In his two volume set, Dr. Painter adds layer upon layer of martial knowledge to guide those who are interested in actually studying his art. The writing is clear and concise, and the vocabulary does not hide behind ancient Chinese terms and mysticism. These 2 volumes lead the student through all the principles of the art - from how to sit quietly to develop a basis for martial skill, to proper body mechanics, cognitive/visualization exercises, baguazhang stepping, strength training, and all the other necessary considerations of self-defense.
The books are an invaluable reference material for anyone interested in the so called "internal martial arts". I go back time and again to make sure I'm on the right track, and I think you would be hard-pressed to find a more thorough instructional text for a martial art system anywhere.
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If you are looking for reality based self-defense from someone who has "been there, done that", then look no further than Dr. John Painter and his books.
Clear, concise, and easy to follow. Dr. Painter dispells and clarifies many of the myths and esoteric terms used to shroud the internal arts. By doing so, many more of us may access the true power and wisdom of the internal arts.
In volume one, you get the basics of the art which is also the advanced material. The only way you can beat the information in these books is to see and train with Dr. Painter or one of his instructors. Buy the books, train with the pros!
You can't go wrong!
Dr. Marshal Montgomery
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Detailed, Insightful Principles BookNov. 30 2008
V. K. Lin
- Published on Amazon.com
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Pros: Gets to the heart of matters quickly. Discusses, in clear, Western-perspective English, the what and why of exercises such as meditation, breathing/relaxation, power standing, stepping, palm shapes, and walking. Discusses the biomechanical and physiological principles to support his theories. Draws on modern day research to further back up the Eastern philosophies, and on rare occasions why Western research has changed the way he trains. Gives a step-by-step program for how to pursue his system's training method.
Cons: Not enough detail discussing power transference from legs to waist to shoulders to palm. I think another chapter on this linkage would have been ideal. Leaves a little bit lacking in this regards-- study each palm shape for about a year is what he says.
Items of Interest: The opening chapter is trying to find the place of his Nine Dragon System into the family tree of BaGua-- I guess there is some question as to whether the Nine Dragon System is truly BaGua. From the shape of the palms and all that, I'd say it has to be, personally. But this system has no forms. It is training technique and principles then linking it together.
Content: History, Philosophy, Training Philosophy, Relaxation (Meditation, Breathing, Standing Postures), Structure (Alignment, Testing Structure), Use of Imagery, Principles of Power Generation, Stances, Palms, Stepping--> Walking (Direction Changing). These are more my terms than his, but is what is included.
Summary: Awesome book, really. Mechanistically, rates up there with Park Bok Nam's books in describing BaGua technical mechanics. Superior to that landmark book in terms of technical principles behind breathing, relaxation, imagery, meditation, standing postures, etcetera, Would ask for more detail on palm shapes and the year-long process of exploring each palm (he gives about 2-pages on each palm, including pictures, and leaves the rest to the reader to find those revelations). This book does not contain a form! Basically the idea is, if you become the palm shapes, and understand them inside and out, then you can create your own forms effortlessly.
Reviewer's Note: I am reading through Volume 2, and scanned the entire book. It does not seem to contain the elements I would have liked above. It may indirectly, as it talks about combat principles and training methods-- but much of the training seems to consist of physically doing this or that, and does not appear to look further into the connections or detail of upper torso mechanics that would have made this the perfect book.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Very detailed.Jan. 23 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
This is an excellent book for either the beginning student of Baguazhang such as myself, or an advanced player as well. Dr. Painter's writing is clear and concise. He tackles a wide range of subjects, from the basic stretching and warming up you first learn to more advanced topics such as power generation and combat principles. There is a ton of information in this book and Dr. Painter is widely known and respected both as a martial arts teacher as well as a Law Enforcement trainer.
The best part about this book is that there is no mystical or esoteric material. Jiulong and Dr. Painter's methods are scientific and to-the-point. I think there are alot of misinterpretations with the "internal martial arts" that they are mysitcal and hard to understand. Dare I say this is a revolution from that misconception. This book is based on science, body mechanics and physiology.
A great read for anyone interested in martial arts in general. People from all styles can benefit from these *principles* and teachings. Thank you Dr. Painter for bringing this material to light!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The full power of internal martial arts, clear and concise, for the Western mindDec 5 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
In 2002, I first saw the principles and techniques that are now set forth in this book. After a mere six hours of basic instruction, at a workshop covering only a fraction of the book's material, I came home and knocked over my 260-lb., floor-standing heavy bag with a single forward step and a relaxed one-handed push. This bag is made to be punched and kicked with intensity for karate practice and to stay standing so you can keep hitting it again and again. Yet, if you know how to "root" your force into the ground, if you know how to "connect" your hand to your center, if you know how to stand properly to generate and transmit power, then it is a different world. You push the bag, and the bag falls down.
I'd had no prior training in baguazhang other than six months of "Quiet Sitting" and "Quiet Standing," in which you simply stand still (or sit) while monitoring posture and breathing. I didn't see how that could possibly help me knock things down, but the Jiulong people were plenty skilled and seemed to know what they were talking about, so I just did it. Well, it worked! And now it is available in a book.
Make no mistake, these techniques are difficult to master even in person, and they will not be any easier in a book! You will need to train every day, and you will need to be patient. For example, you will need the patience to perform "Quiet Sitting" every day--nothing but sitting still, breathing and focusing your attention--until you master the required powers of concentration, before moving on to more exciting exercises (such as "Quiet Standing"!). You will not stay the course, spending months on mere sitting and standing, unless you have confidence in the curriculum, confidence that it is leading you somewhere good.
That's what makes this book a rare find in the martial arts field: 1. All of these techniques were developed by a clan of professional bodyguards. They made their living and defended their very lives with these techniques, day after day, for the last several centuries in China. 2. Unlike so many martial arts books, this one is *not* obscured by mystical language, inaccurate translations, or metaphors unfamiliar to the Western mind. Yet, in Dr. Painter's unique way, the book still covers all the esoteric layers and nuances of internal power, with concise descriptions, clear principles you can understand and apply, and when possible, scientific backing. 3. This book is not about preserving a tradition for tradition's sake. The Jiulong style is about what *works*, period, living and breathing with the times. Modern Jiulong even includes firearms techniques! 4. You do not have to take up Jiulong to benefit from this book. Most concepts can be applied to other martial arts to increase your power.
So if you are a Westerner, looking for the full power of the internal martial arts, in a format that you can understand and apply in the real world, this book and its companion volume are without compare. Start reading Volume One, and it should become evident rather quickly that this is the real deal, a curriculum that deserves your confidence. That confidence will get you through the long, arduous process of learning these skills layer by layer, until you are doing all kinds of cool things.
Dr. John Painter has finally put down some of the most well written information out there on Baguazhang in general and his system of Jiulong Baguazhang in specifics.
The material in both volume one & two is is presented with no fluff, and none of the mystical mumbo jumbo like mishmash that you see from other people who have written books in the past.
What you get is a straight forward approach to how this system of Chinese martial arts is trained from the very first stages to advanced levels.
You will learn how to sit and quiet the mind.
Learn how to stand correctly for health and combat effectiveness.
Study skills that will lead you to better understanding of yourself, your body, your mind and the reality of combat.
I cannot recommend these two books enough.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Two of the best bagua books ever!Dec 20 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
These two volumes by Dr. Painter are hands down, two of the best books on the art of Baguazhang! I've been studying the art of Bagua for about 13 years now, and my early years were basically a chaotic mess. So much information on Bagua is either written in a manner that intentionally mystifies and bewilders the reader, or is in total contrast to other written materials on the art. I had the good fortune to begin an intense study of Bagua with Frank Allen of the Wutang Physical Culture Assoc. of New York, and Master Frank Allen spoke so highly and so often of Dr. Painter and his Bagua, I had to take a closer look. At the time, Dr. Painter only had his video series available and I ate them up!! These two volumes on Jiulong Baguazhang contain an enormous amount of information. But what struck me most was the way that Dr. Painter was able to take his training plan that he has so expertly crafted at his training center, the Gompa, and make it available in written format for the student that might not be able to get out to his Texas center. The path he has laid out in writing is a step by step path that if followed diligently, will lead to mastery of one of the most sophisticated combat systems around. Every area of this vast art is explained and put into correct context. Body mechanics, internal work, meditation, stepping, striking, throwing, locking, strength training, balance training, awareness training,... the list goes on. All put into a form that is easily digested by the beginner, and extremely eye-opening for the advanced practitioner. If only I had these manuals when I first began my journey, I would be so much further along the path. I've had the pleasure of training briefly with Dr.Painter, and the no-nonsense but warm-hearted and sincere attitude that permeates his training sessions definitely comes through in this writing. I HIGHLY recommend this book to ALL practitioners of martial arts, and especially those who are interested in true internal martial arts.