Boxing the old school way

Hey guys wanted to share some boxing stuff with ya’ll at the place I have been talking about. I really like the training, even if it is slow and exact I think it is a solid foundation for boxers very unlike the crap going on at L.A. Boxing and MMA schools which teach bad boxing basics.

It is training at Annandale boxing club, with Leo Rossiter, a old school boxing only gym with an old school fighter (under Mack Lewis in Baltimore) and coach. He has a few pros currently and had taught many pros. Link to ABGC Boxing

So basically he recommends for Morning workout-
Get your running and road work in. Early AM running to get your legs strong. He says in his prime he was running 5 miles 6 x a week under 1 hour.

1 month: mold the shit out of your basics until it is permanent.
1st month he had me start from scratch after watching me shadow box. I had to make corrections to the hook and uppercut mostly, his version of body shot was new.
Beginners have to do the following:
Stretching: bar stretch forward and sides, loosen hips, stretch quads, drop stance stretches, limber up type of work. Loosen neck, stretch shoulders, etc. etc.

fight stance test- you can test a guys stance and structure by pushing on them. have them in boxing stance w/arms crossed at chest and then quickly push them when they are ready. they will move off balance. adjust the posture and try again. they should be stable.

All workouts are done to the timer of 3 minute rounds.
1. Forward moving step-jab/Backward jab step-back. Step jab are timed together. Be sure to jab long with chin tucked and protected by shoulder. Do this across the room going forward. Then next drill repeat going backward.
Move backwards after going forward- do: jab then step back. The reason for this is that if opponent is moving forward with punches, you jab at his chest or center line to off balance them while you have a solid connection to the ground. After you punch and hit the guy (in the critical distance), then step back. This is done for a few rounds 3 to 4 rounds and be sure you have good fight stance and crouching. Your legs should burn from this.

2. Cross/straight right- practice the cross only for a few rounds working mechanics of the weight shift, hips open and close, back foot pivot, chin tucked and protected by shoulder, punching with two main knuckles and extend arm long (jab and cross arms should be like steel bars from forearm to knuckle). No stepping just yet. Practice in place.

3. Lead Hook- this hook is a ‘short inside’ hook. Study the way ‘Mickey Ward’ throws the hook. In our style there is a sight shift to left leg (if you are orthodox stance) , hook to opponent chin, then hand does not drop down coming back to chin. It almost does a blocking move coming back to chin. Do this for a few rounds, no stepping.

4. Left and right Body shots- this is very much like Chinese Hsingyi “Heng” or “crossing fist”. The right hand drops to waist level (elbow is a fist away from rt. Hip) and punch straight (not round hook) to opponent’s center line. Switch the hands (right hand comes up to cheek, left hand is lowered with left elbow a fist away from left hip) shift weight and drive left body shot to opponent center. Add a little power at the end of the hit. Be sure to be shifting weight with the body shots. Do this in place for a few rounds.

5. Upper cut- uppercut uses the legs doing a quarter squat and allow the legs to drive the uppercut. Sink down and fire the right hand from the chin straight up as if an opponent has a clinch around your head and you are connecting with his chin. Repeat for the left uppercut. Do that in place for a few rounds.

End workout with calisthenics/push up/ab set: start with 10 add one each practice up to 20.
1. Jumping jacks
2. Toe touches in wide stance- bend down left hand touch rt toe. Come up and repeat for left tow touch. That counts as one. Do 10.
3. Standing elbow to knee. Opposite elbow to knee. Both sides counts as 1. Do 10.
4. 10 air squats with hands up like a boxer.
5. Feet together touch toes, hit abs with both hands hard, reach for sky, hit abs hard again and touch toes. Repeat.
6. Feet parallel- twist spine and punch behind your opposite shoulder, twist to other side and repeat.
7. Flat hand push ups. 10.
8. Knuckle push ups on hard floor.
You can take two deep breaths to rest between each ab exercise.
9. Sit ups
10. Sit ups with legs in a diamond, feet flat against each other.
11. Crunches with knees up.
12. Crunches with legs up in diamond.
13. Crunches with legs raised up.
14. Crunches with legs out.
15. Crunches with legs out rt. Leg over left foot.
16. Crunches with legs out left Leg over rt. foot.
17. Leg lift with extra lift of hips off the ground.

2 month- after coach thinks you have basics correct and down the workout changes.
1. Continue with doing #1 from above a few rounds. Jab step forward across room, jab step backward across room. (Do for a few rounds)

2. Double jab step forward across room. Jab, step back- add cross- lead hook, quarter squat-uppercut. Repeat combo going backward. (Do for a few rounds)

3. Triple jab step forward across room. Jab, step back- add cross hook, quarter squat uppercut. Repeat combo going backward. (Do for a few rounds)

4. Ring area (square area size of ring)- jab step, cross follow step, hook step. You are doing jab-cross-hook but each with a 3 to 6 inch step (varies on your height). This is a bit hard to describe on paper, but the purpose is to keep closing in and have that hidden cross. The punches are like pushes that can offset/unbalance opponent. Step is like this: left foot steps about 6 inches with jab, rt. Foot follows about 6 inches, left foot steps about 6 in. with left hook. This stepping and punch pattern works to a beat and rhythm. (Do for a few rounds)The ring area jab-cross-hook #4 is done counter clockwise the outer rim of the ring. you move forward then pivot 90 degrees and continue moving forward. this will get you to practice pivoting.

5. After #4 jab-cross-hook is correct: add left body shot, rt. Body shot, left body shot, left hook using the same rhythmic stepping pattern. (Do for a few rounds)

6. You can add 3 lb. hand weights or resistance bands to #5.

Finish with the calisthenics/push up/ab set.
Add: pull up/ab station set: 10 dips, 10 leg ups/knee ups, 10 bicep pull ups, 10 leg ups/knee ups, 10 wide grip pull ups, 10 leg ups/knee ups, 10 wide grip pull up behind the neck.

3rd month- after the boxing test (which is the jab-cross hook on focus mitts for 3 four minute rounds non-stop to the stepping rhythm)

1. Shadow box for 3 rounds.

Heavy Bag work: 2 rounds each drill
1. Double jab and triple jab on heavy bag. Keep moving right. (this is because a majority of people are orthodox stanced fighters). Double and triple jabs should take no more than 2 seconds. Hit hard and make the guy respect you on those jabs. (jab and cross arms should be like steel bars from forearm to knuckle).
2. Cross only on heavy bag: hard ass cross- weave right, cross again step right.
3. Left hooks- head can touch the bag: 4 quick hard hooks to body, 1 hard hook to head, move right.
4. Body shots- two really hard body shots (center line style) step right, 4 quick and hard body shots, move right. body shots on heavy bag- your head should be touching the bag like in #3 hooks to the bag. those are inside techniques.
5. Freestyle on bag- keep using proper mechanics as previously done.
6. Speed bag- 2 rounds using the X style.
7. 1 more round of shadow boxing after all the bag work.

Do previous:
1. calisthenics/push up/ab set.
2. pull up/ab station set
3. add: incline bench press and regular bench press. Style is as follows: do not use sets. Just blast 10. Next time you train blast 11 so on and so forth. When you get to blast 20, add 10 lb. and repeat. Idea here is to get strong but not buff which is counter productive to boxers.

medicine ball work like hitting abs with medicine ball, dropping medicine ball to abs, etc.

Jump rope rounds

Focus mitt rounds

Sparring 4 minute rounds.

pad work with student
1. long reaching jab cross.
2. 4 punch/4 step punching
3. look at eyes: jab cross duck while hitting body
4. add slip to #3.

Heavy bag: pro fighter bag hitting- move in hitting, inside hitting (head and body combos), move out.

Posted in Boxing and Thai Boxing | Leave a comment

The case for stretching to improve your “Internal Martial Art”

” In other words, in the basic as well as higher levels of Taiji, we should emphasize the training through Taiji gong which makes our muscles and joints more resilient and flexible and also consequently stronger. This, again, is not achieved by just “relaxing” or not using our muscles, ligaments, and joints, but rather the opposite by constantly “extending”, ‘expanding”, and “exerting” them. In Taiji, there is a classical saying that in the beginning stage, we must seek to expand and extend before we can arrive at a more compact way of practicing, or as another popular saying goes, we must never go half-way in any of the postures or moves of Taiji.”- Taijiquan Master Wu Tunan


There have been times I have been to martial art schools or classes where there were not any stretching. The Chinese martial arts have a very rich and long history of health practices that involve all kinds of stretching and releasing of tendons and muscles. Some of these are Ba Dua Jin (8 Piece brocade), Yi jing Jin (Muscle and Tendon changing Classic) and Hua To’s Wu Xing (5 animal gong). While some have orgin going back to India’s yoga, many are indigenous to China. Flexibility is of upmost importance in the Internal martial arts, you must elongate, strengthen, and transform stiff and tight internal and external muscles of the legs, hips, waist, spine, and arms.

Here is some stretches that have been beneficial to my Taijiquan practice. Many were handed down from my teacher Weiqi He a disciple of Fu Zhong Wen.
Fu Zhong Wen on the Left
Fu Zhong Wen on the left.

Fu Zhong Wen floor stretching set:

-front stretch (bend forward touching toes),
-single leg left,
-single leg right,
-straddle: left, right, center, forward, side stretch left, side stretch right.
-drop stance left and right.

In this video Lorretta Walling shows the straddle stretch we often practiced during our warm ups. This is a very good stretch and I have done this stretch also at Western Boxing schools and Chinese Wushu kung fu classes.

Split stretching: this is Advanced level stretching but you can see this will open up the hips and all the muscles of the hips and upper thigh.

Stretches from Master Zhou Jian Hua for Taijiquan and Long Boxing. (Student of Long boxing and Taijiquan master Cai Longyun).
Cai Longyun full contact fight and Taijiquan image:
These are some of the standing Wall stretches we used to do, you can do on a tree or stretching bar:

Chin to Toe stretch- this stretch is from Guang Ping Taiji and is mandatory in the school. I think it is a very good stretch for hamstring and calves and is done in many other Taijiquan and Kung Fu schools that incorporate stretching.

some very basic but good stretches in relation to 5 elements:

Xiang Yang-He a student of Yang Shao Hao and Yang Jian Hao taught in Taiwan. This is his warm up and stretching set:

to be continued.

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Yang Chen Fu- Essence and Application of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Boxing)

Notes and Terms used in Yang Chen Fu’s book on Essence and Application of Taijiquan, translation by Louis Swaim:

Yi Jin or I’Ching- Chinese book of changes, Taijiquan adopts from its Taiji and Bagua Theory as it’s image and principles.

3 most important attributes within the study of Taijiquan:
1. Li- set of principles.
2. Qi- energy.
3. Xiang- Image. Xiang nourishes Qi.

First Beginning posture of Wu Ji standing:
1. Li Ding shi- stillness standing.
2. Yi han ding jin- Crown of head.
3. Kua- inner hip, upper thigh region.
4. Jing shen Nei gu- secure vitality via-5.
5. Qi- energy in 6.
6. Dan tien- field of elixer in abdomen region by way of 7.
7. yi ren ziran- naturally guided.
8. bu ke qian qiang- not by force.

Grasp bird tail-
Nian, lian, , tie, Sui- adhere, connect, stick, follow.
wang fu- back and fourth.
bu li bu duan- do not sever connection.
peng qu- ward off forward and upward.

Ward off left- from left strike step right, then left, from inside opponent, left on this check, rt hand on his left arm and yank off balance. similar to wrestling arm drag.

ward off rt. and lu- from opponent left body shot-connect to inside (ward off rt) and wrap/turn over to outside and pull off balance. If they change off angle, apply Jie (ti jin “lifting energy”) , if they follow in, split hands and close inside their arms and a quick snapping push.”yi he jin” use closing energy.

single whip- from opponents rear strike circle and palm strike to chest. (similar to a boxers jab that has leverage to take opponent off-balance.

Raised hands- turn body to right to address opponent catch arm using qi-na to elbow and wrist.

White crane- opponent uses two hands to strike left side, split hands and can shoulder bump, or off balance and use kick.
fensan- “dissipate strength”
bu zheng- strength has no order.

Posted in Fighting: San Shou/Sanda/Shuai Chiao, Tai Chi Chaun/Taijiquan | Tagged | Leave a comment

2013 Lei Tai fights Baltimore Maryland

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Discussion on da shou 打手 in Taijiquan combat skills training

Recent discussion on Taijiquan combat skills for fighting.

From Louis Swaim: The term for striking hands would be da shou 打手, which is in fact the older term for two-person drills. The term push hands, tui shou 推手, is relatively modern. The short taiji classic commonly known as the Song of Pushing Hands is in fact titled Da Shou Ge 打手歌, “The Song of Striking Hands.” The word dǎ is actually a very multi-purpose verb, and can mean fighting, playing, doing, making a phone call, etc. Most of the older taiji texts refer to dǎshǒu 打手, or to dāshǒu 搭手, which means something like “joining hands.”

Glen comments on Da shou, he says: “In 打手 Dǎshou – meaning thug, the shou is a neutral tone. Where in this 打手 Dǎshǒu the tone is pronounced.

打拳 Dǎquán – is ‘Practice Fighting’ (shadowboxing) but in martial arts there are hand/ arm attacks, grappling, kicking, and weapons so in training you practice stuff against an imaginary opponent at full speed and power but then only practice certain things with a training partner. The only reasonable thing to practice safely with another person is the hand techniques because using hands plus leg attacks is too easy to damage and really hurt the opponent because it’s hard to pull back or stop a kick to your partner’s knee if he doesn’t see it. Plus it’s all about practicing to learn better ways of fighting which is for both people to learn and gain from, so 打手 Dǎshǒu is just using arm techniques and stepping.

If you know and have practiced alongside the other person/ training partner for some time and you both know your strengths and have good control of speed and power then it can be done as 散手 Sǎnshǒu (free hands) meaning anything goes instead of prearranged attacks or one person attacks, the other defends, which falls under another category called ‘Contract Hands’ where the rules of what techniques are agreed upon and accepted by both parties before starting.

‘Tuishou’ (fixed-step, moving-step, one arm, two arms) is a type of contract hands where the rule is only ‘pushing’ techniques will be used, and it became the standard form of ‘Dashou’ and the easiest way to go about testing skills but now it’s been taken to a ridiculous extreme and the original intention of it has kind of been lost.

Doing ‘Dashou’ with a stranger can quickly turn into just a fight (打架 Dajia) when one person takes a cheap shot and the other retaliates.

‘Pushing’ is just one of many different attacking methods, so to really practice and become comfortable in the other striking methods there needs to be more variety of techniques. The most prevalent strike in Chinese martial arts is using the bones of forearms to attack and defend because they can cover such a large area from the below the wrist down to the tip of your elbow. But the ability to use them requires Standing (zhan zhuang) practice in order to condition them (just like how the fists first need conditioning that comes from holding a tight fist), and your training partners need to have done an equal amount of Standing Strengthening in so that you’re both at roughly the same level and won’t cringe with every arm on arm contact.

The saying ‘The opponent attacks but I arrive first’ means that the opponent launches an attack at your head but you can get your forearm up to strike his arm before it lands. With practice and trained power this can cause 打斷 Daduan (a break) or at least cause enough pain to disrupt his plan and you then have the initiative.

‘Inside the school’, with training partners that you know, you can do 打手 Dǎshǒu at a fast speed and only slightly pull the power on forearm contact and fully pull the strike when it’s going to land on their head or other vital area. You don’t want to cause an accidental 打斷 Daduan on your training partner but if you’re both at a relatively equal level it’s not really an issue. And even though it’s an ideal occurrence in actual combat you would still be continuing to attack in order to get to the opponent’s head or other ‘finishing’ technique. So the practice fighting (Dashou) is also looking to achieve these other goals to finish the fight because really 打斷 Daduan is not considered a ‘finishing’ move, even though technically it probably would be. So this method of practicing fighting makes for the closest approximation for fighting with the arms and working on stepping and mobility. Finding ways to safely train leg attacks is a whole other issue.

Really though all these ways of training and practicing are kind of just ‘playing at fighting’ because in a real fight anything could happen but even though it’s a type of playing around (玩 Wán), in actual fighting you are 玩儿命 Wánrmìng (playing with your life). So every practice/ exercise / training should be taken and done very seriously.”

“搭手 Dāshǒu (I think was translated as Bridging Hands) is the older term for practice/ training to fight and kind of falling under that and including it is: 揉手 Róushǒu (Rubbing Hands); 打手 Dǎshǒu (Hitting/ Striking Hands); 盤手 Pánshǒu (Coiling Hands); 磨手 Moshǒu (Grinding Hands); and 揭手 Jiēshǒu (Lifting(?) Hands). In the mid-late 1800s they needed to find something that was in-between all the different methods so Tuishou (Pushing Hands) became the standard amongst different styles to compare skills without getting into a brawl yet still be something that’s equally developed amongst the different styles.

There’s a lot of Bridging training skills in older martial arts but it’d be hard to compare to what was incorporated into Xingyi and Bagua because the names may be the same but not necessarily the practice. 打手 Dǎshǒu is just a catch-all term for practicing striking in the different styles and they’re kind of style specific and dependent upon having actual development before they’re started. 磨手 Moshǒu (Grinding Hands) I’m fairly certain is more Baguazhang’s thing and the exercises are brutally difficult because they require a genuine whole-body strength and you also need to work with someone who’s at or near your same level of development. ”

搭 手 Dāshǒu goes back to the 1200s but the other terms are hard to date. There is mention that Roushou is originally a ‘Feeding Crane Boxing practice’ which was popular in Beijing; Panshou is a xingyi practice because it develops drilling, twisting, wringing etc. ; Moshou is a Bagua practice because it develops tui, tou, dai, ling, ban, kou, pi, and Jin. And Tuishou develops zhan, nian, lian, and sui, which is in all 3 styles so that’s why it was chosen as the standard. Da(the Ji (skill) of Ji (Hitting))shou is just striking and Sanshou is more free fighting so neither of those would have been a good choice for a standard and safe way to test the skills between different schools. Dong Haichuan, Yang Luchan, Guo Yunshen all came up with this during meetings in Beijing.

from our Baguazhang: Moshou is actually ‘Grinding the strength out’ and it is a very quick way to judge skills because the lesser skilled person wouldn’t be able to move the better guys arm at all and would likely hurt himself in the process. It’s a lesser known partner drill/exercise because it takes two friends who are equal to drill it and develop together. If done as an exercise with 2 people who have vastly different skills the better guy would have to let the other person move his arm and then not try too hard when the movement switches and the other guy is trying to prevent him from moving his arm. So it doesn’t really benefit either person.

there’s also that article from a year or so ago where a Chen Taiji guy writes about need to do more Dashou (striking hands) because they’ve become too focused and Na Fa (Grasping methods) and the Tuishou isn’t developing combat abilities the way it should be. It’s also a long article and not really evidence that it existed in Chen village before the 1900s as it’s written with the flavor of ‘We need to catch up Chen Style with what the rest of the world is doing!’

Posted in Fighting: San Shou/Sanda/Shuai Chiao, Pakua Chang/Hsingyi Chuan, Tai Chi Chaun/Taijiquan | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Interview with Wilson Pitts, Neijia Instructor in Richmond Virginia, USA.(draft)

update: 2/24/2014- radio interview with Wilson: Heavy hands podcast interview Wilson Pitts.

In Fall of 1990, I began my attendance at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) as a fine arts major. I had a huge interest in eastern philosophy from reading many books on Yoga, Buddhism, Taoism, and Zen. I had always had an interest in martial arts, but never found the right one. My sister Danielle, who was also living in Richmond, told me about a guy teaching martial arts in the park. Little did I know, this martial art was ‘Tai Chi Chuan’ pronounced “Tai Ji”, which was the proper name for the Yin-Yang symbol in Taoism.

Back home in Virginia Beach, the local Edgar Cayce “New Age” store called, “The Heritage”, had many books on martial arts and a Tai Chi instructor in where I tried a free class with instructor Larry Mann, director of Tidewater Tai Chi Association. I knew little about Tai Chi, and never really took the time to study it diligently while in public school.

When I went to Maymont park, I found the class and we started with a warm-up called Ba Dua Jin (Eight Piece Brocade). We soon were doing fundamental stance work, and before winters arrival, the first section of the Yang short form. I had also received some of Wilson’s Tao Experience foundation publications and learned a qigong called , 6 healing sounds.

In time, Wilson introduced me to his TCM doctor Amy Tseng. I got acupuncture from her for a left wrist damaged by years of skateboarding and a hairline fracture from a rock climbing fall. In years to come, I trained in 5 elements Hsing-I, some Pakua chang, got some boxing lessons, and did some fight team training in Wilson’s little, “One Room School House”.

More info at

Sacred peaks Blog
Scredpeaks blog

Taiji Coach Wilson on Twitter

Wilson Pitts: One room School House youtube

Martial arts with Wilson Blog

Old questions from pre-fight event training “fight camp” weekend.

1.What can the average internal martial artist practicing an art do to improve on practical self defense skills if their instructor isn’t teaching them?
Is push hands really enough?

Can’t really help you here, if the instructor does not demonstrate/teach applications get another instructor.
The beginner must at least see the instructor execute a non-force application for each posture while they are learning the movement. This plants the seed, let’s the mind not have a question about what are really simple movements. The beginner can not do it, but they must see it done to have faith in the process. T.T. Liang was fond of saying you have to imagine you can do it first, I believe this process is what he was referring to. Later, after the beginner has invested in practice and developed some root the applications for each movement, and in most cases there are several, need to be taught and practiced.No hard force can be allowed or there is no hope of “getting it”
The applications are a different practice from push hands. When push hands is done with resistance and hard muscular force it is of no use. The function of a soft, “sensing hands” practice is one, to help with form correction, and two, to develop sensitivity, increased feeling, in the arms. Root, correct postural alignment, and soft gung in the arms, shoulders and chest will all be needed to execute non force self defense applications derived from the formal postures. Anything else is once removed from the actual functional practice of the art and will be empty. This will be easy to tell because the application will not “work” with no force.

2. How long have you studied the relationship of Chinese arts and Western boxing?
What are the common similarities and differences?

I have studied martial arts, boxing included, for over 40 years. I started with students of Daniel K. Pai, who opened the first martial arts school here in Richmond in the mid 60’s. [ that was a little before my time] Pai himself was a feared street fighter and when I studied with his students It was all combat, no forms.
Chinese martial artists from more than one hundred years ago faced the same fundamental problems that English and American bare knuckle boxers faced during the same era. Fighting out doors on the ground, in the elements, with no safety equipment what-so-ever against unpredictable opponents who knew no rules and would do anything to win. That is about all that is common between them though.
The modern sport of boxing is very different, as are Chinese sport combatives. What I found useful from boxing was a live gap, the absolute need for distance appreciation and therefore footwork. These provide a degree of realism, even though it is far less dangerous than bare knuckle, no holds barred fighting. I found the Chinese arts, at least the way they came down to us in the US, needed this dose of reality.

3. What are some of the common problems you see when you watch Lei Tai and San Shou fighters these days?
I have not seen any lei tai in some time. Generally in the past I saw poor distance appreciation, almost no fighting at the critical distance, and too much reliance on brute force. However the sport keeps evolving and like I said I stopped going 7 or 8 years ago.

4. You teach an almost extinct form of western boxing. Can you explain what is going on in boxing now and what you’re trying to get us to understand?
Distance, timing, rhythm must be trained until they are instinct because at a distance where you can strike your opponent, the critical distance, things happen too fast, your vision can not be counted on, and you must have appropriate, trained responses that can flow out or you will not be effective or efficient.

5. I’ve had a fascinating awakening practicing pakua push hands with you student Roberto Sharpe, it almost makes practicing fixed step and moving step push hands virtually useless now.
In tai chi and pakua, each have an oral tradition- correct me if I am wrong- in taiji it is – “stick , adhere , neutralize , follow and
attack/emit”. In pakua it is “run, sit, comprehend, and pivot”. Can you touch base of the two and comment on your study of pakuachang?

Reciting words out of a book is not helpful beyond an extremely basic level.

The big break through that Pa Kua represented in the 1870’s was the fundamental idea of changing angles in the gap in response to the opponent’s offensive actions. Changing,either with him , or against him, and when this was accomplished the openings in his defense would be obvious and counters, take downs etc. flowed right in and through. The foundation of all of this was footwork and position relative to the opponent.
The same is true in Taiji, it is practiced through study of Eight Gates and “taiji in one step” Not of these advanced practices are much use if the student has not had faith in the practice from the beginning and learned and practiced the fundamentals in an organised manner. Even then there are people who spend years going through the motions, develop no root, and can not go on to investigate the very interesting advanced practices.

Comments from Wilson:
There are reasons Chinese teachers do not teach openly, very good ones, with the most important one being concern for the student’s health. We say many westerners are “stuck in their head” but really the energy is stuck in their chest. If they can not or will not soften their chest and let the energy go down to the dan tian then they must not be exposed to true internal practice as this could lead to worse health problems than they already have. This is a real problem that should be taken seriously. The real stiff ones will be the first to dismiss this as Chinese myth or some thing. To the Chinese this translates as lack of sincerity but there is such a huge cultural divide here between this modern western world of fire and hardness and Chinese neijia practices from a more ancient time that it is difficult to assign blame. Many are called but few are chosen… to develop a deep root that is.

Part 2: (coming Soon)

Those were questions from way back when…Now lets cover more recent events and your training:

1. You have been working a lot on translations of some of the Pakua classics, can you discuss your interest in the translation of these classics and some of the folks you have been working with to accomplish this?

2. Huashan qigong has been a significant part of your training since I met you in 1990. Can you discuss more about this branch of qigong, where you learned it. Please also talk about your recent work with the Taiji stone ball and Taiji ruler.

3. You mention Robert W. Smith as one of your Tai Chi teachers, he recently passed away, can you discuss some of the things you learned from him, how you got to know him and learn from Robert Smith?

4. MMA (mixed martial arts) first came on the scene in early 1993. We watched some fights together. At first it was a battle of styles, later the styles merged to where athletes learned the best from Juijutsu, Judo, boxing, Muay Thai, and Wrestling. What are your thoughts on the exponential growth of MMA in the world of martial arts today?

5. A.- Several of your students have fought Lei Tai and we did a fight camp back in the day: what are your thoughts on developing a well rounded fighter? That weekend we did things like- diet, qigong, simulation event sparing w/video taping, talks and training on abdominal work, body hitting/conditioning, and other endurance training.

B. (optional question) The infamous school yard fight between former student Jamar and Maoshan where Maoshan got his butt kicked, thoughts on this…even famous UFC commentator Joe Rogan had a good laugh. thoughts?

6. You have a Boxing Blog on old school boxing called Plug ugly’s boxing blog.
Can you talk about some of your boxing trainers and your passion for writing about some of the old school boxers-

7. Last but not least- I am indebted to you for introducing me to the holistic lifestyle through Chinese TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) doctor Dr. Amy Tseng and your former publication. “The Tao experience Foundation”. You shared Chinese diet therapy, interview with Dr. Amy Tseng, some Pakua basics, Qigong sets, meditation, massage, and other holistic health and lifestyle information. Even some of your students have gone on to become licenses acupuncturists and massage therapists. What are your thoughts on the mainstream media starting to accept this ancient tradition now, more so than 20 years ago?

Dr. Amy patient recommendations- MUST READ!!

Posted in Pakua Chang/Hsingyi Chuan, Tai Chi Chaun/Taijiquan, Teaching Insights and Lessons | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Standing gong- Post standing, Standing meditation, Stance training, Neigong essence.

Had a nice visit to in Lincoln park, Washington D.C. Had a brief discussion with a student on my recent training in Yang Taijiquan and structural integrity testing of the postures with Coach Pei at USWA and also Yiquan post standing drills with Rick Smith from

Internalizing Taijiquan standing method he uses:

1. Holding the post posture and visualizing the 3 jin lou channels (jin lou, path of force, not jing lou or meridian path in acupuncture): hold tree posture, “Wu Ji” standing, ect. use of static standing postures.
2. Slowly sinking and rising drill with hands (similar to the sinking/rising drill from William CC Chen seminar).
3. Using holding Taijiquan postures: examples- ward off left, Pipa, etc. visualizing the three channels. Example: if weight is sinking into left leg, visualize the left channel going through body and down through the leg (inner and outer portion of leg).
4. Begin Slow movement using a singular fundamental posture: push, brush knee, etc. shifting weight to and fro.

While the 3 channels is something I have heard of in Esoteric Buddhism and Yoga, I have not heard them used in standing, but can see them as valuable. In regards to Taiji and standing, they obviously are not used the same way as in yoga. Standing, the channels are visualized as a feeling for rooting, stability, and structural awareness/integrity.

standing qigong/Channels video from Fernando Bernall:

comment on 3 channels in Yoga:
Esoteric 3 channels from Sahaja yoga:

Left channel (ida nadi) The left channel (moon channel) corresponds to our past, emotions and desires. Its pure state represents the qualities of deep joy, love, compassion, music and art. However, we are prone to left side problems such as emotional attachments, depression, low self esteem and feelings of guilt.
Right channel (pingala nadi) The right channel (sun channel) corresponds to our actions and planning. However, we are prone to right side problems such as egoistic behaviour (selfishness), arrogance, pride, anger (violence) and hatred.
Central channel (sushumna nadi) The Central Channel is the balance of the other two channels. The central channel is the channel of ascent, it is the power which sustains our evolution and guides us, consciously or unconsciously, towards the higher awareness of the Sahasrara (seventh chakra). Daily meditation leads to a cooling of the sun channel and a warming of the moon channel, which restores the inner balance of our emotional, mental & physical beings.

Standing in Yiquan:

In regards to Yiquan here some of the drills we do. Capitol Qigong: Standing Gong Yiquan

we do not visualize anything and the purpose is to: 1. relax, 2. be natural (nothing forced), and 3. gong (do the hard work).
prep for standing:
drill 1 is a small movement to get body to relax, feeling air between fingers and relaxing.
drill 2 is another small movement to feel the body to relax like water between the fingers, like wading in water- smoothing out the “rough waters” to “flowing waters” in and outside the body.
drill 3 and 4 are moving energy in or out of the “3rd eye” and around the body in a figure 8 pattern down to the ground using guiding energy.
drill 5- washing from head down to feel with arm movement.
drill 6 is deep relaxation from head to toe in Wu Ji standing. (Almost exact to a Fu Zhong Wen, Yang Taiji standing that was taught to me in Shanghai)
drill 7 and 8 and basic “silk reeling-like” movements, lifting box and Chen taiji roll back movement.

Standing: then we go into 40 minutes of Post standing choosing from 5 holding postures.: no thoughts or visualization just sense what happens with “qi” or energy, being natural. Not trying to force qi to happen or what Rick says, “you can have all the right fishing gear, but that doesn’t guarantee you will catch a fish that day.”

Ending: with a closing with a small movement to adjust energy.

from there we might do the Yiquan variation of “push hands”

6/18/2013: On Ben Lo’s Camp and his practice of standing gong:
Both Julian and Dr. David Walls-Kaufman (disciple of Ben) had some interesting testimonials of some of the training that went on at the camp. In particular the morning standing training at the camp.

Ben had been practicing standing for the last 4 years and nobody could push him over while he just stood, even when more than one person ganged up on him. It was a testimonial to how important standing is. Dr.David, whom I train with a lot, always does a ton of standing in his class, can really toss people effortlessly in push hands based on his years of standing gong training. He says he is nowhere near the level of what Ben Lo has attained through hard work (gong fu). They said that originally the Taijiquan was trained as standing postures and eventually they became strung together.

Julian and David both spoke about their experience with Ben Lo and the
importance of standing. Standing Gong requires 2 very important factors:

1. Empty mind- thoughtless mind, Wu ji mind- mind has to be in the here and now,
no extraneous thoughts, “monkey mind”, or internal chatter. You can not do
standing gong with mind distracted without clarity. If you can’t do this then
part 2 is useless.

2. Once mind is under control you can begin to make self corrections, small
adjustments, and refinements of your standing postures. Once that is done, you
can do your neigong work.

Here is a blog/journal entry of some standing we do in the park. We spend a
great deal of standing time in this class. 5 postures:
wu ji, left ward off, right ward off, pipa, raised hands.


Taiji Stance work Video:

Discussion on Standing: 11/16/13 reply from Matt:

I first started with CMC style. in that style we did a lot of holding postures in the taiji form.
our teacher would say to do 20x cycle breath in each posture then move to the next.
So basically a cycle is inhale/exhale long and deep naturally at dan tien.

Later when I trained with Weiqi, we did a standing with visualization in one of our warm-ups,
I added it here near the end of video:

I made this up:
to help students with stillness and standing.
-when it comes to doing rows of walking forward, backward, left and right.
- do a 3x cycle breathing (dan tien breathing)pause with standing wu ji w/arms down at sides,
-then change to standing taiji ma bu arms rounded at chest,
-then 3x cycle breathing , then do the walking.
after walking then stop:
- do the same taiji mabu, then finish with wu ji standing with the 3x cycle breathing for each (total of 6x).
- do the same when adding walking rows with hand movement: brush knee, part horse mane, cloud hands, repulse monkey, etc.

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Year of the Snake 2013

Notes from the Book: “Universal Law of Cosmic cycles” Chinese Zodiac, Astrology, and Feng Shuai.

Year of the Snake is a year of revolution, financial depression, and upheaval due to “over spending”.

It is precarious to all financial endevours, so you must take heed and try to be neutral in financial matters and not build up debt.

On the positive side, you still have your health, and the year of the snake is a year good for the heart and health. When you are at a high point, you should strive to build money and deal with finances. Your health and diet should consist of getting good rest, eating beef, citrus fruits, carrots, spinach, leafy greens, and get enough iron and vitamin C.

This is a year to reach out to your Oracle. Your Oracle is like your “Guardian spirit”, higher power, Deity, or God, etc.

1st meditation with your Oracle in the year of the snake is asking for balance, asking people who have wealth to share it towards your direction.

Prosperity “Dream Machine”
1. Sit in a quiet place free of all distractions.

2. Repeat chant 2x: “My subconscious mind now contacts the mystical vibration of the snake. The zodiac responds to my every wish and command. I do not wish to take from those in need, but to receive from those who have more than they have need of. I command that the zodiac snake reveal to me, during my sleep this night, how I might acquire (state your desire) from (name). I know that (name) will happily and freely fulfill this desire, and so it is.!”

3. Emit this energy into the cosmos.

4. Return to a normal state and go back to daily life. Try to pay attention in your dreams.

Psychic X-ray vision- become your own inner doctor. (not to replace a real doctor if you have real health problems).
“let your inner doctor peak inside your body, view your organs, bones, muscles, nerves, cells.”
1. Sit in a quite dark room away from distractions.

2. Use a “red light” like a Christmas light for this dark room. It must be red color.

3. Build the desire to help others and all beings suffering.

4. Repeat the chant: “I address my request to the cycle of the snake and to the great universal power that guides and directs the mystic zodiac. I approach the alter of the great cosmos with a humble heart and a clean, clear mind. My request is made only out of the desire to do good for others and without material reward for myself. I now ask that the cosmic vision of the snake be revealed to this child of the zodiacscope. I now give thanks for the revelation that will be mind.”

5. Close eyes, meditate and with your mind’s eye “third eye” seeing inside your body, seeking and finding dis-ease and places of abnormalities and discomfort.

6. Close your meditation.

About peoples auras: with the Psychic “x-ray” vision. People typically have either a white or dark aura to them. With this practice you may be able to see auras in people. Sense the two main colors (white/black) or other colors a person might be emitting. Usually disease and abnormalities in a persons aura appear as dark spots at the problem areas.

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Coach Weiqi He- Shanghai Martial Arts Master

I have found some old video footage that I transferred from old VHS tapes to digital of my Coach Weiqi He.
Coach Weiqi was President of the USA Yongnian Taiji Association founded by Taiji Grandmaster Fu Zhong Wen.
Fu Zhong Wen and Weiqi He

by John Kang Sr.

He Wei Chi, a national champion of martial arts in China in the 1960’s was born in a very artistic family. She was deeply involved in literature, drama, and dancing at a very early age. As a young girl in gymnastics she was asked if she wanted to learn “monkey boxing” without knowing the hard training that comes with wushu. Her parents enrolled her for professional training by the Shanghai Martial Artists. Since then she has been devoted to the martial arts for more than four decades.

Wei Chi recalls the curiousness of being a 13 year old chosen to be a member of the famous Shanghai martial artists, but after regular training in stretching and basics of taijiquan and wushu, lack of interest lay in wait. Training day after day brought on aches and pains of back and leg. She remembers losing all the sense of curiosity and mystery, ready to give up for all the tiredness and misery. Fortunately during this initial period of enlightening she remembers such mentors as Cai Long Yu, Fu Zhong Wen, and Wang Ju Rong helping he realize that the meaning of martial arts is not for personal gratification, but for the inheriting and passing on from generation to generation the treasure of the Chinese civilization.

In recollecion of her masters she mentions the following:

Wang Xiao-Rong- known as the “hero from Guandong,” was an expert in the xingyiquan sect of internal arts, as well as the Spring-autumn cleaver, nine section whip, xingi was his most common demonstrated in his repertoire. Wei Chi learned Gong-fu basics and the 10 route leg kicks from him.

Fu Zhong Wen- the direct heir of Yang taijiquan, served as teacher of the Shanghai martial artists from June 1961 to may 1966. Wei Chi learned Yang style taijiquan, Sword, push hands, staff, and basic gong exercises from him.

Cai Hong-Xian- Deputy Head of the Shanghai Hall of Martial Artists excelled in the Shaolinquan arts. His style was graceful and postures wonderful. Wei Chi owed this master her Changquan, Sword, and double weapon.

Lu Zheng Tao- was the inheritor of the Mitsung (tractless) sect. His artistic level was unsurpassed, unfortunately he died young as a victim of the cultural revolution. Master Lu excelled in Yen tsin Ja, Mizhongquan, Lohanquan,, Fu chen sword, six route Qing Ping sword, Golden Rooster Struggle, and Peach Blossom fan. Wei Chi said she was relatively more influenced by him.

Chuguei Ting- was well respected authority in Tajiquan, Baguazhang, and xingyiquan, he died at the age of 99.

Wang Jurong- the famous daughter of Wang Ziping and practitioner of Cha quan. Was well versed in all aspects of martial arts.

Before the Cultural Revolution these famous martial artists would on weekends or fortnightly make presentations of “18 varieties of martial arts” to the public. These included Tan Tuei, Tao-lu quan, Double rings of Chien-kuen, Pure Yang sword, spear, Hua chuan confrontation, spear vs double daggers, opposing spears, ect. With such a comprehensible list, these shows were really spectacular.

Wei Chi explains that while these master were teaching martial arts, they also emphasized the importance of martial ethics. They taught that “cultivate the man before you teach him martial arts”, and “to learn martial arts is to practice martial ethics.” Now that having become a teacher, she lives by these mottos and vowed to pass down the truths to the younger generation.

Wei Chi began to distinguish herself in 1963 after two years of diligent practice. The first time she went to the national competition, she won recognition for her excellence in swordsmanship and was nicknamed one of the “three swordswomen of China” together with Chen Dao-yuin and Zhang Ling-mei. Being exceptionally artistic, with a beautiful figure achieved through years of physical training, quck reflexes, graceful in movement and charismatic in actions, wei chi was admired and envied. No wonder some older athletes in the 1950’s considered her a threat in spite of her young age.

The real threat however came from the calamity of the cultural revolution in which the chinese martial arts were denigrated as never before. In the past as “national treasure and heritage”, they were now cursed a “remnants of a feudal past”. All regular training was stopped, athletes scattered, and wei chi had to bid farewell to martial arts at the zenith of her fame and development.

In this stormy era, Wei chi was made a laborer in factories and docks. Because of her background as a performer, she was then asked to join the “Red morning cloud performing troupe” in Beijing, a city permeating with gun powder smoke and danced in a play titled “Red-lamp Glow.” At one time she performed in front of Chairman Mao with the group. The misery of that kind of existence is hard to comprehend for people who live in a free society, WeiChi explains. It wasn’t until 10 years when it was over that she returned to the Shanghai Athletic Palace, there she began her career of coaching martial arts for the youth at the school of amateur athletes. She was also able to travel abroad to the United states, Japan and Mexico to demonstrate Taiji and Wushu with such greats as Li Lin Ji at the White House in D.C. in front of President Nixon when relations with China began to increase.

It was here that the significance of the work she was embarking on would develop a comprehensible training method of martial arts through trial and error. Based on child psychology, this method let the pupils play and dance to the accompaniment of music at the beginning of aa training session to allow their muscles to relax and their senses to become comfortable. She then devised a series of drills on three levels of difficulty in which the students will design their own routines. If the routine is good they will receive much applause if its enjoyed by all. This resulted in a lively class. In addition she maintained close contact with each students school and parents, checking on grades at school as to not allow martial arts to be at the expense of education. Through this effort many of the pupils were admitted into “emphasized middle schools.”

In 1979 Wei Chi was invited by the Hong Kong Phoenix Movie studios to be its martial arts coach in the filming of “Fight for treasure in the West,” and “Stand Up,Man!” directed by Wu Bin, teacher of the hero in the movie and also one of Wei Chis swordsmanship coach. WeiChi for the first time was in films with other well known martial artists like Sun Gen Fa, Guo Liang, Dong Honglin, and Yen Ping.

As her filming experience came to a close she returned to Shanghai Athletic Palace to train her students. This time the training was intense and the students highly motivated and older. The fame of this Young Martial Artists Group began to spread even to national television. Children’s martial arts eventually became an acceptable and respectable branch of athletics and employed by the government as a key entertainment for the visitors to China.

Since 1980 Wei Chi and her group have made more than 100 presentations. 60% of these have been to foreign dignitaries including the King of Sweden, King of Denmark, King of Jordan, President Mitterrand of France, Chairman of the Olympic committee,ect. These young artists who excel both academically and athletically live up to their reputation.

Twice in the Pan China Martial arts Learning and Exchange meet, five out of the six represented sent by this amateur group distinguished themselves and won the first place team award for six consecutive years.

Wei Chi came to the United States in 1989 to join her husband a successful swim team coach for the University of Tennessee. Later in 1991,they were invited by Richmond Virginia City Manager Robert Bob to be apart of the Parks and Recreation Department. Coach Xu (wei chis husband) developed a first place city swim team and qigong research group, while Wei Chi developed award winning Taiji and Wushu competitors. In 1997 she was invited by the Ross school in Long Island New York to teach for the Physical Education Department.

Life in the USA she observes is on a very fast track. People work very hard, fight the traffic in the morning and evening, work on the house or garden, taking the kids places for various activities. There is little time to rest. When in middle age, people begin to complain about various aches and pains, and all sorts of illnesses. Wei Chi believes that Taiji qigong is an excellent remedy for all kinds of maladies. She has collaborated with Master Lin Hou of the Shanghai Institute of Qigong in writting a book entitled “18 modes of Taiji qigong.” She has given classes on martial arts one after another without knowing that she has activated and enlivened the life of many people.

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Reflection on 2012 and 2011 training

My training for past few years has been very rich in terms of coming full circle with Chinese fighting systems: I trained at Coach Pei’s school for San shou sparring and Taiji. His taiji: Yang Taiji of Yang Zhen Jie. I got a lot of details to the form and the how and why it is that way. Structural integrity testing, applications, two person drills, sword techniques, striking hands, and more. 2012 notes on Yang Taijiand more notes. The sparring classes were good with lots of techniques sparring and shuai chiao.

Many of the 2012 sparring clips are on my youtube at: videos We film sparring to see strengths and weaknesses, develop good habits and improve. Sadly they don’t really allow video camera at USWA which had some really good sparring fundamentals and technique sparring.

I still did my rounds with the “Cheng man ching” push hands groups in the DC metro area (Dr. David Walls-Kaufmann’s Lincoln park, Flemming park group, Wu shen Tao push hands, David Chen Memorial park). I started a sparring group at Mainstreet Crossfit gym,

and helping the next generation of fighters at CMAI (chinese martial arts institute) with their sparring program and curriculum at my old al mata with Sifu Burris.

I dabbled a little with Mark Li’s Xingyi Dao group and got the benefits of some of the Dai Xingyi qigong of squatting monkey and drill some linear basic lines of Pi and Beng. Spent some time in training with Nick Masi at his Northern Virginia Shuai Chiao club as well, doing all sorts of fight training and sparring drills for my Lei Tai event.

This was def a good year of sparring and progression as a fighter, despite some injuries here and there. During injury time, I went back and video recorded many of the Taiji warm-up, qigong, and supplementary trainings I picked up from the Yang Taijiquan lineages I am associated with. blog here They are on my Youtube, but some are private and available upon request. That was part of my injury rehabilitation along with my inversion table that did wonders.

I continued with some Muay Thai/Boxing at Vivek’s to help support his new gym called Pentagon MMA link here. Did some cleansing with Bikram yoga, and got some Boxing training at Title Boxing gym as well with my wife Patcharee.

Most importantly I Integrated Yiquan standing meditation at Capitol Qigong again with Shuren Ma’s student Rick Smith. I went there and tried it with Master Ma back in 1998. I respected it and understood standing meditation was the essence to develop real kung fu. The 45 minutes or so wasn’t pleasant. Burning in the legs, aches and pains, here and there holding a posture. I dropped out and opted on my own standing, alone or with other various groups on occasion, but as a discipline, I really was not ready for the stillness and deep standing back then. I wanted to move and train in forms and sparring! The 180 degree flip side of wushu kung fu training of my youth. As I hit 40, I can really value and appreciate the art of standing meditation now more than ever.

about capitol qigong: from website here

“”The history of Capital Qi-Gong has its roots in the Chinese martial arts. The “external” styles of the Chinese martial arts have recognized for centuries that a high level of qi development is the means for vast internal and external power. However, few practioners achieved the desired level of development even after years of effort.

It is in resolving this problem for the martial arts practitioner that a revolutionary approach was developed by Dr. Yu Peng Si, physician and Qi-Gong master.

Dr. Yu Peng Si was the head of the dermatology division of Shanghai’s Number One People’s Hospital as well as a professor at Shanghai’s Number One Medical College. He also studied under the famous xing yi quan master Wang Xiang Zhai,
Yiquan founder Wang Xiang Zhaiimage:Wang Xiang Zhai.
who had developed an innovative “formless” version of xing yi quan which Wang labeled “yi quan” (also called dacheng quan).

A devout Buddhist, Dr. Yu combined the standing meditative postures and physical exercises of yi quan with the qi-channel opening methods of Tibetan Lamas. The resulting achievement was the formation of a highly successful system for teaching qi cultivation, which yielded one of the most elevated forms of Qi-Gong: The ability to project strong Qi at a distance. This ability is called Kong Jing or “empty force” .

Dr. Yu and his wife, Madam Ou-Yang Min came to the United States in 1981 to participate in a QiGong study at Stanford University. After Dr. Yu died in 1983, Madam Ou-Yang stayed in San Francisco where she still continues to teach Qi-Gong. This is the QiGong lineage of our school’s head instructor, Mr. Shuren Ma.

Mr. Ma, the nephew of Dr. Yu and Madam Ou-Yang, started his Qi-Gong practice in China in 1955, when he was 5 years old. Now a Qi-Gong master with over 40 years experience, Mr. Ma proudly brings us this art through Capital Qi-Gong.

Shuren Ma pushing teacher Rick Smithimage:Shuren man and Rick smith courtesy of

Our Qi-Gong meditation style, the heart of our training program, can be defined as a “purifying internal experience”, during which an individual learns to relax and be natural in the process of building qi. This means that a student of qi does not merely relax the body musculature, but relaxes both mind and body — what we refer to as the whole body. This meditation is called “internal” because the process originates from within and its effects emanate outward to benefit the whole body. It is considered “purifying” because we attempt to clear our minds and cleanse our bodies of blockages; we also call this “natural” or “nature’s way.” This kind of internal exercise yields good health, balance, body wholeness, and improved qi.”"

This is probably one of the more powerful practices I have ever done, comparable to even Tibetan deep sitting meditation like Dzogchen and Tummo, Buddhist Zazen and Vipassana, and including various esoteric Indian yogas like TM, Sahaja, and Kundalini.

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