Tag: Seattle

New Beginners Bagua Zhang Kung Fu Class Starting in August!

New Beginners Bagua Zhang Kung Fu class starting in August! 

We have a few spots available if you would like to start training Remote online with our Beginners Bagua Zhang Kung Fu class, starting this Saturday, August 1st, at 11:30 am to 12:30 pm PST! 

With all the uncertainty of the tumultuous times we are all living in, Bagua Zhang is an excellent practice to help you improve your health, increase your vitality and awareness, and develop self defense skills to meet the challenges we are facing with focus and confidence. 

Once you get some of the basics down, you are welcome to join in our other regular group classes on Thursdays 7-8pm PST, and Sundays 11am-12:30pm PST.

The Remote Membership will give you the ability to continue training by following along with our regular group classes, and see us go through exercises, forms, applications and partner drills live. Since we are training Remotely via Zoom, you can join us from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good internet connection. I will be available to answer questions after class from students via the discussion board on our members-only Mace Martial Arts private chat group

The Remote Membership is only $50 per month, half the price of the in-person monthly Membership, but will still give you the ability to keep training with us live via Zoom and access to student resources at Mace Martial Arts. Also, we are in the process of creating instructional videos and workbooks to help you learn and grow with your practice!
If you are interested in joining for the first time, or it’s been awhile since you’ve attended our classes, please respond to this message so we can get you started with our Bagua Zhang Martial Arts classes

At Mace Martial Arts, we value the sanctity of all life, celebrate diversity, cultivate peace and justice, and accept students who are interested in learning how to improve and protect themselves. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bigotry and will reject any potential or current student who bullies or discriminates against others based on ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender/orientation. 

Bullying and Oppression; Return to Class on Father’s Day!

What’s going on? 

As we celebrate Emancipation Day/Juneteenth here at Mace Martial Arts, we also recognize bullying and oppression have been on the rise in recent years. All over the world we continually see examples of it, especially in current events that painfully expose America’s unresolved legacy of bullying and oppression, in “the land of the free, and home of the brave.”  

I’ve had to deal with a couple bullies in the last 3 years, while teaching martial arts classes at a local park. The first incident, a man approached and asked what martial art we were practicing, but his demeanor was off, and his stilted questions shifted to provocations; I redirected him, encouraged him to give it a try, but he backed down and watched for a while before wandering away. 

The second time, a few months later, another man walking his dogs approached our class, inquiring about what we were practicing.  I was cordial, despite feeling his skewed intentions. His questions became increasingly rude, then he veered off topic and asked my students and me “who’d you vote for?” He then escalated to making inane, disgusting racial slurs to my diverse students and accused us of witchcraft, proclaiming how “Trump is going to make America great again!” and would send us all back where we belong. I got between him with his dogs and my students, telling him I’d be happy to show him how it works.  As much as I hoped he’d back up his hate speech with action, he backed down, and grumbled as he wandered off. 

My own experiences of bullying and oppression

On a personal note, among the reasons I started learning martial arts when I was young was to protect myself, not only from any bullies at school, but also from my own father, who had a slow burning explosive temper, that sometimes led to abuse. While my father tried to shelter me from the gang life he grew up in, the threat of brutality lingered throughout my childhood. 

This also encouraged me to keep my martial arts training practical, as much as it was a way to channel my emotions constructively towards personal development, and taught me to deescalate confrontations. 

I also grew up around a lot of racism being expressed from my father and extended family and his friends. Strangely enough, I have always been revolted by racism, even when I was very young.  Some of my earliest memories were being deeply confused and offended by the vitriol and callousness of the condescending slurs I would hear. Even though it was my own family vomiting this hatred, nothing else made me feel more alienated from them. Though I’ve always respected my elders, I couldn’t tolerate their blind hatred, and frequently confronted my father and members of my family in defense of my diverse friends and interests, even if it meant refusing to eat holiday meals with them, or getting another beating. 

To this day, I’m continually amazed and disgusted by the systemic hatred exposed by past and recent events that continues to divide and threaten us.  I wonder why so many people are so blind to see that we are all connected brethren, spinning together on this tiny jeweled planet, circling a star, on the fringes of a galaxy swirling among countless others in a vast cosmos. But I digress… 

The Bully within: where do bullies come from? 

Bullies come in many forms, from the domestic violence of threatening partners and family members, cruel classmates and demeaning coworkers, to abusive superiors, oppressive government officials, and brutalizing police officers. 

Bullies feel superior to and are intimidated by someone who is different; in response, they seek to dominate and attack. Bullies are predators incapable of having empathy for their prey, and lack any appreciation of diversity. The more bullies feel threatened, the more they escalate and lash out, either individually or collectively. 

They may dominate and attack individuals or entire communities. The Bully/predator may threaten, demean, humiliate or attack their victims verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually, by direct or indirect means. 

Racism, misogyny, homophobia and religious suppression are all forms of bullying, extremes on the spectrum of predatory behavior; the condescending supremacy is rooted in fear and control. 

While bullying and oppression is nothing new, bigots of all kinds have been emboldened to crawl out from under their rocks by the recent torrent of hateful rhetoric flowing from a divisive US government administration helmed by a bully who openly gaslights and encourages hostility to such an extreme degree that it has become a sickening “new normal.” 

As these toxic behaviors increase, the predators who participate in this cult of personality try to normalize their oppressive power as they worship their supreme leader. Thankfully, these bullies are being exposed on a larger scale as most people have video cameras and social media to share these incidents on a wide scale, increasing awareness and activism. 

Where we stand today

At Mace Martial Arts, we support the massive protests represented in the Black Lives Matter movement demanding a long-overdue end to systemic racism and police brutality.  We also acknowledge that there’s a vicious backlash as police and white supremacists retaliate by escalating attacks on minorities, protesters and innocent bystanders. I have deep respect for good police officers that put their lives on the line to protect and serve the people every day, just as I am revolted by any bigots in cop-clothing who try to hide behind their badges while continually terrorizing their communities — these corrupt officers serve injustice and must be rooted out. 

My hope is extreme measures are swiftly enacted to put an end to the existential threat of systemic bigotry. But in the meantime, as a martial arts instructor, it’s become necessary that I teach my family and students self-defense to survive attacks from white supremacists, as well as confrontations with anyone else who represents a threat on some level, including those police officers that may abuse their authority. Sadly, as we’ve seen over the generations, and especially recently, sometimes the police are the white supremacist terrorists. 

The problem with self-defense for civilians against police brutality and unlawful arrest, is that for legal reasons, the police currently hold legal authority in most states to use excessive force without restraint under the guise of “resisting arrest.” Which is why abusive cops are often heard repeatedly shouting  “stop resisting” while they butcher their victims, so that body cameras can correspond with the bogus reports they cook up, and why so many bad cops get preferential treatment in the courts after their abuses of power. 

I know the majority of police officers are good, respectful people, but the code of silence of the “thin blue line” that keeps protecting these racist terrorists in their ranks is reprehensible and unacceptable. Respect is earned through responsibility, and for law enforcement to gain trust and respect, the entire law enforcement community needs to step up, hold each other accountable, and be systematically overhauled. 

We at Mace Martial Arts support all civilians, officials and officers who encourage these reforms that take a stand for social justice, and reject those in favor of maintaining the warped and evil status quo. 

So what do we do about it? 

There are 4 ways of dealing with a bully (an individual predator, or group of oppressive predators): 

·       Cave in to their demands and attacks in hope that they stop; the problem here is that you give the predator all the power, enabling and teaching them they can get whatever they want from you, or others. 

·       Ignore or avoid them, and hope they stop or go away; this might diffuse the predator’s threat if they decide to walk away, but it won’t stop them from attacking you or someone else later, and it will not stop a physical attack. 

·       Deescalate, distract or reason with them, to diffuse the conflict; if the bully is self-aware, they might learn to stop their aggression; realistically, this is rarely ever the case. 

·       Confront them, call them out, or take them to task; they may cower, but if they escalate, defend yourself to eliminate the threat, by whatever means appropriate and necessary. Bullies must be held accountable for their actions for them to stop attacking others and be forced to take responsibility for their actions. 

Confronting bullies requires courage, but it is the only way that you stand up for your own rights and life, and the rights and lives of others the bully/predator may target. 

To stop bullies, we must learn to say “no!” to them, draw a line to end their attacks and hold them accountable. 

At Mace Martial Arts, we value the sanctity of all life, celebrate diversity, cultivate peace and justice, and accept students who are interested in learning how to improve and protect themselves. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bigotry and will reject any potential or current student who bullies or discriminates against others based on ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender/orientation. 

Return to Class on Father’s Day! 

As King County received approval today from the Washington State Secretary of Health to enter into Phase 2 of the Safe Start program, we will be returning to in-person classes this Sunday, June 21st on Father’s Day! 

We are ramping up on sanitation protocols and will require face masks in class for the instructor and students. This includes private lessons and small group classes of up to 5 students. 

Remote Membership Option: I will continue to broadcast the group classes live remotely on Zoom, so that students that are unable to come to class, are too far away, or don’t feel comfortable yet to attend in person, can still follow along online. 


This Remote Membership will give you the ability to continue training by following along with our regular group classes, and see us go through exercises, forms, applications and partner drills live. Since I’ll be focused on teaching students that attend classes in person, instead of monitoring Zoom, I will be available to answer questions after class from both in-person and remote students via the discussion board on our members-only Mace Martial Arts private chat group

The Remote Membership will be half the price of the in-person monthly Membership, but will still give you the ability to keep training with us and access to student resources at Mace Martial Arts.   

Memorial Day 2020, Phase 2 & Remote Memberships

Training self-defense at Mace Martial Arts

I wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend with your family, as we honor those who have served our country and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, especially now in light of the unprecedented and unpredictable changes we are all facing this year. 


The next step in gradually lifting social distancing restrictions for the pandemic may come in early June — When Phase 2 rolls out, we will resume in-person classes at Mace Martial Arts, as Washington Governor Inslee indicated that martial arts is part of the activities allowed for small gatherings. This will include private lessons as well as small group classes of up to five people. 


I will confirm when in-person classes will resume when Governor Inslee gives the order to move into Phase 2 of the gradual lifting of the Pandemic quarantine measures. 


But wait, there’s more: I will continue to broadcast the group classes live remotely on Zoom, so that students that are unable to come to class, are too far away, or don’t feel comfortable yet to attend in person, can still follow along online. 


This Remote Membership will give you the ability to continue training by following along with our regular group classes, and see us go through exercises, forms, applications and partner drills live. Since I’ll be focused on teaching students that attend classes in person, instead of monitoring Zoom, I will be available to answer questions after class from both in-person and remote students via via the discussion board on our members-only Mace Martial Arts private chat group

The Remote Membership will be half the price of the in-person monthly Membership, but will still give you the ability to keep training with us and access to student resources at Mace Martial Arts.    

Weeknight classes starting December! 🐉

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to them their own.” – Benjamin Disraeli 


The martial art that we practice at Mace Martial Arts, Bagua Zhang, is fundamentally based upon transformation — not only in the dynamics of a chaotic situation to a harmonious resolution, but also in the evolution of the practitioner. 


At early stages, the Bagua Zhang student is taught basic structural principles and strategies, that through progressive training, evolves into a creative, raw and intuitive expression at advanced stages of practice. 


This is one of my favorite aspects of this art, tapping into that creative flow, feeling the state of grace, and helping students discover their hidden potential and creativity. 

Weeknight classes starting December! 🐉

Starting December 12th, we are adding Thursday evening classes, from 7-8pm! 


Please advise if you plan to attend Thursday 7-8pm, and/or Sunday 11am-12:30pm classes. 


Invite friends and family – receive  a $20 discount from your next month for the referral, and they get $20 off their first month as well! 


Reminder: no class held this coming Sunday, November 17th, so we’ll be making up for the time when we resume class on Sunday, November 24th. 

Update – Mace Martial Arts Dojo/Guan: 

We’ve been here in Shoreline for a year so far, and the training hall is coming together nicely. Come join us in class and check it out! We are holding Bagua Zhang classes on Sundays, 11am to 12:30pm, with a new weeknight class on Thursdays, 7pm-8pm, starting December 12th!

I’m teaching private lessons in the same space. It would be great to have you join in! 

 

 

Sacred Spirals, Classes Reduced

Sacred Spirals

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

Throughout the Universe, energy tends to move in spirals, naturally forming matter into spheres.

The polarity of opposites creates vortexes throughout nature — from galaxies, the movement of solar systems and the gravitational fields that create planets, hurricanes and typhoons, tornadoes, are also seen in the eddies in the currents of wind and waves. Reflected even in the growth of plants, DNA strands, and in molecular and atomic structures, the swirling patterns of the Golden Mean and Fibonacci’s Curve are omnipresent throughout the universe.

Taoist sages recognized these patterns as well, and these universal truths are reflected in Bagua Zhang, the “Eight Trigrams Palm“, a refined and formidable martial art founded on an ancient practice of meditative circle walking. The goal of this ancient circle walking practice was to increase vital energy and find attunement with the energy of the universe and enlightenment.

The Sacred Spiral is reflected not only on molecular and cosmic levels, but also in the structure of our muscles as they dynamically curve around our bones, and even in the muscle fibers themselves, like rope, or cable. Bagua Zhang systematically uses these structures in our bodies to naturally develop strength, health and maximize expression of power. Bagua Zhang emphasizes circularity and the principles of spiraling and the dynamic sphere more than any other martial art, for:

  • structure and fluid expression of force,
  • health and strength development,
  • strategies and principles of application in self defense, and
  • energetic dynamics for alchemical internal cultivation.

Moving Meditation - Bagua Zhang: The Circular Art of Transformation

More specifically, in Bagua Zhang training, the Spherical Structure is expressed in each of its foundational principles:

  • Moving from Center – with gyroscopic Centrifugal and Centripetal Force, going with the flow with continuity and non-resistance.
  • Opposite but Complimentary Force and Movement – this unifies the whole body, for maximum expression of power. Bagua is the most ambidextrous martial arts system, emphasizing training both sides of the body bilaterally.
  • Maintaining bows and curves in the body and limbs – stretching open like the arches in bridges, and bows in archery, it also applies to powerful stances and footwork, and efficient expression of force through the body, arms and hands.
  • In striking along straight lines, the force spirals like drilling.
  • In circular strikes and kicks, the hands and feet cut in elliptical arcs from one’s center.
  • In grappling, the arms & legs coil and wrap the opponent’s to counter, lock and sweep.
  • In throwing, body and hands spiral in elliptical arcs to disrupt balance of the opponent.

Energy flows in a torus spiraling around the body, as in all magnetic and gravitational fields. The Intrinsic Life-Force Energy (Qi) naturally flows to and from spherical, spiraling fields, or centers in the body – expanding (reeling outward) and contracting (reeling inward) vortexes — understanding this dynamic maximizes efficient force with minimal effort – conserving strength by utilizing the power of spherical structure and stability. Bagua Zhang’s emphasis on these coils and spirals naturally increases the practitioner’s vitality. The rigorous and balanced training stimulates the mind, increases strength, flexibility and dexterity, while also cleansing impurities, and promotes healing on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.

Bagua Zhang is truly a profound, life-changing holistic method of self-cultivation and self-defense, and why I am so passionate about sharing this amazing, life transforming practice with as many people as I can.

 

Reduced Classes

Starting in November 2016, regular classes and fees will be reduced.

Bagua Zhang Group Classes will be held on Sunday mornings 11am-12:30pm, at:

Wilcox Park
5215 196th Street SW,
Lynnwood, WA 98036

Group class fee $20 per 90 minute lesson, or
Monthly Membership $70.

Please RSVP to all classes you plan to attend.

 

 

This new schedule will provide us the opportunity to create more instructional video and written reference material of the Mace Martial Arts curriculum for my students. We are also seeking a more stable indoor location for our classes. Stay tuned for more details!

This will also free up time for private lessons —
Private lessons now $60 per hour, and $200 for a package 4 private lessons
— please *Contact me* to schedule times to continue your training.

 

Register for Private Classes here!

 

Family and and referral discounts available — for the referring student and the new students — spread the word about our Bagua Zhang classes!

Autumn Changes

20160927_161459

Welcome Changes

I am grateful and happy to announce that I have found a wonderful new location for our Bagua Zhang classes! Starting tomorrow morning, Saturday, October 1st, I will be offering class at beautiful Wilcox Park in Lynnwood.

20160927_160300-wilcox-park

 

Bagua Zhang Classes are held on

Saturday & Sunday mornings 11am-12pm,
and Tuesday & Thursday evenings 6pm-7pm

at:

Wilcox Park

5215 196th Street SW,
Lynnwood, WA 98036

20160927_161416-wilcox-park

 

Please RSVP to all classes you plan to attend, to confirm location and schedule.

See you in class soon!

Restore your Essential Energy

Essential Energy Workshop Flyer 24Oct2015

Fulfilling a Dream

I’ve been dreaming of sharing this wisdom since I was introduced to energy building practices of Qi-Gong over 30 years ago.

Every day I hear people complain about “feeling old”, having low energy, low sex drive, weak immune systems and burdened with emotional overwhelm. I want to encourage all of them, and say “you know what? There’s another way. You don’t have to feel this way. You can reclaim your energy and feel vital again!”

Thank you to Karen Atkins of Restore Your Soul for helping to realize this dream and co-create this workshop that combines Energy Building and Essential Oils — 2 of the most powerful ways to start cultivating a culture of wellness.
Let’s take one step closer to living in a world filled with happy, healthy people!

I hope you can join us at one of these workshops — the first ones will be held in Seattle next week at Seattle Asian Medicine and Martial Arts, on Saturday, October 24th and Sunday, October 25th.

Our next workshop will be in Bangor, Maine on Saturday, November 7th – if you’re in the area you can register here.
We’ve also been asked to do one in New York City on Tuesday, November 10th — if you want to attend, please let us know, and we’ll email/message you the location and times.

We are getting requests for teaching the workshop in other cities, so if you’d like to host an event in your area, let us know!

 

What are “Mixed Martial Arts”?

Bagua Zhang Throwing technique
Bagua Zhang Throwing technique

What are “Mixed Martial Arts?”

From Mace Martial Arts — The Other MMA!

What we call “Mixed Martial Arts” today is mostly a sport-based amalgamation of Western Boxing, Muay Thai, and Brazialian “jiu-jitsu”, usually practiced in sporting events where fighters compete in a matted “cage” or ring. There are often other systems that influence the athletes in the sport, but these systems are the most common and popular. “Mixed Martial Arts” is the newest fad in martial arts training, and became popular in 1993 with the heavily promoted ‘Ultimate Fighting Championship.’

Actually, all traditional Martial Arts are “Mixed Martial Arts.”

Modern Muay Thai is a sport that comes from a root of older “Muay Boran” (traditional combat styles from Thailand), and Brazilian “Jiu-Jitsu” comes from a simplified combination of Japanese Jujutsu systems and Judo.

Judo itself is a blend of several different Jujutsu systems compiled by Dr Jigoro Kano, simplified to be presented to the public at large in Japan, with a focus on self development at its core.


Taijiquan (Tai Chi) comes from 5 different martial arts systems, combined by a battle hardened Chinese General 500 years ago. Though it’s the most widely practiced martial art in the world, most people only learn the outer shell of it for exercise and meditation, without any understanding of the practical self-defense roots at the core of Taijiquan.


Choy Lay Fut is a well-known Chinese Street-fighting martial art combination of 3 different systems (that were also combinations of other family systems). Wing Chun is widely popular Chinese Martial Art, with roots in various martial arts from the Shaolin Temple, made famous by it’s most legendary proponent, Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee is often credited as the “Father of Mixed Martial Arts”, as his philosophy “Jeet Kune Do” (“Way of the Intercepting Fist”) was to learn the basics of a system, then adapt, “use no way as way”, and express one’s self without the limitation of style. Though Bruce Lee was an inspiring visionary, the practice of mixing and adapting in martial arts has been with us since their inception several millennia ago.

The legendary Shaolin Temple and Wudang Temple are both important melting pots of hundreds of different systems in China. The Shaolin (“Young Forest”) temple is often credited as the birthplace of Chinese Martial Arts, but this is not so — the Chan (Zen) Buddhist Shaolin Temple was built in the 7th Century AD, and Chinese martial arts were already deeply systematized over 4,000 years before that (refer back to Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”).


Karate is commonly translated today as “Empty Hand”, however, it originally meant “China-Hand” in Okinawa, because it was comprised of multiple different systems imported from China. Later, in the early 20
th Century, when Karate began to be taught in Japan, the Imperialists in Japan changed the characters’ meaning Kara (Chinese) to Kara (Empty), because of racist politics of the fascist regime at the time.

Tae Kwon Do & Tang Soo Do are both Korean derivatives of Shotokan (“Shoto’s House”) Karate, Shoto meaning the nickname for the Okinawan Instructor Gichin Funakoshi, who brought Okinawan Karate to Japan.


Silat are a collective of hundreds of very different martial arts styles from Malaysia, Burma, Indonesia, and the Phillipines, many of which are heavily influenced by Chinese styles of martial arts.

Dong Haichuan
Dong Haichuan (1797-1813)

The system taught here at Mace Martial Arts is Bagua Zhang (“8 Trigrams Palm”),

the origins of which is credited to Dong Haichuan (1797 – 1882), who was already an accomplished expert of several different Shaolin martial arts styles, before he purportedly traveled to live at a Taoist Monastery for a decade. It is there, where Dong Haichuan learned the the ancient Taoist circle walking practices (at least 4,000 years old) and secretive martial arts that formed the foundation of what he synthesized with his previous martial training and later started teaching in Beijing as “Zhuan Zhang” (“Turning Palms”), which was eventually termed “Bagua Zhang” (“8 Trigrams Palm”). Dong Haichuan is therefore acknowledged as the primary transmitter of the system, not the actual founder, as the original arts arts Bagua Zhang was based on were taught secretly for thousands of years before he was introduced to them.* 

Dong Haichuan selectively accepted many disciples, though purportedly only ones that were already experts of other martial arts. Dong Haichuan then took each students’ individual background training, and enhanced it with the dynamic circular principles of Bagua Zhang, resulting in myriads of different branches of the system. The differences between branches of Bagua Zhang is further widened, as each disciple was encouraged to find their own natural expression of the art, after they had built a solid foundation with the basics of Bagua Zhang.


* Regarding Bagua Zhang’s ancient history before Dong Haichaun, please read this fascinating article by Bruce Frantzis.

Thank you for being a part of this rich tradition here at Mace Martial Arts!

Introducing new Bagua Zhang Package Programs at Mace Martial Arts!

Now offering Package Programs — for students that want an immersive learning experience, with more support and resources to help guide you to your goals.
Bagua Zhang Package Programs Online

The Most Versatile Weapon – Staff Workshop

Dennis M - Sam B Bagua Staff 15Jul15 9a

The staff is one of the most ancient and versatile weapons –

Learn practical techniques and strategies to improve strength, coordination, power, and how training with this weapon correlates with bare-handed self defense as well as being able to use walking sticks, gardening tools, brooms, mops and pool cues as effective self-defense weapons!

Dennis M - Sam B Bagua Staff 15Jul15 12a

We will be learning single and double ended staff techniques and strategies, as well as various sensitivity drills, strikes, locks and throwing methods using a staff to its fullest potential!

Dennis M - Sam B Bagua Staff 15Jul15 28a

 

Please bring your own staff to the event!

When: Sunday, August 16, 2015

12:30pm-2:30pm

Held at

Seattle Asian Medicine and Martial Arts 
12025 Lake City Way NE, Suite B
Seattle, Washington 98125

Dennis M - Sam B Bagua Staff 15Jul15 30a

Pre-registration $30
Day of event $40
Click Here to Register Online!

Update, July 25, 2015 –

How to Find Your Own Staff

You do need to bring your own staff to this event to train with, and to practice with after you attend the workshop. It’s best to buy the staff locally, in person, instead of ordering from a catalog or online, because you need to double check the following:

  1. The ideal length of the staff should be at least as long as coming up from the floor to your chin, or the top of your head when standing (usually between 5 to 6 feet long, longer is ok, but avoid getting something too short). Another test is if you hold the staff horizontally, balancing it at shoulder height along your outstretched arms, you should barely be able to touch the ends of the staff with your extended fingertips.
  2. The ideal diameter of the staff should be at least 1-1/8 inches to 2-1/4 inches — if it’s too thin, it will snap during training.
  3. The staff should be made of hardwood – it should pass “the thumbnail test” (you shouldn’t be able to dig your thumbnail into the wood). Pine and bamboo are unacceptable because they aren’t hardwood — Pine dowels won’t work, they will splinter and crack under the very lightest training. Suggested woods are Hickory, Maple, Oak, Waxwood, Ironwood, Treated Rattan, etc.
  4. One shop option is Seattle Martial Arts Supplies, located on King Street at the South end of Seattle’s Downtown International District. Another option is your local hardware store – Ace, Lowes or Home Depot, etc – go to the section with hardwood broom and shovel handles, and get a straight, un-tapered Hickory broom/mop/shovel handle — it will probably be cheaper and more durable than some of the maple and oak staffs in the martial arts shops (make sure it is at least 5 feet long and at least 1-1/8 diameter, and use the thumbnail test in #3 to make sure it isn’t Pine).
  5. Make sure the staff isn’t cracked or has splinters. Check to make sure there aren’t large “eyes” in the grain – it’s common for stress-fractures in the staff around these brittle areas when subjected to regular training – even with hardwood. Avoid staffs with fancy engraving along the shaft, as they lend to cracking and splinters during practice.
  6. Make sure the staff isn’t warped – look down the shaft from one end to check if it’s warped or bowed. Warping in the wood throws off the balance of the staff and makes it unwieldy.

If you have any  questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Do you want to study Bagua Zhang, but don’t have a teacher in your area?

Start or deepen your martial arts training with Bagua Zhang!
Start or deepen your martial arts training with Bagua Zhang!

Do you want to study a holistic martial art – Bagua Zhang, but don’t have a teacher in your area?

Here’s your chance to learn with a devoted instructor who cares about you, with live remote video classes!

Bagua Zhang Instructor Dennis Mace correcting a student's posture in "Zhi Tian Cha Di"
Bagua Zhang Instructor Dennis Mace correcting a student’s posture in “Zhi Tian Cha Di”

 

 

 

While it may not be as personal or effective as learning in person with an instructor, it’s the next best thing, thanks to developments in technology. Here are

5 reasons why Live Online Video Classes are one of the best ways to learn:

  1. Books are great insightful references, but the information may be difficult to decipher, and the author can’t respond to your questions. But with live online remote video classes, the teacher is right in front of you helping.
  2. Recorded videos are great for getting the idea of a skill, but you can’t get corrections or feedback from the instructor in a recording — but with live remote online video classes, you get immediate feedback and insight from your instructor.
  3. Online remote live video classes give you an opportunity to learn a style you want to learn – on a regular basis and from anywhere in the world when the style or teacher you want to study from isn’t available where you live. Let’s face it — it’s unrealistic for most people to move just to follow a teacher or a system, based on family and work obligations, travel visas and financial feasibility.
  4. Remote Live online video classes allow you the convenience of training from home, on a regular basis, especially if you have moved away from your instructor and want to continue training with them. Giving you skills to work on in the meantime until you can travel to train with your instructor in person, or invite them to a workshop in your area for more personal training.
  5. Remote Live Online training gives you the chance to learn under an instructor’s watchful eye, and correct errors or misalignments that you might be oblivious to in your own solo training; an experienced instructor will notice subtle differences that could save you years of mistakes and potential injuries from incorrect training, and accelerate your learning curve, with much more depth to boot.

Teaching Bagua Zhang Strategies
Teaching Bagua Zhang Strategies

 

 

All you need to get started with remote online video classes is:

  • a high speed internet connection,
  • an account on Zoom.us ,
  • a space big enough to practice in front of your webcam, laptop, tablet or smart phone so I have visibility of what you’re doing,
  • a decent video camera and microphone that you can plug in to your computer (most laptops & tablets already have them built in!),

and you’re set!

Bagua Bridging Counter
Bagua Bridging Counter

 

 

Before we get started, here are

10 keys to enhance your online (or in person!) learning experience:

    1. Be real (authentic) and courteous with your self and your instructor: keep your training realistic, honest, safe, and fun. Respect and honor yourself, your instructor, and the generations of practitioners before you that poured their blood, sweat and tears into cultivating this wellspring of wisdom that you are now a part of. Appreciate what you’re learning, and celebrate your growth and accomplishments!
    2.  Stay focused during lessons, and solo practice: pay attention to how you feel, think about what you’re learning, and what the movements mean — it is a path of discovery!
    3.  Commit to practicing at home at least 30-60 minutes a day what you’re learning in class: you’ll be surprised how fast you improve. If you practice only during classes, then you’ll waste class time trying to remember, instead of learning and progressing – take initiative for your growth! Use class time to refine your skills and learn new information. Mastery is a path, not a destination.
    4.  Be mindful of how the art you’re learning relates to all aspects of your life: Consider you are practicing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — constantly learning and growing.
    5.  Stay humble: what you’re learning can make you healthy, as well as powerful — but that power doesn’t entitle you to manipulate, bully, or use others to try out new skills — that’s what the classroom is for! Like the saying goes: “with great power comes great responsibility.” Martial Arts is about nurturing one’s self, and protecting the sanctity of life. Remember, keep a beginners mind — because there is always potential to grow!
    6. Private Classes can include more than just yourself: a) invite up to 2 other people to join your private lesson, get feedback while training with each other, and split the tuition of $80 per hour. b) If you can get 3 or more people to join you during your private class, you can create your own weekly group class, at group class tuition – this is a win-win situation, because it’s cheaper for you and your classmates, more beneficial for your instructor, and you get more opportunities to learn and grow with classmates!
    7. Try to join Group Classes: if you are taking private lessons, try to join one of the regularly scheduled group classes remotely, so you can see others train and get more feedback and learning opportunities.
    8. Ask questions! Be thoughtful about your training, if there’s something you’re unsure about, don’t hesitate to ask — this is for your growth, and I’m here to help you!
    9. Take notes after your lessons! This helps you remember material covered during class so you can practice on your own outside of class. Get a notebook dedicated to your martial arts classes, so you have your own convenient reference as you progress.
    10. Invite a local school or several friends to join you and a) Sponsor your instructor for a workshop where you live, or b) schedule times when you can come train in person with your instructor to get the hands on training you need to progress!

Bagua Zhang Throwing technique
Bagua Zhang Throwing technique

So all that’s left is to sign up and schedule your classes – I’m looking forward to training with you soon!
Register for Private Classes Online

 

Introducing new Package Programs at Mace Martial Arts!

Now offering 2 package programs — 6 month Essential Package, and full year Journey to Mastery Package — for students that want an immersive learning experience and are ready to commit to lifestyle change and certification, with more support and resources to help guide you to your goals. Each of these programs include all regular group classes, private lessons, half-off workshops, testing fees and membership fees all at a package discount.

Bagua Zhang Package Programs online