I am interested in all martial arts but especially “internal” and “soft” arts. I tend to record thoughts about internal arts but am just as interested in soft “external” arts. I am interested in blending, redirection without detection, deflecting 1000 lbs with 4 oz, maximum efficiency, minimum effort, neutralization, constant fluid motion, real time practice, grappling, rolling, balance, sensitivity, relaxation, improved reaction time and speed from a relaxed state, uprooting, throwing, tui shou, rou shou, san shou, opening the joints, silk reeling, mind/body unity, yi, qi, health, qigong, zhan zhuang, yoga, theory and practice … “it is an empty theory without practice, but it is a blind practice without theory”

These are mostly some training notes and rants for myself. It helps to write both down to recall something in the first case and clear something out in the second. I try to analyze and reflect on ideas by writing some of them down as a supplemental online memory, and hopefully not really think too much during actual training. All the blahblah blah can be chattered out in a blog. I have been doing most everything wrong with wrong turns or incorrect understandings at one point or another so I rant a bit about that and that seems to help me get on track. I’m trying to restart and make some actual progress and log it occasionally. There is such incredible misinformation and confusing information floating around. Disclaimer: you’ll find plenty of that here. These are rants. Don’t try any of the stuff mentioned at home. Etc. I sometimes blog about mma as well. Someone on a neijia forum explained it’s the new lei tai. That seems like a pragmatic way to look at it. I am also a huge fan of Fedor, Cung Le, and “Rampage” Jackson. Finally, I seem to log a lot of offtopic posts on new technology and popular science, especially concerned with neuroscience.

If you’ve wandered across these pages somehow, hope you find something interesting. Feel free to leave a comment. Edit: comments close after a period. Random ad hominem type arguments in comments may be edited or remain unpublished. No ranting type blogger really has time these days to spend too much time reading, spamming, approving, or editing this kind of commentary (however starting a new blog is a good way to get those kinds of rants off your chest or out to interested readers on your own! As a certain other blogger likes to mention, none of this stuff really matters anyway).

“Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke


5 Responses to “About”

  1. I was wondering if you ever accept guest posts on your site. At the very least, we’d love to do a link exchange. Please let me know!



  2. mark small Says:

    I’m looking for feedback on some heady material for my book entitled: Tai Chi, Hsing I, and Pa Kua Chuan Throwing By Way Of Our Modern Masters. There may be better focus areas for your blog in the following table of contents.

    Perhaps your blog could generate discussion on the Lo River Map theory below. I’m ignorant on how to post, though. I’d welcome your input on where to list it.

    Thanks, in advance for your time.

    Sifu Mark

    Table of Contents

    Front Matter


    Foreword by Chen Yun-ching

    Chapter One: The Essence of Nei Jia –“Internal Martial Arts”

    Overview of Internal Martial Arts and Basic Nei Jia Principles
    Old Yang Style Influences in Tai Chi Chuan

    Similarities Between Tai Chi, Hsing-i, and Pa Kua Chuan
    Dissimilarities Between Tai Chi, Hsing-i, and Pa Kua Chuan

    How Masters Apply Classical Theory

    Chapter Two: Classical Throwing in Modern Traditions

    Strategic Aspects of Distance and Directionality

    San Shou Tactics Found in Modern Tai Chi Chuan

    Chapter Three: Energetic Theory Meets Bio-Mechanics
    Silk Reeling or Spiraling Yin/Yang

    Tai Chi’s Nei Jia Training for San Shou Tactics

    Dragon Body Strategies

    Your Dragon Body

    Chapter Four: Compounding the Pa Men — “Eight Gates”

    Contra-laterally Linking Your Upper and Lower Body
    The Preliminary Energies of Peng and Chi
    The “Friendly” Primary Energies of An and Lu
    The “Angry” Secondary Energies of Tsai, Lieh, Chou, and Kao

    Chapter Five: Chi Amplification

    Pa Kua Pre- and Post-Heaven “Patterns”
    The Lo River Map

    A Nei Jia Path Along the Lo River Map

    Linking the Pre- With The Post-Heaven Patterns

    Chapter Six: Bio-mechanical Partner Exercises
    Maneuvering to Re-align Yourself

    Force to Resistance Leverage

    Four Exercises

    Following, Joining, Neutralizing, and Uprooting

    Chapter Seven: Throwing Applications

    37 Shuai Applications
    Conventional Reminders for Throwing

    Nie Jie Throwing Techniques and Variations




    Mark Small’s Lineage Chart

    Testimonials and Disclaimer

    The graphic you’ll need is on my Facebook page, but check out the larger image on my website: http://www.mtndragon.org. And, thanks, again.

    A Nei Jia Path Along the Lo River Map

    Follow the sequence of dots along the Lo River Map for amplifying your chi in manners that correspond with the I Ching’s pre- and post-heaven patterns pictured below. Bio-mechanically link your body awareness, including your natural breathing, to the dots that progress along the lines of the Lo River Map in order to progressively refine your chin energies for rising shen (spirit) to your head top. As you progress in your abilities to sense directionality and distances in relation to an imaginary opponent, you will find that wu bu’s “five activities” used for corner stepping with a partner in giant roll back (da lu) training will synchronize with your compounding pa men energies.
    By applying the following nei jia theory, you will enhance your partner work and begin to discern a palpable feeling tone from your amplified chi and your contra-laterally linked whole body movements. This sensing ability is what I believe is referred to as “penetrating” in the Book of Changes. 28 Thus, it could be said that in your nei jia training, you and your partner together make visible what without your practice would be unseen between you. The final indication that you can discern these “lines” or paths of emanating unseen energy patterns is that you remain fully present, “stopping time,” or at least slowing it in a manner that is said to heighten your self-awareness.

    Linking the Pre- With the Post-Heaven Patterns

    On the Lo River Map above, you will locate certain symbols that I will present individually in the following commentary. Think of them as visual signals or sign posts prompting the steps along the path I am about to help you navigate. An incremental increase in intrinsic energy is implied in this metaphor of progressively sequencing spaces within your body and spaces that are shared with your opponent. Energy moves inside you, links to four quadrants, returns you to an internal awareness of chan szu chin spiraling and to your contra-lateral separation of yin and yang that is needed for looking left and gazing right in the five activities; then links your internal with your external amplified chi, prompting six unities inside your body for establishing your on-guard posture. This schema can help you internalize your spatial attentiveness toward prompting a palpable nei jia feeling tone of moving energy.

    San Tsai –The Three Powers (BEGIN… 3 dots on the pre-heaven pattern).

    Drop your sacrum and separate your upper from your lower body. Link your upper, middle, and lower dan tien at the core of your body to your head, hands, and feet, so that you have neither half-yin nor half-yang imbalances, nor are doubly weighted, right side from left, nor upper from lower.

    Szu Hsiang –The Four Emblems (4 dots on the pre-)

    Feel for pre-existent or established yin losing ground to yang and yang losing ground to yin imbalances that appear in the four cardinal directions when you have the impulse to advance forward or to withdraw backward, to turn left or to wheel right. (These activities have been classically associated with the four flags used in an army’s wheeling maneuvers.)

    Chiu Kung –The Nine Palaces (9 dots on the pre-)

    Loosen the nine major joints of your body: your wrists/ankles, elbows/knees, shoulders/hips, waist/neck, and thoracic hinge; and spiral your silk reeling chan szu chin energy through them.

    Liang I –The Two Powers (2 dots on the pre- pattern)

    Contra-laterally link potentially new yin with old yang qualities in both your upper and your lower body, as well as to the space around you. This joining of powers could be called the essence of tai chi chuan. It begins with contra-laterally linking your left lower limb with your right upper limb, and vice versa, moving energy that will ultimately spiral throughout your whole body and beyond your fingertips.

    Wu Hsing-zhen –The Five Activities (5 dots on the pre-)

    Anticipate sinking into your central equilibrium stance, the balance point beneath your perineum that is found somewhere behind your front heel and the middle of your inner thigh. To find this point, previously described as zhongding –your fluid transitional point, open your hips and shoulder areas (kua) and sit into your central equilibrium stance as you step to re-align yourself in relation to your opponent’s commonly held center of balance or pivot point between you. Neutralize your opponent while you look left, gaze right, advance or retreat.

    Pa Men –The Eight Gates (8 dots on the post-heaven pattern)

    When neutralizing your opponent, use any of your individual and/or compounded pa men energies of peng/ward-off, lu/roll-back, chi/pressing, an/pushing downward (those associated more with the cardinal directions), as well as tsai/pulling, lieh/splitting, chou/elbowing, koa/shoulder bumping (those related more to the four corners) in martial application.

    I Li –The One Principle (1 dot on the post-)

    Let your eight separately definable yet combinable pa men “gates” instantaneously unify with your amplifying chi (in effect, practicing to achieve the physical equivalent of a unified field theory of quantum mechanics), moving the stillness inside yourself toward chi shih (the one principle form) from the emptiness of wu chi shih (empty form) to discern the “grand ultimate” separation of yin and yang known as tai chi. 30

    Lui Ho –The Six Unions (6 dots on the post-)

    Let the six external unions of: 1) your linked shoulders and hips, 2) your linked elbows and knees, and 3) your linked wrists and ankles at this point match up with your internally amplified chi and your compounded chin energies to manifest your fighting spirit (shen).

    Chi Hsing –The Seven Stars (7 dots on post-)

    The culmination of this intrinsic process defines your martial “on guard” posture known as Form 7 Stars. Add one last aspect—that of your head top—to the preceding six unions of your major joints with your compounded internal energies. This process is poetically referred to in the Book of Changes as “The prince holds to his own abundance.”

    The “princes” who trained me in my ting chin listening skills validated metaphors like these that helped me progress to ever-higher levels of sensitivity. When you follow these sequential points of the entire Lo River “path,” you begin to appreciate how the elements associated with various trigrams of ever-changing yin and yang lines progress to complete the linking of both the pre- and post-heaven pa kua arrangements. To follow this subject further requires a entirely separate book (see Journal Articles listed in the bibliography). Suffice it to say that nei jia “dragon men and women” have historically meditated upon and tried to internalize the tai chi symbol known as the yin/yang or “grand ultimate” design with its associated pa kua patterns as part of their nei jia training. Your nei jia skills will deepen when you add the above progression through the Lo River map for contra-laterally linking yin and yang within yourself, and by extension link your whole body’s chin energies to the distances and directionalities needed for uprooting and/or throwing your opponent as set out in the exercises of the next chapter.

  3. neijia Says:

    hmm yeah your book looks fascinating. this blog isn’t too active at the moment so not sure where to move your comment other than leaving it here for now. will check back later…

  4. Teesid Says:

    I found your post about Zhan Zhuang and whole body vibration machines posted several years ago. Have you tried doing it on that kind of machine?

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