Autumn’s New Classes & Seminars at the Academy

September and October bring 4 of our most popular seminar classes back to the Academy. Click each picture to get more information, and to register for each class.

Santa Cruz Tai Chi IntermediateTai Chi Partner Work—Deepen Your Practice
6 weeks, Wednesdays, 7-8 pm
Starts October 17

The Academy’s newest class, designed for intermediate Tai Chi students who have graduated from the beginner’s Tai Chi For Health Class, or have equivalent Tai Chi experience. Review and refine your short set with some partner practice to improve your skills.

 

Tai Chi Santa CruzTai Chi For Health
3 months, Wednesdays, 6-7 pm
Starts September 5

The Academy’s popular 3 month Tai Chi class for beginners. Narrye Caldwell brings her decades of experience as a Doctor of Chinese Medicine as well as a Tai Chi teacher and practitioner, to create a class incorporating both aspects for maximum benefit.

 

The Eight Animals—Introduction to Bagua, The Art of Change
Six weeks, Wednesdays, 7-8 pm
Starts September 5

Take your first steps in the great art of Bagua Zhang, the Art of Change. Bagua’s movements are based, primarily, on a circle—not just walking in a circular pattern, but understanding and applying the natural rotation in the body for great benefits to health and self-defense. Ted Mancuso, director of the Academy and class instructor, is world-renowned for his books and DVDs on Bagua Zhang.

 

Beginning Kung Fu—The Linking Form
6 weeks, Mondays, 6 – 7 pm
Starts September 10

Experience authentic practice. Kung Fu has so much to offer—strength and flexibility training, self-defense, coordination and cooperation, art, intent. Train with Ted Mancuso, a teacher with over 50 years experience in Chinese martial arts. Move like you’ve never moved before!

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Tai Chi for Health: Deepen Your Practice

Tai chi for health santa cruzGreat news!

We have just added a new 6 week class, starting April 25, to our very popular Tai Chi for Health Series.

This one’s for intermediate students, those who have completed the short Tai Chi set at the Academy (or the equivalent).

Co-taught by Narrye Caldwell, inestimable teacher of the Academy’s beginner Tai Chi For Health class, and Sifu Ted Mancuso, director of the Academy, it will focus on reviewing and refining the Yang Tai Chi short set, plus introduce simple push hand engagements and two-person loops.

For more info, CLICK HERE

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From Us to You

Happy New Year to all of our dear students. We treasure and appreciate your continued study and community at the Academy. We would not be here without you.

We open this year with a small gift, a performance by Sifu Linda Darrigo. We filmed her performance during a class in Taiwan.

We all—Ted, Debbie and Linda— send our warmest wishes to you and yours, for great peace, health and happiness in the New Year.

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The Teacher’s Teacher

Last Sunday, I got a double-treat: my teacher, Adam Hsu, is in town for a couple of weeks and I had the opportunity to not only see and spend time with him, but to make his Long Fist Kung Fu class available to my own students, most of whom had never met him. Of course, there is always a bit of trepidation presenting your students to your teacher: will they look good to another and more experienced eye? Will my teacher take me aside and, without sarcasm, ask what the hell I have been teaching them? Will my students look at my teacher’s instruction and wonder what the hell I have been teaching them? Will they like him more than me? OK, admittedly, not all of these are mature concerns, but, even after 50 years, it would be a lie to say they don’t exist.

I won’t keep you in suspense: my students filled me with pride as I watched them working out with vigor, trying new things while applying themselves even more intently to the familiar ones. They followed routines they had never seen, exercises they had never attempted, angles they had never considered and, of course, lots of training we practice weekly at our Academy. Each was beaming at the end of the two hours. Continue reading

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Tai Chi For Health, 3 month class starts January 10

nc_tccolor1• Learn a complete form in just three months

• Traditional, fluid, moving meditation

• Small Class, detailed instruction

• Emphasis on correct posture and form for health, balance, and vitality

• Authentic martial structure for strength and flexibility

tcclass_JoshPhilbw1• Move like you’ve never moved before!

Wednesdays 6-7 pm
New Class starting: January 10, 2018

$65 per month, or $165 if paying for full three month tcclass_karlandkirkcourse in advance

Academy of Martial Arts
1570 Soquel Dr. (Across from Dominican Hospital)

Taught by Narrye Caldwell, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with 30 years Tai Chi experience. Narrye is a Licensed Acupuncturist with over 20 years of clinical and teaching experience. She has a private practice in Santa Cruz and is on the faculty at Five Branches University.

Click here for information.

 

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25th Anniversary Kung Fu Tai Chi Tournament

Join us for the Kung Fu Tai Chi 25th Anniversary Festival and tournament in San Jose on May 19-21.

We don’t get out much—certainly not as much as we would like—but this year we are showing up to celebrate Tiger Claw’s Anniversary, by attending the festivities, including the Grandmaster’s demo on Friday night, the Saturday and Sunday tournaments, and the 8th annual WildAid Tiger Claw Championship on Sunday. Plum’s entire crew (yes, all three of us!) will have a table with some of our exclusive books and DVDs, and we hope to meet face-to-face with you—our customers, readers and friends.

Of course, the weekend itself will bring its own excitement. Tiger Claw is well-known for their professionally-run events. Additionally, Kung Fu Tai Chi is pleased to announce its cooperation with the International Wushu Sanshou Dao Association (IWSD) as they are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. Finally, this year’s Friday night performances will highlight a special roster of traditional masters, many of whom do not perform regularly.

If you are in the area, or thinking of travelling to visit, drop by and see us.

Kung Fu Tai Chi Tournament

FRIDAY
Grandmasters Exhibition and dinner
California Theatre
345 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

SATURDAY
Kung Fu tournament and demonstrations

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Taekwondo and Tai Chi competition.
8th Annual WildAid Tiger Claw Championship

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Workshop Report: The Fine Art of Choking

A demonstration and workshop on the fine art of choking was a change in schedule for the Saturday morning Kung Fu class last week. Black sash instructor, Mike Gruber—highly knowledgeable about Kung Fu, and an expert Judo player—opened the class, demonstrating basic chokes and strangles (not the same thing). He explained that knowing how to execute chokes would render them much less worrisome for the recipient.

At first everyone looked around, nervously, to see who would volunteer to be the first victim. But, once we started practicing the clear and safe instruction offered by Mike, everyone breathed easier. Next we pulled the mats out and worked anti-choke defenses from the ground. As predicted, key moves using the ground to neutralize chokes boosted confidence, not to mention effectiveness.

A good presentation is made great by clarity and simplicity, and Mike showed a systemized presentation increasing, for teachers as well as students, their knowledge and tactile experience with this valuable martial skill. 

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Year of the Fire Rooster–January 28, 2017

Year after year, Narrye Caldwell’s annual Chinese Astrological analysis has been one of  our most popular and requested topics. We are happy to once again offer it here.

Fire RoosterAll Chinese wisdom traditions, including medicine, divination, astrology, and feng shui, are systems of pattern identification that guide us in adapting gracefully to change. A world in flux is assumed; it is the one constant feature of life. Astrology is best viewed as a tool to discern where we are in the shifting cycles of time so we can adjust our expectations accordingly and therefore, from the Chinese point of view, cultivate longevity by not wasting our qi trying to swim against the current.

Last year’s current schooled us all in crisis management as the Fire Monkey’s erratic impulsiveness and dramatic flare produced an unprecedented bit of theater in American politics. Continue reading

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Adam Hsu Linking Fist

Linking Fist from Adam Hsu’s popular children’s text.

We are happy and proud to teach one of the best beginning Kung Fu forms:  Sifu Adam Hsu’s Linking Fist. This combines elements of traditional practice with modern methods of instruction. The entire form is 16 movements with not one repeated. These take you through kicks, punching patterns and crucial stance training. A great beginner’s form!

For a glimpse of the set, go to  Sifu Marie Anthony’s Cupertino Kung Fu school.

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Fifty

Today I celebrate fifty years in the martial arts.50_3b

It has been long enough now to seem natural that it became my fate or, at least, a “way of life,” as everyone calls it. People ask me what could possibly be the attraction. I have to tell the truth and admit that I always believed that some human activities are as linked to us as the appetites 50_2band emotions we consider define a human being. It is true that, through historical changes, the aliens among us have warped some of these foundational approaches. But activities like dance, story-telling, religion, philosophy, love and celebration are all “arts” in ways that pre-date the commodity market we presently call society.50_1b

It is true that all too often “the winners write history” suggesting to us that the answers lie in understanding what came before written history. The next great empire will be built on the sands of still unexploited cultures where ancient insights (that really are insights) may be bulldozed beneath the machinery of necessity. It is in times like these we need tend to those things that the future may see as “useless,” things like kindness, contemplation, harmony.

Fifty years is a blink compared to these timeless pursuits.

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Your Lineage or, Keep Practicing That Punch

We couldn’t resist posting this clip here for a number of reasons:

  1. Here, at the biggest Baji Quan (Baji style Kung Fu) convocation in the world, your great-grand teacher, Liu Yun Chiao, is honored with everyone in the hall doing the same exercise we do here at the Academy
  2. The teacher chosen to lead all these students and instructors, many generations of practice, is your grand teacher, Adam Hsu (Hsu Ji).
  3. The front line of this grop is crowded with famous instuctors of this art.
  4. Here, at the Academy, you are part of a hands-on tradition from many generations.

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Hello from Wales

knightDear Students,

I hope everyone is practicing and having a good time. Many schools go through a re-calibration when the head-instructor is away. But this is actually an important time in martial training, when students are face to face with one another instead of relating through the teacher. I hope the consequence is kindness, cooperation and camaraderie.

I know that this sounds a bit hokey, but it took me a long time to see that harmony—such as I’m talking about—is not just some passionless dream. Harmony requires dynamic rather than static balance. I don’t know that “character” can be trained, but I do know that it exists and often martial practice can reveal its grain and color.

It’s my hope that we get strong enought to remove some armor, rather than just  polish it.

Be back soon,

Sifu

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Seven Experiences of Martial Training

Nowadays, everyone seems to want a practice. But the fact that martial arts practice has a path all its own may result in some disappointment to those seeking a casual gym-style experience. Such deep practice can render unexpected results. The art establishes a special relation to the body, leading to some confused feelings. I thought that it might be a benefit for students to recognize some signposts on the journey. Phases like those below do not follow a given sequence but, with the proper amount of practice, they will come.

art_seven_61.Great Expectations
You may find that in the first few months you make strange mixtures of advancement . For instance, you are quite fast but your left hand seems to have its own brain.

art_seven_32. Bruce Lee Resurrected
More permanent progress will occur when you just wake up one morning and discover that, overnight, you have become 300% better than when you turned in. Was it a magical night? Did you drink ancient Shaolin herbal formulas? Martial progress is rarely a straight march. Skills develop at inexplicable moments. Do not to worry about keeping up to the new standard.

art_seven_73. Skills Don’t Always Help
Martial skills are many and deep. For some Continue reading

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Interview with Grandteacher Adam Hsu (Added parts 4 & 5)

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 10.38.00 AMAdam Hsu is one of the top Kung Fu teachers in the world. He is also one of the “grandparent” teachers at the Academy, having taught both sifus Linda and Ted.

In this series—the first THREE parts now posted—he begins an in-depth conversation on the meaning of true Kung Fu.

Update: Parts 4 & 5 Now available

 

Want to watch on youtube?
Click HERE

Want to watch on our affiliate site (plumpub.com?)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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Slow Learner

tedrelaxingNext October, I will celebrate my 50th year in the martial arts.

When I started studying, I had no idea or plan to make this a lifetime practice. I joined up for the same reason a lot of 16 year olds do: I was getting bullied at school and I wanted to learn some self-defense. Wait— you mean it took me 50 years to learn to defend myself? Am I just a slow learner, or did I find something else to keep my interest all these years? Honestly, the answer is “both.”

I had learned all the self-defense moves I’d ever need by the time I was voting age (it was 21 back then;) Continue reading

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