A Martial Artist Washes His Hands

Right now we’re all awash in the best methods of sanitizing our hands, so why not have some fun with it? We did! Get down and dirty (um, I mean clean) with a kung fu teacher who knows his hand positions.

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Beng Jin: Kung Fu’s Hidden Skill

Here’s a new video on Beng Energy. If you’re one of our Tai Chi students you have probably heard me lecture on this special quality, and are undoubtedly practicing this right now! But Beng Jin exists in all styles of Kung Fu, and is worth exploring, especially when your temporary opponent might be that nice fig tree in your backyard.

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Daily Neigong (Qigong) Routine

Our illustrious and accomplished colleague and friend in Sacramento, Sifu Robert Nakashima, has generously created and shared his daily Neigong routine.

Running about 20 minutes, even just watching this video provides calm and comfort, although getting up and trying it yourself is highly recommended. The setting, the presentation, even the light chirping of birds in the background—along with, of course, Robert’s smooth and beautiful performance—all contribute to a real gift.

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Playing Around with the Rattan Ring

Our first video for you at home utilizes a training tool called the Rattan Ring. Actually, there are several alternatives you can substitute if you don’t have one of these hanging around! 

Please stay safe, and keep in touch!

Ted, Linda and Debbie

Since we are not able to hold in-person classes at our studio, we are creating some online training for our dear students. May all be well and healthy.

The rattan ring is an unusual training device originally geared for martial artists. Its possibilities are almost unlimited; the ring entices participation, rolling defensively, uncovering tremendously tactile information. The ring can dissolve an attack, neutralizing it on contact; it can trap and catch an opponent’s limbs, or smother an attack by simply shifting it away. This is a tool that reflects a lot of the trainee, moving until it balances, edging through a cat’s cradle of possible actions.

Now, in this time of confusion and doubt, we thought that handling and training with the rattan ring might be good medicine. It’s not going to cure anyone, but an intriguing and even distracting martial instrument can be relaxing and involving. After a little work with the ring, the interactions between muscle and wood start to blend, the rotational actions fold outward and sketch out shapes of physical prowess and mental sharpness. If you need us, here we are:

Our studio: Academy of Martial & Internal Arts, https://www.reelingsilk.com Our Chinese martial arts website (articles, DVDs, books, tutorials): https://www.plumpub.com

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Free Livestream Qigong Class, Thursday, March 19

Next session, Sunday, March 21, at 10am PDT, on Zoom:


Our friend and colleague, Sally Chang, sent this to us this morning…

With news in a nosedive, I decided to offer this Qigong class FREE for EVERYBODY. No experience necessary, I’ll guide you the whole way.
Invite a friend, and show up with whoever you’re holed up with. I think it’s important to have a spirit of generosity in these times.
(don’t ask me for toilet paper though..) 😉 It’s a stretch for me, for this introvert, to be so public. But my feeling is, if someone joins in and feels even a little bit more grounded and sane, then it’s worth opening the doors wide.

Let’s hold each other in a safe, coronavirus-free space, move and breathe and have a laugh together, and feel more balanced in a changing situation. It’ll be my first time doing a livestream so please be patient and forgiving if there are any bumps; hopefully the interweb tech spirits will be with us 🙂

Join Me and Invite a Friend Today, Thursday @ 5pm-6pm (PDT)


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This is maybe not entirely martial, but is a beautiful demonstration of Intent.

I think it will also take your mind off of your worries for a few minutes! Enjoy.

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Academy Class Suspension (Update)

Update, March 26:

Hello dear friends,

Well, we thought we would check in with you, see how you all are faring, and update you on our classes. 
These last couple of weeks have been difficult for so many people—really, all of us, even those introverts among us! Pieces and parts of our normal lives have been upended, and something which for many was a distant concern came suddenly to the forefront. I think we have all spent at least a few moments treasuring our communities and friendships, big and small. We’ve heard from a few of you how much you miss the studio and its community—we concur, and miss you, too.
Sadly, however, it seems like we were being a little optimistic a couple of weeks ago in thinking we could start up classes again this coming Saturday. It’s just not appropriate at this time. So, we will have to continue for, hopefully, just a little while longer to practice on our own. We wish it were otherwise.
We have been posting on reelingsilk some videos of our own and a few from others, with more to come. We hope you are able to continue your training, and would love to hear from you—what you are doing, how you are working out, and if you have any questions about your practice. Please don’t hesitate to write.
We will keep you updated on the studio status and when we might see classes starting up again. In the meantime, please check our site for new posts and information. Most importantly, keep well and stay safe. You are precious to us.
Ted and Debbie

Dearest Students,
We hope this finds you and yours well. We have spent some time considering what is best for the health of both our students and instructors, and late last night decided that, out of an abundance of caution, we should suspend classes for the suggested period of two weeks, starting today, Saturday March 14. Although things could change, we would look forward to reopening on Saturday, March 28.

We encourage you to keep an eye on this site for any changes to the reopening date. We will also be posting some articles to read and training exercises you can do to keep up your practice, starting with this beautiful 3- minute Qigong For Healthy Lungs, from colleague (and longtime student) Sally Chang.

Feel free to keep in touch and, above all, stay safe. We miss you already, and look forward to seeing you soon.

Best, Ted and Debbie

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Tai Chi For Health, 3 month class starts January 8

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 8, 2020

$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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Tai Chi Straight Sword–Basics Class

Hoping for this class to return in January!

For the first time, the Academy adds an 8 week Tai Chi Straight Sword class to our revolving workshop menu.

If you are intrigued, in general, by the straight sword—it being one of the 4 grandparent weapons—or have been specifically wowed by the elegant yet effective Tai Shi Sword routine and usage, this series will introduce you to the basics, and of course teach you an authentic routine.

Teacher: Narrye Caldwell

Time: Wednesdays, 6:00 – 7:00 pm, 8 weeks,

Location: Academy of Martial & Internal Arts, 1570 Soquel Dr, S,C.

Fee: $120 for the full 8 week course

For more information on the class, and to register (recommended, as there is a good chance this class will fill)

Inexpensive Wooden swords will be available for purchase if you don’t have one of your own!

No experience necessary.

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New T-Shirts Have Arrived!

What? New T-Shirts? New Design?

They’re here! Click the image above and you can go to the order page, or pick one up at the studio when you come to class.

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Life Is Too Short For Bad Kung Fu

Adam Hsu bookYes, it’s true! A new book in English by Adam Hsu.

If this were Hollywood, Sifu Adam Hsu’s new book, “Life Is Too Short For Bad Kung Fu,” would be the tell-all on everyone’s reading list; not because it is gossipy—he names no names—but because it fulfills its promise to reveal the good, the bad, the ugly, the disappointing, the heartbreaking, and the inspirational. It’s all here.

In over 300 pages of aphorisms accompanied by short essays, Hsu Sifu examines the current state of Kung Fu and, true to his nature, honestly discusses both the ongoing challenges facing Chinese martial arts as well as some well-considered solutions. Just about anyone practicing traditional Kung Fu today has a sense that the body of Wushu is not as healthy as it once was. Sifu Hsu’s diagnosis is that of a thoughtful doctor with decades of experience, and an unwavering goal to bring the patient back to health.

We at Plum proudly announce this new publication; we are once again honored to produce and publish Hsu Sifu’s works. And for those in the know, this book is illustrated with 20 photos of Sifu Hsu demonstrating the rare Goose Feather Saber, as well as him practicing with the spear.


Order through November 15, and receive a 10% discount off of Plum’s regular price.

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No Title

Here they are at the 2019 Tiger Claw tournament in San Jose, promoting Plumpub and our studio and style, Bak Sil Lum.


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Kung Fu Planet

Waves of energy, kung fu style.

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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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