Showing posts with label bagua. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bagua. Show all posts

February 22, 2015

2015 Chinese New Year With Mike Martello

Miss all of you
Happy year of the Sheep / Goat!  I can think of no better way to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year then with my good friend and teacher Mike Martello.  He has been on my mind a lot lately as I was watching an Anthony Bourdain "The Layover" in Taiwan the other night, and sure enough if there wasn't Mike's old training crew under Wang Jie featured!  Then as mentioned in the previous post Feidor Laview brought back some great memories with the Miao Dao. 

Though I know I have posted these clips before, it has been seven years since this film was taken here in Seattle where we hosted Mike a couple of times.   Unfortunately this is the last film I have of Mike and us together.  He died in 2009 prior to returning stateside for another round of lessons.

There is pure gold in these clips regardless of what style you train.  Sadly the majority of us will never, ever reach even a quarter of what Mike attained prior to his premature death.  Study and learn. 

Miss you Mike...

March 17, 2014

Chinese Martial Arts Training in Seattle

Private lessons, small group classes, and seminars are certainly available in the Chinese martial arts here in Seattle, WA.  Jake Burroughs has trained in the martial arts for over 20 years and is a student of Tim Cartmell and Hu Xi Lin.  With experience in Baji, Qigong, weapons, Tui Na, etc. the core arts taught are:
  • Song Family Xing Yi Quan
  • Sun Taiji
  • Sun Bagua
  • Northern Praying Mantis
Lessons are open to all ages and levels of experience.  Please contact Jake at: [email protected] for more information or to schedule your lesson today.

February 1, 2014

Happy New Year of the Horse

Happy Chinese New Year!  What better way to celebrate the year of the Horse then with this AWESOME clip of footwork and movement (qualities of the horse) my friend Dave Teetz shared from Greg Nelson.  All of my students MUST watch this video and study his movement as this is precisely how you should shadow box!

Eat lots of dumplings and may the year of the Horse be fruitful and healthy for you!

For those interested I teach Chinese Martial Arts (Taiji / Bagua / Xing Yi / Mantis) privately and would be happy to talk to you about taking 2014 by the reigns by learning some martial arts and getting in shape!  Hit me up at 206-941-3232 or [email protected]

November 23, 2012

Book Review: "Taiji, Xing Yi, and Baguaquan Throwing By Way of Our Modern Masters" by Mark Small

Mark Small has been training in the traditional Chinese martial arts for over four decades and has combined his understanding of the "internal" arts, with his training in Shuai Chiao (Chinese wrestling) in the writing of his first book, "Taiji, Xingyi, and Baguaquan Throwing By Way of Our Modern Masters."  Broken into seven chapters over 100 pages, Mark includes an extensive glossary and lineage charts in his self published text, that is furnished with photos of old masters as well as technique breakdown of various movements from Xing Yi, Bagua, and Taiji.

Mark makes a valid attempt to combine the metaphysical aspects of the Chinese martial arts with modern combative stand up grappling, and overall I think he gives an honest effort regarding a subject matter that is near impossible to convey in English.  Starting off with a short chapter explaining the basic foundation of internal energy, upper-middle-lower dan tien (he defines these as energy centers), and how the masters of old applied this theory.  My first observation is the reader is inundated with foreign, complex terms right from the get go, so the glossary comes in handy for sure. Subject matter such as silk reeling, rooting, "dragon body" posture, etc. are quite diverse and intricate topics and Mark tries hard to convey the metaphysical classical texts in a modern combative context.

Honestly these subjects and topics are intricate and detailed enough to warrant texts of their very own, and while Small offers an introduction to these principles, it is cursory at best and I fear the absolute beginner picking up this text would be lost within a nebulous maze of verbiage.  In one breath "bio mechanics" is mentioned, but then the reader is quickly whisked back into metaphysical talk.  Fort example from chapter three:

"Let the nei jia principles and tactics needed for throwing your opponent pertain in your bio-mechanical interpretation of his intrinsic energies at the moment you intercept his force, and spiral with it, neutralizing him along changing radii and curves.  Your silk reeling dragon body  will then allow you to press into your bowed arms from your body's core, as you squeeze yourself into your opponents space or body shape.  Turn your dragon body as he turns his body to avoid being neutralized or counterattacked by him."  

A lot of info in that little paragraph that is never really clarified throughout the text.  Mark goes into some partner exercises from there which offer sound fundamental drills.  This in my humble opinion is one of the better chapters albeit too short!  Partner drills are sadly overlooked in the Chinese martial arts and true and honest sensitivity exercises often turn into weird ego contests that eventually are ruled by strange dogma.  Here Mark offers a progressive series of four exercises as a primer for getting into the actual throws and take downs that dominate the remainder of the 35 pages.

Chapter seven on the 37 throwing applications from the internal arts is a great chapter showcasing applications from one of the least respected grappling arts.... Taijiquan!  Comprised of 80% grappling and counter grappling techniques, most people think of Taiji as being a goofy, crystal rubbing, tree hugging meditation, Mark shows that to be rather inaccurate of all practitioners.  Teaching a variety of throws and takedowns, Mark also corresponds the pic to the principles found within the book which is INCREDIBLY helpful!

The pic's are black and white but Mark is savvy enough to ensure his partner is in contrasting colors so that readers can easily discern whats going on (a common mistake by authors).  The photo's are cut out which gives a rather flat / one dimensional view of the movement, but overall I think the photo's are clear enough to convey the movements and technique.

Overall Mark Small gives an honest effort with his first book, which could have benefited from some honest, objective editing.  Kudo's to Mark for tackling a subject that most would not dare, and I feel this is a step in the right direction for Chinese martial artists in regards to dissemination of information.  Far too long have we kept principles and theories "secret" for no good reason.  Way too much info has died with past secrecy.  Part of dispelling this issue is writing and producing material to get to the mass public.

So on Black Friday why not actually support a small business for once, as this book would be a perfect stocking stuffer for the martial artist in your life!

"Taiji, Xing Yi, and Baguaquan Throwing by Way of Our Modern Masters" can be purchased for $30 by clicking this link. 

May 13, 2010

Allen Pittman Bagua DVD's - Review

Allen Pittman is just short of a legend in the Chinese martial community. Being a student of Robert Smith he was one of the first to appear in an English language book on the arts of Xing Yi, and Bagua.

Recently Pittman has produced a series of DVDs on Bagua, two of which offer a survey of the various palm changes found amongst different families of Bagua (Chen Pan Ling, Wang Shu Chin, Gao I Sheng, and others).

The first volume covers 1-5 palm changes, running 52 minutes at costs $45!

The second volume covers the remaining palm changes 6-8, running 26 minutes and is $25!

These DVDs are home made on Mac software and are as clear as one could expect for being filmed with a handheld in a backyard somewhere. The audio offers nothing as Pittman is not miced up.

This is NOT a professionally made instructional DVD, and I do not think that was ever the intent. It seems to me this was made with his students in mind to offer a reference for their studies.

Each of the mother palm changes is shown multiple times, along with a few basic applications for each change. I am certainly no authority on Bagua but one of the main reasons I wanted to check these DVDs out was for his take on Sun Bagua, which I do study. On the DVD Pittman states he learned a "variation" of Sun Bagua via Rose Li. Apparently this "variation" is quite a variation as the Sun Bagua (both form & application) he shows looks NOTHING like the Bagua I have learned from Tim, who learned from the creators daughter Sun Jian Yun.

As for the other systems I cannot comment as I do not study those families of Bagua. In regards to the applications I can say that some were good solid basics illustrating the foundational throws, strikes, kicks, and locks of Bagua. But as is the case with some teachers there were a bevy of applications that would most likely get someone's head stomped in if they attempted said moves.

I must say it was a very interesting idea that few others have done in terms of showing the various similarities and subtle differences each sub art offers. Obviously one will not learn anything from these DVDs, which again I do not think is Pittman's intent (though it would be nice if he stated that on his site), but if you are a student looking for variations, or you want to see what "flavor" fits you best you may want to check these titles out. My only criticism on that note is the cost of these titles. $45 for a DVD of this level and quality is too much in my humble opinion. Your average instructional DVDs professionally produced run $30-60. To charge more than $10-15 for these titles is greedy.


October 21, 2009

Andy Dale Seminar Series

My good friend Andy Dale has launched a new series of seminars geared towards teachers and teaching. This is an amazing concept and has peaked my curiosity. I am not sure if there are restrictions to who can attend (contact Andy for questions), but you just may see me there if I can free up my Monday evenings. Sounds like some good stuff, and Andy is an amazing teacher. He has had a school open in Seattle, WA. teaching martial arts longer than I have been alive!! And I am getting old!! Check it out if you are involved with the Chinese martial arts.

April 19, 2009

Bagua Jian Seminar - w/ Tim Cartmell

Three Harmonies Martial Arts Center

Proudly Presents:

Intensive Study of the

Bagua Straight (Jian) Sword

w/ Tim Cartmell

Sunday May 17th 2009

12 – 4pm


Seattle, WA.

* Location and further information is available upon registration*

For the first time ever, Tim has decided to teach the Sun Bagua Jian form and applications during this special one day intensive seminar! For students interested in Bagua, sword work, or just in weapons in general you do not want to miss this opportunity to train with one of the most sought out instructors of Bagua in North America, Tim Cartmell. This seminar will be capped, so pre-register ASAP to guarantee your spot!

  • Learn the full Sun Bagua Sword Form
  • Study the applications of key words and principles found within the form
  • Train with Tim Cartmell for his first public weapon seminar!

*Absolutely NO live blades! You must provide your own wooden jian!*

To register, or for further questions contact Jake Burroughs 206-941-3232 / [email protected]

About Tim Cartmell:

Tim lived in China and Taiwan for over 10 years of his life studying the art of Bagua / Taiji / Xing Yi from teachers such as Sun Jian Yun / Liang Ke Quan / and Luo De Xiu. Tim’s grasp of the principles and mechanics of the martial arts is second to none, and these skills transfer over to his translating and writing as well with such landmark texts as “Xing Yi Nei Gong” (co-authored with Dan Miller) / “Effortless Combat Throws” / translations of “A Study of Sun Taiji” – “Practical Chin Na” – “Chin Na Fa.”

For more information on Tim and his teachings visit