• Buddhism

    • Causes and Conditions

      There is often some confusion on the concept of causes and conditions within Buddhism. Many believe it is a simple matter of cause and effect and move on to study other concepts. This concept, however, is one of the most important and is deeply rooted within the Buddhist philosophy. There is often some confusion on… Continue reading.

  • Kung Fu

    • The Three Most Important Principles of Practicing Kung Fu

      When practicing kung fu (gōng fu 功夫) there are three very important principles to remember. These principles provide the foundation for any style of kung fu and are relevant for every practitioner regardless of their ability. Do you know what these three principles are? Some of the more obvious answers might be speed, strength or… Continue reading.

    • The Master, Disciple Relationship

      The master, disciple relationship permeates the martial arts and is as old as time itself. Throughout all cultures and history great teachers have looked for students with the right attitude, conduct, and ability to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to. Few relationships are special and sacred as that between master and pupil. This relationship… Continue reading.

    • Is the Dim Mak Real?

      The quick answer is yes. The Dim Mak is very real, though as with many stories and myths tales of its use and prowess have been blown out of proportion. Dim Mak is Cantonese term and is known as Dian Mai (點脈) in Mandarin Dian means to press and exert pressure and Mai is a… Continue reading.

    • Being a Disciple of the Art

      I have heard disciple defined as ‘a student; one who endeavors to learn what another has to teach’. The meaning goes deeper than that. A pupil, learns the information and practices; they come to their class and are content. What they are doing is a hobby, a pastime. A disciple, strives to make what they… Continue reading.

    • What is Kung Fu?

      Kung Fu, or Gong Fu (功夫), literally translates to “skill acquired through hard work”. While this is often used as a synonym for Chinese martial arts, someone may have Kung Fu in anything. One may have Kung Fu in flower arranging, serving tea, dancing, or drawing. Anyone who has spent time practicing and cultivating any… Continue reading.

  • Martial Arts

    • A Storybook Technique

      A practitioner is only as good as the techniques he is able to apply. As a martial artist practices forms and sets, his body becomes familiar with the movements needed to perform various applications.  A martial application refers to applying a given technique from the movements within a set or routine.  Each movement can incorporate one… Continue reading.

    • The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

      Often times keeping up with a diary or journal can be quite difficult.  It takes time to formulate your thoughts and write them down, especially if you have lots to document or your notes are very detailed.  The benefits of chronicling your progress, however, are well worth the time invested. Benefits Keeping a regular journal… Continue reading.

    • The Question of Lineage

      The lineage of any system holds a special place to students of that system. To many practitioners of the martial arts, your lineage identifies who you are and were you come from and therefore whether you or your style of martial arts should be respected. While the lineage of a system does have significance it… Continue reading.

    • The Best Martial Art

      One of the most pressing questions for any person trying to find a martial art to study is: What is the best martial art? Everyone wants to get the most from their study and naturally does not want to waste their time, energy, and money on inferior martial arts. They look, question, and research trying… Continue reading.

  • Running a Martial Arts School

    • Martial Marketing: The Flier

      Running a martial arts school can take up a lot of time. It is not always easy but the rewards of operating your own school are tremendous. One of the hardest things is trying to generate growth. Gaining new clientele can be difficult for anyone that owns their own business. You have to find ways… Continue reading.

  • Training

    • Training on the Cheap: The Playground

      Physical conditioning in Kung Fu (功夫) often consists of stationary and transitional exercises that are designed to isolate a particular muscle or group of muscles. This kind of training will help you get fit but will not create large bulky muscle. Instead this type of training yields very dense wiry muscle that can deliver explosive… Continue reading.

  • Travel

    • Day 6 Wudang Shan

      I woke up after a good night’s sleep and got ready.  I spent time packing my suitcase and gathering my things, since we would not have time after breakfast.  Today was our last day training with Zhang Shifu, and I was not sure how long it would take us to learn the remainder of the… Continue reading.

    • Day 5 Wudang Shan

      I woke up and got ready pretty early.  I went outside in the morning air, but it was still a little too early for everyone to meet for breakfast.  I walked down to a small patio and sat at a small circular stone table that was there and enjoyed the morning sunshine and cool air. … Continue reading.

    • Day 4 Wudang Shan

      Today was a fantastic day! I woke up at 6am feeling refreshed after getting to sleep in a normal sized bed.  I practiced Ba Daun Jin and Yang Sheng Gong Qigong sets before getting ready for the day and heading down to breakfast.  The hotel provided a very hearty breakfast that was very satisfying and… Continue reading.

    • Day 3 Wudang Shan

      We finally made it to our hotel in Wudang Shan Tian Lu, the nicest hotel on the mountain that is within walking distance from Purple Cloud Temple.  We were on the train from Beijing for 13 hours before arriving in Seng Feng.  Our guide in Beijing got us onto the train, which was surprisingly on… Continue reading.

    • Day 2 Beijing

      We have arrived in Beijing and are tired from traveling and we are not done yet. We spent 13.5 hours flying from Chicago to Beijing.  This flight is always exhausting but was much easier traveling with friends.  We talked and played games, watched movies and slept.  I stayed up all night the night before we… Continue reading.

    • Day 1 Chicago

      We ended up rushing to our plane here in Chicago and were among the last people to board our flight for Beijing.  We got to the airport in St. Louis at about 8am for our flight to Chicago which left at 10:50am.  Everyone arrived and got checked in with plenty of time to spare so… Continue reading.

    • Impressions of China

      China is a wonderful place with a rich history and complex culture. Its people and its monuments still carry the traditions and stories of their past close to their hearts. In my recent two week trip to China I was fully enveloped by their cultural heritage, people, and cuisine. The trip itself was absolutely wonderful… Continue reading.

    • Day 12 Home

      I decided to try the same plan to get myself synced back to my usual time as when I left for China.  I stayed up till about 1:30am and slept for only a couple of hours.  I got my things together and went down to the lobby.  I checked out and met the driver who… Continue reading.

    • Day 11 Xi’an

      Today we woke up in Xi’an to a steady, drizzling rain and cool weather.  I had packed the night before and brought my luggage down to the lobby.  I would not see it again until we were at the hotel in Beijing.  I was sad we were flying back to Beijing in the evening because… Continue reading.

    • Day 10 Xi’an

      I woke up well rested from our luxurious room.  After breakfast we headed out.  We drove for a while through the city past the Old City Wall and out into the countryside surrounding Xi’an.  It was a cloudy morning, the first we had encountered since being in China and though the countryside was still green… Continue reading.

    • Day 9 Xi’An

      I slept in past the 5:30am wake up call at Tagou and got up at 6am.  I was not quite as sore and stiff as I thought I might be and that was a nice change of pace over the last day.  I got ready finished packing and made my way downstairs.  When most of… Continue reading.

    • Day 8 Shaolin Temple

      I woke up this morning at 5am completely stiff and sore.  I did not sleep as deeply as I would have liked.  I was not entirely sure I should do the morning run but made myself get up and stretch anyway.  I made my way downstairs and noticed that not all of the members of… Continue reading.

    • Day 7 Shaolin Temple

      Norman and I woke up at 5am and I began stretching and warming up.  At 5:30am the loudspeakers blared out the wake up call and all of the other students got up.  You could hear them scrambling in commotion and getting in to formations and begin chanting as they prepared for their morning run. We… Continue reading.

    • Day 6 Shaolin Temple

      We got up and got breakfast as usual in only a slight hurry.  We needed to hurry and get to the train station so that we didn’t miss our train.  We were going to take the bullet train from Beijing to Zhengzhou and then travel by bus from there through Dengfeng to the Tagou Academy…. Continue reading.

    • Day 5 Beijing

      Tiananmen Square When we were all ready our first stop of the morning was in Tiananmen Square (Tiān’ānmén GuÇŽngchÇŽng 天安门广场) which literally translates into the ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace’. Tiananmen Square is very close to the center of Beijing and separates the city from the Forbidden City that lies beyond.  Many tourists were here crowding… Continue reading.

    • Day 4 Beijing

      I woke up early again and stretched and practiced some Qi Gong (氣功) before cleaning up and going down to breakfast.  I really enjoy waking up in this manner.  It helps me awaken both my mind and body before starting my day.  After breakfast we started on another day full of sightseeing. Temple of Heaven… Continue reading.

    • Day 3 Beijing

      I got up at 6am and stretched and did Ba Duan Jin (八段錦).  Then Norman and I went down to get breakfast where I met the rest of the group.  They were all very nice and personable.  The weather was sunny and beautiful with a nice breeze and perfect temperatures.  I was well rested and… Continue reading.

    • Day 2 Beijing

      We flew in to the airport and I was so happy, I could not stand being on a plane any longer.  I was supposed to meet my driver at the airport but when I looked for him I could not find him.  He was supposed to be waiting for me with a sign with my… Continue reading.

    • Day 2 Shanghai

      What a long flight! My back did pretty well on the flight but my neck and knees gave me some trouble.  I did manage to sleep off and on for a couple of hours at a stretch.  I read and listened to my iPod the rest of the time.  I was going to watch some… Continue reading.

    • Day 1 Chicago

      The flight to Shanghai has been delayed and the boarding gate changed.  We will now depart at 12pm instead of 10:35am.  I’m starting to get fairly sleepy from staying up most of the night.  I decided to sleep  for two hours last night.  After a short nap and a shower at 4am, I felt wide… Continue reading.