Upcoming Classes and Seminars

Tai Chi For Health and Structure:
The Yang Style Short Set – A Three Month Class
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. Next class starts Wednesday, April 22, 6-7 pm. Click HERE for more information, and to register.


coretc1Tai Chi Core Movements Seminar:
Martial Practice for Health – A Two Hour Workshop
Our VERY popular seminar: in 2 hours, learn the core movements and energies of Tai Chi. We had a GREAT class this past Sunday (March 29.) Please click HERE for more info on the class, and to be notified when it comes ’round again.


First time at the Academy—Mind Intent Boxing:
XY1A Six Week Course in Xing Yi Quan
Experience the elemental!
Join our six-week seminar course and experience one of China’s most profound ancestor styles. Xing Yi is symbolically named for the interplay of the Five Elements, an ancient pattern of change recognized in Chinese philosophy and medical theory. The name Xing Yi means “Intent and Shape” referring to the mind processing combat’s endless and instantaneous changes. A beautiful combination of martial and qigong arts. The class has already started but click HERE for more information about the class, and to be notified when the new one begins.

chengwudangA Daoist Roadmap for Nourishing Life
2 Workshops with Master Yun Xiang Tseng (Cheng)
Thursday, March 19, 6 -9 pm
Introduction to Daoist Principles and Yang Sheng Qi Gong, Pt I.
Friday, March 20, 9 am – 5 pm
Yang Sheng Qi Gong Part II: Walking Crane.

For more info and to register, click HERE. Class size is limited, and 10% discount for registering before March 1, so register early!



Click Picture for More info on this and other Bagua Seminars at the Academy

The Martial Art of Change:
Bagua’s Eight Animals – A Three Month Class
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. Class has started but please click HERE and to we’ll let you know when next session starts.

A Martial Arts Qigong for Health:
Eight Brocades Qigong (Ba Duan Jin)
The most well-known of the more than 1000 Qigong routines, Ba Duan Jin is simple to learn, fun to practice, and offers profound benefits for health. One of the Academy’s favorite seminars. This seminar as passed but please click HERE and we’ll let you know when next one occurs.

The Mother of All Martial Arts:
Introduction to Kung Fu
If you have ever had any curiosity about Kung Fu—what it feels like to move in a traditional method that’s 5000 years old— then this is the workshop for you. In just 2 hours you will get a real taste of authentic Kung Fu, not the stuff of movies but true, whole body movement. Enough to practice for months on your own, or whet your appetite for our ongoing classes. Please click HERE and we’ll let you know when next one occurs.

BDJSemMar14TedPaolaA Perfect Method of Qigong:
Blossoms in the Spring
A great Qigong routine! We have taught this seminar for several years, and the overwhelming response is ‘glowing.’ Simple to learn, and a routine that can be practiced for the rest of your life. Meditative, healthful, energizing, restorative.  POSTPONED. Please click HERE and we’ll let you know when next one occurs.

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A Daoist Roadmap for Nourishing Life

chengwudangWu Dang Daoist Priest Yun Xiang Tseng (Chen) Master Chen, comes from a 700 year old unbroken line of Wu Dang teachers. He is a 14th generation Zhang Sanfeng lineage holder and a 25th generation Longmen Daoist Priest. At a young age he was chosen to train on Wu Dang Mountain by Master Li Chengyu, a well respected Daoist nun. His mandate is to share the ancient wisdom practices of internal cultivation, so the treasures of his lineage from Wu Dang lives on with authenticity. Master Chen has taught thousands of students internationally is known for his profound knowledge of the Wu Dang tradition and his ability to engage students with depth and humor.

Join us for this extraordinary opportunity!

Thursday March 19th, 6-9pm: Introduction to Daoist Principles and Yang Sheng Qi Gong, Pt I. A practical approach to achieving deep union with your spirit and nourishing Pre-Heaven Qi through alchemical transformation. Open to all. Santa Cruz ($25/*$35)

Friday March 20th, 9am-5pm: Yang Sheng Qi Gong Part II: Walking Crane.
Incorporates movements inspired from the wild crane and internal alchemy. Strengthens the physical body, Jing (essence), Qi (energy), and Shen (spirit). Some physical fitness and Part I is recommended, but not required. Santa Cruz ($125/*$150)

Click HERE to register

For more information on seminars in Oakland, CA, visit www.wudangtao.com

Class space is limited, register at www.wudangtao.com
Save 10% Early Bird registration by March 1, 2015
*24 CEUs pending approval by California Acupuncture Board
For more information call Sally Chang @ 415-450-8071

The Academy of Martial  & Internal Arts
1570 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95065

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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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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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Spirit Training

Can martial arts be martial arts without a spiritual component? The answer is “probably not.” Those people who only have interest in how effective it is as self-protection or kick-ass, of course, have a right to their opinion. But I think if you examine the minds of most people who study you will find that at least some spiritual interest is always present. It may be camaraderie, your gang, your friends. It may be, if you are very young, that your parents have you attending classes so you can at least begin to pick up the beginning of some disciplined training. Continue reading

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What Do We Mean By “Martial”?

art_whatismartial3People get the wrong idea: when they hear “martial arts” they assume tournaments and grudge matches in caged environments. By the same token, they look quizzically at the ninety year old lady who proudly proclaims that she studies a martial art. But true martial arts range through a spectrum of skills and practices. Continue reading

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