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Sam Masich Interview

This in-depth interview with Sam Masich provides insights into his early training in several martial arts systems including Judo, Yang Style Taiji Quan, Push Hands, and other internal styles. He trained with a remarkable variety of teachers including Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming and Liang Shou Yu. Selected to compete at the 1st World Wushu Invitational tournament in Xian, China, as part of Canada’s National Martial Arts Team, Masich distinguished himself in competition during the 1980s. He pursued additional studies in China and offers lively descriptions of the training and of his many teachers. He discusses the goals and benefits of competition and offers tips for beginners in developing sticking and adhering skills in push hands.

Long Fist: The Origin of Chinese Martial Arts

Jason Tsou and Art Schonfeld discuss the value of Chang Quan (Long Fist) training as a fundamental way to understand the principles of combat. Long Fist training was originally designed to teach the mind and body essential fighting skills, not to simply demonstrate athletic prowess. The authors describe the origins of the style, methods of training, and the crucial differences between forms practice and application of the techniques in a real fighting situation. They contend that an emphasis on athletic performance, such as in tournaments and competitions, leads to a loss of understanding of the functionality of the movements. In turn, this leads to predictability and hesitation on the part of the fighter. The martial aspects of the style eventually become diluted and the true purpose and effectiveness of the training is lost. Weapons techniques are illustrated and their similarities to empty-hand postures are shown. Qinna and wrestling techniques are covered. Footwork is discussed as a crucial part of the effectiveness of kicks, punches, throws and holds.

Baji Quan and Pigua Zhang

By Tony Yang (Yang Xiaodong) and Robert Figler
Historically, the art of Baji Quan/Pigua Zhang was employed by the imperial bodyguards. Although relatively well known among military personnel, serious martial artists, and indoor disciples of Liu Yunqiao (1909-1992), it was not available to the public. Liu, serving at the highest level of security at the palace, founded the Wudang Martial Arts Development Center with the goal of making traditional Northern Chinese martial arts more widespread. Through the emigration of his disciples, including Tony Yang, by the late 1970s and early 1980s the style had spread throughout the North and South America, Europe, and the Far East. Yang and Figler discuss three phases of training, apparatus such as the dog skin for hand training, and the principles related to body structure, coordinated power, breathing, and stomping. A detailed pictorial sequence illustrates Liu Da Kai (Six Big Openings), a set of six moving postures designed to train both long-range bridging and short-range striking.

How To Improve Your Jumping Skills

Dynamic jumping and leaping skills are an essential part of Northern Gong Fu training for performance and for combat. Scott Jensen describes four parts of a successful jump: preparation, lift off, the jump, and a proper landing that maintains your root. He offers practical tips and drills to develop stability, body alignment, and fluid coordination of arms and legs. He describes the importance of using the ground for takeoff and for landing, controlling your descent with awareness and correct orientation. The drills are described in detail with step-by-step photographs. By including them in your workout you will increase cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and core strength.