Internal Martial Arts

Welcome!  I’m a rabid, and nerdy, student of Traditional Chinese Internal Martial Arts and related health, combat and movement principles.  I’ve been encouraged to teach beginners as part of my practice, and I’ve been doing it for about 3 years now — turns out I love teaching this stuff!!  I teach a limited number of private lessons online, and a real-world class in Somerville, MA.

TO KEEP UP TO DATE ON THE CLASS, plus get study tips and more, subscribe to the mailing list (approx. 1 unnecessarily witty email per week) by entering your email below:

Taiji for Engineers (not just for engineers :))

The class that ran for over 2 years at the Artisan’s Asylum is back, WOOHOO!

We’ve moved to a gorgeous new location just outside Union Square – 6:30pm every Sunday at Shobu Aikido.

Everyone is welcome to come try out this unique study group involving athletic, combat-aware taiji movement and philosophy.  Every week there will be different exercises, including focused stretches, movement and application practice, and some beautiful taiji forms to work on.  We’ll also do the engineer thing, and deconstruct how the Internal movements are working.  This class is for adults with some fitness ability who want to learn crazy beautiful Traditional Chinese martial arts fundamentals — beginners are welcome, as are other martial artists and athletes, flow-arts and circus practitioners, and anyone who’s always wanted to not only learn the basics of Chen-style taiji forms, but to play with them on every level!

The cost is $20 per class, or $30 per 2 classes, or $50 per month.  (You get steep discounts for paying for more than one class at a time — and another $5/month off if you set up automatic payments.)  I take cash, plastic, PayPal and Google Wallet payments.  Both my online and IRL classes are as cheap as I can make them, but I am also open to discussing barter arrangements with anyone who is interested in the classes but cannot afford them in dollas right now.  Money should not stop us from teaching and learning this amazing stuff with each other!

Remember, get on the mailing list if you’re interested in more info about class offerings!  I can only update this page so often.  :)


More information about what I shamelessly call “Waterbenders” — because I am a huge nerd — Training and study in Internal Movement

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I’ve been giving seminars, presentations and classes on this topic for a few years now, and I honestly think that learning how internal arts and movement work is one of the biggest things people can do to improve their health, balance, composure, and combat skills.

I teach both IRL (In Real Life) and online, leading the class above and doing private lessons in person as well as over Skype/Hangouts!  I’m an advanced-beginner-maybe-intermediate student in Chinese Internal martial arts, with my “favorite” style to learn from being Chen Taiji.  (With ten years of study under my belt, I’m no master at taiji!  That takes a few more decades :D.  What I am kind of a master of is teaching, though:  I have a real knack for it.  Come and see!)

When you study with me, we will learn forms, because they’re useful; but the focus of my teaching is not on perfecting-a-form-such-that-you-can-go-to-a-competition-and-earn-praise.  (I can help you find excellent lineage teachers if you’re interested in pursuing that, too, and am happy to study the forms with you.)  There are foundational, fundamental truths about how to move and use your body present in the kungfu arts that can benefit everyone, at every level, and I’ve made it my life’s goal to share the amazing benefits I’ve received from learning the pillars of taiji truth, to anyone who wants to learn.  (I also usually have side-classes, often free, where we just work on memorizing the forms, for those who are interested.)  But I’m excited to get together and work on the isolations, skills, habits and ways of doing the form (and using it in combat!) that make it so truly special.

So what’s the difference between Internal and External martial arts? I’ll babble a little about this part here:  “Internal” as opposed to “External” is all about how you move: Which muscles you activate, and how much, in response to different stimuli including gravity, your own body, and the force and movements of opponents. By default, almost everyone moves externally, and most martial arts are taught with external movements in mind, because they’re our cultural default (at least in the West), and it’s a big job to teach someone how to change how they move. But the effect of knowing how to move internally can’t be overstated: It’s the reason and the reality behind most of the super-power-seeming martial arts acts: One-inch punches, crazy acts of strength from tiny people, and so forth.  It also promotes a high level of health and resiliency to injury, far into old age.  I can’t say enough good things about what learning to move internally has done for me!  And I’ve put a serious amount of thinking into why, and how to give this knowledge to modern non-Chinese people in a useful way.

This is tricky stuff to learn, and in many schools of martial art it either isn’t explicitly taught at all, or is reserved for training that happens after you’ve learned all the forms.  (This is not true of some kungfu and taiji schools that explicitly teach internal movement — but they’re way rare, compared to the others.  I’ve been seeking out and attending them since I started in martial arts, and yeah, tricky to find.)  But learning to execute all those complex motions using external movement just means you have to re-learn them all again, which is why I’m interested in teaching internal movement to beginners.  Internal movement is a brilliant thing to learn all on its own, but if you’re a martial artist, it’s an incredible lesson that will improve every move, trick and form you know!  I’ve led lessons with almost as many experienced martial-artists (in styles ranging from taiji to muy thai) as I have beginners, and found this knowledge incredibly useful for both.

Join the mailing list above to keep abreast of recent news, and contact me if you’d like to talk about private lessons!  -/@-

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