About Me

First and foremost, I am a student. I don't consider myself a teacher, but if you learn something here, wonderful! I don't promote any particular school or style, though I have made the most progress in the Wujifa system. I don't get paid to write this blog, so if you buy my book, that would be nice. I write to share my experience.

Here's my Martial Arts Biography such as it is

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

I started my “martial journey” in 1983 learning Sofia Delza’s dance-like Wu style Tai-chi Chuan with Professor Neville. Concurrently, I got my yellow belt in Judo.

In 1984 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 (so, the Zheng Manqing style). I practiced forms; open hand, sword, spear, staff, monkey, mantis, as well as push hands and sparring. I attended a few of the summer New York Tai-chi Farm festivals under Jou Tsung-Hwa.

After I completed my bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies with an interest in Asian philosophy, I worked a year in Sichuan, China (1988-89) teaching English and practicing Tui-shou with a Chen stylist student, Yang Rui-wei.

In 1991, I met Rick Taracks and spent nearly a decade of Sunday afternoons with him and a small but dedicated group training push-hands. 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.

2) I briefly studied a Yang Tai-chi fighting form and attended a Xing-yi workshop with Dr. Gary Torres of the Phoenix Dragon Kung Fu Academy.

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

By the late 1990s, I still could not demonstrate the whole-body connection or internal strength for which these internal martial arts are known! I became disheartened. Maybe forms and push-hands was not the way to go. In 2000, I quit training.

Three years passed and I found I missed "the game". I reconnected 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. In 2003, I started learning zhan zhuang from him. (Rick would later name his eclectic approach as Wujifa.)

In 2003 and 2004, I attended workshops in Chen Silk Reeling, Laojia, and Tui-shou with Chen Xiao-wang.

In 2005, I attended Spear and Hsing Yi Chuan workshops with Yan Gao-fei.

In 2016, I stopped going to class and stopped my dedicated formal training. My rationale was that the combined stresses of my day job, side business, and family health issues were counteracting the training. I was stuck, treading water, spinning my wheels, going nowhere. I realized that I could not make any progress in training until my daily life substantially changed.

In April-May 2020, Nima King (a student of Chu Shong Tin) graciously offered one month free access to his online Mindful Wing Chun course. I enrolled and watched and practiced from all videos for weeks 1-5. 

In July-September 2020, I published on this blog what I consider to be my internal gongfu thesis, Mastering Internal Gongfu: Are You Ready which addresses the components of an internal gongfu practice. To my knowledge, this is a truly original, first-of-its-kind writing; a thoughtful reflection and analysis on my internal gongfu life.

Now, in 2022, even though I made a lot of progress over the years and learned and understand a great deal about this art form, I still have not attained my initial goal of achieving kua-initiated movement to generate fa-jing. And that's OK. I know why.

Even though my understanding is continually being refined at the hobbyist level at which I do continue to practice and remain engaged in online forums, this simply is not enough to help me make significant progress. I am happy to have learned and progressed as much as I have and I have a much greater appreciation and respect for those who have mastered this art. It is quite an accomplishment!

I currently reside near Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

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.


If you'd like to email me, I can be reached at: internalgongfu at gmail dot com

Books and Videos

Plum Publications