Dennis Mace, Holistic Martial Arts Instructor and Illustrator

Holistic Bagua Zhang Instructor at Mace Martial Arts, Illustrator & Concept Artist at Vajra Visions, dedicated to the inspiration and growth of my students.

I strive to continue learning and growing, seeking the sublime in each moment. Chivalry is my way of life. My passion is to share my art and inspire each of my students to cultivate authentic skills, break through their barriers and fears to discover their creative inner-power and get deeply connected with the source of their vitality, to enhance their health, confidence, awareness and well-being.

My immersive path in the martial arts began in 1982 –  starting with Judo, continuing with Aikido and other styles to my core training in Xingyiquan, Taijiquan — and my specialty, BaguaZhang (“8 Trigrams Palm”) . I am a 5th generation disciple of Cheng style Bagua Zhang, and my primary focus in teaching is to pass this art on to the next generation.

As my instructors included Chinese medicine in their curriculum, I view Healthcare & Martial Arts as flip sides of the same coin, and believe that martial arts is a Fourfold Path: Warrior, Scholar, Sage, Healer.

Martial Arts is more than just a hobby or sport, it is a holistic lifestyle that tempers the body, mind and spirit of the practitioner.

I have enjoyed teaching martial arts to children and adults since 1991, with thorough, hands on detail, emphasizing courtesy and ethics, the rich culture and heritage that spawned these arts, and cultivating authentic skills with each of my students to improve their overall health and empowerment.

Dennis Mace with his weapon of choice - the Spear
Dennis Mace with his favorite weapon – the Spear

Available for workshops, private lessons and online training Worldwide

Available for workshops, private lessons and online training on

I am also deeply inspired by the collaborative process of bringing a vision to life — I have helped create murals, concept art for books, ads, logos and storyboards for film — if you are seeking an artist to help manifest your dreams, let’s get started!



Five Elements (五大 Wŭ Dà or Go Dai) Earth ~ 地 Chi (Dì) - North - Spring - Green Water ~ 水 Sui (Shuǐ ) - West - Summer - Blue Fire ~ 火 Ka (Huǒ) - South - Autumn - Red Earth ~ 風 Fū (Fēng) - East - Winter - Yellow Aether ~ 空 Kū (Kōng) - Center - Year - White/Black
Five Elements (五大 Wŭ Dà or Go Dai)
Earth ~ 地 Chi (Dì) – North – Spring – Green
Water ~ 水 Sui (Shuǐ ) – West – Summer – Blue
Fire ~ 火 Ka (Huǒ) – South – Autumn – Red
Earth ~ 風 Fū (Fēng) – East – Winter – Yellow
Aether ~ 空 Kū (Kōng) – Center – Year – White/Black

Testimonials for Vajra Visions – Mace Martial Arts Instructor Dennis Mace


“Dennis is a very highly skilled and conscientious teacher. His commitment to deep practice and understanding of the applied principles of these arts allow benefits to novice and experienced practitioners. I HIGHLY recommend his classes!” — Derryl Willis, Chief Instructor at Seattle School of Chen Style Taijiquan

“Dennis is an excellent martial arts instructor who teaches practical techniques for the street as well as the rich history behind the art.”  — Jason MacCoy, 3D Animation Instructor

“Dennis Mace is one of the top martial arts instructors in Seattle. If you are looking to gain realistic combat skills (both standing and on the ground), internal power, and a more healthy lifestyle then this is the man you need to learn from.”  — Thomas Fox, US Navy

“Dennis Mace is one of the finest practitioners of Bagua Zhang in the Seattle area. His technique and teaching prove his passion for the art. Giving real life insight and methodology… Dennis Mace has given me invaluable techniques for improving both my mind and body. I highly recommend this class.” — Wilho Heikkinen, Ex US Navy

“I booked a couple of private lessons with Dennis, since I practice Cheng style Baguazhang, and heard he was good.  I was most definitely impressed with every single aspect of the lessons!  First of all he customized them for me in particular at my current level of training, and he also took a couple of injuries I have in mind.  He gave me specific exercises to help my injuries heal well, as well as to increase flexibility where it is needed. What I enjoyed most about Dennis’ lessons is that he taught principals, not just application after application, but more about why you are doing each one, and what you are searching for with your body and breath when doing them.  I was amazed at how much information he has about Cheng Bagua, and could tell we were only touching the tip of the iceberg.  Dennis also helped me improve my circle walking, as well as added some things to my fuju gonfa. I can safely say that Dennis gave me 3-6 months of stuff to work on.  Fortunately I took notes ;). The lessons were a mixture of bringing what I already knew deeper, as well as introducing some new concepts.  I will most definitely be returning for a lesson everytime I am in Seattle!” — Athena Wallinder

“As someone who has practiced a range of martial arts for 30 years, I have to say Mr Mace is a top notch instructor.  He is extraordinarily knowledgeable and, more importantly, is able to convey that knowledge effectively.” — Michael Hasse

“Dear Energy Workers, Our Bagua Zhang, introductory workshop was a huge success. We did theory and warm-ups At the Healing Arts Center then practiced our newly learned skills outside in the village gardens. It was so much fun, I forgot to take pictures! We plan to hold many more of these workshops & classes. Bagua Zhang is rooted in Taoism, Chinese Yoga and martial arts. It helps you to increase and work with energy, become more rooted, and build self-confidence, through spiral movement. Dennis Mace, LMP and Martial Arts Instructor offers “Highly effective training for real-life situations.” He has studied many martial art forms. However, His core training is in Xingyiquan, Taijiquan, and Bagua Zhang. Dennis is committed to empowering and cultivating authentic skills in each of his students while improving their overall health. His classes are prefect for all ages. ” —   Nancy Merrifield, RN, Reiki Master Teacher,  Life Solutions Healing Arts Center 

“I had heard great things about Dennis for years before actually meeting him, and last Fall when we finally connected I can testify that it was all true!  He is a very knowledgeable martial artist and his depth and breadth of information about the internal arts is spectacular.  I attended a Bagua workshop with him this month and walked away with a lot of ideas of how to make my martial arts training better.  In particular, I got to experience “sticky body” in a very thought provoking way that will improve my training, and I learned some things about how the hips can open and close to improve power generation. I highly encourage folks to train with Dennis, you won’t be disappointed!” — Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS(AOM), NCCAOM Dipl. Ac, General Manager Seattle Asian Medicine and Martial Arts  

“After 2 years Karate, 2 years TaiChi/Qigong, 2 years BoaBom/SeammJasani, yet in 8 months of Bagua Zhang, I feel I’ve learned more than I did in those 6 years. This is for 3 reasons from my perspective:

a.) I’ve practiced so many years of yoga and advanced training that I’ve received both in yoga and Massage therapy that have made more intuitive/open to learning movement arts. In other words, I’m more “receiving” than in my previous early adulthood.

b.) Those 6 years of martial arts total was too focused on “Forms” We were pushed to memorize steps/movements/dances with very little practice of application or explanation of how to utilize them, let alone even what was supposed to be going on internally. There were always excuses on why our questions were not be answered, with false promises of “later later later”

c.) You! You’re teaching method is friendly, understanding and giving. You’re enthusiasm shines through. You emphasize the importance of knowing the how/why and not getting hung up on the fluffy image stuff. In some ways you are an evolution of modern teaching that’s effective and not stuck in an outdated model of delivery.

So thanks again for all you share!” — Michael Aquino, Yoga Instructor and Licensed Massage Therapist

Dennis is a skilled Kung Fu practitioner! Very well rounded in is teaching ability!! And its a blessing for his students to have a teacher like him!!” — Azeem McDaniel, Choy Lay Fut Expert and Escrima Instructor

“Today was a very good day. Martial arts all day! I had my first workshop in using the staff with Dennis P. Mace of Mace Martial Arts and held at Seattle Asian medicine and martial arts (SAMMA) in Lake city. I’m looking forward to more training with the staff and any of the weapons classes he will have in the future . It’s an exciting addition to my weekly Bagua Zhang classes. If ever you were interested in Martial arts check Dennis and SAMMA out. They have amazing instructors , and Healing arts. This has long been an interest of mine and now a big part of my life. Your never too old to follow your dreams, you just have to start :)” — Erica Keshvadian, Illustrator and Graphic Artist

“I have had around 17 different instructors over the past 50 years including being a private student of Wu Mui Pai head of system Grandmaster Wai Ming Chow; Bok Shaolin Eagle Claw head of system Grandmaster Fu Leung and a student of Tai Chi Praying Master Huy “The Dragon” Chiang to name a few. In the past few weeks I have learned more applications than I had learned in all those other schools put together! Dennis has very deep knowledge of martial arts and he has the ability to actually use and teach it. In most schools all you will ever see is some type of kickboxing as soon as they go to fight, even a well known Tiger Claw school in New York does this. The style taught here is Cheng style Bagua which is based off of Chinese wrestling and has a whole bunch of Dragon thrown in for good measure. Tons of throws; joint locks and wicked strikes. If you like Japanese styles like judo; Jiu Jitsu and Aikido you will LOVE Cheng Bagua. Dennis is also a great guy and there is zero attitude in this school. I came in with two herniated disks, bone spurs and spinal stenosis and in just a few weeks my pain is almost gone! Come here for expert Kung Fu instructon; physical therapy; stress relief; longevity exercises and the list goes on forever. Can’t say enough good things!” — Chris Perkins, retired US Navy

“Dennis is a great teacher and I love his style. He was so easy to follow and I felt amazing after the workout.” — Theresa Soucy, owner at Frank’s Bakery and Catering Service


Dennis Mace – Martial Arts Background and Training

Dennis Mace demonstrating Bagua Zhang self-defense 2014

Cheng style Bagua Zhang (程式八卦掌) instructor Dennis Mace has been passionately involved in martial arts since 1983, when at the age of 13, he started training in Judo and Jujutsu in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska under Sensei Delo Lee. Dr Lee’s enthusiasm and humorous teaching style, balanced with the subtle strategies and practical, hands-on approach at the core of Judo, left an indelible impression on Dennis’s life in the martial arts.


Sifu Phillip Starr, in 1986
Sifu Phillip Starr, in 1986

In 1985, Dennis heard about a new Chinese Martial Arts school in town, and immediately enrolled at the “Omaha Kung-Fu Institute”. There, Dennis enjoyed the rigorous training, family atmosphere, and structured curriculum of Sifu Phillip Starr’s classes, where he was introduced to Shaolin-Baixing QuanXing Yi Quan,Taiji Quan and Bagua Zhang, all taught progressively within the framework of Yi Li Quan, 一 理 拳 “One Principle Boxing, the brilliantly cohesive martial art founded by Sifu Starr. Eventually, Dennis earned Black Sash rank in Yi Li Quan, and values the practical strategies and powerful simplicity of this art.


In 1992, Dennis moved to Melbourne/Palm Bay, Florida, where he was introduced to Aikido under Sensei Grady Lane. After returning to Omaha in 1994, Dennis continued both Yili Quan with Sifu Starr, and Aikido training with Sensei Ron Christenham, with the encouragement of Sifu Starr, who recognized the similarities between Bagua Zhang and Aikido.


Shifu Yang Guo Tai in 2002
Shifu Yang Guo Tai in 2002

Seeking to further his education and a new career, Dennis moved to Seattle in 1999. Shortly after surveying the martial arts scene, Dennis felt blessed to find Cheng styleBagua Zhang (程式八卦掌) Shifu Yang, Guo Tai (Born July 1928 – Deceased November 2012) in Vancouver, BC. Yang, Guo Tai had learned from Xu Zhen Biao, who was a student of Liu Shi Kui (Liu Bin’s son) and Wang Wen Kui, one of Liu Bin’s top students, who in turn was one of Cheng Ting Hua’s first disciples. Dennis became a devoted disciple, commuting regularly to Vancouver to continue his training with Yang Shifu, and Yang Shifu’s senior student, David Meikle.



Dave Harris with his teacher, Fook Yeung
Dave Harris with his teacher, Fook Yeung

While in Seattle, Dennis also briefly studied Cheng shi Bagua Zhang with Zhang Jie, and principles of applications and partner drills with Dave Harris (1939-2008), from 2002-2004.




Dennis is committed to the preservation and promotion of authentic, practical martial arts. In November 2002, he established the Cheng shi Bagua Zhang Hui (程式八卦掌會 Cheng style Bagua Zhang Association Yahoo Group ) online to build a community between practitioners of Cheng Ting Hua’s Bagua Zhang, in an effort to compare and preserve the art through coordinating shared training. Dennis created this outreach in the spirit of Cheng Ting Hua, who openly accepted several expert students and exchanged training with them as well.

Cheng Tinghua
Cheng Tinghua


Dennis later started an updated online group for the Cheng style Bagua Zhang Association on Facebook (程式八卦掌會) in July 2010, to preserve and promote this profound martial art.

Yang Shifu encouraged Dennis to start teaching Cheng shi Bagua Zhang in Seattle in 2003, and Dennis brought Yang Shifu to conduct 2 seminars to the United States, first in Omaha, NE in 2002, and later in Seattle, WA in 2004.


Later in 2004, Dennis moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he taught English and Martial Arts, before returning to Seattle in 2006. While residing in Indonesia, Dennis befriended and briefly trained with the inspiring Aikido Sensei Imanul Hakim, founder of Aiki Kenkyukai.


Dennis is also First Aid and CPR Certified, and a became a Licensed Massage Therapist between 2010-2014, specializing in Sports Massage, Myofascial Release, Deep Tissue, and Injury Treatment. Viewing Health care and martial arts as flip sides of the same coin, he believes that a complete martial artist follows a Fourfold Path: that of aWarriorScholarSage, and Healer. Becoming a professional healthcare provider was a rewarding step in fulfilling this Fourfold Cycle.


Dennis has enjoyed teaching martial arts to children and adults since 1991. He teaches with thorough, hands on detail, emphasizes courtesy and ethics, as well as the rich cultural heritage of these arts, and is committed to cultivating authentic skills in each of his students to improve their overall health and empowerment.


Dennis Mace is available for combat oriented Bagua Zhang and self defense workshops and welcomes all inquiries.
Please contact Shifu Dennis Mace via email: to Schedule your free introductory 30 minute private lesson so he can customize your training needs here at Mace Martial Arts ~ The Other MMA!

The Cycles of the 5 Elements 五大 (Mandarin: Wŭ Dà, Japanese: Go Dai) correlate with the directions, seasons, and chakras: Earth ~ 地 (Japanese: Chi, Mandarin: Dì) – North – Spring – Green – Base/Root Chakra – Little Finger Water ~ 水 (Japanese: Sui, Mandarin: Shuǐ ) – West – Summer – Blue – Navel/Sacral Chakra – Ring Finger Fire ~ 火 (Japanese: Ka, Mandarin: Huǒ) – South – Autumn – Red – Solar Plexus Chakra – Middle Finger Wind ~ 風 (Japanese: Fū, Mandarin: Fēng) – East – Winter – Yellow – Heart Chakra – Index Finger Aether ~ 空 (Japanese: Kū, Mandarin: Kōng) – Center – Year – White/Black – Throat/Sound Chakra, Brow/Light Chakra, Crown/Consciousness Chakra – Thumb