Articles

General articles to start with, book and seminar reviews below, along with training ideas

Daily choices part 2 – time travel…

After my last post I realised that I had not said or asked what I wanted to ask. What is on my mind is more of a hypothesis, or a potential principle for to build into a daily practice or even to build the practice around. How to explain... There is an idea from NLP called an anchor.  In general t

Daily choices

There is something that has been on and off my mind for a while... When it comes to training I live in a trans-disciplinary culture. Most of the people I discuss and learn with have a more than passing knowledge of some combination of barbell training, remedial strength training, Olympic lifting, gy

What are the key ingredients of healing movement?

Ever been hurt or injured? Me too. For purely personal reasons as well as with the aim of helping others I have spent some time researching healing movements. The research has included all kinds of ingredients, concepts and qualities. A partial list includes: tempo, rhythm, volume, range of motion,

The illusion of knowledge

Recently I had the pleasure of training with Maul Mornie in Paris. You can see what Maul does in a video below. The way Maul teaches in these seminars is to spend some time on basic drills, then go on to sequences of techniques which he demonstrates multiple times on one of his senior students. I wa

Important! Can you spot the differences?

“Information is news of difference” Gregory Bateson Of course you can see differences, I'm interested in the differences you overlook Two questions: So how many differences can you spot between these two photos? And why the hell is this important? I’ll answer the second question first with a

Practise, questions and transfer

I often think about how to get the most from Bagua (and other practices) for myself and when I teach. Searchlight by Kevin - https://www.flickr.com/photos/magickevin/ We often hold high the ideal that in practice the mind is silent, the body turning in a infinite space of sublime zenitude.   But be

Beware of miracles

The world is complex, more complex than we can really understand. It is tempting to try and make sense when sense is not necessarily there. This applies to movement and martial arts. I want to tell you my story, it may save you some time. I first discovered the miraculous when I was fifteen and star

Step Size

Is this article about how long or short your steps should be in Bagua? Partly. One reason Bagua is a rich art is because movement is a rich source of metaphor that help us make sense of the world. More specifically the base unit of Bagua,  the step, is an the way we progress from  here to there.

Is ‘internal’ the holy grail of movement?

Is there a single most efficient movement method? What is natural movement? What makes a movement ‘internal’? These are all topics I’m going to cover here. Along the way we’ll touch on Swan Lake, the Easter bunny, craft beer, bees in trees, divisive marketers, what I like about Jake Mace, wh

How does Bagua reflect the depth of human anatomy?

Here is a link to an article about spirals embedded in the anatomy of the human body. Bagua is of course known for it's spiral (or helical) movement. The article is one of many great ones from Simon Thakur. I know Simon Thakur because he is a fellow student of my teacher Luo. Of course there is more

Slapped up and down by a monkey’s question

I just came back form a wonderful weekend in Antwerp. Was the weather wonderful? Well reasonable, for Belgium. What was wonderful were the people, and what we came together to learn about. It's been some time since I saw the video 'What is fighting monkey' and I've come across people who have recomm

The tree orbiting diagram

Want to watch something trippy? Actually it can be more than mystic entertainment if your approach it in the right way. Let me explain. My classmate Marcus Brinkman in Taipei posted this video recently. Marcus was Luo's first student, and is a very skilled practitioner of Baguazhang and our system's

This year of teaching 2015

In France the year begins twice - in September with la rentrée and then in January with the rest of the world! It's time for me to start preparing the rentrée, and my Summer. Before I do that I want to thank my students for their energy and goodwill since the rentrée in 2014. As I mentioned in my

A confession from a Bagua teacher

I have a confession to make. It's not very long, still it's a little embarrassing. For a long time I was disappointed. I was disappointed by my students. I wanted perfectly coordinated, supple, strong students, who would practise at least as much as I did when I started, who would pay on time and ju

Do you have your training focus sideways?

A lot of people labour under misconceptions about health and training. In some ways I can summarize this by saying that the reason I have a sixpack* is that I don't do cardio, I don't do crunches or planks and I don't cut fat when I eat. So what do I do? I'll tell you in a while. What I've learned

The Sichuan Heuristic

To develop fighting skills also requires process. Every martial art has its own recipe, though quite a few fail with the end products. To continue with the cooking metaphor a full free course meal of combat is not something that is widely considered very good for the health. The wise cook separates

RIP Bozo the Bagua clown…

Recently I had the pleasure of giving a private class to introduce Baguazhang to a new student. Now over the years I have developed a lot of tools to do this, introductory exercises, stories, ways of explaining important ideas. Some of this material is to help explain what Bagua is, I have learned t

Reclaiming movement part 3: Simple food distinctions

In the first article I gave some simple rules of thumb as a way to get out of the metaphoric swamp of poor diet and inactivity. I made a choice to start this way because I want to underline the point that you get to decide what you do to begin to navigate out of the sticky and unhealthy situation. I

Reclaiming movement – part 1, introduction

Welcome to the first in a series of articles in which I plan to map out routes from the couch to healthy movement, and beyond. Mountains and landscapes make great metaphors and in this article I want to show the easiest paths out of the swamps of junk food, obesity and inactivity to at the least a p

5 key steps to Qigong skills

How long does it take to feel, move or master qi? What does that mean? What does it involve? What are signs of progress? These are important questions if you are interested in qigong. Before we can even begin to answer these questions we need to examine the concept of qi. At its most basic level, qi

Self Defense and Krav Maga

I'm often asked what is the difference between the self defense classes that I teach and Krav Maga. There are certainly differences. I do not and have not practiced Krav Maga, and I imagine there is variation between classes. However based on research and conversations I can make some distinctions.

Internal and External

A lot of people are searching for ‘internal’ without being clear what ‘internal’ actually is. If you do not know what it is, how can you recognize it if you find it. A lot of people are working hopefully, doing qigong sets and forms because for one reason or another they think it will give t

Bagua and flow

Bagua is all about flow, patterns of flow. If you"ve ever been fascinated by water running in a stream, the shifting shapes of clouds or wheeling flocks of birds there are many similarities. It is one of the frustrating things about Bagua, because it is about flow, about movement it"s not easy to ca

How to be an Empty force master

If you follow these steps you will be able to demonstrate ‘empty force' the ability to throw and move other people without touching them. Actually it is fairly easy. The trickiest part is how to start. Once you have demonstrated your power a few times to a core group of students it gets a lot easi

Book and seminar reviews

Tim Cartmell 2017 seminar reviews

I'm back in Paris with a full notebook after a great weekend in Cologne, and it's time to get some thoughts in order. I've only been involved in BJJ on a regular basis for a short time and I feel very aware of my lack of experience. However I've also trained with several teachers over the years and

Book review: Movement Matters

I've just finished Movement Matters by Katy Bowman, and I want to write a review for several reasons. The first is because I think it's full of ideas worth sharing, the second is that I'd like to sort some of my ideas about the book and connect them to parts of my life (some of which will be peculia

Book review – Possible Origins: A Cultural History of Chinese Martial Arts, Theater and Religion

I just finished Scott Park Phillips book Possible Origins which is about Scott’s research into the cultural origins of Chinese martial arts. I got my first sniff of the book when he publicised a lecture titled something like ‘Baguazhang, and it’s origins as the footsteps of an angry baby god.

Tom Weksler Movement Archery review

If I lean back in my train seat I can feel the edges of sensitivity on my shoulders.  It's a sensitivity that has built up from many impacts with dance floors and gymnastic mats over a very fun weekend with Tom Weksler. Tom is a dancer and he teaches his approach to dance and acrobatics which he ca

Evolve, Move, Play with Rafe Kelley

What makes a human a human? What can we learn about health and happiness from studying anthropology, evolution and cell structure? many ways into a tree There is a current of thought that questions modern approaches to fitness that places the human body and mind in a deep historical landscape. To so

Book review: Concom by Rory Miller

Did you ever see someone do something and think ‘Why would anyone do that?’ It could be in the office,  or at school, in a family on the street or between a couple.   And the person doing the mysteriously stupid thing could well be you. That's what ConCom: Conflict Communication A New Paradigm

Book review: The liar, the cheat, the thief by Maija Soderholm

Last time I saw Luo he gave me Maija Soderholm's new book to look at. Since then I have bought a copy for myself. The subtitle of the book is deception in the art of swordplay, which give a better idea of the book's content. The first section of the book contains a history of Maijia's study with Son

Silat suffian seminar review

I first saw Maul Mornie on YouTube several years ago and was immediately impressed. Maul comes from Brunei and teaches the art of Silat Suffian Bela Diri. Maul has a simple and precise body movement and what looks like genuine power (feels like too - I now know). This weekend the opportunity to trai

Slapped up and down by a monkey’s question

I just came back form a wonderful weekend in Antwerp. Was the weather wonderful? Well reasonable, for Belgium. What was wonderful were the people, and what we came together to learn about. It's been some time since I saw the video 'What is fighting monkey' and I've come across people who have recomm

The all you can eat Bagua buffet with Luo Dexiu

Why describe a seminar with Luo Dexiu as an all you can eat Bagua buffet? Could it be because among the many metaphors Luo uses to get his points across food metaphors are common (Chinese eat everything, starter-main course -dessert, you want tea or coffee or ice cream, it's like a sandwich with so

Training ideas

Daily choices part 2 – time travel…

After my last post I realised that I had not said or asked what I wanted to ask. What is on my mind is more of a hypothesis, or a potential principle for to build into a daily practice or even to build the practice around. How to explain... There is an idea from NLP called an anchor.  In general t

Daily choices

There is something that has been on and off my mind for a while... When it comes to training I live in a trans-disciplinary culture. Most of the people I discuss and learn with have a more than passing knowledge of some combination of barbell training, remedial strength training, Olympic lifting, gy

Practise, questions and transfer

I often think about how to get the most from Bagua (and other practices) for myself and when I teach. Searchlight by Kevin - https://www.flickr.com/photos/magickevin/ We often hold high the ideal that in practice the mind is silent, the body turning in a infinite space of sublime zenitude.   But be

Did you remember the off switch?

This is another one that falls into the apparently huge category of ‘things I think I know but need regular reminders of.’ Whenever you train you leave an echo of your movements in your nervous system,  and the more intense the training the stronger the impression it leaves.  Of course the ech

Circling the issue

I want to share a quite unmartial application of circle walking. While it is something I created I think it is also true to the pre-martial origins of Baguazhang. According to the sources that I have the most trust in Dong Haichuan probably adapted a Daoist circle walking meditative practice. This p

A neurological basis for martial arts style-dicks?

This linked article from University College London  shows how dancers who have trained in one style of dance when showed videos of a variety of dance styles display a higher level of motor cortex activity when they see the style they are familiar with. "The UCL team found greater activity in areas

How to be an Empty force master

If you follow these steps you will be able to demonstrate ‘empty force' the ability to throw and move other people without touching them. Actually it is fairly easy. The trickiest part is how to start. Once you have demonstrated your power a few times to a core group of students it gets a lot easi

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