Seminars and Classes for May, June, July

Our Academy is happy to announce our late spring, early summer seminars and classes, open to all. They are:

An Afternoon of Tai Chi Push HandsTCPH1

Sunday, May 17, 1 – 3 pm
Taught by Ted Mancuso and Narrye Caldwell
Click HERE for more information, and to register.

QGNC1Qigong Basics & Wudang Exercises: 6 Wk Class

Starts Wednesday, May 20, 7 – 8 pm,  (ends June 24)
Taught by Narrye Caldwell
Click HERE for more information, and to register.

BaguaSemJan2014eBagua Nei Gong (Internal Practice): 4 Week Class

Starts Monday, June 22, 6 – 7 pm (ends July 13)
Taught by Ted Mancuso
Click HERE for more information, and to register.

IntroKF1Fundamentals of Kung Fu: 6 Week Class

Starts Tuesday, June 23, 7:30 – 8:30 pm (ends July 28)
Taught by Ted Mancuso
Click HERE for more information, and to register.

BDJSemMar14TedPaolaBlossoms in the Spring: A Perfect Qigong

Sunday, June 28, 1 – 3 pm
$25.00 Class Only/ $40.00 Class + book/ $55 Class + book + DVD
Taught by Ted Mancuso and Narrye Caldwell
Click HERE for more information, and to register.

Feng Shui for Health

Sunday, July 12, 1 – 3 pm
Taught by Narrye Caldwell
Click HERE for more information, and to register.

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Five Elements Seminar

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 3.34.03 PMClick image above and it will take you to page where video will load. May take a minute!


Here’s a very condensed version of our Five Elements Xing Yi Seminar (6 hours become 3 minutes). Everyone did a great job. Thanks for your participation.

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Learning a Bagua Move

A Bagua Teaching Moment at the Academy thumbnail

Click image above to go to video…

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. Continue reading

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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 Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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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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