Monday Kung Fu Class

Until further notice, the monday night Kung Fu class @ 5:30 will be cancelled. The other two Kung Fu classes, on Thursday @ 6:00pm and Saturday @ 9:30 am will still meet.

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Upcoming Classes and Seminars

coretc1Tai Chi Core Movements Seminar:
Martial Practice for Health
Join us for the next installment of our VERY popular seminar: in 2 hours, learn the core movements and energies of Tai Chi. Please click HERE if you would like to know when the next session begins

Tai Chi For Health and Structure:
The Yang Style Short Set
Narrye Caldwell, longtime Dr of Chinese medicine and Tai Chi pracitioner, teaches a beautiful, authentic and engaging Tai Chi short set in this 3 month class. No experience necessary. Please click HERE if you would like to know when the next session begins


BDJSemMar14TedPaolaA Perfect Method of Qigong:
Blossoms in the Spring
There are over 500 different Qigongs, but this one is our favorite. It is easy to learn, simple to practice, and the benefits are plentiful. A companion text for practice at home is included in the fee for this 3 hour class. Please click HERE if you would like to know when the next session begins.

BaguaSemJan2014eThe Martial Art of Change:
Bagua’s Eight Animals
Still relatively unknown among martial arts is Bagua Zhang, a brilliant martial art whose movements are based on circles and whose philosophy on the I Ching. Many call this “the Tai Chi of the 21 century.” Bagua’s Eight Animals routine encompasses practice for health, meditation, self-defense and, frankly, fun! Class fee includes our bestselling companion text on this form. Click HERE to be contacted for the next Bagua seminar.

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Learning a Bagua Move

Captured live!

Thanks to Nick and Ikuyo for allowing us to film this lesson.



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Tai Chi Campfire Tales

The art of T’ai Chi is the art of consciousness. The slow, fluid movements of the art gradually blend with the flow of the mind and reveal things often buried in the silent forests of our minds. Most people associate T’ai Chi with the graceful motions of dance-like exercise without knowing the depths of concentration it requires and fosters. Perhaps the following will help illustrate T’ai Chi’s soul. Continue reading

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Tai Chi, A Marriage of Yin and Yang

People know Tai Chi as a slow, gentle and graceful dance. It’s only natural to assume that its famous health benefits arise from its meditative nature. But history tells another story.

It is a story of a marriage made by mutual convenience. And it is a story of a union of parties as different from one another as the Capulets and the Montagues. It’s actually more than a marriage story; it’s a blending of two clans in a union that took centuries to consummate. Continue reading

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Academy T-Shirts!

Tshirt072We’ve moved Heaven, Earth and one large Dragon… and, once again, have Academy T-Shirts!

You can order HERE or just ask at the studio.

Be the envy of your friends and Wear the Dragon!


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Tea Time with Marcus McDonough

For any who has seen Marcus McDonough’s work at the Academy, it will come as no surprise that Senior teacher John Ottenberg recently awarded him the rank of Black Belt in an open ceremony at class.

Marcus is a talented martial artist who  works hard to surpass his natural gifts in order to become an exceptional practitioner. His dedication is evident, not only in his work but also in his concentration and the spirit with which he practices. He is also a generous partner with other students, a qualifying trait for this rank.

Marcus has been involved in martial training since he took Tae Kwon Do lessons as a young person. He has also spent six years training in the Six Animal system. Now at the Academy, he is deeply involved in studying with all the teachers here. Continue reading

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Monday 8:00 PM Class Hiatus

Until the end of April, the Advanced Internal Arts class on Monday night, at 8pm, will be on hiatus. The other advanced Tai Chi and internal arts classes will still meet as usual, so see you there!

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Arts of the Academy

strasnick1Congratulations to Steve Strasnick, longtime Academy student, who recently attended the 22nd Annual Chinese Martial Arts Tournament, on March 15, in Berkeley. Steve won the Internal Style Men’s Division by performing a number of styles, including Taijiquan and Bagua Zhang.

Check our bulletin board in the school vestibule for postings on upcoming tournaments and events.

Sally Chang, Bagua Zhang and Taijiquan student, not to mention Doctor of Chinese medicine, visited recently and attended our Saturday Taiji and Bagua classes. Many students here know Sally and were happy to touch hands with her again after a long while. Her practice in San Anselmo is doing well, and she is teaching Taijiquan up there. Time permitting, we hope she makes many more visits and that students at the Academy have the good fortune to meet her.

Sally left some posters in the vestibule for a seminar she is sponsoring, given by her teacher in the authentic Wudang lineage. While she was here, she demonstrated his “short” Wudang taijiquan. We found it a sophisticated and wide-ranging presentation.


kirksculpt1The Academy is full of talented artists, not just of the martial variety. Kirk McNeill, who has studied with us for several years, is a blacksmith and metal worker. In January, he installed his latest piece, “Four Energies,” a sculpture he created for Scotts Valley Drive, the first piece of public art installed on that boulevard. As you can see, Kirk has represented in metal the four key energies of Taijiquan: Beng, Lu, Ji and An. (And these Taiji figures are VERY well rooted!



DianaposteronlineDiana Moll—Academy student of Bagua Zhang and Taijiquan, teacher, Doctor of Chinese Medicine, painter, and the school’s official Chinese New Year Graphic Artist is displaying her work April 4 as part of the First Friday Felton Art Walk (see poster in vestibule.)

Anyone who knows Diana will not be surprised to see a few rabbits scattered among her prints, but attendees will also be treated to some paintings based on her recent trip to France. By the way, the horse print in the poster is this year’s Wood Horse in the Chinese calendar.

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Workshop: Eight Brocades Qigong

Ba Duan JinThis seminar is the latest in our comprehensive Qigong series. It teaches the most famous Qigong of all, The Eight Brocades.

All Qigong progress rests on an intimate connection of vital energy, our human body, and our minds. For 1000 years, the Eight Brocades has been lauded as one of the easiest ways to learn this subtle coordination. Based firmly on Chinese medical theory, its movements are simple, stretching and turning in such a way as to optimize your health. When conscious direction of energy is added, it lives up to its name of being a precious work of art.

In this 2 hour foundational workshop, you will learn eight essential exercises to develop Qigong skill, as well as an entire regimen which you can practice for years to come. Whether or not you have ever practiced a form of Qigong, this class will give you a blueprint for you to progress.

Taught by Ted Mancuso and Narrye Caldwell.

Ted is director of the Academy. For more than 40 years, he has been teaching, studying, writing about, exploring, and admiring traditional Chinese martial arts and Qigong. He is passionate about teaching others to experience  and find freedom through Qigong.

Narrye has been practicing traditional Chinese medicine for over 25 years. She has also studied Qigong as well as taught it at Five Branches University as a crucial part of the curriculum, since Qigong and Chinese health practice are symbiotic.

Pre-registration is required, since this class needs a minimum number of participants to attend. You do not have to pay in advance, but please pre-register so that we know to expect you.

Time and date: Sunday, March 23, 1 – 4 pm
Location: Academy of Martial & Internal Arts
1570 Soquel Dr (across from Dominican Hosp.)

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Seminar: An Introduction to Qigong

Fundamentals of QigongThis 90 minute seminar is the first in a series designed to teach a complete approach to Qigong from the basics, through the essentials, to its most fascinating and advanced material.

Qigong practice rests on three basic principles: controlling the body, controlling the qi and controlling the mind.

In this foundational first course, you will learn ten essential exercises to “guide” the Qigong body. In 90 minutes you will acquire a new alphabet, the alphabet of Qigong. Whether you are already practicing a Qigong regimen, or come new to Qigong practice, these movements will guarantee your progress and give you a blueprint for further exploration.

Some areas that we will explore are Alignment, Speed, Tone, Fullness, Relaxation, Pulling Inward, Mobility, Fluidity, Balance,  and Serenity.

New! Short interview with Instructor Ted Mancuso on this upcoming seminar, and the (different) traditional approach to Qigong.

Sunday, March 9, 12:00 noon

Fee: $25.00
Location: Academy of Martial & Internal Arts
1570 Soquel Dr (directly across from Dominican)

(google map)

Registration required, no experience necessary.
Co-sponsored by the Academy of Martial & Internal Arts, and Moongate Qigong Institute.

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Sunday Seminar: The 8 Bagua Animals

BaguaSemJan2014eBaguaSemJan2014fLast Sunday was another of the Academy’s open-lesson programs to introduce the Chinese martial arts to a wider audience. This seminar—open to Academy students—was attended by Phil, BaguaSemJan2014dMichael, Cecy, Taylor, Kirk, and also new non-student BaguaSemJan2014gfriends.  Additionally we had the honor of counting Sifu Linda among the Bagua walkers. Travis Rath helped with the teaching efforts and Jean Andrews acted as entertainment and food committee chairwoman. Other participants included some people with extensive Aikido training. In four hours everyone BaguaSemJan2014bsuccessfully learned and practiced eight core movements of the Bagua system; a few people got dizzy, there was a lot of laughter, and Sifu Linda asked very hard questions.

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Black Belt Award

MarcusJan201401No one could have been more surprised than Marcus McDonough, friday night last when, in the middle of the workout class, instructor MarcusJan201411John Ottenberg announced that he was awarding to Marcus the black belt. As John and Sifu Ted Mancuso both expressed, Marcus’s ability to change, reach for new skills, and practice hard with understanding makes him, in instructor Ottenberg’s eyes, black belt material.MarcusJan201415

Sifu Ted added, to some people the black belt is not a significant award. But each belt’s test MarcusJan201413of quality lies in its place of origin. John Ottenberg, who himself studied directly under the founder of the Lima Lama system, does not give out belts casually. And Marcus’s own hard work and thoughtful practice is guarantee of his rank.



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Footage: Our Half and Half Seminar

Here’s some video and teachings from our last unique seminar where teachers John Ottenberg and Ted Mancuso show a traditional Praying Mantis form then “deconstruct” it to reveal its fighting essence. A great turnout and a lot of fun…

Making the Martial Arts Whole Again Seminar #1

And if you missed this one in December, be sure to join us in January for the NEW half and half seminar.

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Making the Martial Arts Whole Again: A Half and Half Seminar

Ted and John working on high level theory, "Say this is my hand..."

It’s true: martial artists lose all the time, at least when it comes to battling social trends. One year
the Ninja is the favorite Halloween costume and the trees are full of wannabes like dark fruit pretending to be invisible. Then kick-boxing or mixed martial arts pops up and everything is about kick ass. Then Qigong goes from obscurity to ubiquity in the space of a week, and spas suddenly fill up with people sculpting the air.

The rare event is martial arts represented as something OTHER than a kind of one-dimensional activity. Like Yoga, the martial arts have become a “must do”—but not a “delve deeper”—proposition.

Partly this is just a problem in education. Most people recognize the choreographed

Now we're seeing some energy...traditional martial sequences diversely called forms or sets or kata. Westerners particularly have trouble with the fixation that if you are moving but not scoring or hitting someone you must be dancing. They just cannot wrap their minds around the practical nature of forms, any more than they can see that real fighting techniques, with just a bit of stylization, are actually the building blocks of most forms.

The Academy of Martial and Internal Arts is sponsoring an evening exploring this fascinating intersection between formal and practical. Led by two experts, this “Half and Half” seminar will present a classical Kung Fu form, from the Praying Mantis school, then proceed to analyze that form for its practical movements applicable by any martial artist, despite his or her rank.

makingmartial1Ted Mancuso, the Director of the Academy, teams up with self defense expert John Ottenberg. John’s expertise and decades of fighting experience have allowed him to develop a system of natural movement applied to life-threatening situations. Though intuitive and comfortable, the actions of his style are not the dumbed-down self-defense sometimes taught, nor the competitive, rule-based sparring of tournament competition.

Oddly enough, the most practical movements closely match the actions found in traditional forms. This sheds new light on both activities and takes a big step in bringing the martial and the artistry back together. Come and participate. You don’t have to be a high rank; even a minimal exposure to the martial arts will allow you to enjoy this unusual mixture of tradition and reality. Even if you have never studied this style, the method will help you to reach a higher level of interpretation for the forms of your own style. Come and see the art in the fight and the fight in the art.

Want to see video of our first Half and Half seminar?

$25.00 Pre-registration required. Just click below to whichever date works for you and you will be taken to our shopping cart to complete your pre-registration.
January 7, 2014 Class

(reprinted in Connection Magazine, November 2013)

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