Thursday, May 31, 2007

June: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month - Double Feature

Example One

The Queen Of The Hippie Chicks

Example Two

You younger Rats out there will have to humor an old Dojo Rat on the month of his birthday. As it is, I'm a Gemini, and I'm up for multi-tasking.
So, this month our celebration of Hippies in/and the martial arts is a double feature of "Cute Hippie Chick of The Month".
Example One is none other than Grace Slick of "The Jefferson Airplane", the reigning Queen of the Hippie Chicks. I wouldn't necessarily call Gracie "cute", but "hot" in the "she'll smack-you-down-and-tell-you-what-she-wants-you-to-do" sort of hot. Of course, 1969 was an eternity ago, and the young Dojo Rat would be listening to Grace and The Airplane belt out "White Rabbit" on what we used to call a "transistor radio". Grace had incredible presense, you should see her handle the Hells Angels at the fateful Altamont concert. She undoubtadly led the way for the next generation of bad-girl rockers like Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Joan Jett and others. Grace Slick is the absolute Queen of the Hippie Chicks.
Example two is one of an aspiring Hippie Princess. This young girl has obviously been listening to "White Rabbit" and, is doing a little LSD in this interview. Her shear beauty and innocence is juxtaposed with the distant parallel world of mind-altering drugs. Anyone who has done this knows you can go from a moment of near terror to pure enlightenment and bliss in a heartbeat. You can see it in her eyes, as she opens her hands around the orange, and is struck by her own creative wonder: "I can do everything"...
Indeed, we can.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We All Get Cut...

Comedy Central on The Dojo Rat Channel

Well, we decided to watch this video of two doormen at a German bar getting stabbed.
In order to replicate the conditions of a late-night German disco, the Dojo Rats slammed four beers each and tried a replay of that attack. There is no, and I mean NO way to avoid getting cut somehow.
Dave from Formosa Niejia wrote back that the guys in the video were acting like they were on their smoke break instead of monitoring drunks, and he suggested they take a side stance to limit exposure to the blade.
My buddy Brian back at my old Taekwon Do school was an Army Ranger, and was always going away to try to sneak into North Korea and other places. One time on a flight back from overthrowing some hapless third world country, his team was discussing knife attacks. Things got heated, and one guy challenged another, saying that his wife (with no martial training) could cut any one of them to ribbons. When they landed, he gave his wife a big black felt marker pen and she approached the Ranger that was confident he could disarm her. The wife went nuts, slashing and stabbing at the Ranger until he got his arms around her to finally control her. All the guys looked at the Ranger, who had black pen marks over his arms neck and chest. Even though he contained her, he probably would have bled out.
Aside from not being aware of the pending attack, the German guys in the video may have done the right thing by retreating into the building. At least they avoided further injury.
I don't know if our replay of the situation in the video looks more like the Keystone Cops or a scene from Gilligan's Island, but it's a reminder of how dangerous knives are.

Monday, May 28, 2007

They Never Saw The Blade

Check this one out: I think this is probably representitive of many street knife attacks, perhaps you fellow Dojo Rats out there will want to provide your own analysis.
The doormen seem too casual about these guys. Granted, I'm sure they have to deal with a lot of this, but in my opinion, their mistake was in not extending a bridge position to keep the guy away from their core area and vital organs. There was no attempt to jam the attack in hopes of containing the attackers arm, and they fled instead of restraining him. Now I know that sounds hard to do, but realize, these guys made virtually no attempt to protect themselves at all.
I knew a guy that worked in a nude dance bar in a rough area of Portland. After an altercation in the bar he and the owner removed two young guys that were gang-bangers. While outside, one of the guys pulled a .32 pistol out and shot my friend. He was able to hang on to the guy and handcuff him to a street sign post while the cops came.
These guys at this club (a) let the guy too close, (b) made no defensive effort, (c) probably could have restrained him two-on-one and got the bastard. At least he is on video, and I'm sure he can be found.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Barbarian, Part Two: American Bad-Ass

On the heels of the last post on barbarians, perhaps we should bring it on home with an episode of "American Bad-Ass".
You can have your "Dirty Harry"; the absolute best Clint Eastwood movie is "The Outlaw Josey Wales". As far as attitude, grit and gunfights, this movie is one of the all-time best westerns ever. It was also the first one Eastwood directed himself.
In Richard Heckler's book "In Search of The Warrior Spirit", Heckler describes his experiance teaching Aikido to a group of Green Berets. In this fascinating book, Heckler considers the age-old question of what it is to become a true warrior. In a break between training sessions, he and another instructor watch "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and he finds the perfect warrior scene. It's when Josey Wales rides up to meet the feared Indian chief Ten Bears, I wish I could find the video. Wales comes bearing words of life, and words of death. The words of life are that the Commanche can harvest his beef cattle, and his ranch will have the sign of the Commanche for all to see. His words of death are there, in Ten Bears knives, and here, in Josey Wales' guns. It's up to Ten Bears to choose.
He chooses life.
The Outlaw Josey Wales; first installment of "American Bad-Ass"...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Barbarian And Proud Of It

OK, let me just say it; I'm Barbarian, and proud of it.

Chessman over at Formosa Neijia Has a post where he explains how some of the masters he trains with in Taiwan disregard foreigners that train with them, no matter what their skill level is. He kicks their ass and they say he still does not have true martial power. They say he has to be Chinese to understand.
I have had the same thing happen to me with a much-loved old Chinese Tai Chi master I know. While discussing Chi Kung techniques at a seminar, I asked him specific questions about direction of flow in various meridians, etc.
I kid you not; he told me "You have to be Chinese to understand". Well, three or so books on Chi Kung later and I found the answers I was looking for.
I may be a Dojo Rat, I know I'm a Barbarian, but I ain't no dummy.
So with that in mind, Dojo Rat will celebrate the Barbarian in us. Take the Vikings, for instance. They were undoubtadly some of the baddest dudes in history. It was the Vikings that made it to America way before Columbus. They were in Africa. There is evidence of Viking burials in China. Europe trembled in their presence.
They were craftsmen, warriors and traders. Their ships and weapons were works of art, and the ultimate honor was to die in battle.
Yet, despite their fierce reputation as warriors, they quickly assimilated into whatever culture they had just kicked the crap out of. The Vikings were very democratic (much like the pirates), and their women and Queens were very powerful.
I could have celebrated this with clips from "The 13th Warrior", except I just couldn't take putting Antonio Banderas on Dojo Rat. So we enter "The Wayback Machine" and travel to 1958 to visit the all-star cast of "The Vikings".
If you have never seen it, I have to include this spoiler: One of the best scenes is where Ernest Borgnine kills himself by jumping into a pit full of wolves to fight to the death.
So let's hear it for Barbarians-- AAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Scott Phillips on Single Whip

Yesterday we introduced you to a new blog, "Weakness With A Twist", and it's author Scott P. Phillips.
In this video, Phillips shares some of his ideas for the Tai Chi Chuan posture "single whip". In the Yang style I practice, single whip is related to "split", that is you take the opponents body in two directions at once. This is also seen in "parting wild horses mane" and other postures.
We use it in the two man San-Shou form as a pass of the opponent's right punch and stepping in with a right forearm haymaker for a takedown, almost exactly like an Irimi-Nage in Aikido.
What I like about what Scott shows is his use of the "Hook hand" or right hand in the posture. Here he uses it as a arm break and assisting in takedowns.
Very nice...
(Edit.)--One thing IMA guys need to remember is that if a good fighter throws his right punch, that left is coming right in next... Careful Scott!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Blog: Weakness With A Twist

Check out this new Blog on Toplist; it's unusual name (Weakness With A Twist) is a subtle clue to the Dualistic nature of the Chinese Internal Martial Arts. The author is Scott P. Phillips, who since 1977 has trained with an impressive string of Masters, including George Xu and Bruce Kumar Frantzis. He has also been trained in Chinese Traditional Medicine and Daoist philosophy.
Stop by and welcome him to our blog community!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Isshin-Ryu Fist

Vertical Fist, c/o

At one of our seminars recently my training partner and I were criticized for using the vertical fist with the thumb pressing on the top of the fist rather than wrapping around the fingers on the side of the fist.
I explained that I had seen the position used in other arts and over time had found I can speed hit much faster with this position. I feel this is partly because it is a more relaxed position. I no longer use the horizontal fist at all, anyway. I also feel that if I wrap my thumb (which I still do for really heavy hitting) around the fingers on the side of the fist, It tenses my fist ever so slightly. This tenses my arm, which tenses my shoulder, etc. I believe this heavier fist position makes for much slower striking.
Here is what Wikipedia says about this fist position:
Beginning at the fist and moving up the arm: The fist is made by holding the hand open and then slowly curling the fingers from the most distal knuckle until a fist tight enough to completely hide the fingernails is made. Then the thumb is pressed down on the second knuckle of the index finger. Styles which practice a twisting punch frequently wrap their thumb down over the fingers, which begins the arm torque they use for their punch and this is precisely how Shimabuku taught it when he taught a twisting punch. Since Isshin-ryu punches straight ahead, the vertical thumb position allows for cleaner alignment of the wrist and arm bones.(A still picture of Master Shimabuku posed with his students shows the thumb not standing straight up, but rather laid over, touching the "web" of the hand. This position supports and protects the thumb, while maintaining the advantage mentioned above.) This position of the thumb also allows for it to be used as a specialty weapon for precision striking, or Atemi, at delicate and vulnerable targets such as the temple or other nerve shots.

The fist is held straight, lining up the bones behind the first two knuckles to distribute the impact to both the radius and ulna. The arm is relaxed, with the elbow and shoulder both tending down toward the ground.

The Isshin-ryu vertical punch appears to owe as much to the vertical punch practiced by the older Chinese form of Hsing-I as it does to its direct lineage in Okinawa-te. It is also believed that Shimabuku used the vertical punch in an attempt to distinguish his style from other styles prevalent at the time. While this view is not widely held, it is nevertheless one theory that has been proposed that has merit. The body structures used in the strike are especially strong at close range and toward the center of the body, providing a different set of optimal striking distances and postures from the more common twist punch practiced by other styles.
(D.R.) So the debate begins; Am I full of crap or what? I really feel good using this fist position for certain punches. I can be much faster, more accurate for pressure point hitting and more controled. I can lay a series of hits right on the surface of the skin of a training partners face with absolute control. I also can hit boxing hand targets with no discomfort to the hand. Works for me.
I'd like to see what other folks think, and will extend the discussion to the new forum at "The Convocation Of Combat Arts".

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Special Announcement


Yes friends, all your troubles can now be solved by questionable advice from our sometimes friendly non-professional staff at "THE CONVOCATION OF COMBAT ARTS FORUM"

Nathan over at TDA training has boldly crossed over into Forum Management territory with a new venue for all of us to get together and rant about martial arts and such. Drop on by and give everybody a hoot!

Friday, May 18, 2007

More On Formosa Niejia

The Bagua Symbol

OK, fellow Dojo Rats; I hope everyone has had a chance to read Chessman's post on his challenge matches in the Parks of Taiwan.
While you need to read the articles for the details, here's the short version: While practicing in the park one day, Chessman was coaxed into some push-sparring with a strong Xing-Yi instructor. Long story short is, after the initial encounter in which he felt the other guy controlled him very well, he had a rematch in front of the instructors students.
For those not familiar with Chinese Internal Arts, Xing-Yi is the most linear and outwardly aggressive of the three arts. Taiji is both linear and circular, and Bagua (BaguaZhang; Eight Trigram Palm) is nearly completely spiral and circular in nature.
As strong as the Xing Yi guys were, Chessman was able to find counter-techniques from other arts (Taiji and Bagua) that helped him defeat a formidable Xing-Yi instructor and his top student. Please read the series of articles, they are the best training articles I have read in a long time.
Now my point of re-visiting this goes back to my previous post on "Why TaeKwon Do Sucks". In that post, the video shows a Karate fighter easily defeating a Taekwon Do fighter. My outrage (being a 2nd Dan TKD guy myself, 3d Dan Kenpo) was as to why the TKD guy stayed within the framework of polite WTF-style sparring when the Karate guy is sweeping him, using knee strikes etc. Why limit your arsenal of techniques?
Chessman's challenge matches in the Taiwan park shows us another example of this problem. The Xing-Yi guys he sparred with were strong, but they stayed within the limited framework of linear techniques. Chessman was able to use relaxation and sticking power of Taiji and Circular movements of Baguazhang to defeat the linear fighting style. A few sweeps and a headlock resulted in a humilitating defeat for the Xing-Yi guys, and when Chessman saw them attempt to review and correct their shortcomings, they were still off track because they were still operating within the framework of their chosen art.
In the old days, Masters kept their methods secret. This led to many styles and jealous skirmishes. When the Asian fighting arts gained world-wide popularity, people in the west were less concerned with the secretive nature of the arts. Westerners shared and compared, and arts became more whole while retaining their original nature. This is the value of cross-training. Do not fight a man against his strengths, find an alternative method that exploits his weakness.
Please read the posts over at Formosa Neijia, if you haven't already.
Formosa Neijia

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Check Out This Link

The guy over at Formosa Neijia (link at right of my blog) has had a series of challenge matches in parks in Taiwan, this time with a powerful Xing-Yi instructor and his top student. This is the best series of real-life training experiance articles I have read in a long time. Check it out, you'll love it:
Sorry, you'll have to cut-and-paste, I'm having trouble with links--D.R.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Repost: The Significance Of Billy Jack

Billy Jack: My favorite pick for best fight scene

Nathan over at TDA training (See link at right of blog) has a post linking to the top 10 movie fight scenes ever. I haven't seen them all, but I did really like the knife fight in "The Hunted" with Tommy Lee Jones and Benecio Del Toro.
Personally, I was drawn to the movie "Billy Jack" at a young age, and it has always been my favorite. I did finally rent the first movie- "Born Loosers" which was pretty campy but came with commentary by actor Tom Laughlin and his wife that was a real hoot. For those of you that have never seen Billy Jack, I reccomend it for these reasons, from my January '07 post:

"You think your Green Beret Karate tricks are gonna' save you from all these boys"?
That's how this breakthrough movie scene begins. Unfortunately the clips I reviewed for this post don't show the complete fight scene, which includes a great spinning heel kick and a nice Hapkido defense against a club attack.
I cannot overstate how much this movie influenced me, sitting in the theater when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. It had everything; cute young hippie chicks, evil rednecks, horses, Jeeps, Corvettes, motorcycles and some of the best fight choreography ever.
While actor-director Tom Laughlin was the hero Billy Jack, Hapkido Master Bong Soo Han did all the most complex fight stunts. I read a review of this in a magazine years ago, and a few of the stunt rednecks got hurt pretty bad in this scene.
The movie was a spin-off of Laughlin and wife Delores Taylor's original flick "Born Losers", which I am tracking down. That scenario was Billy Jack vs. evil bikers. The big follow-up was of course, Billy Jack, which is still a cult classic.
Billy Jack treaded on many social taboos of the time: exploring murderous prejudice, alternative education and communal living, rape and revenge, and the most controversial aspect-- using violence to stop violence.
The movie is steeped in the paranoid culture of the late '60's and early '70's, touching on the assassination of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, racism and the unknown territory of alternative lifestyles. This film is so much more than a Karate flick, it's loaded with questions about ethics and honor and pride.
I know friends who go nuts over Jet Li movies and the like, but have never seen the pure simplicity of the fight scenes or social commentary of Billy Jack. There are also some famous supporting actors, like Howard Hessman from WKRP in Cincinatti.
Tom Laughlin has remained politically active, even running for Congress several years ago. He and wife Delores Taylor have been working on a sequel ( that is filled with events of our time, such as the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
For those who have never seen the movie, or need a good recharge of 1960's-'70's energy, watch it again -- I highly reccomend it...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

An Epic Battle; (in which I am dumped on my ass)

A fellow Dojo Rat practicing with Tai Chi Chuan instructor Michael Gilman

Once a month, sometimes more, several of the Dojo Rats leave our Secluded Island
Hideout and travel to visit and train with other martial artists. While we have been to the mean streets of Portland, Seattle and Boise, our favorite is Port Townsend, Washington. We get up at 5:00 am, take a hour-and-a-half ferry ride to the mainland, drive forty miles, take another ferry and we arrive in Port Townsend. It's a hip old Victorian seaport that was the place where the original sailing ships cleared customs and went on to the Seattle area. I lived there for a while back in about 1981 or '82, and it was really wild back then.
Port Townsend is the home of our Tai Chi Chuan instructor, Michael Gilman. Gilman is a very "hands-on" instructor who began studying Tai Chi in 1968 with Master Choy Kam-Man in San Francisco. He is an internationally recognized Push Hands champion, and teaches all aspects of Tai Chi Chuan.
We began our training with Gilman over two years ago in Push Hands, working on sensitivity and basic drills, The Yang and Chen hand patterns and changes, and freestyle Push Hands.
Most recently, we have been learning the Tai Chi Chuan San Shou fighting form, which is the highest level form in the Yang System. It is very, very complex with many subtleties and variations. You can view a video of us doing the form in my previous post on San Shou. As I wrote before, we are still not that good at it and have a lifetime of work ahead of us to perfect it. What it does show is all the applications from the Tai Chi Solo form and how to interact with a training partner that is generally not found in the Karate arts we have studied in the past.
Yesterday we had our last San Shou class for a while, we will re-visit Push Hands and other elements of Tai Chi Chuan in future sessions.
At the end of class, he gave my fellow Dojo Rat and I a chance to go at him with the form in full combat speed. The idea was to be as accurate as possible and stick to the form, but really go for it. My partner went with him first, but broke contact when he lost the sequence of the form. It was my turn next.
Now, I've done lots and lots of tournament fighting and such, but this is fast inside combat at close range within a fixed pattern. This is at the range where Push Hands really works, just before a clinch or grappling range. The form has forty-four movements for both sides, and I initiated the attack. It is amazing how you loose a sense of root to the ground when you move so fast, and at eight or nine movements into the form, I was striking in the "Raise Hands" posture and Gilman responded with "Turn and Push". As best as I can remember, he drew my right arm across my centerline, pinning it to my chest and giving me one of those classic Tai Chi pushes that launched me backwards about eight feet. You know, you have those moments where "time stands still"? Well, I could see my 200-pound ass sailing through the air in the full-length mirror on the Dojo wall, and I hit the wood floor with a picture-perfect breakfall. It was the high point of the day for me.
In Tai Chi Chuan, there is a saying: "Invest in loss", and at that moment I invested heavily. I learned two great things in that twenty seconds: Push Hands applications can work perfectly well in self-defense situations, and it feels really, really good to do a perfect breakfall on a hard surface.
Michael Gilman's website can be found on my links list at the right of the blog.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Master Chang Tung Sheng

Yang Tai Chi Chuan Form

Shuai Jiao - Chinese Wrestling, Tai Chi and Xing-Yi

Here's some great footage of a terrific martial artist, Chang Tung Sheng. His version of the Yang Tai Chi Chuan form shows great power, and the more I explore internal arts the grappling nature becomes more obvious. Some Tai Chi people put too much emphasis on the Yin (soft, empty) side of the art to the exclusion of the Yang. This is probably because most people (especially young men) are too Yang. But in doing so, they miss the intent that directs the power. Their Tai Chi lacks the "Chuan" or fist of Tai Chi Chuan, and remains a flowery dance. Here is a true master that has demonstrated the balence of Yin and Yang, and the fighting ability within the art of Tai Chi Chuan.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Tai Chi San Shou

Well, even after a year of practice, we're still rusty. Here's a little Yang Tai Chi Chuan San Shou (88 movement fighting form). The weather is great for the costal northwest, and we can film outside. We can step up the intensity, but we tend to get off track, so for now this speed works good. At the end of this set you reverse the roles, and repeat the form. I swear, it's the most complicated form I have ever learned, but man there is a lot of information in it.
Thanks to our Tai Chi Chuan instructor, Michael Gilman.

(Edit.)Upon review, whew!... we have a lot of work to do on this form. Better posture, more intensity without blowing the form... D.R.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Why Tae Kwon Do Sucks

Karate Vs. WTF TaeKwonDo

It's not always fair to make blanket comparisons between fighting styles, But Dojo Rats gotta call 'em as they see 'em. This fight clearly shows why Tae Kwon Do sucks.
--Now, keep in mind this Rat got his Second Dan while in TKD (Third Dan later in Kenpo) and loved every minute of my TKD training. It provided a strong foundation for further training and many life-long friendships. But even at the time I knew that as a comprehensive fighting art, Tae Kwon Do sucks, and this fight shows why.
Now, how can this TKD fighter not have to re-examine his training methods after getting his ass kicked like this. At two minutes into a four minute fight he has completely dropped his guard, his hands useless appendages flopping at his sides. If the rules would have allowed the Karate fighter to hit to the head, the fight would have ended right then. Furthermore, the Karate fighter uses some knee strikes and sweeps, easily catching the TKD guys leg. At one point he catches the leg and has a grip around TKD's throat, pushing him into the ropes. In another he has a clean sweep and slams TKD to the mat. What the hell is the TKD guy thinking? Why doesn't he open his tool box and find another tool? Why is this chump limiting his options and techniques?
The only answer is he simply never trains with other techniques. I knew these kind of guys back in my TKD school. Boy could they flash-kick. Jump 360-degree spinning hook kicks seven feet in the air. Big f-'in deal, they couldn't handle themselves in a streetfight if their life depended on it, and it might. They carried their center so high a good grappler would have them on their backs with the wind knocked out of them in a heartbeat, pounding their face in.
I don't mean to pick on TKD so much, it's just that the sport is such an easy target. Readers familiar with this site know I have no patience with other martial arts that do not practice some sort of objective reality in fighting, let alone long term form practitioners that have no idea what applications of their forms are.
In this way, I feel the modern approach to martial arts training, which includes cross-training in various styles is the solution to stagnant, ineffective fighting styles.
For my previous ranting on Tae Kwon Do, see the November 24 2006 posting in the archives- "The Long And Short Of Tae Kwon Do"

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Sun-Style Bagua Applications

On the heels of the Sun-style Bagua seminar with Tim Cartmell, I came across this video of Hal Mosher ( demonstrating applications for the form. The video is slowed down so that the applications can be understood, which makes it appear disjointed in some ways. However, if the flow was shown at combat speed the effectiveness would be recognized.
Two things I see in this are: (1) the obvious grappling nature of the art. Hal isn't taking his training partner all the way to the ground but I would say 3/4 of the techniques he shows are takedowns.
(2) It has a constant flow that is seen in arts like Kenpo, with one technique seemlessly flowing to another, linking to an attacking arm and following it to the core of the body for a strike, lock or takedown.
It would have been interesting if he mixed the slow motion with a little actual combat-speed application. None-the-less, I will be studying this as I review the new stepping patterns we worked on at Tim Cartmell's Bagua seminar.

Friday, May 4, 2007

May: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month

Ok fellow Dojo Rats; We've begun a new month and you know what that means-- "Cute hippie chick of the month".
For those new to the Dojo Rat Blog, this feature grew out of a lively comment from a reader posted on this site a few weeks back. It concerned hippies in the martial arts, something which the Dojo Rats have at times resembeled.
With that in mind, the internet is a deep resource to be mined as far as posting tasteful examples of "cute hippie chicks". Whoever posted this one on YouTube labeled it "My Mom dancing in the '60's". Hmmm...
Of course, the usual disclaimer is no offense to cute people, hippies or wives...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sun-Style Bagua With Tim Cartmell

Well, the Dojo Rats made the journey from our Secure Island Hideout to the Mean Streets of Seattle for a great seminar on Sun-style Bagua with Tim Cartmell and Jake Burroughs. Cartmell trained for over ten years in Taiwan and China, and has extensive background in Xing-I, Bagua, and Tai Chi as well as Brazilian Jujitsu. Jake Burroughs hosted the seminar and was the designated fall guy for Tim's heavier throwing techniques.
We definately picked up some finer points of this complex system, designed by the famous Master Sun Lu-Tang. Here is a brief summary of some great information:
Tim demonstrated a basic posture in the form, in this case "Green dragon turns it's head", and suggested this: If you look at this posture and try to categorize it as one technique, like choping with knife hands, that's all it will ever mean to you. However, at long range it may indeed be a chop. At medium range it may be a Peng (ward-off) as in Taiji. At close range it is a takedown. Tim proceded to demonstrate various applications for that same move or posture. This concept was tantamount to the theme of the entire seminar, as well as the function of the art of Bagua itself.
Another significant point was about the grappling nature of the art. Sun Lu-Tang was taught Bagua by Cheng Tinghua, who was himself a master of Chinese wrestling. Tim demonstrated that after a bridge and entry, one can certainly strike. But to achieve a deep knowledge of the bodywork in this art requires the whole-body utilization involved in takedowns. I believe this is similar to the idea of Tai Chi Chuan students learning push-hands before moving on to advanced striking techniques. Needless to say, the seminar involved a lot of takedowns, and Jake Burroughs took a lot of falls (as did the students that attended the previous seminars on Brazilian Jujitsu and Xing-I).
We came away with concepts that will improve the Bagua stepping patterns we had already been practicing, as well as many new techniques and applications from the Sun system. Tim Cartmell provided excellent instruction and Jake Burroughs was a generous host.
Anyone in the Seattle area that is interested in upcoming events can contact Jake Burroughs at 206-941-3232, or check out his Three Harmonies Chinese Martial Arts website at
Tim Cartmell's website is