instructor, head of the Reeling Silk Kung Fu School and frequent
contributor to this site, here demonstrates and elucidates
on many aspects of martial practice... You might like to see
our review and some comments from her DVD covers (below).
PLUM SPECIAL: Buy
two or more volumes of any J. Zorya DVD (including Bagua
Yi) and receive a 10% discount!
Click here to see a video of these lessons.
Integrated Martial Training
DVD 12038 Martial Power
by Joanna Zorya and Julie Hinder
56 minutes, NTSC, $35.00
Momentum, Undulation, Rotation: on these three solid foundations, Zorya builds a whole series of power augmenting exercises. At the start of instruction, an absolutely relaxed arm must fall, maintaining that relaxation. The relaxed arms then express the power of the waist and legs. Turning arm-swings, at first incredibly simple, can be done in different ways, such as to the sides, and to the front. Most of these movements look like simple relaxations, the difference being that martial intent adds martial characteristics. As teaching continues, she builds to a more three-dimensional shape.
Next, she introduces seated practices that encourage a wave-like movement threading its way through the body. From there she releases this exercise into “heavy forearm” smashes to the thighs. The next section explains, with the use of a striking cat analogy, how to maximize speed and minimize telegraphing; all are performed seated with front and side views. She does this breakdown with a number of martial strikes. Back to standing, she applies these above principles to a whole body version.
Every step of this training relates principles of relaxation to those of momentum. Joanna unlocks movements designed to release and increase ANYONE’s martial power.
For more about Joanna Zorya
In addition to Joanna's series of well-respected DVDs, her approach finds resonance in the work of some other fine instructors that you might enjoy checking out:
Sifu Glenn Hairston, who Joanna came to know through their mutual representation on Plum, offers very straightforward combat and usage instruction for Tai Chi in his 3 DVD series, Tai Chi For The Street
Sifu George Xu, whose unparalleled approach to obtaining true martial movement and intent can be found over a wide assortment of DVDs; in this case, his videos on Martial Qigong and Martial Workout are particularly appropriate.
John Ottenberg, most specifically in Beyond Technique, outlines a method that incorporates natural movement and real power. His other two DVDs follow, and Explosive Punching is one of the best videos on how to actually create an effective punch.
DVD #12037 MARTIAL
Teacher Joanna Zorya once again has produced an instructional
DVD with solid content and, most importantly, an open hearted
exposition of essential actions. As in her other DVDs she aims
to the heart of her subject. Zorya has shown the kind of moves
on which instructors concentrate their greatest efforts. These
spiral moves are not just "Martial Rotations" but
key actions for all Chinese Wushu. In addition she demonstrates
these actions while avoiding the two great errors which everyone
— no matter how advanced— must cope with: cocking
and leaking. Zorya's movements rarely miss as she performs the
correct coordination of waist, joints and intention: a crucial
charactertistic of Chinese martial training. Her work reminds
us of the excellent actions of Chen Pan Ling. Sometimes she
might, as Chen did, appear formalized or even stiff but this
is because she shows such finely geared motions without loss
of structure in transition: a task that even the best of teachers
often fail. Then she takes these very important actions and
shows plausible and logical applications with even an occasional
surprise tactic. Let's put it this way; were you attending a
class with an exceptionally dedicated teacher, the contents
of this DVD would be very similar to those techniques you would
be asked to master. Frankly the work is hard, precise and demanding,
but Zorya's intelligence and humor leaven the effort.
|Taijiquan: Form & Applications
NEW!! DVD 21032 Warm Up, Strengthen & Stretch
by Joanna Zorya and Julie Hinder
From the cover:
"While it's important to move with your whole body as a connected unit when performing the martial actions of Taijiquan, Baguazhang, etc., it is also very important to isolate specific joints and muscles for individual attention when warming up, stretching, developing strength and improving functional flexibility. Otherwise, weak and less flexible parts of your body can be compensated for invisibly by the stronger and more flexible parts. However much time a martial artist spends on contact training and refining solo movements, there is much additional work to be done, developing overall physicality, fitness and functional flexibility.
In our classes we consider it important to teach the skills of self reliance and self discipline, so students are expected to be able to coherently warm themselves up, strengthen their bodies and perform a stretch down at home as part of their solo practice.
As usual for our DVDs, rather than worrying about any single lineage or tradition, we've simply compiled a comprehensive, systematic and practical guide. Here the subject matter is warming up, toning, strengthening and stretching the whole body. Old and new exercises have been combined, guided by modern anatomical knowledge."
DVD #1 contains a full regimen of warm ups with an emphasis on flexibility you can use in the martial arts.
DVD #2 contains a range of strengthening exercises for the whole body and a bonus section on the Taiji Bang or training stick.
#12035 TAIJI CONCEPTS
Ms. Zorya conducts this visual essay on the essential features of Taijiquan as a martial art. She shows the martial reality of Taiji armed at times with shield and sword against spear and other times with convincing and logical analysis of the Taiji Classics. Supplying point by point breakdowns on the Eight Essential Energies with applications she goes beyond the obvious by correlating each nuance to classic Taiji theory. Along with Julie Hinder - the recipient of this gentle mayhem - Joanna gives a wide series of examples validating the real fighting technique of Taiji with succinct and lucid explanations. To quote from the cover, "I cannot recommend this DVD strongly enough, but then I made it! Quite honestly, though, I would have loved to have been able to buy this DVD when many of these factors were still a mystery to me. And yes, I'm still learning."
Among topics attended, we find:
The Six Harmonies • The Eight Methods and Five Steps or "thirteen strategies" • The Three Essential Qualities of expansiveness, rotation and undulation • Reeling Silk • Yin Yang as a strategy • parallels to the battlefield
DVD #12036 Putting the QUAN back in TAIJI
(Note this replaces the individual DVD formerly #12031)
Teacher Joannna Zorya here reprises her earlier DVD with expanded information and applications. She takes the first seven moves of the Zheng Man Qing form as a base and gives explicit instructions on their formal structure. She then adds numerous applications calling on her knowledge not only of the Zheng, but also of the Yang form and the Dong branch of Yang Taiji. She augments this with the flavor of Reeling Silk which she considers most significant.
TWO DVD Set, around
50 minutes each
Two #12032 TAIJIQUAN #2
This DVD (which follows #12036)
shows the form for the second section of the Zheng man Qing style (Lift Hands to
Embrace Tiger) and then major
martial applications for the actions of this form.
Three #12034 TAIJI FOUNDATIONS
This DVD examines
in depth the essential qualities of Tai Chi movement as the
martial methods of Peng, An, Lu, Ji and Cai. We are shown how
they can be combined to create effective martial techniques
and short Form sequences for repetitive practice.
around 52 minutes
DVD#12005 A Double DVD set on Sun
This is a twin DVD set of instruction on the art of Baguazhang
by teacher Joanna Zorya.
A Martial Foundation for Baguazhang:
"...shows circle walking, postures and stepping methods
as well as palm striking and kicking techniques. It should
give you a reasonable grasp of how and why the system works
and enable you to "make your training your own." I've always
felt that if you want to get good at something you need to
know why you're doing it."
Sun style Bagua Zhang and forms:
"...shows the 10 Sun Style Palm Changes as described
in Sun Lutang's book, plus plenty of combat applications."
This set of TWO DVDs is now only
with about fifty minutes per disk
Here are Ms Zorya's notes from her slipcase...
Xing Yi Quan
DVD #12033 Xing Yi: Pi and Zhuan applications
Zorya is the instructor and head of the Reeling Silk Kung Fu School. She has years of experience researching
the internal arts. She is a firm advocate of the practical and accessible
self defense knowledge held within these practices.
around an hour,
From the DVD
students are sometimes told to 'look beyond the obvious application.'
Unfortunately, if you are a beginning student with no martial background
at all, you may not know what the 'obvious applications' are. This
was certainly true of me when I started out. The DVD aims to teach
you how to fight, even if you have no previous martial knowledge.
phrase sometimes used by Xing Yi teachers is that 'to know one application
is to know ten.' This DVD will show you lots of simple and very
literal applications with variations and tactical considerations.
I also show you how to maximize your striking power and how to practice
safely with a partner. Basic training methods and important postural
factors are also covered."
Section One shows "Forms & Foundations" such as standing
practice, stepping drills and hand methods.
Section Two shows "San Ti and Pi Quan" with fighting applications
for Splitting (Pi) and the basic SanTi (Three Powers) fighting posture.
Section Three shows "Zhuan Quan" with combat applications
for Drilling Fist (Zhuan).
ShiFu Mancuso's comments on J. Zorya's work
Taijiquan (Supreme Polarity Boxing) is a study of soft and hard
techniques, slow and fast tempo and importantly spiral movements
and sudden explosive strikes. However, an alarming number of
Taijiquan practitioners today, particularly in the West, have
no notion of its crucial combative techniques. Instead, the
art is seen simply as a form of gentle, low-impact exercise,
or else as a purely meditative pursuit. I have spent almost
a decade researching the fighting techniques of Taijiquan, Xingyiquan
and Baguazhang and I require my students to deal with martially-realistic
levels of contact from the outset of training. While many teachers
just teach empty Forms, I focus on training students to be complete
martial artists with strong, healthy and robust bodies, true
martial morality, confidence and martial spirit."
by Joanna Zorya with Julie Hinder
here's the story. Bagua was our very first martial style. It's
the one we've been studying the longest and the one we've taught
the least. We'd always hoped to introduce our students to it one
day, perhaps when they'd "finished" learning a complete Xing Yi
or Taiji system. The problem was, we only had a few months left
in the country. And that is why this double DVD presentation was
made. These films were originally intended to be something to
leave our students so they could continue training after we'd
Filmed in the heart of an English winter while our students
stalwartly turned up to learn a palm change a week (plus martial
applications of course!), most of the footage is set in our living
room (our dog, Charlie, stalwartly keeping guard on the sofa).
We managed to fit the 10 Palm changes (with applications) on a DVD, but then we thought "what else can we say about Bagua?" so we made a "Martial Foundation" DVD too and made it "Disc One". We ended up returning to England as it happens, but we were left with two Bagua DVDs, jam-packed with useful information - basically an entire system on two discs. We decided to release them to the world at large, because we think they will be useful to Bagua lovers everywhere.
One thing that struck us is just how clear, concise, and modular the Sun Style is. We know it's not as flashy as many Bagua styles, but that's why we love it. And if your emphasis is simply on learning how to fight rather than learning something that looks impressive, I feel that there is probably enough here to last you a lifetime.
I have just viewed Joanna Zorya's DVD's
on Tai Chi Applications.
few comments: I have been in martial arts most of my life. What
wows the crowds no longer lifts my eyebrow. What IS rare is
not the flashy, powerful or sexy. What is rare is the accurate,
simple and balanced. Was it Verlaine who criticized French verse
by stating, "We have many poets who can write brilliant lines.
But do we have any who can write three competent lines in a
row?" In these disks Ms. Zorya guides us through the Cheng
Man Ching form of Tai Chi Chuan. She is an educated guide. She show us
applications which are accurate, classical and interesting.
You think that is common? Even Cheng himself was not so accommodating.
We see many varieties of Tai Chi Applied but the movements are
general Kung Fu with a lemon twist, supposedly making them Tai
Chi. Zorya is very clearly breaking down her form move by move
with classical but not obvious interpretations. What will you
see here? The British countryside for one. Two women very
simply and slowly showing dozens of applications derived from
the Short Form. Zorya is so understated, so honestly pedagogical
you may just miss the fact that the applications are good, clever
and truly representative of their source. You
should know that she's given herself a task. It seems people
in the U.K. are less than poignantly aware of Tai Chi's martial
features. As a good instructor should, she approaches the issues
of education clearly and directly. She is concerned that a hip
injury will make her performance inaccurate in some way. So
she notes the limitation. Would that some instructors warn about
their attitudes so honestly. You will not see grunting, fake-speedy
attacks or flashy moves here. What you will see is an intelligent
and forthright person who wants to transmit, not impress. If
there is a critical point we might make it is that we expect
to see a deepening of Ms. Zorya's torso engagement as time passes.
But look straight and you will see it already manifest. Given
the stylistic requirements of the Short Form and her obvious
dedication to developing skill, Ms. Zorya's program is already
think this series can be particularly useful to Tai Chi instructors
and study groups.