Internal Arts Masters

"Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to study with some of the foremost internal and external martial arts masters in the world as well as authentic Tibetan Buddhism and Taoist meditation lineages. In this section, I’ll share with you insights gained from some of the great masters that influence my teachings."

- Bruce Frantzis

Liu Hung Chieh - Taoist Lineage Master

Liu Hung Chieh

My last teacher in China, Liu Hung Chieh, was a master of bagua, tai chi, hsing-i and Taoist meditation. In addition, he was a master calligrapher and a classical Chinese scholar who had a complete knowledge of traditional Chinese medical theory.Read more...

Bai Hua - Taoist Lineage Master

Bai Hua, a student of Liu Hung Chieh, was Beijing-educated. I met Bai Hua in Hong Kong and was lucky that he was an extremely articulate Mandarin speaker because I spoke only Mandarin. I shared an apartment with Bai Hua for a time and he had as strong an influence on me as did Huang Hsi I, especially in terms of lengthening body tissue and opening-closing the joints and body cavities.Read more...

Wang Shu Jin - Master of Chi

Chi Master Wang Shu Jin

In the summer of 1968, I traveled to Taiwan from Japan in search of the internal arts bagua master Wang Shu Jin, who was widely considered to be one of the best empty-hand fighters in Asia. I tracked down Wang's class, which met at the amphitheater shell in the park in Taichung at 5:30 AM. There were many people in the park at that hour doing all sorts of things, including Shaolin gung fu, karate, tai chi and badminton. Some individuals hung from branches of trees, stretching themselves, some just strolled while others played saxophones.Read more...

Morihei Ueshiba - Aikido Master

Aikido Master - Morihei Ueshiba

I studied with O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, during my undergraduate days in Japan. My research has indicated that O-Sensei’s aikido was in a primary way directly influenced by bagua zhang. My first in-depth, extended experience with a top-level master of internal martial arts was with Ueshiba between 1967 and 1969. Read more...

Hung I Hsiang - Internal Arts Master

When I studied with the late Hung I Hsiang, he was in his fifties. He spoke with a gravelly voice that sometimes conveyed a bit of gruffness, but in actuality, Hung was an intelligent, perceptive, well educated and articulate man. Watching him practice bagua zhang, his small-movement precision was incredible. The potential for misreading Hung based on interpretation of voice tone raises an important point about bagua practitioners. I have met many over the years who practice bagua for all sorts of animal, human and spiritual reasons. Some have been saints, some sinners.Read more...

Cheng Man-ching - Master of Tai Chi

One of the people at the aikido school I attended in New York after high school hours was a judo teacher named Lou Klinesmith. Knowing of my passion for the fighting arts, Lou asked me one day if I had any interest in finding out about a new kind of “soft” punch. Curiosity aroused, I replied, “Sure, why not?”Read more...

Huang Hsi I - Therapeutic Chi

The solidly built Huang Hsi I was about the same height as the average American man, but tall for a native Taiwanese. His strength and abundant chi—natural and trained—combined with his huge, immensely sensitive hands, made him a superb healer in Chinese qigong (chi gung/chi kung) therapeutic bodywork (qigong tui na) and osteopathy. He came from a farming background and consequently had a strong affinity for living things, including plants and herbs.Read more...

Kenichi Sawai - Spirit of Martial Arts

A member of the Shibuya tai chi school introduced me to Kenichi Sawai’s hsing-i group, who were fanatics about developing chi through standing practices. Sawai had studied for 10 years in China with Wang Hsiang Zai, founder of the I Chuan School of hsing-i. At the time I was introduced to Kenichi Sawai’s class, it was primarily oriented toward a love of fighting rather than health and fitness. Read more...

Yang Shao Jung - Magnetic Hands

In 1977, I was given a letter of introduction to tai chi master Yang Shao Jung, who did not accept students without a recommendation. Yang was the eldest son of Yang Cheng Fu, great-grandson of the original Yang Lu Chan. His school, located in his walk-up flat in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong, was announced by a sign in beautiful Chinese calligraphy above the second-floor balcony. As in many of the older buildings in Hong Kong, the stairway was particularly dark.Read more...

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