道场 Dào·Chǎng

Notes of a lifelong learner and perpetual beginner on martial arts, mindfulness, Chinese calligraphy…and many, many cups of tea.


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Tai Chi Golf

Sometimes I get a bright idea and think “Yeah! That’s the ticket!” Today’s idea was “Tai Chi Golf” — incorporating the principles and techniques of taijiquan into the game of golf. I didn’t think anyone had really put it out there yet. Then I found a series of videos by Jake Mace demonstrating something of a technique bridge between Yang style taijiquan and various aspects of the golf swing. It looks like Jake Mace gets some pretty impressive results. For me, a recent golf enthusiast, it affirms the value of my time spent training in both, and the real pleasure of observing the crossover between the two. You can check out Jake Mace’s published videos HERE.

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Small Vessel

This past Saturday my kung fu teacher David Wong taught his first class since returning from his visit to Hong Kong and China. I was conscious of how much I had missed his personal flair, humor and guidance in my life. My morning thoughts on the way home were about my estimation that I could never learn and be as skilled at kung fu as much as my teacher. I fear that I could ever learn only a fraction of what he has learned in  his lifetime. If I ever became a kung fu teacher, everything I know would only be a snapshot, a sample of what my teacher knows. Thinking about it as I drove, these thoughts came to my mind: You might think to yourself, “I will never be great. At best I can only hope to be a small vessel.” But it is important to remember that even a single drop of water contains the essence of all water. Small things contain the essence of great things. Conduct yourself accordingly.

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Video: 徐紀老師 伝統北派武術技撃秘訣 後編

Came across this excellent video depicting applications of movements similar (if not the same as) the style of taijiquan I study with Sifu David Wong. Interestingly the title refers to “northern school.” Sharing this here, as I plan to study it with greater attention when I get a chance at home.


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Moving Clouds and Flowing Water – 行雲流水

Yesterday I purchased a copy of Chan Heart, Chan Mind by contemporary Chinese Buddhist monk Guo Jun. The book begins with Guo Jun’s account of his first teacher Songnian. As Guo Jun described the rough personality and teaching style of Songnian, it reminded me a great deal of my own kung fu teacher. More importantly, as Songnian taught the principles of grinding ink for use in calligraphy (shu fa), the essential principles reminded me of the important lessons my own teacher imparted to me especially with regard to the “pushing hands” exercises (tui shou) of taijiquan. Luckily, this chapter is also available online as a publication of Tricycle magazine, and I am able to share it here: http://www.tricycle.com/feature/calligrapher%E2%80%99s-apprentice.

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“Essentials of the Wudang Sword Art” by Huang Yuanxiu

At least once I have cited an excellent online resource for studying the Wudang styles of swordsmanship. The resource is Paul Brennan’s translation of Essentials of the Wudang Sword Art by Huang Yuanxiu, published in 1931 by Commercial Press.

Huang Yuanxiu

Huang Yuanxiua

Brennan’s online translation includes some excerpts of original calligraphy as well as the original illustrative photographs. The information is fairly technical, but if you have worked your way through an elementary course of study, possibly with Scott Rodell’s Chinese Swordsmanship or Zhang Yun’s Art of Chinese Swordsmanship, you can make the connections to the content of this text. The full text of Brennan’s translation of Essentials of Wudang Sword Art by Huang Yuanxiu can be accessed HERE.


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Integrating Xingyi Quan with Taiji Quan Practice

Based on the close connection to Taiji Quan that Lu Shengli describes, I am integrating some Xingyi Quan practice into my training program. Specifically, I am working on santi shi (“three bodies alignment”) and will be doing some flexing exercises with the 84″ staff. In this video clip from Kung Fu Quest 2, both of these exercises are explained by venerable master Song Guanghua. I have to say that the initial scene of Guanghua practicing shufa (Chinese calligraphy) in his shadowy is also pretty inspiring to me.


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Video: Yu Hongqin’s Baguazhang Instructional Video

I have been talking about this instructional video in baguazhang (“eight trigrams palm”) for a few weeks now with a couple of my fellow gongfu students, and decided I should post it up. The instructor is Yu Hongqin, and it is a very good demonstration of basic and core techniques in the martial arts style of baguazhang. The video does not demonstrate any combat applications, but I have found it useful to compare what I am learning in taijiquan and consider integrating a few techniques from baguazhang.