WTCD Postponement :(….

IT IS WITH GREAT SADNESS AND FRUSTRATION that I must announce the Postponement of today’s World Tai Chi Day Event – It was supposed to be 54degrees and instead it’s 33 ūüôĀ
WE WILL still be hosting a day of Free Workshops in the very near future, illness so please stay tuned – a new announcement will be out within the month!



 World Tai Chi Day Saturday April 26th, link 2015

Come Celebrate World Tai Chi Day with Black Mountain Spirit!

The Cathedral of Learning Lawn Pitt University, approved Forbes Avenue Side

World Tai Chi Day Flyer

World Tai Chi Day in Pittsburgh! Come join us in this year’s celebration!

World Tai Chi Day was begun years ago with the intent that All Tai Chi people Everywhere would be able to share in this experience of Chinese Martial Traditions that we all have grown to love so much.

Beginning at approximately 10:00a, approved the first city begins their practice of Tai Chi at their own World Tai Chi Day event, and as the¬†Earth rotates each location will sequentially have a local¬†“10:00am” that begins. In this way a “Wave of Chi” will slowly cross the continent, the oceans, into Asia and Europe, etc. Each major city, and probably every town now has a World Tai Chi Day event, so the Wave of Chi is growing ever stronger!

At this year’s¬†World Tai Chi Day celebration¬†we‚Äôll be conducting Free Workshops where you‚Äôll learn the basics of TaiJi technique, and Qi Gong (Energy Skills).

Master Black will teach the Advanced TaiJi Broadsword Form (Pre and Onsite Registrants only).

The final schedule for the day’s activities are as follows:

– 9:30a-10a
Introduction to TaiChi Basics

– 10a-10:20a
Commencement of the Tai Chi Form with MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD!

– short break ūüėČ

– 10:30a-11:30a
Instruction in the Yang Family TaiChi Long Form sequence

– short break ūüėČ

– 12p-2p
Fighting Applications of the Yang Family TaiChi Form

– 2:30p-4p
Yang Family TaiJi Broadsword Basics and Form. (This requires pre-registration)

Call or Register online for Location Maps, Details, Updates

412 759 8570

(From the Official Website for World Tai Chi & Qigong Day)

Purposes of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day:

1) To educate the world of the profound health & healing benefits of Tai Chi & Qigong for individuals, communities, and nations

2) To thank Chinese culture for creating and sharing these profoundly valuable gifts with the world

3) To bring together people across racial, economic, religious, and geo-political boundaries, to join together for the purpose of health and healing, providing an example to the world.

4) To give a powerful example of how the power of the internet can be used to foster global health & healing.

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTCQD) educates millions worldwide about Tai Chi & Qigong’s benefits, how to find
local classes, how to get the most from those classes, and we consult health care, corporate, government and educational
institutions about integrating these health tools into society at all levels.



Farm to Table Pittsburgh is ONE WEEK AWAY!

Farm to Table 2014

Farm to Table Pittsburgh, medic Black Mountain Spirit Table manned by Malcolm Hudson and Mira Angelova!


Yup, it’s That time of year again! Once again, The Black Mountain Spirit School of Chinese Kung Fu will be sponsoring a table at this year’s Pittsburgh Farm to Table event!




WHAT: Farm to Table, Pittsburgh, 2015

WHERE: David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown Pittsburgh

WHEN: Friday March 27th & Saturday March 28th, 10a-5p both days

WHY: Because we’re a Really Cool Table to visit!

IF you’re¬†into Health and Wellness, and are seriously interested in either beginning your holistic health journey or adding more to it, Stop by and¬†¬†Get to Know us, ask questions about how our school and how it is that we can help you achieve your personal goals! If quality of life and finding your personal balance is important to you, Please take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to meet with representatives of our school face to face and learn all you can about these life-enhancing skills.


Anyone that visits our table and enrolls for a 3 month course of classes only pays for 2!!! These are discounts that are only available to participants at this year’s Farm to Table, Pittsburgh, so be Sure to stop by and further your wellness journey with the skills handed down to us by the ancient Chinese!


3 months/36 classes @ $270 (That’s only $7.50 a class!!!)


3 months/36 classes @ $195 (That’s only $5.40 a class!!!)


3 months/36 classes @ $180 (That’s only – oh my GAWD – $4.10 a class!!!)

There are all kinds of other events, food tastings, and products available as well, and more information can be found at these official event pages


ERIC LEE in PGHGrandMaster Eric Lee is a Living Legend of martial arts!

And He’s Coming to Pittsburgh!!!¬†

An early pioneer of Kung Fu Forms in the Open Karate Circuit, phlebologist Eric Lee was known as the ‚ÄĚKing of Kata‚Äú¬†as¬†an ¬†Undefeated Champion with countless tournament wins, as well as numerous movie and television credits!
Do NOT miss this chance to work with this world renowned master and develop a deeper understanding that will profoundly impact the quality and depth of your martial arts practice !

You Do Not Need To Be a Kung Fu Practitioner to attend!

Register NOW for the Eric Lee Seminar in Pittsburgh!

Pre-payment by April 30th, 2015 *$109 at the door.

Contact ShiFu Marc Black to pre-register and receive updates!
102 E 8th Avenue Homestead PA 1512, above the Lowes Theatre at

The Waterfront, Homestead.


Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message


¬†Let’s take a look at GrandMaster Eric Lee in Action!


 A few words by Eric Lee about Matrix Martial Arts!

 GrandMaster Eric Lee on his own TaiJi practice


Another Major Martial Arts Star, Cynthia Rothrock, gives us her insight into GrandMaster Eric Lee’s TaiJi practice!


¬†I had the pleasure of meeting Eric Lee in Seminar the last time he was in Pittsburgh, it was a brief encounter but memorable! For me, the real high point was the fact that my teacher had a chance to meet him as well! DaShiFu Haddad (Tony to his friends) was a pretty shy guy in some respects, so seeing him a little bit ‘Starstruck’ was a pretty unique¬†experience for me.

And then, of course, there’s Big Trouble in Little China. You Can NOT be a Chinese Kung Fu practitioner and not dig every single thing about that movie! And everything from the Tongs to Lo Pan’s very name –¬†the movie is replete with Chinese Cultural references with a nice drizzling of Taoism across everything! It’s been many years since the making of that movie, and I have no doubt that GrandMaster Eric Lee has done nothing to diminish his own Kung Fu fire and keeps it burning strong. Grandmaster Eric Lee Seminar¬†in Little Pittsburgh – I’m personally looking forward to seeing what he might pull out of his ‘Six Demon Bag’ and leave all¬†of us¬†attending his seminars with some Big Trouble of our own-!













In The Very First Second – HARD FAST I WIN


In The Very First Second of the video –¬†I break the attacker’s hand, prothesis elbow, about it and either break his jaw or crush his throat – under 1 Second.

In The Very First Second of an attack –you ONLY Have 1 second to take Decisive action and make a change for the better.

In The Very First Second – you have to be physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of applying what you’ve been taught under what can only be considered Extreme and unforseen circumstances.

In The Very First Second Рonly your ability to apply your knowledge of how and where to strike, and instantly choosing the Best from a wide variety of attack & defense techniques, your will be the only thing that passes for a guarantee in a threatening situation.


There has to be a very clear difference between ‘self defense’ and Real World Fighting. Self defense, things that a person can do to ‘get someone off of them’ is fine for that one time when things get out of hand, or when someone is testing some social boundaries, but when someone has a Serious Intent on doing you some Serious Harm, you need to be Equally Serious in your Intent to protect yourself. And regrettably, that usually means hurting Them. FIRST. Badly.


This video shows a very wide variety of techniques, each situation ending in roughly 1.5 seconds, from single full-bodyweight kicks to the ribs, stationary and jumping kicks to the head, to multiple fist/elbow/knee combinations from every direction. There’s a lof of ‘bob and weave’, ducking/dodging, and I think everyone shows a decent sense of spacial relationships (their environment) and meditative awareness (a cool head) in the midst of some fast moving bodies – punches, elbows, and kicks flying at each other’s heads! Close quarters in-fighting is the name of the game. Hard Fast, I Win.Go at to see more.

Taking it a bit further, even with all of that stuff going on physically and mentally, you can still see the Real, Orthodox, Kung Fu Trapping/Joint-Locking, Throwing techniques, and in some instances what I can only call Extreme Acccuracy, and absolutely phenomenal timing.¬†There’s a¬†lot of talk in the ‘modern combatives’ circles that traditional martial arts are all about looking pretty, feeling the energy,¬†becoming one with nature, etc. I’m looking at this video and saying NO, these things are Not very pretty – pretty goddamned brutal in fact – and the only peace that I see are the pieces flying off of their faces.

It goes without saying that you need to properly¬†train your techniques to make them effective, and you only use techniques and methods that you’re personally capable of and have extensively tested in your fight training.

And, of COURSE no one’s going full contact in the video, but that’s the Only thing that isn’t happening 100%. Protective gear doesn’t really protect that much (I’ve accidently knocked people out even with light contact), it gets in the way of a Lot of technique, and regardless of what gear you’re wearing, it’s going to come down to how Much you hit the other person vs. them hitting You; that is, you may be weaker, they may be stronger, so unless everything is¬†perfectly “equal”, full contact fighting with gear just proves how much damage you’re willing to accept just as part of your training. Me? I’m looking at the video & I don’t care What the weight or power disparity is, all I know is that if Anyone gets hit with the combinations that I’m seeing the ‘defender’ use on the ‘attacker’, he’s going down. It may be sooner, it may be later, but regardless of the weight/power issues, given enough time or in this case opportunity (Proper Training)¬†it’s ON.¬†It’s GOT to be Hard and Fast so that I can Win.

Most people wait until something bad happens, and then either really wish that they’d prepared in advance, or they call someone else to do the work for them. If you haven’t specifically trained to really fight, and fight at a high level, you haven’t got a chance against the person who does, good guys and bad. I admit, it was the physically artistic expression¬†and philosophy that pulled me in, but it’s been the hardcore, down and dirty Hard Fast I Win approach that’s kept me alive all these years doing private security and bodyguard work.



Reserve Your Space Now!




Use TaiJi (Tai Chi) To Eliminate Stress, caries Fatigue, pills Back and Joint Pain

Use TaiJi (Tai Chi) To Increase Flexibility, Balance and Coordination

Use TaiJi (Tai Chi) To Unite Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Use TaiJi (Tai Chi) To Achieve Inner Peace and Well Being

Use TaiJi (Tai Chi) To Live Longer, Healthier

Our main TaiJi (Tai Chi) Classes in Pittsburgh are held Saturday Mornings, but in response to student inquiry we’re looking into expanding our classes into the weekdays as well.

Whether for self-defense, better health or finding inner balance, do not miss the opportunity to study with Master Black, renowned for his insightful knowledge of Chinese Qi Gong & Chan Meditation, with a distinguished competition career, and decades of experience of sharing this ancient art with his students.


Be Healthier, more Flexible and more Vibrant Рthrough the power of  TaiJi (Tai Chi).


TaiJiParryDownKickQinNaCombo Pittsburgh

TaiJi (Tai Chi) is a gentle exercise proven to increase your health and fitness. For Centuries, TaiJi (Tai Chi) movements have been considered Ideal for older adults, as they do not place great strain on the joints or the muscles of the body, while still offering a variety of health benefits.
This Taoist Yoga is an ancient system of exercise, meditation & martial art that
Unites the mind, body, & spirit.
Improves Balance, Coordination, Flexibility & Posture
Cultivates Health while warding off Stress & Illness

 The movements are easy to learn, remember and practice.
You’ll set your own pace, with step-by-step instructions.
Without any prior knowledge of TaiJi (Tai Chi),
you’ll learn how to relax,
keep fit and be healthy,
enabling you to enjoy your chosen lifestyle.


2 Week Intro SMALL

Previous and Current TaiJi (Tai Chi) Classes in the Pittsburgh area:

TaiJi (Tai Chi) Phys Ed class at The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA*

Public TaiJi (Tai Chi) classes 7 days a week at Heaven and Earth Herbs, Incense, and Teas Bookstore, Pittsburgh PA*

YangJia TaiJiQuan (Tai Chi Chuan) Club classes at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA

Seniors TaiJi (Tai Chi) classes at Mckeesport Hospital, McKeesport PA

TaiJi (Tai Chi) classes at the Black Mountain Spirit School of Chinese Kung Fu, Homestead PA 

*TaiJi (Tai Chi) classes that have been discontinued in the Pittsburgh PA area.

It’s not that serious, and neither am I (or, Knife Fight at The Bar)

It’s not that serious, troche and neither am I, skincare

– but I’ve been told on More than one occasion that I’m WAY TOO SERIOUS about Kung Fu.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† YES. AND?!?!?!??!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ūüėČ

I kinda think that I’m pretty relaxed about my Kung Fu lifestyle. I take the Practice seriously, but I don’t take Myself that seriously. Every chance I get, in class, if there’s a place in the day’s lesson or in a student’s progress where in the past I’ve made a mistake in technique or poor decision in practice, I Always bring it up – anywhere in my past where I “could’a, should’a, would’a” I point it out as a lesson learned, or as a place where I managed to have better judgement at a critical juncture, and what the outcome was when I chose incorrectly, or what could’ve gone drastically wrong when I somehow dodged a bullet. I just don’t take myself as seriously as some others I’ve met, I don’t Mind using myself as the example of how Not to do something if I think it’s going to help someone else out. In other words – it’s OK that I’m not perfect, it’s Not the end of the world, I’m Not suddenly going to lose all of my students to another instructor, and I’m not afraid of looking somehow Less than what I’m truly comprised of.

I’m sure at some other point I’ll really stretch this idea out into several entries in the future, but I have to get onto the Knife Fight at the Bar part of this ūüôā

Knife Fight at the Bar

A few days ago, I went to a local upscale bar to grab a quick bite between classes (can’t beat their Haluski-!) and after an unusually extra-special welcome from the owner’s son (RUN MARC-! RUUUNNNNNnnnnn-!!!) he says to me

“Hey man, are you coming down tomorrow?”

“Uhhh, I Can…?”

“Like, around 5:30?”

“If I Do, I’m Sure I can Make it 5:30, probably Before.”

“A real good friend of mine is really into Kung Fu and he’s coming down tomorrow, so I thought about You, and…”

“….WHAT Man, What can I do for you/What Is it that you’re Asking for, man?” ūüôā

“Welll, can you bring a sword down?”

“I own a Kung Fu School. I have Lots of swords, it shouldn’t be a problem to bring something down.”

“Ah, Great man, Thanks! The first rounds are on me!” A few minutes go by, and he comes back again with “Maybey you could just wear a Gi, or a robe, or something like that?”

“I should be able to do a little better than that. Lemmee make a call.”

So I Am able to get someone to do a short 2 Man, and a third cat to swing some blades around in a more formal fashion. A’Ight. It’s ON.

We took about 2 hours practice between the 3 of us that night (REALLY Short notice, but hey – Black Mountain SPIRIT, Baby!) prepping for a space about 4’x8′ INSIDE the bar. We get there the next day, we’re told we’re outside instead (not so bad) in the middle of the street. : / That is Not my happy face.

AAAAANYWAY, I take the Practice of my Kung Fu lifestyle pretty seriously, but I don’t take Myself that seriously, so we went out, prepared to be a little fast (we’re watching the cars slow down a few feet up the road from us, so I think we were All just trying to get the hell out of the street-!) a little sloppy compared to our normal quality (same reason), have some fun and then get DRINKS!

Here, for your viewing pleasure, and a Reminder to PRACTICE HARDER for those of us in the video, what I so endearingly refer to as our Dust Devils performance :):):):):)

And Before you ask –

– that Is a train going by as we started moving

– we Are constantly looking up the street at the cars backing up and eventually Getting Backed Up on the street we’re in the middle of

– Yes,….yes, we Did have our 2 Man Fighting set cut in half by the irate and incessant creeping closer-ever-closer of the cars

– and yes, at the end I Was going to hack the engine or driver’s head out of the first car as I walked towards it. I opted to move the chair instead ūüėČ

¬†IF any of you want to see more swordplay, please post any comments below, and I’ll start adding Broadsword Fighting Applications videos!

Chinese War Sword

Chinese War Sword, Guard Posture in Crane Stance. In the video’s solo sequence, the traditional blade to be used would be the Willow Leaf Broadsword, but because the 2 Man Set being performed required the War Sword, and we didn’t feel like lugging a TON of equipment, I took artistic license. It’s weight is about twice a regular broadsword, with a handle about 4 times as long, but I decided to just accomodate the situation.


Butterfly Swords 1

Butterfly Swords in Guard Posture, Cat Stance


Butterfly Swords 2

Butterfly Swords used to simultaneously throw and impale the opponent

Butterfly Swords 3

Butterfly Swords pressing block and downward hack in step behind posture

Pu Dao Horse Cutter Wu Dao Chinese War Sword  2

Pu Dao Horse Cutter Upward Thrust. Wu Dao Chinese War Sword downward shearing block

 Pu Dao Horse Cutter Wu Dao Chinese War Sword  1 



“Wu Wei – Doing no thing, psychiatrist yet all things remain accomplished” I remember reading that for the first time, myocarditis and the many times and translations in many books since.

This idea of Wu Wei holds within itself the conceptualization of phenomena coming forth naturally through no conscious effort or direction, with no human interests acting as the impetus.

As Taoists, if we are able to harmonize with the Natural Way of things, if our mind can follow the path of Tao, then it will be devoid of the biases that normally arise when our human interests in personal satisfaction and recognition take hold and guide us away from the Grand Ultimate. A being such as this is capable of Much Good. A person guided thus will constantly perform acts of kindness, virtue, and merit with no thought for compensation or recognition. Why? – because Such is the way of The Tao. There will be the accomplishment of highest morality without the motivation to ‘do so’ – that is, without trying to be recognized or praised. The Doing will be without any motivation other than the fullfilment of one’s personal nature. Without doing, and accomplishing all things.


The more I walk the Tao the more ‘intelligent’ my hands seemingly become. Looking at the video below, I see Wu Wei splashed all over the place¬†like blood in a murder scene. I noticed it many¬†years ago, and after looking at video of myself now I see that it’s continued to progress. On whatever subconscious level that I process WuWei, it’s Definitely made it’s way into my expression of Kung Fu. I used to have the most Concisely Refined movements, every range of motion was so Clearly Articulated that I looked more like a Kung Fu movie than reality! Don’t get me wrong, I was Very Effective, and still economic in motion and expenditure of energy, 4 ounces to move 1000 lbs, etc. – but Now my hands look as if they’re barely doing anything. I’m ‘Wu Wei-ing’¬† – while this dude is throwing some fast punches Directly at my face, I’m looking off in the distance, watching people walk by, checking out the squirrels in the trees; I couldn’t give a Damn about anything he’s doing, and somehow – my hands are in Exactly the right places at the right time.¬† I don’t even Look¬†at him. My hands just drift around a bit gently bumping into his. If Anything, I look as though I’m a confused magician suffering dementia – but the End of each of those waving hand sequences – THAT’S where the Magic is ūüėČ

TaiJiQuan (Tai Chi) Application Kung Fu in Pittsburgh Wu Wei

TaiJiQuan (Tai Chi) Application Kung Fu in Pittsburgh
“Wu Wei – Doing no thing, yet all things remain accomplished”

I also find it interesting that I never have to move my feet anymore – that is, I don’t have to get out of someone’s way unless I decide to make that part of the application for the purpose of explaining some kind of concept or method (yielding, rolling back, etc). That’s a Literal example of Wu Wei in that when it comes to footwork, evasions, stepping, etc. I truly Do Nothing. If I step at all, it’s usually Forward. But in most cases, I’ve drawn the opponent and their limbs in deep enough that when I apply my technique(s) it’s with the understanding that That is where I am standing, and that That is Where I want to finish it. That’s why my head tilts back about an inch when the opponent attacks, I ‘need’ that Extra inch of enticement-commitment from them if I’m not going to step forward and pursue them.


I teach in a very physically disciplined, most clearly articulated, manner of expressing the nature & philosophy of a technique. And when I’m demonstrating the techniques I make Certain to stick to those very concise, almost Rigid, movement-shapes so that everyone has a chance to see exactly what it is that I’m doing so that they can learn and They can do it too. But every once in a while, the ‘Old Taoist’ cultivated decades ago within me comes out & everything becomes an essay in minimalist expression. Like something hanging in The Louvre with the title “A Polar Bear Eating Snow in a Blizzard”. And that ends up being my ‘final’ Wu Wei, seeming to paint what no¬†one else¬†can see and the finished project shows accomplishment – but only to those who have eyes to see.Ah well, there’s More to Come, perhaps a revamp of the techniques being illustrated as if in a class, with details and explanations in the format of a lesson plan…as if I were a teacher… ūüėČ

PRACTICE.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† -and Don’t forget to click HD on the Video-! :):):)



Today I’d like to talk to you a little bit about Northern Crane Boxing. There are a ton of White Crane boxing schools of classical styles and thought. I’ll be talking about Crane Boxing as I know it, geriatrician from the Ho’o Chin Pai system of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu that I practice and teach here at Black Mountain Spirit.

Northern Crane Boxing Black Mountain Spirit Kung Fu Pittsburgh

Dropping down beneath the incoming punch DaShiFu Marc Black attacks the opponent’s inside thigh, no rx which will cause him to collapse as Black finishes him off. A very long and low example of ‘Wing Beating’ techniques.

We live in a ‘Google’ age, ailment so there are a plethora of videos available today that’ve Never been available to the serious and seeking martial arts viewer than ever before, and that can be a major source of both information and inspiration. Before that, and still most prominent in my mind, are martial arts tournaments/competitions. I think the visceral and tactile availability to both the art and those who on an individual basis practice them is profound, & irreplacable in terms of the opportunities for first-hand experiences with other martial arts practitioners. Time to get back on subject –


Northern Crane Boxing Black Mountain Spirit Kung Fu Pittsburgh

DaShiFu Black captures his opponent’s punch and pulling him to the side and off balance, delivers a Hammerfist to the base of the skull.

Northern Crane Boxing Black Mountain Spirit Kung Fu Pittsburgh

DaShiFu Black evades the incoming attack by using his Reverse Crane Stance to remove his body from the line of fire, using the rotation of his body to simultaneously strike his opponent in the side/base of the head.

Now, I personally don’t like to see performances at tournaments of just ‘beak pecking, because authentic crane systems have so much more to offer, so that’s some of what I’d like to show you here today. Notice how I keep saying Crane, not White Crane. Colors have special connotations throughout all of Chinese Culture, and schools of thought such as Black Crane are in a field all their own. But, for the sake of this article – which is designed to be all-inclusive – I’ll be sticking to the particulars common to and used to differentiate ‘Crane Boxing’ from other styles of Chinese Kung Fu. I of course will be drawing mostly from my experience of Northern Crane Boxing. One of the things that my teacher pointed out to me is that when comparing our Northern Crane Boxing to other Northern Crane Boxing forms, there are a Helluva lot more Attacking techniques than in other Northern Crane Boxing Forms.¬† Now that many years have gone by and I have a modicum of experience to compare with his, I agree (as I’m sure All students learn to in regards to Their instructors) 100% ūüôā

Northern Crane Boxing Black Mountain Spirit Kung Fu Pittsburgh

DaShiFu Black shifts from a Right Bow stance to a Left Bow Stance pounding his right Side Punch into his opponent as an interception.

Northern Crane Boxing Black Mountain Spirit Kung Fu Pittsburgh

DaShiFu Marc Black demonstrates the Tail Kick that he uses in his application.

Southern styles in general are hand intensive, not that much variety in the stancework. What I mean in particular here is that in Southern Kung Fu systems you’ll hit a stance, execute Several techniques, then change posture. In Northern styles, there’s ‘usually’ a stance transition ‘per technique’ – you’ll hit a stance, execute a technique, then change posture, execute a simultaneous block/strike, then change posture…and on and on. This isn’t meant to be a disparaging comment, I am a Very Big fan of southern crane systems because of the articulation of their hand techniques, but when you see some of the stepping of a Northern Crane system (ours for example) there’s just no comparison. Some examples of this may be seen in the gestures and tactics described below.



Broad sweeping movements like the wings of a crane


Heavy beating of wings

Rising & falling much like a crane in flight.

A Lot of shifting between high and low stances.

Crane stances being utilized as Tactics and Techniques in themselves

And by comparison –

Northern Kung Fu has a lot of kicks including striking with knees, hitting with the chest and shoulders

Northern styles have more general legwork, high and long-distance jumping maneuvers, and even acrobatics (THIS I Do Not Advise in combative situations!)

Southern Chinese kung fu systems focus more on short-range techniques and less mobility in favor of stable stances (one does not exclude the other, except philosophically)


‘Pecking’ is a term used to describe the hand gestures that are supposed to emulate the pecking of an actuall crane’s beak. The fingers are brought together in one of a few ways to create a Crane’s Beak hand-shape and that ‘beak’ is then used to strike at vulnerable targets such as the eyes and throat. I’m very big on using it against the temples as well. For us (Northern Crane practiced in the Ho’o Chin Pai system) the beak strikes are more alluded to through other gestures, not just the tell-tale ‘pecking’ hands. The way that I Do utilize the crane’s stabbing beak from a Northern Crane perspective is with a Toe Kick. Now it can go to the groin (I like the solar plexus as well), but I really like to spike the throat and what I do is angle my foot and select a path that maximizes both the economy of motion and time, while actually maximizing the focused power of the kick. And come on – you use ‘White Crane Spreads Wings’ and a streak of tennis shoe blinks towards their throat like a blow-dart and they’re Done – How Cool Is That?!!? But this is definitely a technique that has lethal potential so it’s the kind of thing that’s reserved for enounters with multiple assailants when I would need a single quick shot to stun or fell the opponent, or in the event of a gun being drawn where I can’t really risk a struggle in trying to take the gun from him. Furthering the scenario maybey I’m in a crowded social scene or I may just have a loved one or family member with me and can’t risk anyone getting hurt while I’m ‘playing Kung Fu’; One Kick = One Down; Next.


Imagine having a pole across your shoulders behind your neck, with your arms outstretched to either side with hands holding on to the farthest-most ends. Now, we’re going to turn our bodies left to right and right to left, we’re going to swing one end down while the other end rises, and to continue our aerobics stretching routine we let those movements combine into a kind of ‘figure 8’ movement – THAT’S the way that much of Northern Shaolin Crane Boxing looks from the outside looking in ūüôā LOTS of waist turning, lots of Yin/Yang types of activities, Tremendous amounts of power generation and a Most Excellent approach to redirection and evasion.

I’ve put together a video of simple, common Northern Crane techniques to illustrate the main points of Evasion, wing-beating, rising & falling, high and low stances, stances As the tactics and techniques, etc.

If anyone has any questions or comments feel free!


“Softness triumphs over hardness, pharmacy feebleness over strength. What is malleable is always superior to that which is immovable. This is the principle of controlling things by going along with them, of mastery through adaptation.”

                                                                                                                                                  ? Lao-Tzu

BaguaGazeboApps 43

The Soft Overcoming the Hard – DaShiFu Black connects and listens to the incoming Front Punch and following turns his body in order to avoid the blow and counter-strike.

I’ve always believed – and teach in my classes – that Yin is of Much Greater Importance as a means of personal cultivation than Yang. Yin is Softness. The active pursuit of Yin is everything to me philosophically. Yang manifests itself everywhere in American society, so much so that it overwhelms morality, spirituality, and even societal function as a whole. Just look at what’s being called ‘entertainment’ these days and it’s influence on these remnants of ‘american’ culture.


When I was a young dude doing TaiJi and BaGua before doing these things were cool I used to Always stress to myself that I should Physically act, and mentally conduct myself, as if I were a 92 year old man: I wouldn’t be able to move too fast, I wouldn’t have that much physical strength, my reflexes might not even be so hot – and it would be within That framework that I would attempt to develop and cultivate my martial skills. In that instance, softness would be the only thing that I could truly rely upon. I haven’t deviated from that, except for the fact that as side effects of martial training I Have allowed myself to be strong, fast, and somewhat agile. Whenever I move around with someone, especially someone that I may be physically stonger than, I always think “…Softness…ever Softly…” so that they have a chance to explore their techniques without being overwhelmed, and to learn how to use their structure to stave off my superior physicallity as I gradually increase to a full speed full power applications. This also allows me to practice and further develop my softness skills.

BaguaGazeboApps 32

The Soft Overcoming the Hard – DaShiFu Black connects and listens to his opponent’s Reverse Punch and following the movement of the attack turns his body, twisting, in order to avoid the attack and utilize the spinning momentum to strike his opponent at the base of his skull.

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The Soft Overcoming the Hard – DaShiFu Black connects and listens to the Front Punch being thrown and twisting, follows it in order to attain the Arm Bar.


¬†Which brings us to this video. I wanted to show people a different side of BaGuaZhang than what we’re usually exposed to in vid clips. Most of the time people are to some extent ‘showing off’ when they’re displaying their arts, methods and techniques – and that’s what they’re Supposed to do to get your attention. I’ve never really been that way, since there are Tons of cats out here who have definite skills, and a few Really Serious individuals who are posessed of very high levels of skill. I’m usually content to let Them show the more obvious applications and skills. I never want to be the one who displays the same techniques as the other guys just so that I can be seen doing it too. Not my style. I’d rather fill in the gaps if I can, at the very least, just do what little that I’m capable of to show something unique or not commonly known so that people are able to actually Get something from what I say and do. If softness is my martial virtue, than ANYONE can learn what I teach, and accomplish their goals of personal expression through these arts.


My purpose in doing this Free Hand sparring session was to show the effectiveness of Softness. I adapt to my opponent’s ever changing positions, tactics, and techniques by simply walking and according myself with our shared Tao. I don’t get hit, I counter each movement with my own listening and following skills by moving with him instead of in antagonism to him. He’s moving with Speed and Deliberate force. I’m moving softly, gently. I just don’t think that people realize that martial arts Can be Gentle – too much exploitation in the ‘entertainment’ industry, not enough Art. If you’re not doing flips/flying on cables, killing 200 people with a single stroke or pummelling someone with an endless series of punches to the face you’re “not doing martial arts, man!” It’s all about the Yang. And Thus is without balance, meaning, or purpose.

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The Soft Overcoming the Hard – DaShiFu Black connects and listens to two consecutive blows and following with Sparrow Leaves the Flock applies an Arm Bar across is body while striking his opponent at the base of his skull.

MY Expression of Kung Fu isn’t one of jumping around, high head-kicking, jerkily- punching as fast as I can – but I Do move around, I Do kick at the head accurately, cleanly and powerfully, I Do strike with hand and elbow Quite rapidly and in smooth succession. Kung Fu training is about refinement, about taking what’s inside of you and making it better. Kung Fu tends to take what’s already inside of you and Magnifying those qualities. Kung Fu eventually becomes an expression of Who, and What, You ARE as a Person. I, am Yin. Softness, Ever Softly….



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The suprise strike to the solar plexus knocks the wind out of his opponent and sends him into the railing behind him.


The Soft Overcoming the Hard – DaShiFu Black connects and listens to his opponent’s lead hand while enticing his free hand and follows his opponent’s defense in order to create the opening for his Shoulder Stroke.