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Tim Cartmell on the Xingyiquan Fighter

17 Aug

As always, good stuff from Tim

Ground Dragon Martial Arts

Hey everyone, here is another my posts on Xingyiquan and Baguazhang specifically.  This time let’s discuss Tim’s view on the Xingyi oriented fighter and what that means.  All of this materially was found on the Shen Wu Discussion Boards, this is just a small bit that I pulled off a few years ago.

4171_4_15-hsing-techniquesStrategy and Technique

The underlying strategy of Xing Yi Quan is based around ending a martial confrontation in the most expedient manner possible (usually, while inflicting the maximum amount of damage to the opponent). It is not so much a system of self-defense as aggressive offense. The founder of the Art, Ji Ji Ke (Ji Long Feng), was a famous warrior, and his warrior’s mentality carried over into the boxing style he created. The “self-defense mentality” is one of escaping from a violent encounter unharmed. The ‘warrior’ mentality is one of taking out the opponent as quickly…

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Tim Cartmell on Xingyiquan’s Five Elements

2 Aug

Source: Tim Cartmell on Xingyiquan’s Five Elements

Some thoughts on failure….

10 Jul

I am a failure; let me highlight the many ways I am a failure.

My health has since childhood been a roller coaster ride and I have failed to maintain a steady weight. I do not have the body of a “martial arts master”, especially if your idea are men like the late Bruce Lee.

My school is never going to make me a millionaire. I almost closed twice in the years I was open. In fact, I tell you, I do things that I know make it not as successful as it could be.

I haven’t always been the best instructor / sifu; like my own teacher I have had moments of anger and times when I was insensitive to certain students.

On the other hand, I’ve been a relatively good son, a relatively good husband and I am trying to be the best father. I brought my daughter into the world, which made my wife, my mother and my father happy.

My school may not make me a millionaire, but thousands of people have been there, learned something, it has helped them achieve at least some of their goals. I have students that have been with me 20 years. Others may not be in class now, but they remain a part of my extended family.

I have kept alive the memory and the teachings of the late Chan Tai-San.

My own teachings have reached not only my students, but others. People have written to tell me I influenced them, some even saying I have changed how and what they practice.

So am I a failure?

I was very fortunate to have both my grandfather and my father as role models; men who defined success in ways very different than many. Different, not better. Certainly, in some ways HARDER. But I am still happy who I am (most of the time). I know I had reasons why I made most of the choices I have in life.

Special offer on my newest book “Chinese martial arts: a historical outline”

23 Feb


Exclusively for this readers of this blog, save with discount code WDZN7W4H

Order online here

More random thoughts on a Tuesday morning

6 Sep

The martial art I teach begins instruction with a technique known as the “penetrating strike” (穿搥). The correct execution of this technique requires learning to turn both the hips and shoulders, engaging in a practice referred to as the “wheeling body” (車輪身). Ironically, while today most would classify my method as “external,” this practice is similar to the Taiji Quan concept “the waist turns like a wheel” (腰如輪轉). Learning to turn correctly and developing thoracic flexibility allows us to develop “waist power” (腰力). We refer to our strikes as “shooting star fists (流星拳). In Xing Yi Quan there is the saying “punch like a shooting star” (拳出如流星).

If I have a student who has studied Indian yoga, they will inevitably observe that the execution of the “penetrating strike” and the exercises to prepare the body (練功) are similar to many Yogic asana such as the “virabhadrasana.” Based upon their experience, this is how the student relates to my martial art. It does not mean that my martial art has origins in India, in Yoga, or a relationship to Hinduism. If I decide (and I have) to also study Yoga, it gives me a different perspective on my martial art, it teaches me new methods and approaches to teaching flexibility. In the end, I have absorbed Yogic techniques which allow me to better teach my martial arts students how to execute the strike. In addition, if practicing my martial art also strengthens my students’ bodies and makes them healthier, I am still teaching them my martial art and not Yoga.

At this point, I will further complicate my story by letting you know that the martial art I teach is called “Mi Zong Lama Pai“ (密宗喇嘛派), or “Tantric Lama Sect.” My method is not called this because the individuals in my lineage were particularly religious, they were not. One worked as an armed escort and engaged in a number of public challenge matches, several were military officers and a number were members of secret societies and/or involved in organized crime. The method is named Mi Zong Lama Pai simply because the ethnic Chinese who learned it in southern China in the mid nineteenth century learned it from a Buddhist monk affiliated with the Tantric Buddhist Sect (密宗佛教). That Buddhist monk also engaged in challenge matches and may have used a hooked sword to kill a few people. As I have already discussed here, Buddhist monks in Imperial China frequently did not conform to our contemporary understanding and expectations. We’ll return to that monk a little later.

There was a last chance, you missed it

2 Aug

I feel sort of bad about raising the price, but I did warn you…..


I am the adopted in door disciple of the late Chan Tai-San and the Chan Tai-San Lion’s Roar Martial Arts Association is the only place you can learn what I learned from him AND train in the methods I used to produce champion fighters in amateur and professional fighting including Sanshou, San Da, Muay Thai, boxing, kickboxing and MMA. We offer the entire system, including all the theory and how to teach it


I also have brought in my classmate, and together we are teaching the extremely rare “Gam Gong Lihn Gung” or “Tibetan Vajra Yoga”.


HOWEVER, as we are aware many are not in the New York Tri-State area and are not able to train in person, we have made the instructional video being filmed during the classes available via a secret group on Facebook.

A very brief sample of the type of instruction being offered.


Unlimited access to all the material being placed in the secret group
– Unlimited instructional video
– Outlines of all the material
– All the traditional Chinese names of the techniques, including the actual characters
– Members only blog posts and limited access to question and answer sessions

Only $39 per month (cancel anytime, no commitment)

If you are not in the New York Tri-State area and still want to learn the material being offered in the new association’s Lama Pai Lion’s Roar program, now is your limited time opportunity! Only $39 per month with no commitment gives you UNLIMITED ACCESS to the material

WARNING: Rates WILL go up again…..

UPDATE: Petition to save this blog….

15 Jul

If you have not yet signed, you can do so at

We have over 100 signatures in just a few days, plus tons of wonderful comments. And, of course, I continue to blog even as the ax looms.

1. My next project is tentatively titled “Chinese martial arts, a historical outline”. I have raw cuts of five chapters so far, but also have been blessed with some new studies and getting some hard to find/out of print books to flesh out material. As this is intended as an outline, I definitely want to bibliographical essay to be deep for interested readers to further their knowledge.

2. The Chan Tai San Lion’s Roar Lama Pai secret group on facebook. LAST CHANCE – The price of membership will increase to $39 on August 1st.

If you are not in the New York Tri-State area and still want to learn the material being offered in the new association program, now is your limited time opportunity! Only $29 per month with no commitment gives you UNLIMITED ACCESS to the material. But that price will go up August 1st!


7 Jul

If you are a fan of my blog “RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE MARTIAL ARTS” you might want to know that I am being threatened and even wordpress is rattling their sabers about taking the whole th…



7 Jul

If you are a fan of my blog “RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE MARTIAL ARTS” you might want to know that I am being threatened and even wordpress is rattling their sabers about taking the whole thing down. Because the internet allows people to make baseless claims from behind a keyboard, I must prove that my work is “scholarship” and “research” and serves the purpose of commenting and/or teaching. If you like my blog and think it is worthy of these designation, PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION

Thanks and have a great day!

Transformations….martial arts gets you in shape (if you do it right)

8 Apr

These days, a lot of martial arts programs talk about transformation. That is, in this day and age, less people are interested in “fighting” and a lot more are interested in health and fitness. There is certainly a long history of martial arts training improving health. I stand here myself as living testimony; taking up martial arts after being diagnosed with Leukemia at age six. But in this blog what I am going to ask is, can you really deliver? Or is it all just talk?

EJ before and after

Between 1994 and 2009 I focussed most of my efforts on practical application, i.e. I trained a lot of fighters who won a lot of events and titles. That isn’t to say that along the way I didn’t help a lot of “regular people” achieve their fitness goals. But I think that most people who met me during this period would have associated me more with “fighting”. For a lot of reasons, I have gradually shifted the focus of my efforts since 2010.


I know that a lot of people see the results that we publicize and flat out do not believe them. But they are 100% accurate and true. And usually the people involved confirm it. Check us out at our FACEBOOK fan page for example.

fan page pic 1

Now, here is one of the things I find interesting. While maybe the focus seems so different, the training is really NOT that different. I still focus a lot on strong basics and my students still throw very mean kicks and punches.


Which, as always, returns me to my mantra which is “train with TRUTH”. I still teach very strong basics, inherited from my traditional Chinese martial arts background. I mix it freely with an open mind that lets me absorb and integrate advances in our understanding of how our body works and how we can best train our body.

Jackie before after

So my “old complaint” remains just as relevant as it ever has, when you try to “water down” a martial art you NEVER achieve success. You cheapen the product, fail to get results and damage your own integrity.

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