to shoulder and back again.
9. Once the closing is met, stick like glue until conclusion.
10. The best time to kick is when the opponent is moving forward or back, immediately after a bridge has been attempted.
11. The limbs are usually vulnerable.
12. Pyan always at a 45-degree angle off the centerline of attack.
13. Speed should be varied with purpose to lead the opponent's mind.
14. Never telegraph - strikes must be delivered from the present position.
15. Look at the opponent's eyes (or throat) in a single match. In situations of multiple threat, look downward.
16. Strength used wisely is an asset, but be ever wary of the "trap."
17. Pain is an effective way to lead the opponent's mind.
18. When "leading the body," be alert, sensitive, and maintain your sphere.
19. While easier to employ, defense will not win the battle.
20. All true attacks initiate from the feet.
21. Box a "kicker," kick a "boxer."
22. Sweep a high stance, attack a low stance.
23. Study the double strike and the four methods of employment. It is unexpected.
24. Explore technique to grasp principle, holding principle, forget technique.

Fighting Skill Drills

I divide my training drills into two broad categories: focus mitt drills and two-person drills. Focus mitt drills are primarily designed to enhance targeting skills. The focus mitt allows the partner to create a highly mobile and rather small target zone for his partner inside the respective drill, which can be varied on the fly in a timed activity. This helps the fighter recognize and adjust to varying stimuli.

Two person drills are interactive formats designed to enhance key skills such as footwork, angle and proper distance in relation to execution of specific techniques or sequences. These are generally adjusted, added to or deleted as the particular skill is acquired and understood throughout the training year. Mastering both skill drills is paramount to a well-rounded program.

I have listed several examples of the types of drill I utilize in my own training program for fighters. This is certainly not all that we do, but it should give you a working idea. Bear in mind that the terminology of the specific drill name is based upon classical Hsing-I and Pa-Kua training so it may make little sense to many of you. Because of space considerations, they cannot all be illustrated. Suffice it to say, variety is the key.

Various focus mitt combos include: One/two drill (blend two attacks into one): slip and weave drill (develop evasive counters); box and go drill (teach "framing" on defense); low high hook drill; hook uppercut drill; iron wall and go drill (develop low-line kicking counters); front kick drill; roundkick drill; stop side kick drill (develop targeting accuracy in stop kicks); and circle and go drill (pa-kua based footwork drill for attack targeting).

Two-person drill work includes: Stop hit drill (offensive interception); outside adjustment hooks drill (tactical training); multiple splitting drill (hsing-i based tactical training); iron wall and hammer drill (kick countering training); two-person circling drill (pa-kua based counter-offensive training); double leg and counter drill (training for "shooting" tactics); tussle and throw drill (throwing skills); and five-second drill (time training for Lei Tai competition).

Training Increments (For a 3-round, 3 minutes per round, fight time)

I use one-minute-per-side durations in combos or specific techniques. One of the key concepts in internal martial training is called mindfulness, or intention (yi). It is imperative that the fighter remain mindful throughout the task to develop any true skill. Rote training for the sake of rote training does not and will not work. The fighter needs to stay focused in the moment. Therefore, the task work on a specific drill or technique should not be so long as to induce boredom.

I use three-minute durations in paired free-flow activities, because the round length currently being used in kuoshu is three minutes. The fighter must intimately know what it feels like to fight for three full minutes.

I use six-to-18 minute increments for "burns" (depending on prior conditioning). A burn is a structured workout designed to hone skills already learned in a "live" coaching condition. This allows the coach to push the fighter beyond what he/she currently feels could be achieved in relation to their own conditioning level.

The final stage of my program, "burns" allows the fighter to stay sharp just prior to the competition with minimal risk of injury. They are carefully supervised motivational workout sessions.

I use 20-to-40 minute training increments for circuits (based on prior conditioning). Following is a typical training "circuit" (the numbers denote individual stations): (1) Mirror Boxing, (2) Double, Double End Bag, (3) Heavy Bag Combo #1, (4) Cobra Reflex Bag, (5) Heavy Bag Combo #2, (6) Nine Palace Boxing Training, (7) Balance Beam, (8) Cutback Training, (9) Heavy Bag Combo #3, (10) Double End Bag, (11) Heavy Bag Combo #4, (12) Uppercut Bag.

All combinations would normally be performed at one minute per side. The other stations will vary in duration form two-to-four minutes depending on the activity assigned.


There are three primary reasons a person may want to fight full contact: To prove something to himself; to prove something to others; or to make money. The bottom line here is that fighters are individuals, and a good coach needs to get inside his fighters' heads and understand what makes them tick, why they are involved. Otherwise, attempts to motivate higher and higher performance ratios from your fighters will usually fail.


A good coach must instill three main things in all fighters during the training season. First, a coach must teach self-reliance. A fighter needs to learn to coach himself. Afterall, once the competition begins, it is the fighter up on the platform; the coach is only available between rounds. He must learn to think for himself, adjust strategy on the fly during the match. If the game plan goes awry, the fighter must adapt different strategies and tactics.

One way to make this happen is by occasionally letting the fighters run their own team practice. I tell the team what to do, demonstrate the movements several times and then walk away after appointing "team leaders."

Secondly, a coach must instill confidence in his fighters. The fighter needs to feel strongly about his/her ability to succeed in competition and he/she must be taught to cultivate an expectation to win. Not overconfidence, mind you, but expectation to win. If a fighter expects to lose, then lose he shall.

I establish this attitude by breaking them in on larger, more powerful fighters. I have them tussle with people who are faster, stronger and meaner than anyone they will face in their divisions.

This is relatively easy since I have a fairly large "fighter pool" from which to draw, including some of the most successful and seasoned veterans of the international kuoshu arena. If necessary, I will even put the gear on and go a few rounds with the fighter myself, just to prove that those who teach can still do.

Thirdly, a coach must enforce discipline. Reality-based fighting is not something with which to play around. A fighter must learn early on that each mistake brings about a consequence.

This type of harsh disciplinary approach insures that fighters will take direction when they need it most. And that they will not question, but immediately act. And isn't that what fighting's all about - action and consequence?

Conclusion (by: Dave Cater)

A good coaching/training regimen should be constantly evaluated and updated based on the observances of the competitions' tendencies and the progression of your fighters.

Remain flexible enough to change, adapt or delete as new challenges present themselves. What worked yesterday may not necessarily work today. And what worked today, may not work tomorrow.

The success or failure of your program is not totally dependent on how many fighters return from a championship competition with gold medals around their necks (although you can be sure you're headed in the right direction).

Rather, you must ultimately judge your training procedures by how well you have prepared your fighters for the challenge of Lei Tai fighting. If they are physically skilled, mentally tough and ready for anything, then you have done your job. The titles will come in time.

Re-Blogged from Hsing I.Com