Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review: "Bagua Linked Palms"

It was with pleasure that I read Kent Howard's short (86 pages) yet concise translation and commentary on Wang Shujin's "Bagua Linked Palms". Martial journalist and writer Dan Miller has written that Kent Howard became one of his most reliable and trusted resources on Bagua Zhang, Chinese Culture, and Chinese language. Howard's treatment of "Bagua Linked Palms" reflects his experiance in all these aspects.

Above: Author Robert W. Smith punches Wang Shujin
Wang Shujin is one of the most interesting old-school masters I have read about lately. Recent enough to have living students and first-hand accounts, Wang still cloaked himself in a mysterious private life. Like many martial artists of the time, Wang fled to Taiwan ahead of Communist advances in mainland China. Kent Howard first unravels some of the myths surrounding Bagua founder Dong Hiquan, and then those that follow the life of Wang Shujin. The primary element of these mysteries appear to be Wang's involvement in a quasi-secret sect called "Yi Guan Dao" or "Way Of One Unity". His membership in this sect may have been the main reason for his fleeing the Communists, as well as his introduction to influential individuals in Taiwan.

Wang Shujin's Bagua Zhang is as authentic as it gets; His master Zhang Zhaodong was a direct student of Dong Haiquan. While I have studied Bagua Sun Xikun lineage, Sun Lu Tang lineage and a little Yin Bagua, Wang's presentation is slightly different but ultimately familiar. Kent Howard provides excellent commentary on Wang's original writing, and unlike some Bagua photo essays, the form is readable and the changes are evident.
Perhaps the most exciting development in Howard's treatment of the system is his upcoming instructional DVD that serves as a companion to the Book. Many of Kent's videos are available on YouTube, and I look foward to the release of his video.
Here's a sample:

Kent Howard has several websites dedicated to the Bagua of Wang Shujin, the first is found HERE , and a website that offers DVD sales and seminar information HERE.
Kent has yet another site that is dedicated to "Nonviolent Self Defense".

"Bagua Linked Palms" offers a historical view of Master Wang Shujin, and an overview of the form. Combined with his upcoming DVD and applications, this book will help inform both seasoned Bagua practitioners and students new to Bagua Zhang.
An interview with Kent Howard can be found HERE.

This book was provided to me for review, is available at the website for "Blue Snake Books", along with many other martial arts titles.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fun: I'm Wasted And I Can't Find My Way Home

Ah yes, Friday...
Last week we featured a 1972 Traffic concert version of "John Barleycorn Must Die". This week we again see a Very young Steve Winwood and Blind Faith playing "Can't Find My Way Home".
--Lots of pure Hippie Goodness, enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deep Black Operations

I regularly read a great website for the current economic information, it's called "Washington's Blog".
Aside from the great alternative reporting on the economic crash, the author has touched on other topics, none more controversial than the events surrounding 911.
Take a look at this summary of the latest on the Anthrax attacks after 911.
Poor Bruce Ivins. Ivins was the patsy, the Oswald of the Anthrax attacks. Now even the Wall Street Journal, the bastion of conservatism, says Ivins simply could not have been the guy who sent the Anthrax. Remember, this was a weaponized, aerosol product that could only be made in the most secure weapons labs.
And remember, who was it sent to? Senator Tom Daschle and Senator Pat Leahy, two people that could have stopped the unconstitutional "Patriot Act". Who else? Tom Brokow of NBC News.
So why would the FBI want to bury this investigation with the corpse of distraught scientist Bruce Ivins?
Please note that British Weapons expert Dr. David Kelly, the man who claimed there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, was also killed. The evidence has been sealed for 70 years.
Now as we have seen, members of the 911 commission are re-thinking the official story. Senior council to the 911 commission John Farmer:
"As senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, Farmer, who was the attorney general of New Jersey and is the dean of the Rutgers School of Law, investigated the derelict conduct of the national security apparatus.
"Farmer’s verdict: “History should record that whether through unprecedented administrative incompetence or orchestrated mendacity, the American people were misled about the nation’s response to the 9/11 attacks.”

-And taking it one step further, one former intelligence officer has claimed that Dick Cheney was responsable for what happened on 911:

"Pakistan briefed Cheney [about the plans for the terrorist attacks ahead of time] …nations also got wind of this and warned the CIA. We also had two walk-ins to the FBI, one in Orlando, one in Newark, that were dismissed by the FBI because the names were all virgins and not in the FBI data base—the arrogance of stupid bureaucracy.
Cheney saw an opportunity for what Bush called his trifecta, and gave it to him by giving the go-ahead to ISI and Al Qaeda, and ordering up a terrorism exercise that allowed him to send all relevant close-in air defense strip alert craft away from the target areas, and to disable the NORTHCOM normal response to flight path diversion."

Further Reading, lots of links

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Young Zac In Japan

I am very proud of my young friend and student Zac (Alias "Zackey Chan").
As some of you have read, Zac is in Japan Teaching English. There was the expected adjustment time getting used to teaching, teaching in a foreign language, and Japanese culture in general. Now however, he has found the sweet release of being thrown, swept, wristlocked and generally thrashed in his new Aikido class. As is tradition, he will be learning the Bokken sword and Jo staff also.
Drop by his Blog "Gaijin Explorer", and leave him a comment. The comment buttons are in Japanese, but are the same layout as you see on any "Blogger" format.
Eat mat, Gaijin!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tai Chi Chuan And Xingyi: Levels Of Intensity

Yang Chen-Fu In Taiji Single Whip

I've been trying to put my thoughts together on the level of intensity I am experiancing in the Chinese Internal Arts recently.
- Let me begin by saying that while Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo of my early training gave me a sound foundation to build on, there was no way near the level of inner body knowledge that the internal arts offer. You could plow through a hard-style form and it felt about the same as if you had just done a bunch of push-ups or something. A sort of external vibrant stimulation, but superficial.
For the purpose of this post, I will focus on Taiji and Xingyi, the two arts I have been deeply studying. At this time, Xingyi is still a fairly new art for me, so I'm investing a lot of training time in it currently.

Tai Chi Chuan:
I started learning Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan around 1996, so I've logged a few hours in on that system. After years of Karate, I initially looked at Taiji with Karate "eyes". It took quite some time to let go and just feel the shapes of the postures and the rythym of the movement. At the time, my form instructors were superb, but there was no application work. None-the-less, my Karate benefited from the aspect of Taiji that resembles the movement of water. The long slow Taiji form changed my timing and rythym, and allowed me to see gaps and fill voids. My sparring got a lot better.
As I moved away from external Karate arts, I sought out higher level training and found our Tai Chi Chuan instructor, Michael Gilman. Under Gilman's supervision, the form came alive with applications, push hands and Chi development. What I feel now is that of the three internal arts, Tai Chi Chuan provides the best tune-up for balencing Yin and Yang. That includes the internal feeling as well as the movement evident in the postures. My Bagua training is temporarily taking a back-seat while I'm learning Xingyi, so the remaining thoughts will center on Xingyi.

Several years ago, I was ready to dial it up a notch. I had been in touch with Jake Burroughs of "Three Harmonies Martial Arts Center" in Seattle. Jake has hosted seminars with Master instructors Tim Cartmell and the late Mike Martello, among others. Through these training seminars, the science behind the movement in internal martial arts was explained. All these instructors had a no-nonsense approach to fighting with these arts, and there was a lot, A LOT of throwing. Angles were disected, strategy explained, and obscure form movement revealed.
By this time, I decided that if I was going to understand the totality of the Chinese internal arts, I needed to learn Xingyi to complete the Trinity. Jake patiently walked myself and another training partner through the five elements, strategy and later the linking forms and two of the animal forms. At this time I have a pretty good foundation but have a lot of training ahead of me.
What I feel in Xingyi is somewhat different than Taiji. As I said earlier, Taiji provides the greatest Yin-Yang balence (as I currently feel it). Xingyi however, brings out a far more aggressive feeling. As I have been instructed, we mostly practice Xingyi at a slow moderate speed like Taiji. But the feeling is completely different. Xingyi produces more rising, Yang energy in me. There is something that is associated with the aspect of hitting and crashing through imaginary opponents that brings out the warrior spirit. With that said, the level of focus is at least as powerful as Taiji, if not more. It is not haphazard flailing. One of the unique features that has changed a lot of my training is using the "Phoenix-eye fist", with the index knuckle extended.

Something about this fist, used for pressure point attacks, has completely changed the focus in hitting. Try it if you haven't, and see what you think. I have no doubt it activates something different in the meridian system of the body.
With all that has been said, I think Tai Chi Chuan and Xingyi complement each other perfectly. Taiji puts a little more emphisis on yielding, Xingyi on bold attacks.
But these arts offer a far deeper level of inner contemplation than any hard-style martial art I have ever practiced.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Aikido "Release"

In the last post I did on "Structure", Pat from Mokuren Dojo and Sensei Strange made comments regarding the Aikido "Release". In the Saito-style Aikido I practiced for a while, we did not use that terminology. I had asked for video references, and Sensei Strange had a great one.
I really like how they use different tools and weapons to explore how the same principals apply regardless of distance, length, etc.
And I now remember "The Broom Technique".
- It makes for "A Clean Sweep"...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fun: John Barleycorn Must Die

From 1972, Steve Winwood and Traffic with "John Barleycorn Must Die".
I've loved this song ever since I first heard it in High School around 1975. For years I've tried to play it but couldn't get the sound right. Now I see he is using a capo somewhere up around the seventh fret--Duh!
For all the visions of medievil torture, the song is actually about harvesting Barley to make... Beer and Whiskey! It was an anti-temperance song, with John Barleycorn proving to be the stronger man at last.
Here's the background from Wiki:

"John Barleycorn" is an English folksong. The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley, and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky. In the song, John Barleycorn is represented as suffering attacks, death, and indignities that correspond to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as reaping and malting.
Kathleen Herbert draws a link between the mythical figure Beowa (a figure stemming from Anglo-Saxon paganism that appears in early Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies whose name means "barley") and the figure of John Barleycorn. Herbert says that Beowa and Barleycorn are one and the same, noting that the folksong details the suffering, death, and resurrection of Barleycorn, yet also celebrates the "reviving effects of drinking his blood".

Enjoy the weekend, and tip a little Barleycorn!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fundamentals: Structure!

Bob over at "Striking Thoughts" and "The Urban Samurai" have been exchanging posts on Fundamentals and Basic training, so here's my two cents:

Structure, Structure, Structure.
In my early days of Karate training I got my first two Black Belts in Tae Kwon Do. Great exercise, bad structure. Crappy fight strategy.
There was too much hip-hopping around and flashy head kicks and jump-spin-shit. A grappler would decimate them.
At a Wing Chun seminar several years ago, my training partner Corey was paired up with a big body-builder guy. The big guy had fast hands and Corey couldn't penetrate his defense. Instead, he closed on the guy and gave him your basic Tai Chi Chuan push that threw the guy across the room and into a Wing Chun Dummy. Really took the wind out of his sails. So while the big guy had good handwork, he had no root to the ground, and was easily defeated.

The Bridge
The above picture is of a Bagua Master. Initially, you might say it doesn't look like a powerful or rooted stance. But what we see is a classical flanking technique unique to the art.
Note the structure in the extended arms. All the best defenses use "The Bridge".
The Bridge remains extended, like a bubble you encase yourself in. If someone is attacking, you move your stance to accomodate the attack, but the Bridge remains intact. Before I learned this concept, it was possible for opponents to collapse my guard and trap the arms. Use a good, structured Bridge!

A Few Powerful Techniques
Above is the "San Ti" posture from Xingyi. Good structure, good root.
Five basic techniques. That's right, Five. All the advanced techniques in Xingyi are minor variations of the Five Elements.
It is generally agreed on that Gross Motor Skills are what works in the chaos of an attack.
My friend was at a wilderness medic seminar while working at the fire department. There were three Navy Seals that were also in the week-long class, and they were about to be shipped off to Iraq.
The Seals would get up every few hours and do a little sparring to take a break from the bookwork and medic training. I asked my friend what techniques they used. It was nothing more than western boxing, and low stomp kicks. They would work their way in and get their opponent in a choke, and it was all over.
That's about five techniques; Jab, hook, cross, low stomp, and choke.
More thoughts on this subject coming up later...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Many Trees, 1 Forest

Here's a classic Xingyi video posted at a new Blog I have been following. The second performer displays some of the power that Xingyi is known for.
--The Blog is "Many Trees, 1 Forest" hosted by "eric88ling", and looks to be in Singapore. It appears to have quite a lot of original material collected by the author, and I think I ran across the Blog after seeing his YouTube site.
This is a good Blog to follow if you are interested in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts, as the author is a collector of unique information.
I'll drop him an e-mail and see if he'll introduce himself to us.

Here's a link to the site

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tallest Meets Smallest

According to the British "Mail Online", tallest met smallest last week.
Turkish farm worker Sultan Kosen (8ft 1") met He PingPing (2ft 5.4") last week.

"Born and raised in the Mardin province of Turkey, Kosen's height is due to a condition known as pituitary gigantism.
At the opposite end, He PingPing, 21, suffers from a condition known as Primordial Dwarfism.
According to his father, at birth he was small enough to fit into the palm of his parent's hand."

Read more:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Fun: How Music Is Made

Here's a cool clip that Stones fans and musicians will really appreciate; the making of the song "Sympathy For The Devil".
I really learned a lot by watching these studio scenes, and as a (crappy) musician myself, it was fun to see the band stumble along and try to get it right.
If you sing or play an instrument, how many times have you tried different keys, rythyms or attitudes to get it right? It's good to see Mick Jagger forget the words, or just ad lib.
This video is from Jean-Luc Goddard's 1968 documentary "Sympathy For The Devil/One Plus One". In between studio cuts, there are scenes of (dated) street theatre and social commentary, trying to "hip" it up more than necessary. These studio cuts tell the whole story.
And here is the fated night at Altamont when "All Hell Broke Loose":

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Do These Things Lie In Our Subconscious?

I post this video for no other reason than I dreamed the name of the Kung Fu school last night.
Yes, weird.
I dreamed I was at a small storefront Kung Fu school, led by an older man with a thin grey beard. The name of the school was "Mo Duk Pai".
I have no idea where I heard or read that name. I got up and looked at some internet stuff I was researching the other day and there was no mention of Mo Duk Pai.
So I googled the name, and a website for Mo Duk Pai and this video came up. It's a well-rounded Kung Fu school in my old hometown of Portland, Oregon.
As it happens, one of my friends, David, went to the original school. It was run by Fred King, but I do not think it was even called Mo Duk Pai back then. We just knew it as "Fred King's Kung Fu school".
I remember in my dream, I was participating in the school, and had a role to play. It was, as I said in an old storefront however.
Maybe just posting this personal story completes some Karma loop or something.

-Does this mean anything to anybody else? Ever happen to you?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Teaching Improves Every Aspect Of Your Training

This is a 2007 video of Corey and I doing the 88-movement Tai Chi Chuan San Shou fighting form. We had just learned the complete form, and we do it much better now.
The San Shou form is 44 movements each side. You have to learn both sides, and we went once-a-month for over a year to learn it from our instructor Michael Gilman. It is one of the most difficult forms I have ever learned, and hidden within it are locks, throws and pressure point techniques. Michael Gilman learned it from Jou Tsung Hwa.
We taught the form to Tom and Zac, both experianced Black Belts who picked it up pretty quickly.
However, two students from my Thursday Tai Chi class practicly begged us to teach it to them, and that task went to me. I resisted it for a long time. This form can tear your mind apart when you get hung up in the details.
Initially, Corey and I learned four moves at a time, both A and B side, doing it solo and with the partner. We are now used to working off each other's physical ques, so it just flows naturally.
Teaching the form to people who have only learned the Tai Chi Chuan long form has been quite a challenge. One person picked the A side, so the other is on B. Unfortunately, when you learn only one side at a time that side tends to be your dominant and familiar side.
Peeling this form apart, explaining every detail and keeping track of both sides in my head has reinforced every aspect of the form for me. Being able to walk the two sides through their movements as a solo form (without partner) is starting to become more clear in my mind.
So, as much as I resisted trying to teach this form to other students, even though they had the Yang long form down, I have learned a tremendous amount.
It seems that teaching the details has re-routed information through my brain in a different way. It has reminded me that teaching may be difficult, but I am not only teaching others, I'm teaching myself.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Energy Drink?

We are witnessing a cultural and agricultural revolution in the making.

-- First, let me clearly state that Cocaine is a terrible drug. It makes people paranoid, greedy and has caused heart attacks. It's evil stepchild Meth is ten-times worse. Cocaine and Meth are processed with dangerous chemicals, and much like the natural poppy-turned-Heroin, it is corrupted by greed and illegal marketing.
But that's not what is happening in Bolivia.
Here's a short article from the AFP:

"Bolivia banks on 'Coca Colla,' fizzy coca-leaf drink
(AFP) – 2 days ago

LA PAZ — President Evo Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous leader known for chewing coca leaves at UN meetings, is making a fresh push for the plant, this time in the form of the soft drink "Coca Colla."
Intended to rival its more famous US cousin, Coca Cola, the fizzy drink is at the center of a plan coca growers from the Morales stronghold of Chapare in central Bolivia submitted to the government last week to boost coca production.
Farmers proposed the name Coca Colla in reference to people living in the Andean part of the country.
A Vice Ministry of Coca and Integral Development official who requested anonymity said the project would be launched in about four months and that the initiative could be either run by the state or a joint partnership with coca growers.
The official said the drink's packaging would feature a black swoosh and red label similar to the famous Coke insignia.
The fate of Coca Colla is of particular concern to La Paz, which wants to expand coca cultivation. Tea, flour, toothpaste and liquor are already being produced using a coca base.
Bolivia, the world's third largest producer after Colombia and Peru, yielded a coca crop of some 30,500 hectares (75,370 acres) in 2008, an increase of six percent over the previous year, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Last year, Morales, who also heads the coca growers' union in the Chapare region, vowed to increase the expanse used to grow coca bushes by 20,000 hectares (49,420 acres) in the impoverished Andean country.
Bolivian law currently approves the use of up to 12,000 hectares (29,650 acres) to grow coca in the Yungas stretch of forest in the Andes Mountains for traditional uses such as tea, chewing and religious rituals by the Aymara ethnic group.
Coca leaves have been cultivated in the Andes mountains for 3,000 years and are part of the culture and identity of the people there, according to Morales, who has said some 10 million people in the Andes chew "sacred" coca leaves.
The International Narcotics Control Board has called for years for a ban on coca leaf chewing.
Bolivia's new constitution, drafted by the ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party, says coca is recognized as "cultural heritage, a natural and renewable resource of biodiversity in Bolivia and a factor of social cohesion" and notes that the coca leaf is not a narcotic in its natural state.
The Morales government threw out US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents in 2008, and the president said he would seek the help of other countries to combat drug trafficking.

(D.R.)-- This is an agricultural revolution to help the poverty-stricken farmers in the Andes. Morales is the first indigenous elected leader of Bolivia, the former head of the Coca growers union.
Coca leaves are a mild narcotic, I know people who have used it while in the Andes. It supplies important minerals to the user and helps with work loads at high altitudes. The Cola produced by this process will probably be healthier than a common energy drink like "Red Bull" or "Rock Star". And remember, the original Coca-Cola used Coca also.
Of course, the product will never be available in Los Estados Unidos, and I probably wouldn't use it anyway. I personally do not drink any Cola products, they are horrible health-wise, loaded with high-fructose corn syrup.
I'll stick with Black Tea, but I have to admire Morales and the general anti-imperialist movement occuring across Latin America at this time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Three Japan Blogs

Beautiful river valley in Japan ("Glimpses")

Last week we introduced you to my Buddy Zac's Blog from Japan "Gaijin Explorer". Zac is teaching English in Japan and his recent posts describe the struggle to teach effectivly and, of all things, a parallel between Nietzche and Taoism.
I also stumbled across a fantastic Japan Blog called "More Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan".
With absolutely beautiful Photos, Here's how the author describes the Blog:
Artist, writer, photographer, mask-maker, tour guide, gardener, walker, anarchist, freegan,"...
Great cultural blog.
- And finally, another great Japan Blog by a guy working in Japan and practicing both Japanese and Chinese martial arts. "Empty Hands, Worn Shoes".
All these Blogs have great snippets of art, martial arts, and life for westerners living in Japan.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Internal Arts Resource Page

I received a very nice letter from Christopher Dow, author of "The Wellspring", which I consider the most cutting-edge book on how Chi works that I have seen yet.
(Review Here) and Another (Here) Chris had a great suggestion for my friend in middle-America who is trying to find Tai Chi Chuan resources.
Check out this link for the Internal Arts, "Links to Tai Chi Chuan and Related Web Sites"
Holy crap! This page has hundreds and hundreds of listings for schools, publications and other information. I will be putting it up on my links list...
Thanks Chris!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tai Chi Chuan Without An Instructor?

I found a lost e-mail from a good friend today. I felt terrible that I had not replied yet, and as I wrote the letter back I thought this might be useful to other people:

Hey, DR,
I am interested in learning some tai chi, but do not have access to a teacher and don't know enough to pick a DVD that won't suck or teach me the completely wrong things.

-- My friend then showed a link to some DVD's on Amazon, which didn't look that great. Here's what I wrote back:

I just found this while cleaning up my e-mails. Sorry if I didn't get back sooner, but the holidays were crazy.
Like Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan is so subtle it really takes a teacher. However, here are my suggestions:

1- There is new-age phoney Tai Chi and real Tai Chi. Your main choices are Yang style, which is the most popular style in the world, or Chen style (and possibly Wu).
I practice Yang style, so I will speak to that.
My instructor, Michael Gilman has a free website with lots of info. His site is

2- Anything by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming is authentic, and he is recognized as the best fighting Tai Chi Chuan in America.
Yang's site has short video clips available. Here is the YouTube page for YMAA

3- If you like, another Tai Chi Chuan master, T.Y. Pang lives near me. His form is the exact form I practice, even though Michael is my instructor. I learned from Pang's top students originally. Pang has a very, very good instructional video with explanation, different views and is available for around $45.
Pang does not teach application, which is why I have sought out other instructors to compliment my form work with applications.
Here is Pang's website, which is still under construction at this time.
If you are interested, I can pick up a copy and mail it to you.

There must be some community center or YMCA somewhere in your area that offers a class. If not, there's a job opportunity for me down there.
Whatever you find will probably be geared towards relaxation, meditation etc, rather than fighting Tai Chi Chuan. Consider it an intro to Tai Chi if you can find it, but the resources above will give you a look at where the art can go.

Hope this helps, and I'm sorry I lost the e-mail until now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Check Out "Gaijin Explorer"

In our video's over the past few years you have seen our young friend "Zacky Chan" get beat up in countless demonstrations.
Now, Zac is in Japan teaching English, and has started his own Blog to detail some of the experiances.
If you have spent time in Japan and have comments and suggestions you can reach him in the comment section of his Blog posts. For those of us that don't read Japanese, the comment buttons are pretty much the same as in the English version of Blogger.
Check out "Gaijin Explorer" at this link!

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Is What Happens When You Turn 50

Recognize this guy?

Yes, my friend and artist Kevin Cron made this for us when I turned 50.
I just found this and others on Kevin's facebook page, take a look - maybe he'll do one of you!

Kevin Cron's Facebook Page

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Shaolin Controversy

From "The Independent", UK:

"The Shaolin monastery is the birthplace of an ancient, elegant fighting code, where fists of fury and the way of the dragon have for thousands of years peacefully coexisted alongside calm Buddhist meditation.

But the temple, built in AD495 as a place of contemplation and discipline, is now a thriving tourist destination and multinational business venture, run by a monk who has won the respect of many for his business sense and canny marketing skills.

Purists and critics say, however, that he is an overly commercial opportunist. The latest controversial business venture of the "CEO of Shaolin" – as the temple's abbot, Shi Yongxin, is known – is a foray into modern tourism and finance."

(D.R.): -Damned Capitalists.

Friday, January 1, 2010

January: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month

The Girl above became famous in China when she appeared at the speech President Obama gave there recently. Lovely girl.

And this must be casual business attire in Taiwan these days...