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