Internal Arts Teacher and DAOI Podcast Host William Bentley is Guest on the 74th Internal Fighting Arts Podcast

Bill-BentleyI met Bill Bentley when he hosted me on the DAOI Talks podcast. He is involved with the Daoist Arts Organization International (hence the name DAOI Talks). Bill is a good man who teaches Xingyi through daoistgatecenter.org, and privately he teaches Xingyi, Bagua, Wudang style sword, and self-defense. He began his martial arts training at the age of 10 in a Shaolin-based family style of kung-fu (the same school I started in way back in 1973), and since then, Bill has studied Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do concepts (including Filipino martial arts), and the Kendo and Aikido. Later, after a serious injury, Bill practiced qigong and developed an interest in the Wudang arts. He now studies with Master Zhou Xuan Yun, training with him in the arts of Xingyi Quan and Taiyi Xuan Men Jian sword practice, as well as Taiji and Bagua. He has also studied the Wudang Taiji 108 with Rosie Segil and Qigong with Anita Eredics. He also lives in my hometown, Lexington, Kentucky. The podcast runs an hour and four minutes. You can listen through the player below or you can download the podcast. Enjoy!

 


Song Style Xingyiquan and the Chen Taijiquan Practical Method -- the Internal Fighting Arts Podcast Interview with Raphael Smith

In the 73rd edition of my Internal Fighting Arts podcast, I interview Raphael Smith. He is a disciple of Song Style Xingyquan Master Li Yujie and he teaches Xingyiquan and Chen Taijiquan Practical Method, among other combat-related arts, in Sacramento, California.

Check out the interview or download it here.



The Internal Fighting Arts Podcast Interview with Martial Arts Instructor Gerald A. Sharp

I first heard of Gerald A. Sharp when I bought his Xingyi instructional VHS tape, "Five Fists of Power," back in the 1990s. For years, I have wondered what happened to him, and recently decided to track him down. I found him online. He is living and still teaching in Granada Hills, California.

In my latest podcast -- the 72nd episode -- I talk with Gerald about his long history in martial arts. Among the teachers he has trained with are Wu style Taiji Master Ma Yueh Liang, and he studied Chen and Yang style Taiji with Zhou Yuan Long. He studied Chi Kung (Qigong) with Ju Beng Yi (a top disciple of Guo-Ling), and Gerald studied Bagua, Xingyi, and Nei Jia Kung Fu with Zou Shuxian, the top disciple and adopted daughter of Jian Rong Qiao.

Enjoy the interview!

 

 


Having Kung Fu Conversations with Podcast Hosts Owen Schilling and Randel Davis

KungFu Conversations Ken 2023I was honored to be a guest on the "Kung Fu Conversations" podcast with Owen Schilling and Randel Davis. They are two very nice guys and dedicated martial artists. 

I have been interviewed on several podcasts, so I am tired of hearing my own stories, but they try to plow some new ground and I think it turned out very well.

Click this link to listen to the podcast on YouTube.

Click this link to listen to the podcast on Spotify.

Click this link to listen to the podcast on YouTube.

My thanks to Owen and Randel for having me on the program. 


Hard Work and Eating Bitter: The Internal Fighting Arts Podcast Greatest Hits Volume One

The 70th edition of the Internal Fighting Arts Podcast is a collection of some of my favorite interview clips from the first two years of the podcast, covering from 2014 to 2016.

I love talking with martial artists who have gone to great pains, both physical and financial, to seek out great internal martial arts masters, and then work very hard to attain skill.

This editon of the podcast is called "Greatest Hits Vol. 1" and it includes great comments with important martial arts teachers such as Michael Chritton (my first guest and husband of Chen Huixian), Kimberly Ivy, Stephan Berwick, Byron Jacobs, Kent Howard, Tim Tackett and Marin Spivack.

This podcast also features a giveaway. If you listen to it and follow the directions, you can enter to win one of 10 digital codes for your digital copy of the new 4K/Ultra HD version of "Enter the Dragon," but you have to listen and enter before August 27, 2023. 

Here is the podcast. Listen online or download the file.

 


Taiji, Wing Chun, Qigong and Yiquan -- the Internal Fighting Arts Podcast Interview with Tony Wong

Tony WongTony Wong is a long-time instructor in San Francisco, but I had never met him until we spoke a week ago for my Internal Fighting Arts podcast.

His birth name is Wong Wai Yi, but he goes by Tony. He grew up in Hong Kong before moving to the United States. Tony has trained with some outstanding teachers. He studied Wing Chun with Kenneth Chung, Wuji Qigong with Cai Song Fang, and he studied Chen Taijiquan with Zhang Xue Xin, Chen Xiaowang, Chen Xiaoxing and Chen Qingzhou. He also studied Yiquan with Chen Zhengzhong.

In this interview, Tony has interesting stories to tell about his teachers and other experiences, including what it was like to train for push hands competition in the Chen Village. 

Listen to the podcast online or download the episode by following this link.

You can also listen or download the podcast here:

 


Taiji Body Method -- the Internal Fighting Arts Podcast with Nabil Ranne

Ken Gullette and Nabil Ranne 2023The 68th edition of the Internal Fighting Arts podcast features an interview with Nabil Ranne, who lives in Berlin and is a disciple of Chen Yu.

Nabil was first on the podcast in 2020. Shortly afterwards, I began studying with him. 

Two weeks ago, I attended my second workshop with Nabil in Philadelphia. He focused on body method, the Yilu form and push hands.

In this interview, I wanted to "go into the weeds" and discuss some concepts that are difficult to talk about in an audio interview because things have to be shown, but I wanted to give it a shot and discuss details on body method that might stimulate the listener's curiosity.

You can listen to the podcast or download it here.


"SkepDoc" Dr. Harriet Hall Dies at Age 77

Harriet HallDr. Harriet Hall, known as the "SkepDoc" and a former guest on my Internal Fighting Arts podcast, died unexpectedly on January 11, 2023 at the age of 77. She had been in poor health including heart issues for the past three or more years. I was very sorry to hear the news. She was an intelligent person with integrity.

Dr. Hall was a critic of "alternative" medicine that so many people involved in Taijiquan seem to believe in. She did a lot of good work bringing critical thinking skills to the discussion of science and medicine. As Dr. Steven Novella wrote about her:

"....Harriet has been tireless in her efforts to help educate the public about how science should inform the practice of medicine, and how medicine, and even common sense, can go horribly wrong when we abandon good science as our guide. Among her many contributions, Harriet is remembered for coining the phrase, Tooth Fairy Science, which nicely crystalized and communicated one of the many core problems with alternative science. To paraphrase, you can study in detail all of the aspects of the Tooth Fairy phenomenon without ever getting to the core question – the only question that really matters – does the Tooth Fairy actually exist?"

Dr. Hall was a family physician and a former Air Force Flight Surgeon who retired at the rank of Colonel.

I have been a skeptic about alternative medicine since I studied acupuncture in the late 1980s and early 90s, and attempted to learn how to read someone's "aura" and other bogus things as part of my Traditional Chinese Medicine studies with a former kung-fu teacher. I opened my mind and gave it a shot, studying acupuncture for two years. In the end, I came to the conclusion that the traditional "science" behind acupuncture is superstitious fantasy. If acupuncture works in some cases for minor pain or nausea relief, it is not for the reasons explained in TCM.

Among the points Dr. Hall made in our podcast interview:

** Our ancestors, and people in China, evolved in an environment without books or, of course, the internet. They relied on personal experience and information from others to learn about the world. As a result, we are programmed to listen to stories and anecdotes more than scientific research.

** There is a lot of bad research coming out of China. In fact, you cannot trust medical studies on alternative medicine from China.

** Many studies of alternative medicine are financed and supported by organizations with a financial interest in the outcome of the studies.

** If alternative medicine was proven to be true, it would be called "medicine," not "alternative medicine."

** Skeptics are not closed-minded, they are completely open to evidence.

** Belief in something like alternative medicine can be similar to belief in a religion, where it causes the believer to reject evidence that suggests they believe in something that is not true.

** Medical doctors are not necessarily scientists, and many of them lack the rigorous training in scientific methods that help them evaluate the true validity of clinical studies. 

** If a medical treatment works in Beijing, it should also work in Dallas or it is not medicine.

** Alternative therapies such as "breathing in colors" and healing sounds are unfounded and their claims are ultimately false.

** Misinformation about TCM can cause harm if it leads to people rejecting legitimate treatments.

There were so many important points made by Dr. Hall in our interview that it is important for anyone interested in the internal arts or TCM to listen. You can listen online or download the podcast with Dr. Harriet Hall through this link.

Some people in the world of Taijiquan and TCM got angry with me after I released this podcast, and I can't help that. Evidence is evidence, and when someone makes a medical or scientific claim, it is our responsibility as intelligent creatures to demand valid, rigorous evidence before we believe. So as I can imagine Dr. Hall saying, "Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out." 

I am sorry she is gone. We need more people like her, not fewer.

--by Ken Gullette

 


The Best Part of Teaching Online is the Relationships You Build

Michael Rosch 2022
With Michael Rosch (center) and Nancy at a restaurant during his visit.

I began doing live online classes for members of my website when Covid hit in 2020. Finally, an app like Zoom made it very easy to do.

One of my favorite aspects of doing live classes is the relationships and friendships that I build with the people who attend. I am blown away by the fact that I can be in Ilinois and do a class with people who are in Germany or Sweden or anywhere, with the advantage of being able to see each other move and provide instruction and feedback.

One of the friends I have made through these classes is Michael Rosch. He lives in the German city of Essen and began attending my live classes in 2020. He has a great sense of humor, and I tend to enjoy laughter in my classes and tend to crack silly jokes, so we hit it off pretty quickly.

Michael works for Bayer, and last week he came to the U.S. for a conference in St. Louis, about a five-hour drive from my house. This past weekend, he drove up to meet me, hang out and practice.

It was a great weekend. We had meals together, practiced Chen style Taiji, and met my friend John Morrow, who lets me use his school to shoot videos for my website.On Sunday, he practiced with me and Colin Frye, who Michael had seen in many of my instructional videos.

Michael Rosch and Colin 2022-2
Michael Rosch shows Colin Frye some of the Taiji method he is studying with Falk Heinisch in Germany

A couple of years ago, after he had begun learning from me, Michael wanted to begin studying Taiji in a school in Essen, but he was unsure where to go. He said there was one school doing Chen style in the lineage of Chen Yu. I urged him to check it out. He enrolled and began studying with Falk Heinisch, whose teacher is Nabil Ranne of Berlin.

After a few weeks, Michael suggested that Nabil would be a good guest for my podcast. I contacted Nabil, we did the podcast (listen to it via this link) and I was so impressed with his humble personality that I did two private online lessons with him. I had been very curious about Chen Yu. It's clear by watching him that he is doing something different than what I have been taught, but I couldn't identify what it was. As a disciple of Chen Yu, Nabil taught the method. After the two private lessons, I enrolled in his online live Yilu class. Since that time, I have studied Yilu and Erlu with Nabil, and I am trying to improve in his method. It is giving my Taiji a new dimension.

It's amazing how things happen. Covid forced a lot of martial arts teachers online. Because of that, I met Michael Rosch and he helped me discover Nabil Ranne and begin learning the Chen Zhaokui/Chen Yu method. 

It was wonderful meeting Michael last weekend and showing him around part of the Quad Cities. Nancy enjoyed meeting him, too, even though our home is still a mess as we have our collapsed ceilings repaired.

It was a lot of fun and very informative to practice with someone who had been able to receive so much hands-on training in this Taiji method. I was honored that he would want to visit me, but in the end, I think I learned more from him during his visit than he learned from me. Keep that just between us, okay?

I started my online school because I received messages for years from people around the world asking how they could study when their were no teachers of Chen Taiji, Xingyi or Bagua in their area. I started my website many years before Zoom, and the live online capability has made the website even stronger. I love seeing people improve, often during a live online class. But in the end, it is the deep, positive friendships I have made that gives me the most satisfaction. What a great guy Michael Rosch is, and what a fun weekend! All I can say is "danke schoen," and I'm sorry we couldn't order any Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in the restaurants we visited.

-- by Ken Gullette

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Talking about Chen Taijiquan and the Internal Arts on Ryan Patrick St. George's Talking Fists Podcast

Talking FistsRyan Patrick St. George asked me last week to be a guest on his "Talking Fists" podcast, so we did an interview on Chen Taiji and other internal arts topics.

He wanted to know the differences between the Chen Village Taiji and the Chen Taiji I have been studying for the past year-and-a-half with Nabil Ranne, who is a disciple of Chen Yu. He also asks my perspective on Yang style Taiji and other related issues.

Here is a link to the podcast:

https://www.buzzsprout.com/501379/9804832-talking-fists-episode-12-ken-gullette-training-in-both-lines-of-chen-taiji?t=0

It's also available on your favorite podcast distributor.