Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming began training in Taiwan at the age of 15 under White Crane Master Zeng Jin Zao. He also studied Tai Ji and Qi Gong with Kao Tao and Long Fist with Li Mao Qing. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at universities in Taiwan, and in 1974 came to the United States to pursue a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, graduating in 1978. Becoming aware of the misconceptions in America about traditional Chinese arts and culture, he decided to abandon his engineering career and dedicate himself to preserving the arts and educating people about the culture. To this end, in 1982 he established Yang’s Martial Arts Association (YMAA) in Boston, Massachusetts, to teach traditional Chinese Gong Fu and Qi Gong. The organization has grown to some 45 schools in 18 different countries. Dr. Yang has written more than 30 books. His YMAA Publication Center promotes martial arts and Eastern culture through books, instructional videos and DVDs that have been translated into many languages. The YMAA retreat center in California offers seminars and instructor training.
Cha Quan is popular throughout Northern China and is one of the styles developed by the Hui People (China's Muslims). It is considered one of the 5 major Traditional Northern Long Fist systems which, along with Hua Quan, have served as the foundation for the development of Contemporary Wushu. This article on the Origins and Skills of Cha Quan provides an in-depth look at its origins, characteristics, and basic skills. Aspects such as the 16-Character Formula and the 10 Important Points are revealed in depth for the first time in the English language.
Justin Meehan discusses the evolution of Hun Yuan Tai Ji Quan from its roots in Chen Style Tai Ji to the distinctive internal system propagated by Meehan’s teacher, Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang. The fundamental principles and major practices areas are described; these include specific Qi Gong exercises, silk reeling exercises, forms and push hands. The challenges to the system following Feng’s passing are noted. Additional material includes excerpts from interviews with Feng, a detailed biography, his remarks on the 48-posture form, historic photos, and a Pinyin glossary.
The Wing Chun Wooden Dummy, or Mù Rén Zhuāng (木人樁), is a traditional training apparatus that allows for the development and application of many Wing Chun theories and techniques. In "The Wooden Dummy and the Active Mind," Franco Lung explores the importance and usage of Zhōng Xiàn (中线) - Center Line Theory as it applies to the Wooden Dummy and the proper function of the mind during training. The significance of angles and timing are discussed. Photos help to show the correct hand and foot positions. Additional topics include the significance of body structure and the Six Harmonies, as well as efficiency and the correct sound to emit while hitting the dummy.
In this article on Taiji Swords, the author, Zhang Yun, explains the similarities and distinguishing characteristics of Taiji Jian (Straight Sword) and Taiji Dao (Saber or Broadsword). A detailed section on the history of Chinese swords traces their early development in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, beginning with bronze swords and through the centuries evolving into high quality steel. Many photos depict the different shapes and metallurgy of these early weapons. The explanation of the differences between military and professional martial arts training is worth noting for all serious practitioners. The fighting principles of Taiji Sword and Taiji Saber are explained in detail as are the function of hand shapes, attributes of each weapon, internal and external training qualities, and relationship between the fighting principles of Taiji Quan and how they apply to the swords.
Lee Koon Hung (李冠雄 1942-1996) was one of the shining lights in Choy Lay Fut's (Cai Li Fo) modern era. An influential teacher, he did much to promote Choy Lay Fut not only in Hong Kong but throughout the world. This interview with his brother, Li Siu Hung, provides a window into Lee Koon Hung's early training with Zhēn Yánchū (甄炎初 Yan Yim Chou) and his later training with some of the giants of Choy Lay Fut. Timelines, famous personalities and dozens of historical photos enrich the interview, which also deals with Li Siu Hung's own journey in martial arts. A renowned teacher, he has been carrying on his brother's legacy. The interview covers Cai Li Fo's fundamental principles, skills and techniques; the forms in Lee Koon Hung's Choy Lay Fut curriculum, training, competition; and the heritage of this lineage, which is now widely practiced in many parts of the world.
This article by Yuzeng Liu provides a window into the philosophical principles of Wǔdāng (武當) and the concepts of the Yì Jīng (易經 Book of Changes) and the Dàodéjīng (道德 经 Tao Te Jing) and how they are integrated with the internal martial arts of Tàijí Quán (太極拳), Xíngyì Quán (形意拳) and Bāguà Zhǎng (八卦掌). Liu states, "I think that in practicing the fundamental techniques of Wǔdāng internal martial arts, in order to advance one must move in the direction of the Dào, toward understanding the distinct aspects and requirements. In this way, after the movement is understood, practice improves and energy improves. By quietly observing and mulling over, one gradually arrives at the heart’s desire, becoming adept and transforming." Liu introduces various principles and their relationship to internal martial arts, which can be used as guideposts to the deeper study of Wǔdāng internal martial arts.
William C. C. Chen, one of the giants in the modern Taiji era, in Tàijí Quán de Hūxī - An Essay on Breathing, explains in a concise and easy to understand manner both the essence and function of breathing. He writes, "The gentle, deep and full inhalations in the movements of Tàijí Quán allow us to receive a greater volume of the 21 % oxygen into the lungs. With an adequate oxygen supply in our system, we can produce more energy. Oxygen is essential to our daily activities and in fighting disease, repairing tissues, and removing cancerous cells." Further, "The system of breathing with the diaphragm is of great significance in the movements of Tàijí Quán. In these gentle relaxing movements we keep the air passage wide open, which maximizes the airflow out and in from the throat. When the diaphragm moves up, we exhale; this pushes the carbon dioxide out from the lungs. When the diaphragm pulls down, we inhale; this helps the lungs draw in oxygen." Just as in his teaching, William C. C. Chen imparts knowledge without mystery and in a manner that is simple and yet profound.
Kenny Perez is one of the original pioneers of Wushu in the West and a former tournament champion who won numerous titles and awards. He shares with readers his martial arts journey: his early training in Kenpo Karate and Shuri-Ryu, his first exposure to Chinese martial arts, Wing Chun with Augustine Fong, White Lotus with Douglas Wong, and Contemporary Wushu. He describes his experiences in prestigious tournaments such as Ed Parker's Long Beach International; the people he meets, many of whom are legends in martial arts in the West; and his revealing views of competition. Along with Roger Tung, Christopher Pei, Bow-Sim Mark, Keith Hirabayashi, Donnie Yen, and others, Perez was part of the first American Wushu team to visit China. He offers his impressions of Chinese culture during the Mao Period and his training routine. “Back then the training was much regimented, very communistic." He expresses his excitement in returning to the States to teach what he had learned. Donnie Yen and Jet Li, Coach Wu Bin and Li Tianji, and many other famous athletes and personalities are discussed in the interview, which is accompanied by dozens of historical photos and helpful training tips.
Recollections of Zheng Manqing (鄭曼青) - There is no doubt that Professor Zheng Manqing will always be remembered as one of the most influential and innovative teachers of Tai Chi Chuan in the modern era. Tom Vandigriff shares his recollections of this great master during the time that he was privileged to study at Shr Jung "The Hall of Happiness" in New York in the early 1970s. Tom shares his memories and experiences of lessons, episodes and interesting points through several vignettes that provide the reader with a student's perspective on Zheng Manqing, both the man and his art.