September 23 : The way the human body can move is wonderful. And martial arts has increasingly been influential our ideas of the body and its range for a long time. Even in the last few years there has been a lot of borrowing from the arts without always acknowledgeing the source. Think of: Feldenkreis (a Judo man), break dancing, Pilates (a martial arts instructor), Contact Improv (Aikido inspiration here), physical therapy (particularly from Tai Chi) and others. This is the unsung part of the arts with unrecognized participation such as the influence of Chinese medicine on Swedish Massage and Chiropractic. When we see the opening ceremonies for the Olympics or the beautiful routines of Taiwan's Moon Water-Cloud Gate (Adam Hsu instructing the troupe) we get a glimpse of the power and also the beauty of the arts. .

September 22 : As we've been saying for months now, one of the more exciting additions in a year of great advancement for Kung Fu knowledge has been the Malaysian Masters series we are just beginning to promote. This is a real treasure house brought to us by Eric Ling and Russ Smith. You'll definitely be hearing more from this quarter as the year progresses and the new DVDs planned for distribution are truly worth a look. Here's a bit of what's available with a little demonstration of the famous but not often seen Five Ancestors Boxing .

September 17 : Where have we been? Since Plum is an ever-present conversation in our daily lives--not to mention reviewing new products, translations and such--sometimes we shock ourselves when we find that we haven't posted anything to the weblog for a few days! Rest assured, we are busily working in the background...what are we looking at? A new article, an addition to the ever-popular Chen Pan Ling DVD collection, expanded information on our newest Malaysian Master series, and Plum's new travelling school seminar series (where we come to you!). Oh yes, also...we are devoting some well-needed time to the back end too: fixing broken links, cleaning up pages, stuff like that. Whew! Not much time to sleep here at Plum. Check back soon!

September 11 : Sometimes it's fun to meditate a little on meditation...

September 09 : Our new grappling DVDs with Tim Cartmell have been up only about a week and we already have an excellent review of one by author Brian Kennedy, the author of the book on Chinese Martial Training manuals.
See his review of "Standing Grappling"
...

September 04 : At last! We just got in our first batch of the new Malaysian Masters series with an amazing line up of styles and demonstrators. Among the performers is Ruan Dong of the Whooping Crane, Cheong Cheng Leong the model for Draeger's famous Phoenix Fist book and much more. We'll be writing about this over the next week but we just wanted to let you have a chance to see these rare flowers. Here ...

September 01 : When Tim Cartmell comes out with anything new there's a fair sized line of people who don't need to hear anything else. Tim's continued high quality productions have made him a favorite with our customers. His two newest offerings "Standing Grappling" and "Ground Proofing" are sure to be some of his most popular DVDs yet. Here they are ...

August 27 : We get his question all the time: "I like One Hand Video's stuff but is it available in DVD?" When they are asking about this well-respected series we've always had to say, "Nope, sorry." BUT NOT ANY MORE. One of the most famous series of high quality taped instruction is now available through PLUM... well, kind of... so far they've released just two DVDs (Hey, they have A LOT of titles and it's going to take some time) but we have them and we're happy to offer these excellent presentations. Also we add a new On Hand VIDEO with George Xu demonstrating his Qigong prowess in Wu Wei Qigong, a Taoist exercise. . .

August 26 : We're in an eternal state of closet cleaning because we have so much material (and a lot more to come). We've just restructured the docket so all the new additions, books and DVDs, are easier to find. Here's the place to check in whenever you come to our site for a quick update on things that have been out of stock and are now back with us. (In case you wonder how we get out of stock with such a great order person as Debbie; supplies from China, Taiwan, etc. are something less than predictable.) . . .

Joseph Crandall, who has been translating martial texts for many years, has come out with a new addition: one of those books we most like to see: this one is the famous text by Jiang Rong Qiao, himself a practitioner of Mizong or Lost Track style. In this important book he proposes that Lost Track was once a very real candidate to join styles such as Tai Chi or Bagua; often called "Internal. A key text in modern martial writing with much interesting background on the style.

August 20 : Researchers Alert! We add a few nice books for those wanting to do a bit of CMA research. First is a nice, new Wushu dictionary translating terms form the Simplififed with numerous features. Also we have a series of "rambling notes", all last centuries essays on the art of Chinese weapons. We add to the Chen Pan Ling library we are assembling by re-posting a book by his student, Lei Xiao Tian, on the Twelve Animals. And some news in a day or two keeping you abreast of the soon-to-be released Malaysian Masters. . .

August 19 : Wow, have we been busy. We're spending a lot of time creating Ted's Bagua curriculum for our up-coming semianr series. We haven't even had time to write the three articles we've been working on. Nonetheless, treasures keep passing in front of our noses. Here is a book we thought we would never get in again: ever. We have a few copies of Chen Pan Ling's Xing Yi text with his son. In additon we are re-posting the famous Tai Chi volume with the young Yang Chen Fu and Lee Ying Arng's masterpiece: his modified Yang Tai Chi Set.

August 12 : And speaking of Kung Fu weapons (which we did in the last paragraph) teacher Scott Rodell has just come out with another sword book: this time on the historical practice of Test Cutting with a sword. That simply means to cut real objects to test your skill and the integrity of your sword. He's put a lot of time and thought into this subject and this is one of the first books in English on an exciting adjunct to one's practice of ancient weapons.

August 11 : Interest in Kung Fu weapons is on the increase and there's a real focus on the art of the sword. Here's a threesome of books in traditional Chinese on bladed weapons for your perusal.

August 09 : Dai Xin Yi is said to be the original Xing Yi style. It certainly has a distinctive and interesting approach to movement. Our new series has many boxing forms but also some unusual weapons such as the Iron Chopsticks and the Emei Dagger. Taught by Guo Jin Gang, a well known master of the style...

August 05 : Just for your amusement, a reprint of our first article on the Lost Track style. We've been so busy we've almost lost track of when we wrote this. Jump over to our Kung Fu school site and have a look ...

August 02 : Let's see, first we've had good reactions from our new Master Class series with Sifu Paul Eng. Among those who Sifu Eng introduced us to were Sifus Huy Chiang and Hung Chiang who demonstrated exceptional skills during the recent Tai Mantis Tournament. If you are near the Avon, Mass. area we suggest you check out this top-notch father, son team.

The quality of our hand picked VCDs continues to improve dramatically. Our newest survey of Xing Yi styles has top instructors, good camera work and a load of information. Check it out. We have a number of these next-generation VCDs which we will be reviewing and suggesting, panning and promoting in coming weeks.

Oh, we should mentioned that "He Quan" is also on the way...

July 30: Liuhebafa, not one of the easiest styles to pronounce. For the longest time we've has only one really respectable VCD representative of this increasingly popular style and, guess what?, we STILL only have one but now it's been translated in English subtitles and DVD format. See for yourself and, if you haven't purchased yet but have thought about it see our recommendations...

July 28: Chen Xiao Wang is a man dedicated to his family Chen Tai Chi. His last presentation on DVD of Reeling Silk exercises is particularly popular. But here is an entirely new presentation by him of almost his entire system. What's special here is that it's in VCD form yet subtitled in Engllish. Not only is the content and price great but the series has a really good straight documentary (subtitled) on the history and origins of Chen Tai Chi.
         •We had a great time at the Tai Mantis Chuk Kai Memorial Tournament last Saturday. We took a lot of photos, met some great people and will post some comments and observations in a few days. A truly exceptional experience and a pleasure to see this Kung Fu family.

July 23: Not much more to say than our full one-hour interview on DVD with Sifu Paul Eng is now available. If you have any interest in Mantis, Fu Jow Pai, or the early history of Kung Fu in America—not to mention the feelings and observations of a lifelong teacher in the arts—see this first of our new Master Class series. Find out how you can get this exclusive Plum interview FREE.

July 20: Here's a nice, new survey of Bagua styles all through China with some top notch performers and a wide variety of information. Probably the best Double VCD representation we've see yet of this exploding area of interest.

Our Master Class interview with well-known Tai Mantis Sifu Paul Eng will be out this week. We're very happy to start this series dedicated to recording the thoughts of top notch practitioners and teachers. So here's a sample (our first sound clip, put up at midnight!) of some of Paul's lively observations on the subject of Kung Fu from someone who has spent his life in its study. By the way, we'll be at the Tai Mantis Tournment mentioned below this weekend. Hope we see some of you there.

And though our next major project, all we can tell you right now is that "Chu Gar is coming!".

July 18: We add here a new series of DVDs dedicated to the life's work of one man: Yan Zhen Fa. Now 73, he is an instructor who has spent his life in the Shaolin camp studying such styles as Tai Zu, Shaolin and Damo. He is also one of the few transmitters of the Duck Boxing (yes, there really is such a style). This we find—and will write about in time—in distinction to the general presentation of some of the popular branches of Shaolin which we are more and more finding untenable as true representatives of what is meant by the Shaolin achievement. More of this later, but for now here is the work of a single student of three major instructors and a gold medal winner in his own right.

July 16: Back in the Fifties and Sixties we had what might be called "closed" tournaments. These were the early competitions where a specific style, such as Shotokan Karate, would hold its own gathering. There were actually a lot of nice things about this. First, everyone had about the same idea of what they were about: the same language and the same rules. There was a friendliness, too, and a respect for the instructors and the students. You got to see a certain consistent idea of the martial arts. There are those who feel the whole thing was wrong, of course, for the well-worn reasons. But, after all, holding a closed tournament didn't preclude holding an open one. It was just a different focus. Anyway here is an opportunity to attend one of these very interesting events. Click on our sister site to see information for a special tournament of the famed Tai Mantis style.

July 12: Today we begin a whole new category, this time for the martial artists out there wanting to learn some Chinese. In the process of learning a language one of the most enjoyable and reinforcing steps is when you start using readers to get you above the "dick and jane" level. Today we start with just such a reader geared to martial interests; the first of many more we intend to suggest.

July 08: People love to say, "Martial arts is a way of life." Maybe. Maybe anything is a way of life if you make it so. But what we've enjoyed a great deal here are PLUM is to bring the other perspective on the practice, the silent battles so many people have to fight every day. We print the kind of piece you will never see in something like Black Belt because, from our experience, there are far more people who benefit from martial arts strategies, disciplines and unique traits in daily life than there will be in future combats. Here's another honest and hopeful example from contributing writer, Gary Shapiro.

July 05: A number of projects are inching closer to fruition. First, as we mentioned earlier, we are going to be exclusive distributors for a whole new line from Eric Ling and Russ Smith. Eric, as many people know, is engaged in a large project in Malaysia to collect, record, promote and preserve the traditional Chinese arts represented there. His first product will be a double DVD showcasing some of the finest local practitioners and styles. The DVDs are at the duplicators right now and we hope to have them in the next two or three weeks.

•Not only will our Master Class #1 with Sifu Paul Eng, also at the duplicators, be available but we will soon have an announcment about a Tai Mantis tournament this month.

•Finally, not really, we will soon be offering a series of Bagua Zhang seminars at our Santa Cruz school for visiting students and teachers. Contact us if interested.

July 02: For those Kung Fu scholars out there, here's is the fourth lesson in our series: once again showing not only some words but how a character is constructed.

June 30 : We collected some money from out Twin Schools Benefit performance for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital last Saturday. We had everyone from youngsters to oldsters like yours truly enjoying themselves and showing their skills. If you'd like, here are some photos (on our sister site) .

June 28 : Continuing with our exploration of the legacy of Feng Zhi Qiang, we present our newest offering: Taoist Qigong. This is the type of book you read when you want to understand the concepts as well as the exercises involved in real Qigong practice. Written by one of Feng's close students.

June 26 : First, if you happen to be in our area on June 28th, Saturday, drop in at our Santa Cruz School. We're having a benefit for St. Jude's and will have a few demonstrations going from different Kung Fu schools (who knows, even we might do something).

*Here's the third of our Martial Language Lessons. We hope you are scanning those books covers and surprising yourself by recognizing a word or two...

June 23 : The range of Kung Fu books that comes out of China is amazing. It includes the highly technical and the sometimes surprisingly archaic. One batch of books, all from a single author, we've just added to our bibliography covers ritual practices, hidden skills, needle forms, wall climbing and more of the exotica from Chinese martial arts. These are all meant to be "secret manuals" just like in the movies. Take a look just for fun since, in most cases, we don't even have enough to offer for sale. But great fun anyway...

June 19 : It seems like the work of Feng Zhi Qiang is popping up everywhere and with good reason considering his strong influence on so many people. We're going to create a "nexus" page of just work associated with Feng's teaching. In the meantime we have two new offerings, both good. The first is his 48 movement version of Lao Jia in a Chinese text form. The other is another of our personality VCDs focused two disks on a survey of Feng's accomplishments and teachings.

June 18 : We have actually changed our teaching schedule to devote more attention to PLUM. For the first time in decades we're taking a sabbatical from the teaching of Shaolin Kung Fu. We're continuing our Taiji, Bagua and Qigong offering for students throughout California and are even expanding our seminar offerings and workshops. So, if you are interested in finding out what we're teaching and where just drop us an email and we will keep you posted.

•All this is part of our general push to increase people's understanding and appreciation of Chinese martial arts. In the same vein, we long ago set up a special series of pages which, we think, very few of our visitors know about. We created a special Bibliography for martial arts research. We've noted recently that SOME people must have seen it since we see some of our entries appearing on other Kung Fu sites. That's great, our bibliography was created to help people know about their styles, teachers and history. It's strictly for research and that's why we don't even offer them for sale. (Also, PLEASE don't ask where you can find these texts. If we knew we'd be offering to all you collector's out there. Most are from our own collection.) If you get a chance take a look. We have eight pages of scarce and strange texts...

•In keeping with today's theme of research we've added a huge survey text from Professor Kang Ge Wu to our traditonal Chinese offerings.

June 15 : Yes, for those of you who have so kindly asked, this is the section of Northern California with the fires. Every day we see fire engines speeding back and forth. One of our old students, a well known fire fighter, is up there climbing trees with a fire hose in hand and showering a stream of water down the core to douse those smouldering redwoods which could re-start the whole blaze. We have about 2000 fighters in No. California right now bravely fighting only partially contained fires. With tonados and floods attacking all over, our country seems to be taking part in disasters of Biblical proportions.

• Our newest addition to our VCDs of esteemed teachers and "human treasures" continues as a student of the famed Yang Yu Ting demonstrates the Wu Style Tai Chi he learned from this major teacher.

June 12 : We want to take a moment to remind you of a few key points around the PLUM site. First is the docket. Whenever we make an additon or restock an item, such as some books we've been waiting for over a year to re-stock, we list it in the docket available from the home page.

•Next, our VCD sale is still going on where you can save money and see styles you may never have seen before.

We have added some great new information on the Sun style Taiji. This has —finally—allowed us enough to start a new page exclusively for this fast-growing segment of the Taiji family.

June 11 : Perhaps you've never seen "Anthony Hopkins Play the Guitar" or Jackie Chan play Shakespear for that matter but such musing can sometimes lead to interesting conclusions.

•You may bump into some more than usual bad links here and there since we should have a "Men at Work" sign out. We're trying, as ever, to revise and simplify the site so if you bump into a few indecipherable pages just let us know.

June 06 : You would think that of all the Chinese texts we handle that the famous set of books by Sun Lu Tang would be the easiest to find and carry. Not always so. Different editions keep coming in and going out of print. But we have, again, a complete addition of the five famous texts from this world reknown teacher.

June 05 : And here's another lesson in Chinese from a martial view. Hope you enjoy.

May 30 : Our newest Instructor's Notebook deals with that time when you need help to teach all those eager students. By the way, a number of teachers have complimented the series. That makes us feel good. We aren't sure if anyone BUT instructors read these, or should, but if they help we're happy to be of some service.

May 29 : You enjoy martial arts. You have a lot of fun studying it. You thought, what the heck I think I'll just learn some Chinese to round out the experience, so you opened a Chinese text and got immediately lost in the twists, turns and curves. Ah, but we've got a solution and a fun one at that, check out our new Martial Language lessons ...

May 28 : Well, we've been fiddling with Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Live Type and DVD Studio Pro just to get out our first Master Class DVD. But we're close enough, we think, that we can at least reveal the name of the subject. Our series starts off with an interview, and a delightful one, with Sifu Paul Eng of Tai Mantis fame. We've had mutual friends and acquaintances for years but never met before this taping session and we're happy with the results. A little more patience and we should have it out, unless we have to read another of those technical manuals...
• A new little book on Shuai Jiao, the every growing popular Chinese wrestling, joins our grappling texts in traditional language...

May 27 : Joanna Zorya returns with a pair of comprehensive DVDs on warming up, stretching and strengthening for martial artists. She proposes a mixture of Yoga, exericses, and stretches (with a little section on the Taiji Bang or stick) for those isolation exercises so essential to martial practice ...

May 26 : We freely admit that our book representation of the Chen style Taijiquan in English is a bit slim. Today we add a new book by Ren Gungyi with which should please most. Besides very good photos it has an introduction by musician Lou Reed. See our new Taijiquan Hand and Sword...

May 19 : We want to reiterate something we haven't said in a long time. One of the best "deals" on our site is the hybrid of book and magazine known as a "mook" in asia. Our partner house, Lion Books, handles some of these valuable special editions (which only run about 15.00) with their rare photographs, focused reporting on specific topics and just general historical interest for serious martial artisits. Yes, they are in traditional Chinese. But the information, photography and illustrations-not to mention layout and presentation- make these rather obvious collector's items. We've just DOUBLED our offering with three new and one restocked title on such diverse topics as Yue Style Kung Fu, Taizu, the ever-popular White Crane (much more great information coming from us on these styles) and a significant section on the man who was considered the top Chen Tai Chi player in Taiwan: Du Yu Ze; student of Chen Fa Ke's father. This really interesting and important figure (yes, to give full discolosure we do this style of Taiji) has left a somewhat controversail legeacy behind. You can catch a rendtition of Du himself on youtube at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kl_SL19nKs&feature=related
Du's style is not as fancy as Chen has become but look carefully and you will see a very respectable and much older version of what Chen was like at the firs half of the last century.

May 13 : We add a new volume of our (so far) only magazine series, those Taiwanese Mooks (magazine/books). These are beautifully created volumes on "special interest" topics. This issue is on two styles, famous in China, which should be better known in the overall Kung Fu community...

•And here we have the newest update on our ever-expanding VCD sale...

VCD Blue Panel Sale Items

Yun Style 6 Harmony Kung Fu
Liu He Boxing

Di Tang Ground Boxing

Di Tang Boxing

Southern Mok Gar (Mo Jia) Boxing

Linked Leg Boxing
Tong Bei Boxing White Ape Branch

Applications

Lu Mountain Taoist Boxing

Five Elements Xing Yi

Seven Star Mantis Boxing

Zhou Gang Form
Mandarin Duck style Boxing
Short Staff
Chang Nai Zhou style Boxing
Survey VCD
Wu Dang NanZong Taoist Boxing
Dragon Palm & Tiger Tail
Xiao Yao (Loose & Confortable) Taoist Boxing
Demon Palm & Brocade
Ziran (Naturalness) Boxing
Various Practices
The Boxing of the Er Mei Mountains

Special Practices

More Er Mei Boxing
Night Saber

Yue Fei Family Boxing

Applications and Spear Play

Baji Eight Ultimates Boxing

Applications

Lost Track - Mizong Boxing

Sword and Fly Whisk & Tan Tui
The embarrasment here is that the sword and whisk is not only on special, but had fallen off our list till now. Oh well.

Tai Chi Praying Mantis

Eight Elbows Form
The entire Zhai Yao series

Zi Ran (Natural School) of Kung Fu
Eagle Fist
Er Mei Mountains Sect
Er Mei Slapping Methods

 

May 12 : We have been experiencing the pleasure of meeting and greeting a number of long time practitioners. Besides our friend John Ottenberg of First Response note, we've been visited by Mile Coleman of the Ark Yuey Wong lineage, and Rudy Tuiolosega, son of Tu’umamao Tino Tuiolosega, the creator of Limalama.We sense a rising tide of people concerned about the future and preservation of the real arts. In fact this and other things have inspired us to develop a new section of Plum which will air the views and experiences of senior practitioners and teachers. It will be called "Master Class" and our premiere interview is with a well known Sifu who has spent a lifetime in the arts.

• We're trying to be more disciplined on listing those long awaited books which are only now back in stock. Please remember to periodically check out DOCKET for returning titles that may not be listed in this weblog.

May 06: We re-stock an item that was so hot we thought we'd never see it again at a discounted price. And to make things even better we've added a companion book! All this refers to Marc Tedeschi's huge work on Ground Fighting and now The Art of Throwing, each a beautiful hardback with over 1000 photos and, at a discount no less ( or more properly, yes less). The Throwing book which we have just added for the first time has a nice section on the same throw performed in different styles. This makes a point we wanted to underscore: though we have never had a peep of disgruntled sentiment from anyone when we list extra-Chinese style products we want to express our belief that throws and locks and grappling in general are so universal (all elbows bend the same way, etc.) that we interchangeably offer sources from Jujutsu, Aikido or whatever we think may be of interest. If you want to see a rendition that is UNIQUELY Chinese, check out Jason Tsou's approach below. But in this field there is much to learn and much to trade and, after all this is a great resource at a great price...

•See how we cleverly update our entire ONGOING VCD SALE list whenever we add a few new items. And you thought we were just Kung Fu experts ...

May 05 : We've been wanting to put this one up for WEEKS! But it took a while to create a review that gave the proper representation of the depth of the subject matter. So why wait? Go directly to
Jason Tsou's Chin Na seminar set (Book plus DVDs) and see what we say...

May 03 :
Wu Shi Jun is a prolific and energetic teacher. We have here some new contributions, mostly based on the work of Chen Fa Ke no less, which he is adding to his Tai Chi portfolio ...

•Yes, we have an ungodly number of WANT TAGS on our site at present but it's not our fault: it's yours. We are having temporary problems in keeping all these great books and videos in stock. You guys are eating everything up as soon as we get it. We promise to increase our stock but, in the case of the rare and hard to find--like the ten year Chin Woo record and our new book (still to come) on Feng Zhi Qiang's Taiji Ruler, please be patient. (It's so bad I'm taking books off MY PRIVATE SHELF to fulfill orders. How's that for self-sacrificing?)

May 02 : Today we had breakfast with Eric Ling and Russ Smith. Eric is an expert, and then some, on the Kung Fu styles of Malaysia. He is a wealth of knowledge about Hakka and Fujian styles particularly of the Southern persuasion. Russ, Eric, Debbie and I discussed Hung White Eyebrow, rare varieties of Wing Chun, Tai Zu, Southern Mantis/Chu Gar, Southern Shaolin, Karate and, of course, White Crane in its many forms. Both Eric and Russ confirmed our long held feelings that there are treasure houses of authentic Kung Fu out there among expatriated Chinese and a wealth of top notch traditional practitioners who need to be recognized to assure the continuance of their gifts. We discussed at length ways in which PLUM can help with this dissemination and will keep you posted on this very exciting project...

April 29: And, keeping right up to date with our ever-expanding VCD Blue Panel Sale...

April 24: We again welcome Inner Circle Tai Chi from Sacramento, under teacher Robert Nakashima. Today we meet at the Santa Cruz Studio for a seminar on Jiang Style Bagua. We always look forward to sharing the arts, especially with such a fine group of people.

Our special sale VCDs now cover the following styles. Pick a style you've never seen and take a look...

April 23 : Finally! For years we've been trying to get our hands on this official Chin Woo Memorial text, a reproduction of the Shanghai headquarters of the Chin Woo's tenth anniversary. Stuffed with period pictures, articles and illustrations this CHINESE TEXT is a valuable collector's item for anyone who is interested in China's first open Kung Fu school. Like a first graduating class high school year book this shows the cornerstone of what is still one of the most successful organizations for Kung Fu in the world. We don't have many in stock right now (about four) but we will be getting more in. Visit here just to click on the book and see some great old photos.

April 21 : And more of our VCD blue panel sales...

April 21 : We have some really great additions to our VCD blue panel sale...

April 18 : We now have a DVD edition of our very first Dim Mak series; from the ebullient presenter Xie Zhi Kai. This is a series where the addition of English, will be of major help especially in undestanding the finer details of point striking. Don't try it on your friend are they will end up looking like Xie's assistant...

April 17 : As many of you already know we have a companion site for our school in California. We will be using this site to announce the many seminars (including our own) which are appearing. Next, if you can get to the Alaska area, is what will no doubt be a fine exposition of Praying Mantis by Sifu Kurt Wong. See this under our Announcements section....

April 15 : Yes, we have another BLUE PANEL SALE. This one will go on for a number of weeks and, we hope, allow you to consider some styles and VCDs which might broaden your Kung Fu enjoyment and experience. We will keep you up to date as we add on more and more titles at discounted prices.

April 08 : All right we love books and the thrill of finding "special editions". We know not everyone shares our enthusiasm but, when it involves Chinese Martial Arts (CMA) we often think about those of you who, through email and letters, have told us you share the same interest. Some times we are lucky enough to find pieces that aren't only collectible but that literally NO ONE offers because, frankly, they didn't do the detective work. Here is a rare hardback edition of "Entering the Fu Jow Pai" and, just to make it REALLY rare, it is signed in Chinese by Master Tak Wah Eng himself . How limited is this? Well, try to find one in all the millions of books on Amazon and see for yourself. ...

April 05 : Notes on our new GU style Taijiquan DVD offering:
When we first saw LiuHeBaFa we had an interesting experience. Here was a form just like Taijiquan that shared very few movements with Taijiquan. You may have a similar experience here when watching Gu style which shares, generally, very few movements. Of course any selection of slow WuShu patterns will take from the general bank of movements but the order, arrangement and selection in Gu style is very different from the Lao Jia derivatives. The principles are maintained, slow movement, controlled steps, generally hidden power. This may be a little like seeing Taijiquan for the first time again. .....

April 04 :
Our Fun Stuff section we offer only the silly, strange and suspect aspects of the martial arts. It's rare (like never before) that we actually have some of these collectible oddities for sale, our newest Jiu Jitsu manual is the exception ...

April 03 : About a week ago we posted an article on the Crescent Kick (March 26). One of our readers, Chad Eisner, an expert in sports medicine, disagreed with many of the ideas and has sent in a rebuttal. We of course have our own slant on this but decided that the topic contains wider ranging implications about martial arts and encourage other readers to enter the discussion...

March 31 : The famous teacher, Sha Guo Zheng, was a triple threat in martial terms simultaneously maintaining a high degree of skill in the three "internal" arts. His disciple, Luo Jin Hua, also carries forward this tradition--and today even a little more--since we offer his newest in Xing Yi, Bagua and Tai Chi.

• Here's a new book that falls into our "HURT" department not because it's actually hurt but because it's so discounted. Teri Tom has done an exhaustive and excellent job of covering The Straight Lead subtitled The Core of Bruce Lee's Jun Fan Jeet Kung Do®. Is this Kung Fu or anti-Kung Fu. Read this book and ignore that question.

March 30 : It's nice to be right once in a while. We didn't know much about Zhan Bo before reviewing his Wu style Tai Chi VCDs. What we spotted was a fine, educated hand and an efficient and well ordered presentation that was definitely a "cut above". As we researched we find that, indeed, Zhan Bo took a heroic stand for his art and preserving his tradition. Check him out.

March 29 : Allan Pittman, one time student of Robert Smith, has delved deeply both physically and philosophically into the Chinese arts. His new book not only explains the 64 exercises of Gao style Bagua but references the I Ching and its relationship to the art.

March 26 : We consider the Crescent Kick, that all-around favorite. Then we consider why.

March 20 : There is always something fascinating about the postures of the art of Xin Yi, the so-called predecessor to Xing Yi. Here's a new simplified book that takes these positions and movements and applies them to self defense while retaining the vigor and flavor of the style.

•Also, because we just "came across" it, we have an antique program to add to our "fun stuff" section. Any more priceless reminders out there in television land?

March 17 : The book we are calling, "Departed Warriors" or Shi Qu De Wu Lin," is the first martial autobiography we have offered. Written in simplified Chinese, it is the reminiscences of Li Zhong Xian who studied during one of Chinese most explosive investigations of its martial heritage. This isn't just a story with some martial anecdotes but a biography with many observations on Xing Yi technique and martial passion.

•Interested in Iron Palm training? We are slowly building a section for that. Here is a new DVD on the basics of the method by Dale Dugas entitled Combat Iron Palm.

March 15 : We are always happy to offer a new book on the arts. Here we list and review the new text "Anatomy of Yang Family Tai Chi". This will be of special interest to those struggling with technical points and teachers wanting another instructor's perspective on detailed information.

March 14 : Today we add a number of new texts in Chinese. If you haven't used it yet, one of the other ways to check up on new arrivals is our docket page. Have a look.

March 12 : In honor of our new Tan Tui Form DVD, we are continuing to expand a project we've wanted to try for a long time. Our new "nexus page" on Tan Tui is like an instant search result showing the major resources on our site for this single topic. Today we added all the VCD information on the Spring Leg.

March 10 : 10 Road Tan Tui the Spring Leg Form is now on sale. We are also posting some background on this famous form which will talk about history and, on a more personal level, what it means to train this type of Kung Fu.

March 08 : Our Tan Tui DVD has arrived and will go on sale by Monday! This one is lucky to have survived computer crashes and about six re-filmings but here it is...
• Our newest acquisitions have some classic material including the record book on the Ching Wu, a reprint of very rare document. But first we start with a Wing Chun book in the traditonal language series that contains rare sets indeed such as the Comet Straight Sword, the Small Cyclone partner Staff and others.

March 05 : Some times the merest gesture can mean everything, or nothing. Here instructor we consider nothing more than a "Flick of the Wrist".

March 03 : More quick notes:
• Finally, the last piece of the puzzle. The mixed-martial fist set of Shan Xi Xing Yi stylist Zhang Xi Gui: his own invention.
•A special commemorative editon from Sonny Tang who introduced Wing Chun to Canada. This shows Chi Sao, the Bil Ji form and the Three Post Trianing. Many photos of the Wing Chun community around Mr. Tang.

February 29 : It's Sadie Hawkins Day, if anyone remembers what that is. We make a special note of a restocked text because we've had the devil's own time finding this book in Chinese. It deals with the Tai Chi of the famous Wu Tu Nan, the human being who, so far, practiced for the longest time, over ninety years. Master Wu was once asked the obvious question of whether Tai Chi helped his longevity to which he wisely answered, "I don't know but I don't think I can stop now." That was when he was around 100. He continue to live and practice for some years after that.

February 28 : We start an entirely new series of documentaries on the culture of China (yes, as it pertains to martial arts of course) with two well-made, gorgeous documentaries: on Chinese Taoism and China's Islamic community. Inexpensive, well sub-titled and filmed throughout the country, here is a great way to fill in some of the background knowledge necessary for a true appreciation of martial history and its thousands of years of struggle and glory.

February 26 : Quick notes: We now have another of our comparison pages for the Choy Lai Fut of 5th generation teacher Liang Nai Zhao. Check out both the DVDs and the VCDs in this series.

February 25 : How do you know when to buy a VCD over a DVD or vice versa? Well of course that's an individual choice. On the other hand we at PLUM have always wanted to give the maximum value for that sometimes strained martial dollar ("What? ANOTHER iron palm bag?) So we are continuing with our special DVD/VCD recommendation pages. Our newest is on the Jin Gang Force style. We have already offered the VCDs but now they are not only compared to their DVD counterparts but we have added a background sheet on this very interesting style passed down from military/scholarly family members for centuries and mutually based on massage, qigong and martial skills.

February 22 : The Southern Fists gain yet another page for themselves. It's been a slow process but each time we add some Southern Kung Fu we feel like we're representing a wide spread and popular but relatively unsung group. Now, on the other side we have this situation with Southern Mantis ...

February 15 : Some styles, like Hung and most Mantis, have such a high general standard that we never tire of offering them to you. Choy Lai Fut is in this category. Teacher Li Siu Hung and his disciple Joe Keit fill out more of their series with the addition of two more forms: The Choy Lai Fut Dragon Spear and the Plum Flower Fist.

February 14 : Sometimes we find really good books which we simply have forgotten to post. Here's the return of the Fujian Southern Shaolin Boxing from one of our most popular Southern Kung Fu Chinese books series (simplified characters).

February 13 : Jiang Jian Ye returns with a newly abstracted course of Chen Famly Tai Chi Internal Power Training Methods which utilize exercises for the bare hands, Tai Chi ball, staff and other equipment. Our usual two or more discount applies ..

February 09 :
We go through about ten "Shaolin" DVDs and VCDs for each one we offer. The trouble is we actually studied Shaolin for more than twelve years and know something about its fist. And we don't want to waste your time with contemporary Wushu champions straining to look like old monks. Here is one of our—at least lately—rare additions to the rostrum. And it's in English and Chinese but for VCD prices. Chang Hu Xin Yi and Liu He Boxing...

February 08 : Happy New Year! The Year of the Rat is a time a new beginnings.
•Sometimes, new beginnings means returning (in Taoism it ALWAYS does). And we've just posted a book we've had in our personal library for many years and have finally found an edition to offer: the Bandying Exercises of Tai Chi Chuan should be immortalized for the name if nothing else; AND it's en face!

February 07 : Since it is aimed at the heads of instructors and not students, we've been amazed at the popularity of our "Instructor's Notebook" series. Here's the newest installment where Sifu Mancuso goes in for "Teaching the Combination". Yes, you can peek even if you're not an official instructor...

February 05 : The "Natural" or ZIRAN school of fighting is very interesting because it works to eliminate fixed responses. It also contains some very intriguing Taoist philosophical principles. One of our more popular series on this art has just gone to DVD and, considering the sophistication of ZiRan explanations, and the unusual martial Qigong exercises, this may be a real boon for some people.

February 04 : Sorry we haven't posted more new articles and information on this site but we've been SO BUSY. He have a new Kung Fu Kids program at our school. We've finally shipped the Tan Tui DVD. We are working on our rather different Qigong book. We have just enough time to add new products of special interest only becaus—even though we're celebrating Debbie's birthday today—we STOLE the time to tell you that one of our favorite series: from instructor Liu Xiao Ling, has added another winner. Look at his explanation, explication and demonstration of Hebei Five Elements Boxing. It's different... ...

January 25 : Sometimes, when you are cleaning house you find treasures (of course that's why so few house cleanings actually get rid of much stuff). We noticed that some of Lion's Books on Baji were really pretty great and we have a new page for the art along with pigua so, if you are interested, take a gander...
• We also add a new classic text, a hand written book calling itelf a "Boxing "Classic" and claiiming ancient pedigree. This in traditional characters ...

January 25 : Though we realize that they have a limited audience, we often offer books of essays in Chinese on selected subjects. More and more martial artists are enjoying learninbg some of this source language—a good idea as the face of the future emerges—and of course there is a potential translator out there for every book. So here is our newest addition Baji Boxing Cultural Notes by boxer and calligrapher Li Hui Ning ...

January 23 : PLUM people time: Speaking of Joanna Zorya—as we just did on the 16th—you may wish to visit the weblog of one of her students at http://reelingsilk.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/pushing-and-shoving/ for a lively and interesting discussion facilitated by none other than herself.
•And... our resident acupuncturist, Narrye Caldwell, reviews Ted Mancuso's newest Tai Chi Short Set DVD with an eye toward why anyone would even want a short set in the first place...

January 22 : Today begins a new program in our Santa Cruz school. "Kung Fu for Kids" run by instructor Luke Gelin is a very new approach for us and we hope it will expose a new generation of young people to our fascinating art.
•We add the Chinese edition of Wang Pei Sheng's justly famous Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan book to our line up.

January 21 : We add a new Chinese text,this time on Chen Tai Chi's famous Pao Chui form by a man who spent much of his life sudying the style. This time we spice it up a little with a translated section your might find interesting... And, like true collectors, we add the last of the Wu Dang Boxing DVDs which, for some reason, we had not offered until now. That's that lot we think.

January 19 : Another intriguing and even challenging response for our "What is a Warrior"" section, this time from contributor Andrew Shinn.

January 16 : We are delighted to have another article from teacher Joanna Zorya. Her clear and insightful pieces always give us an unexpected view and a unique combination of thoughts and observations. As some of you may know, Sifu Zorya has brought some censure onto herself. Why? Because she will not devalue Taichi and other Chinese martial arts—as some have—into a sport or mild exercise form. She is a fierce upholder of the martial tradition and we recommend people read her articles.
• We add another DVD from the Eight Shadows Drunken Boxing. This one has the bonus feature of some rare Kung Fu performance footage from the 1960's.

January 13 : We have sold a good number of DVD's produced by the teacher Jason Tsou. Master Tsou has over 45 years of training in traditional Chinese Martial Arts and has trained under such Grandmasters as Liu Yun Chiao (Baji and Bagua Grandmaster), and Ch’ang Tung Sheng (Shuai Chiao Grandmaster) among others. His knowledge is comprehensive in many Kung Fu styles as in the following: Bagua Zhang, Tai Chi Chuan, Baji Chuan, Pigua Zhang, Chang Chuan, Tang Lang, Hsing I, various Chi Kung and weapons. What's most important for what we do is that he continually makes efforts to produce core material where concepts and principles are highly concentrated and accessible through his exercises. Frankly, little of this is "beginner's" material but all of it is highly layered and nuanced (Yes, these words have now been verb-arized). His newest efforts in Tai Chi Chi Kung and Bagua Chi Kung are up to his previous standard of dense information presented plainly and clearly.

January 10 : THE YEAR OF THE RAT is upon us. Does that mean we have to run around tearing up little pieces of paper to make a nest, or nibble cheese, or be chased by cartoon cats? No, this is an important time because it begins our next cycle of twelve years. Read about this as surveyed by our resident acupuncturist.

Also, the posting of our first responses to the question "What is a Warrior?" has inspired yet another nice piece of writing. We'll let you know as we add to this, so you can read what your fellow martial artists are thinking (and maybe even be moved, yourself, to write something down).

January 9 : A few months ago we asked people to write in with their impressions of an answer to "What is a warrior?" We post a few of the intriguing responses. The page is open for a while more if you have any thoughts on this...

January 5 : Happy Solar New Year. Watch for our comments on the important coming Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat which begins the 12 year Chinese cycle!

Here in Santa Cruz we have palm trees overturned like trash barrels right now in one of the biggest storms we've had in decades. There's been just enough time to post another article before the next brown out. We often have a lot of questions like which is "the best" VCD or DVD for any given topic. So we thought we'd share our opinions on specific forms and practitioners. Here's our first informal survey of some of the prime picks for...

 

 




































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