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

Secrets of Bagua Zhang, Volume #3

Superlatives these days, like cliches, are a dime a dozen. Everything is AMAZING!! AWESOME!! ASTONISHING!! ASTOUNDING!! (and that’s only the A’s). So what are we to do if we actually offer something that deserves exclamation marks?

Bagua ZhangAdam Hsu’s Secrets of Bagua Zhang, Volume #3, is just such a product. This 4 disk set, comprising over seven hours of instruction, is an entrance to the temple that you never expected. It is like going behind the scenes to see how the magic is really made, how the end result came about, step-by-step.

Using the Eight Changing Palms (which he teaches in depth) as his base, he takes the student through hours of practice—on the Bagua poles, in partner training, in applications, in discussions of principles—all the while circling back to the core palms (it IS Bagua, after all). He even opens the series with instructions in the 8 Animals Form.

This is truly unique among DVDs; we’ve said it before about this larger series that Hsu Sifu is developing, but the closest equivalent to these courses would be to spend years with a traditional teacher. Hsu’s confidence is evident: he truly believes that a student who applies herself or himself will be able to learn and even master Bagua Zhang.

For a more in-depth look, and to purchase this new set, click here.

It’s just AMAZING!

Adam Hsu’s Secret Files on Bagua Zhang

Adam Hsu Bagua DVDsThis, our third post on this new 2 Volume set of DVDs (6 dvds in all) on the art of Bagua, is to say that these outstanding DVDs are now available. If you want to read our earlier announcement, click here.

If you would like to read more about the series, and to order, click here.

Exceptional instruction, truly secret material, and enough training to inform any Bagua Zhang practiitoner’s practice for a long time to come.



THIS Is How Bagua Is Done

How Bagua Is DoneThere are two ways to make a DVD, irrespective of a particular style.

The first way is to follow your style’s structure: warmups, basics, form and sampled applications. The second way, less common, is to offer, derived from your style, skills that might be universally helpful to appropriate seekers. Imagine a Long Fist practice that aids Shaolin, Hua, PiGua, Cha and more. On Plum, we represent some good sources for “fundamental” information about Bagua styles, such as Fundamentals of Pa Kua Chang, Bagua: The Art of Change, Kang Ge Wu’s A Course in Bagua, Tom Bisio’s 3 DVD set. Some are more style specific some are not.

How Bagua is DoneIn his new series, Adam Hsu has crafted a series of lessons able to heighten any practitioner’s Bagua performance. These DVDs really do “decode” some key concepts. Volume One concentrates on the valuable basics of footwork, drilling, spine exercises and other crucial points unique to Bagua. Volume Two goes into numerous applications of the palms, hi-mid-low stance training, a whole discussion on Bagua’s Qigong, pole work with multiple poles, marching practice and more. It concentrates not on the general Bagua walking circle and form, but on major twisting and coiling concepts, and other examples proving Bagua to be as exceptional a style as Adam Hsu contends. Some of these (the Kuen-Zhong-Zheng-Guo Four Hands, the pole exercises, etc.) inspired me, years ago, to include them in my own teaching DVDs.

THIS is how Bagua is done.
This series is divided into TWO VOLUMES, each volume containing THREE DVDs (over 3 hours per volume).

Each Volume:
Regular Price: $105, Plum Price: $95

Baji Thunder Video Sampling

Adam Hsu Baji ThunderOf all the styles associated with Wu Tan and Liu Yun Chiao, Bajiquan is by far the most famous and respected.

When I first saw Baji in Bethesda, 1970, I had no idea what its was. I had never seen a style like this before. Years later when I saw Adam Hsu and his students demonstrate it in San Francisco, I could see exactly what it was about. That is the difference between authentic Baji and others. Baji looks simple and somewhat over-revved but, on second look, the simplicity becomes sophistication and the explosive movements and unusual angles blend into a single art unlike anything else.

Yes, this is a large series and can be seen as something of a financial commitment—though pricing out each DVD you’ll find them well under $30 each, not to mention the fact that you can buy this series in parts as your bank account allows. And, yes, we know that showing you a few minutes of video can’t fully demonstrate such a rich style or such a vest landscape of information and training. But we couldn’t resist placing a sample of each volume here.

So enjoy watching the diversity of a real teacher teaching a real art.

Adam Hsu’s Bajiquan Trilogy: Volumes 2 & 3 Are Here!

Bajiquan Thunder Volumes 2 and 3 with Adam HsuAt Last!

It’s one thing to read and listen to the words of a top notch teacher, it’s another thing to experience the teaching first hand. This formidable project which we have anticipated for over a year, offers not just the second installment of Adam Hsu’s magnificent Bajiquan trilogy, but the fabulous third and final DVD.

There is so much in this series  that we’re just going to suggest that you either look at the descriptions on the sale page, or click to the Table of Contents for the topics covered by this in-dpeth series. We sincerely consider this video presentation of Bajiquan to be the best, at present (and, most likely,  one of the best that ever will be.) It is an insight not only into the style but surveys the core principles of the entire art.

See for yourself.

Bajiquan Celebration in Taipei

We were delighted to see this clip from a recent Liu Yun Chiao memorial held in Taipei.

Sifu Adam Hsu leads the whole room in a simple exercise that GM Liu reported he performed over 200 times a day; he recommended this two-move loop for improving all Kung Fu training.

Note the esteemed teachers of the Wutan Baji Community in the front row, among them Sifu Su Yu Chang, Sifu Tony Yang, and many others.

The Remarkable Adam Hsu

Adam Hsu Baji thunder Volumes 2 and 3Not for the first time, Sifu Adam Hsu is doing something remarkable. And, as with many projects that fall into the ‘remarkable’ category, it is also different enough that a few words of explanation are not mis-spent. In fact, he is producing something completely new based on one of the most traditional methods for teaching martial arts.

He will soon release, through Plum, the second and third volumes in his masterful series, Baji Thunder. Volume 1, which contains 7 DVDs, was titled, simply, “Foundations.” The forthcoming Volume 2 is entitled “Development,” and the third, to follow shortly after, is called “Advanced.” Foundations centers on Xiao Baji; Volume Two’s “Development” constellates Da Baji; and the third, “Advanced,” is a 4 DVD set teaching the rare Liu Da Kai, along with Ba Da Shi.

Just issuing a series with this much depth (three DVD sets, comprised of 14 disks) is a remarkable achievement. In them, Hsu Sifu turns the whole form instruction structure on its head. In a sense he is declaring that the forms are only a small part of the system itself. “Of course,” you would say, “a system is much greater than its forms.” But, typically, we still approach our learning by form instruction first, then the other stuff later. Sifu Hsu—in this series, especially—contends this backwards. Continue reading

The Long and Short of Lan Shou

Here is an article from Celebrated Mountain written by Laurie Cahn. Though relatively unknown outside of Asia, Lan Shou is a powerful style resembling Bajiquan. Among its famous practitioners is George Xu.

Celebrated Mountain chronicled the teachings and practice of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts, especially relating to the many schools following the teachings of Adam Hsu. This publication was not widely known, but offered some excellent material which we will be sharing here in coming months.