About

About This Blog

In this blog you will find a variety of articles related to developing Wujifa whole body connection, also known in the internal martial arts community as "internal strength". In this blog you will find:
  • Functional tips and training advice.
  • Personal training notes.
  • Wujifa class notes.
  • In depth, original articles related to Wujifa, zhan zhuang, and developing "internal strength".
  • Tai chi training memories.
  • Opinions and perspectives.
I think you'll find this material refreshingly honest and down to earth.

Email

Email me at: internalgongfu at gmail dot com

About Me


My first encounter with martial arts was in high school watching the 1970's American TV series, "Kung-fu" starring David Carradine.

In my mid- 20s, as a freshman in college, I started my “martial journey” with a yellow belt in Judo. Concurrently I took one year of Sofia Delza’s dance-like Wu style Tai-chi Chuan with Professor Neville.
See: My First Tai Chi: Sophia Delza Wu Style

In my sophomore year I switched to learning Yang Style Tai chi with the Long Island School of Tai-chi Chuan run by Bob Klein who was a student of William C.C. Chen. I practiced forms; open hand, sword, spear, staff, monkey, mantis, as well as push hands and sparring. I attended the summer New York Tai-chi Farm festivals under Jou Tsung-Hwa.
See: Tai Chi Memories: Bob Klein and the Long Island School of Tai Chi Chuan 

After I completed my bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies with an interest in Asian philosophy, I worked a year in Sichuan, China teaching English and practicing Tui-shou with a Chen stylist student, Yang Rui-wei.

In the early 1990s, I met Rick Taracks and spent years of Sunday afternoons training push-hands under the bell tower at a local university. During this time I also pursued the following training:

1) I worked with Erle Montague and trained from almost 30 of his videos for two years.
See: In Memory of Erle Montaigue (1949-2011)

2) I briefly studied a Yang Tai-chi fighting form with Dr. Gary Torres of the Phoenix Dragon Kung Fu Academy. See my following notes from this brief period:
Gary Torres: Journal Notes #10
Guang Ping Yang Tai Chi: Martial Stances
Guang Ping Yang Tai Chi: Basic Training
Guang Ping Yang Tai Chi: Martial Intent
Guang Ping Tai Chi: Push Hands Forms

3) I attended workshops in Ba Gua Chuan with Victor Chao.

By the late 1990s and after all this, I still could not demonstrate the whole-body connection or internal strength for which these internal martial arts are known!

In 2000, I quit training. See my Journal Notes #11 for the whole story. Three years later I returned to training with Rick and at our first meeting, he demonstrated the remarkable progress he had made since I left. I was simply dumbfounded and awe-inspired. He had given up forms and push-hands and had discovered the secret sauce in zhan zhuang. This is how I got back into practicing.

While practicing what later came to be known as Wujifa...

I attended workshops in Chen Silk Reeling, Laojia, and Tui-shou with Chen Xiao-wang.
Chen Xiaowang Seminar 2004: Journal Notes #20 and

I attended Spear and Hsing Yi Chuan workshops with Yan Gao-fei.
Yan Gaofei Tai-chi Spear Seminar: Journal Notes #28 (2005)
Yan Gaofei Xing-Yi Basics Seminar 2006 

And now (in 2015) I still don't "have it". And why not? The main reason is simply that I don't practice as much as I should to make real progress. And why not? Because A) I bow to the demands of external daily life activities and B) feeling to the level of subtly required remains difficult for me. So even though my practice and understanding is continually being refined at the level at which I do practice (an hour some days, less than an hour most days), this simply is not enough to get me "through the door". I am told though that I am really, really close.

That said, I am inspired by my school brothers who do practice two to three hours each and every day and do make amazing progress! I see that the Wujifa system works when applied with dedication and diligence. And so I'm sticking with Wujifa.

I currently reside near Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Where I Look for Videos

YesAsia.com
Plum Publications
E-Bay / Sports / Boxing, Martial Arts & MMA