Liuhebafa, translated as “six harmonies and eight methods,” is a traditional Chinese martial art known for the diversity of movements, softness and internal strength. “Your intent moves like a fearsome tiger,” we read in The Five Characters Secret, a classical text on...

Some years ago I was at a friendly non-competitive pushing-hands event in the U.S.  It was one of those situations where veterans were encouraged to work with beginners and newcomers in an exchange of skills. One veteran, a senior male practitioner who is very well-reg...

Presented by Steve Higgins to The Taijiquan Enthusiasts' Organizations health symposium in September of 2017, this 15 minute video seminar presents the Old Yang Middle-frame Taijiquan in the context of Tantra, an esoteric Central Asian Buddhist tradition which shaped t...

August 29, 2017

(with thanks to Cold Mountain Associate Instructors Randall Templeton and Tanya Korovkin for their assistance; photos by Doug Haas and the one of me and Tanya by Peter Reist)

The following four methods are the inner keys to many combative applications.   They are not TH...

August 12, 2017

In previous entries to this blog we have looked at the non-technical components for effective Tai Chi self defence.


In  Self Defence before the fight    we discussed several types of violence, ways of avoidance, and what you have to do when violence becomes inevitable...

July 17, 2017

Tai Chi's origins in Central Asian shamanism are of practical interest to practitioners of the Old Yang family middle frame tradition.

As transmitted to us by Dr. Shen Zaiwen, the old middle frame is not simply combative.  It is also an exercise in shamanistic self...

December 27, 2016

Hundred Eyes asks Marco this question in one of their training bouts punctuated by kicks and punches. (The video is available on Vimeo at:   There follows an explanation illustrated by, among other things: a servant combing his mistress's hair, ano...

June 8, 2016

BLOG Installment #8: What is a martial art?

It’s a terrible question, one we should perhaps avoid. After all, as E.M. Forster wrote, every act of definition carries us one step farther from the truth. From this point of view it might actually be a stupid question!

But i...

April 21, 2016

BLOG Instalment #4: Internalism and Flow

I’m reading Barry Allen’s Striking Beauty: A Philosophical Look at the Asian Martial Arts. It’s an engaging read for someone who never got past first year Phil. at university, and I am finding it both stimulating and occasionally...

April 12, 2016

Blog installment #3 (timely, since I'm conducting a session on stick and pugilistics this Sunday!)

An Autobiographical Note on Irish Family Boxing.

I’ve hesitated about whether or not to post this instalment as it is rather personal, dealing as it does with my family bac...

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