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Brief History of Liuhebafa: Water Boxing
July 15, 2019
The origins of Liuhebafa, also called Water Boxing, can be traced to the Daoist sage Chen Tuan (A.D. c.871-989) also called Tunan and Fuyaozi. Chen is a mystical figure whose advice and perspective was sought by Chinese emperors during the period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (A.D. 907-960) and at the beginning of the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279). In addition to Liuhebafa, he is credited with the creation of Taiji Ruler exercises, qigong and neigong systems that are still practiced today, and a form of Dream/Sleeping Daoist Yoga. Let’s take a look at the life of this fascinating figure. In (A.D. c. 871 an unusual boy, often called a child prodigy, was born into a wealthy and high ranked family surnamed Chen. This child was called Tuan. His parent’s estate located in Sichuan province was quite large and dotted by ponds and crossed by streams. Young Tuan was very much attracted to the water and could often be found walking or playing by the ponds or streams.
Krav Maga Control and Disengagement Strategies for Social Violence
July 8, 2019
A moment of anger leading to violence can cost you everything, literally.  When facing the specter of social violence – a confrontation you can avoid and escape – how do you best opt-out? How do you walk away without feeling emasculated or that you blinked first? Ultimately, how do you disengage convinced that it was his lucky day? Emotional regulation is mental krav maga (and any other well reputed martial art.) Mental regulation, in the face of insult or provocation, may be the most difficult tactic to learn and execute.  Despite any indignation or effrontery, you may experience, it behooves you de-escalate yourself, deconflict and disengage.  In short, nothing but your ego requires or drives you to return a hostile stare/gesture or aggressively respond to verbal insults.
Water Style for Beginners (Liu He Ba Fa) Part 2
July 1, 2019
Water style incorporates the qualities and strengths of the three internal styles of Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua, yet it is in a class by itself, a unique form of internal martial arts. Its movements are sometimes high, sometimes low, sometimes fast, and sometimes slow. These movements resemble floating clouds and flowing water that is sometimes calm, sometimes surging. Ba fa means Eight Principles. They are Qi (energy), Gu (bone), Xing (shape), Sui(follow), Ti(lift), Huan (return), Le (rein in), Fu (hiding).
Water Style for Beginners (Liu He Ba Fa) Part 1
June 24, 2019
Chinese martial arts are the essence of Chinese civilization. Several thousands of years in the making, it has developed into two major styles-namely internal and external. Both styles are again divided to include countless different styles. Among the internal styles, the best known and most popular are Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua. However, there is yet another profound school of internal art known as Liu He Ba Fa, sometimes called 'Water style' or ‘Water boxing’ passed generation to generation for more than a thousand years to a select handful of gifted students with exemplary courage and moral character. As a result of this closed-door system, Liu He Ba Fa has emerged into the world veiled in mystery.
Bagua for Beginners
June 17, 2019
Bagua Zhang, Taiji Quan, and Xingyi Quan are known as three major internal martial arts styles in China. Bagua literally means "Eight Trigram" and Zhang means "Palm." The original name of Baguazhang was Zhuan Zhang, which means “Turning Palms.” This refers to the way the art is practiced—moving around a circle, turning the palms in various ways.
Teaching Kung Fu to Kids and Teens - January 6, 2014
I teach primarily in my own kung fu studio. I am the owner, head coach and program designer. I pay the bills, open the doors in the morning and lock them at the end of the day. It's very much 'my house'. More recently, I've also been teaching classes at a local middle school. It is an environment, which has its own rules and procedures. I am a guest instructor for a 45 minute once a week program. As a result I am very much an outsider coming into someone else's house.
Meditation Techniques at YMAA Retreat Center - Part 2 - December 15, 2013
Two hard, consecutive chimes signal the start of the second segment. In this segment, we use a breathing technique called embryonic breathing. Embryonic breathing gets its name because it is based on the actions of pre-birth breathing. An embryo absorbs nutrients from its mother with a pumping action of the abdomen, connected via the umbilical cord. We mimic this method with reverse abdominal breathing, alongside movement with the perineum and lower back.
Meditation Techniques at YMAA Retreat Center - Part 1 - December 9, 2013
For a disciple at the YMAA Retreat Center, every morning begins the same way. Before dawn, we quietly rise from our beds and make our way outside, filing one by one into our little gazebo, which overlooks the mountains. Each disciple grabs a mat or a cushion and faces one of two directions: Either east, toward the rising sun, or toward the center of the bagua diagram emblazoned on the floor.
Wai Dan Standing Still Meditation - December 1, 2013
Over the years, various taijiquan and qigong masters have created many postures for standing still meditation. Generally speaking, they are safer to practice than the small circulation exercises because they build up the qi locally in parts of the body, rather than directly in the qi vessels.
The Standing Brocades Qigong: Exercises 6, 7, and 8 - November 24, 2013
The kidneys, which are beneath the two major back muscles, are the residence of original jing (yuan jing). When the kidneys are healthy and strong, your original jing is retained and strengthened. Only when your kidneys are strong will they be able to generate original qi (yuan qi) and enliven your body.
The Standing Brocades Qigong: Exercises 4 and 5 - November 18, 2013
Five weaknesses refer to illnesses of the five yin organs: heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. The seven injuries refer to injuries caused by the seven emotions: happiness, anger, sorrow, joy, love, hate, and desire.
Difficult Research in Developing Karate—Part 2 - November 11, 2013
Personal research requires you to look inward towards your own nature, and to take responsibility for your karate; to step out of your comfort zone. You can do this by attending events like open courses if you like, but in truth, such challenges do little to aid your progress.
Difficult Research in Developing Karate—Part 1 - November 4, 2013
“Karate training is easy!” Now there’s a statement to get your head around. But is there any truth to it; is training in karate easy? Well, children, the unfit, the lazy, and folks of dubious character…all seem to have no problem being awarded a black belt in karate these days, so the training must be easy…right?
On Writing Dukkha Reverb - October 28, 2013
Dukkha Reverb is the second book in the Dukkha thriller series, published by YMAA Publications. The first is Dukkha: The Suffering.
Five Categories of Qigong Exercises - October 21, 2013
It is very important to keep the qi or internal energy circulating smoothly in your body. Many different kinds of qigong exercises have been created to achieve this, but they can generally be categorized into five groups according to the main purpose of the training.
Unraveling Knots in The Thread of Life - October 14, 2013
Over a period of about eight years, beginning in the early 1990s, I began taking a closer look around the world at the various religious and philosophical beliefs people held, and saw in many of them much to be admired. I also noticed there was quite a lot of common ground. I was initially astonished to discover, for example, how the sacred text of Judaism, the Torah, tells the same story as the first five books of the Bible, known to Christians as the books of the Old Testament.
Chojun Miyagi, The Typhoon Man - October 7, 2013
(The following is an excerpt from Chojun A Novel by Goran Powell. Chojun Miyagi, born in Higashimachi, Naha, Okinawa, April 25, 1888.  He began studying Karate at age nine.  He first learned martial arts from Ryuko Aragaki who then introduced him at age 14 to Kanryo Higashionna (Higaonna Kanryo.)  He continued studying and teaching until his death from heart disease in Okinawa October 8, 1953.)
Principles Common to Both Qin Na and Ground Fighting - September 30, 2013
A lever is the simplest of machines, which utilizes a rigid bar to rotate around a fixed pivot point called a fulcrum in order to exert force on an object (load). If the resistance or load exceeds the strength of the bar, the bar will break. Biomechanically speaking, the arm is a bar, and when the fulcrum is at or above the joint, breakage can easily occur.
Kravist Weapon Defense Drills - September 26, 2013
Working with a good partner to practice and perfect weapon defense techniques is instrumental to your development as a kravist. The force and speed of the mock attacks should be gradually built up over time as your defensive skill sets improve.
Qin Na in Chinese Martial Arts - September 16, 2013
Nobody can tell exactly when Qin Na was first used. It probably began the first time one person grabbed another with the intention of controlling him. Grabbing the opponent's limbs or weapon is one of the most basic and instinctive ways to immobilize him or control his actions.
Dukkha Reverb - September 9, 2013
The following is an excerpt from Dukkha Reverb, a Sam Reeves martial arts thriller.  After six weeks of being intensely investigated for the accidental killing of a young boy, Portland police detective and martial arts instructor, Sam Reeves, travels to Saigon, Vietnam to visit his newly found family. 
Fundamental Sword Training and Practice - September 2, 2013
Jian is the king of the short weapons. Skill in the use of the Jian is built on a foundation of skill with the saber, which is called the root of the short weapons. Any martial artist who wants to master the Jian should first master the saber; otherwise it will be extremely difficult to understand the applications of the techniques and the source of the power in sword practice.
Taiji Sword and Its Applications - August 26, 2013
Since Taijiquan has developed for more than a thousand years, various styles have been created. There are many Taiji sword sequences in existence. All of these sequences have grown out of the same Taiji theoretical roots.
Yang Martial Arts Center Equals Hard Work and Time - August 19, 2013
Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang, PhD., has dedicated his life to Chinese martial arts. He's the head of Yang's Martial Arts Association, which boasts more than 50 academies in America and Europe.
Ancient Chinese Weapons and Martial Artists - August 12, 2013
Chinese martial arts have evolved in China for over 5,000 years. This evolution has been experienced not only by the many schools of barehanded fighting, but also by a wide variety of weapons practitioners. As various types of weaponry have evolved, so have the materials and techniques for their fabrication.
History and Philosophy of Taekwondo - Part 2 - August 5, 2013
Similarly rooted in Chinese culture, the Baduanjin routine, or Eight Pieces of Brocade, a medical qigong therapy whose performance is professed to impart a silken quality to the body, dates back to AD 1300 where it appears in the Xiuzhen shi-shu (Ten Compilations on Cultivating Perfection).
History and Philosophy of Taekwondo - Part 1 - July 29, 2013
Long before the advent of sport sparring and the invention of modern safety gear, in a time when to fight meant to defend one’s life from almost certain death, an ingenious method of transmitting martial arts skills from venerated master to loyal disciple was developed.
A Fight of No Fight (A Chinese Folk Story) - July 22, 2013
A long time ago, there was a family that owned a small farm. The father worked very hard to make the farm successful so that he would be able to leave it to his two sons when he died.  The elder son, who was married, was named Der-Shin, while the younger son, who was not married, was named Der-Yi.
Popular Chinese Internal Martial Arts - July 8, 2013
Because all Chinese martial styles utilize some Qigong training, it is difficult to distinguish the external styles from the internal. Traditionally, almost all of the Chinese martial styles were taught in secret, and it was not until the last 100 years that these secrets were gradually exposed to the general public. There are many styles that are still taught secretly.
Tai Chi Wall and Tree Push-Ups - July 1, 2013
Face a wall or a tree, with your feet together and your toes about two to four feet away from the wall or tree, depending on your height and how much resistance you are looking for. The farther away from the support you are, the more resistance you will add to the muscles.
Understanding Learning Style Differences - June 24, 2013
I realized fairly early in life that different people learn and process information in different ways. When teaching and learning styles misalign, students progress slowly, if at all. As a child, I had the opportunity to take judo instruction from a former national champion who was the highest-ranking black belt in the United States at that time.
The Evolution of Tae Kwon Do Poomsae, Hyung and Tul-Part 2 - June 17, 2013
Throughout the 1950s and early 60s, when Tae Kwon Do, still referred to as taesoodo, tangsoodo and kongsoodo in many circles, was in its infancy, poomsae practice consisted largely of exercises derived from these Okinawan, Japanese and Chinese disciplines.
The Evolution of Tae Kwon Do Poomsae, Hyung and Tul-Part 1 - June 10, 2013
Long before the advent of sport sparring and the invention of modern safety gear, in a time when to fight meant to defend one’s life from almost certain death an ingenious method of transmitting martial arts skills from venerated master to loyal disciple was developed.
In Search of The Real Mr. Miyagi - June 3, 2013
It’s ironic that the world’s best-known karate master never existed. The much-loved Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid movies is the product of a Hollywood scriptwriter, and just one more example of how the public’s view of martial arts has more to do with fantasy than reality.
Sport versus Combat - May 27, 2013
It was the first time I’d ever made it to the finals. Win and I’d take home the first place trophy; lose and it’d still be a pretty cool piece of hardware. I’d come in third a couple of times, but the little statues weren’t nearly as prestigious as the big ones. And I really, really wanted to earn one of the big ones.
What is Taijiquan? - May 20, 2013
Let us see what is Taijiquan, as it was written down in the past. First, we must define what we mean by “taiji.” It is stated in Wang, Zong-yue’s (王宗岳) Taijiquan Classic “What is taiji? It is generated from wuji and is a pivotal function of movement and stillness. It is the mother of yin and yang. When it moves, it divides. At rest it<br>reunites.”
How Do the Chinese Treat Arthritis? - May 13, 2013
The best way to treat arthritis is to prevent it from happening. However, if it has already occurred, then the appropriate course is to prevent it from getting any worse, and then to rebuild the strength of the joint so that it can resume functioning normally. Generally speaking, if a case of arthritis has already reached the stage of serious physical damage, special treating is needed before any rebuilding can proceed.
Be Mindful on Mother's Day - May 6, 2013
Happy Mother's Day! Mother's Day is an interesting institution. In the act of honoring women who have children, we can inadvertently bring up heavy emotions. Some women are left feeling that "something is missing" on Mother’s Day.
The Ground. The Dirty, Filthy, Dangerous Ground - April 29, 2013
The Raiders fan had biceps that could put Hulk Hogan to shame and a physique that was nothing short of awesome. He stood out in a bar full of average guys, not only because he was ripped, but also because he was the only person cheering for the other team, the only one doing it vociferously anyway.
YMAA Celebrates World Tai Chi & Qigong Day on April 27 - April 22, 2013
Celebrate World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTC&Q Day)on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. all over the world.  Beginning in New Zealand, this event will spread time zone by time zone across the globe, and will include 70 countries.
Thoughts On Tai Chi Form And Drills - April 15, 2013
During my twenty plus years of training full-time with world-renowned Chinese masters and leading Yoga teachers has rewarded me with gold medals in the solo Tai Chi form and Tai Chi sword, as well as in fighting competitions in North America, and Europe, in China, as well.
From Whence We Came: Some Okinawa Cultural Icons - April 8, 2013
At a little over 26 degrees north of the equator, Okinawa enjoys a subtropical climate, and for much of the year its inhabitants live under clear blue skies. However, during the early summer months, typhoons sweep in off the Pacific Ocean bringing with them strong winds and huge seas often resulting in damage to property, and sometimes loss of life.
The Writing of The Raven’s Warrior-A Novel - April 1, 2013
We share a common interest – martial arts. That interest however, is as unique as every individual who has trained and sweated through any art pursued. We bring a modern western perspective to an ancient eastern discipline.
My Experience at The YMAA Retreat Center in Miranda, California Part 2 - March 26, 2013
At some point in my stay, a potential five-year candidate named, Nathan Rosen, flew in from France for a short stay. I drove with Dr. Yang and Jonathan Chang to pick him up.
My Experience at The YMAA Retreat Center in Miranda, California Part 1 - March 19, 2013
It was a quiet Monday morning in Bronx, N.Y. at 5 a.m. when I made my usual stop at the deli by the local train to New York City. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the former UFC Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar, alongside the Bellator Lightweight Champion, Eddie Alvarez, featured on the cover of Black Belt Magazine.
The Fox Borrows the Tiger's Awe (狐假虎威) - March 19, 2013
When I was a boy, my grandmother and my martial arts teachers told me many stories. This was very common in China, especially in the old days before television and radio, and especially in previous centuries when the vast majority of the population could not read. While these stories were a main source of entertainment, they also played an important role in the moral and cultural education of the children.
Tai Chi "Fire Set" Exercises for Leg Strength - March 11, 2013
The following three exercises make up what I call the “Fire Set,” which are “Walk and Kick Back,” “Walk Like a Warrior,” and “Up Like Smoke, Down Like a Feather.”<br>I designed this exercise after many years of experience working with martial artists as well as elders, and stumbling into many issues of leg strength, as well as osteoporosis and sarcopenia.
Taiji Ball Qigong - Theory of Physical Conditioning (強身之原理) - March 4, 2013
Taiji ball qigong is able to condition the physical body and change its structure from weak to strong. In addition, it can also increase the quality of endurance of the body. Due to these reasons, taiji ball qigong can be used to enhance fighting capability, and to increase the chance of survival in ancient fighting situations.
Karate-A Unique Balanced Approach to Healthy Living - February 26, 2013
Those who enter a dojo for the purpose of maintaining good health engage in a training routine that may look similar to those engaged in budo karate, but this similarity exists only on the surface.
Martial Moralities - February 25, 2013
Martial morality has always been a required discipline in Chinese martial arts society. Before you learn any martial techniques, you should first understand this subject.
Karate - A Fighting Art: Use Technology - February 18, 2013
I began training in the martial arts in the summer of 1965. Months earlier, I had broken my lower back in a weightlifting contest and the doctor told me to stop lifting weights and to try something less violent on the body. Therefore, I began karate training.
Qigong for Women: Gynecological Health - February 11, 2013
Menopause and the menstrual cycle are natural processes that don’t have to cause suffering in women. However, most women find the opposite to be true. Hormone health is inextricably connected to our stress level. Stress doesn’t have a quick fix and can only be improved with gentle but steady attention to our lifestyle.
2013: The Year of the Snake - February 8, 2013
The Chinese year 4711 begins on February 10, 2013. According to the Chinese zodiac it will be the Year of the Snake, euphemistically referred to as the 'little dragon'.
The Traditional Way to Celebrate Spring Festival or Chinese New Year - February 4, 2013
Daoist monk Zhou, Xuan-Yun grew up in a small village, Liu Gang Zu, in Henan Province with about 100 residents. The following are his memories and comments about the Spring Festival.
Lethal Force: Firearms - Part 2 - February 1, 2013
Don’t over-romanticize guns. A handgun  is a nifty machine that throws a hunk of metal in a straight line. No more, no less. A .45 caliber bullet, unless it hits bone and sends fragments spinning, does just as much damage as driving a blunt 45/100 of an inch-diameter stick into the body.