Internal Martial Arts
Mark Raugas practices the traditional Chinese internal martial arts of Bagua Zhang, Xingyi Quan, and Taiji Quan as taught within North American Yin Cheng Gong Fa (YCGF) under the guidance of Shifu Zhang Yun, student of the late grand master Wang Peisheng.
Bagua Zhang (八卦掌) is known for its smooth and fluid nature, giving practitioners the ability to change spontaneously in response to an opponent's actions. Elements of its curriculum include the Mother Palms (Ba Mu Zhang) and Big Palms (Ba Da Zhang) of Cheng Ting Hua, 64 circular palm changes of Yin Fu, and the linear Bagua of Liu Dekuan.
Xing Yi Quan (形意拳) is known for its stability, giving practitioners an ability to express sudden and explosive power. Elements of its curriculum include San Ti Shi, 5 Elemental Fists, 12 Animal Forms, 10 Step Elemental Linking Form, and the Mixed Skills Form of Hebei Xingyi Quan.
Taiji Quan (太極拳) is known for its relaxed character, giving practitioners the ability to off-balance an opponent at first touch by borrowing their force. Northern Wu Style Taiji Quan is known for its focus on combative effectiveness. Elements of its curriculum include the 37 posture Wu Taiji Quan form of Wang Peisheng, Fixed Step Push Hands, Free Step Push Hands (Tuai Shou), Da Lu, Neigong, Intercepting Hands (Jie Shou), and Dong Gong.
YCGF also preserves an extensive weapons practice centered around the sabre (one and two-handed dao), straight sword (jian), and spear (qiang). This includes basic drills, solo forms, and partner practices drawn from Bagua, Xingyi, Taiji and Tongbei.
Mark Raugas holds a chuden menjo in Kashima Shinden Jiki Shinkage-ryu Heiho (鹿島神傳直心影流 兵法) from Dr. David Hall, who studied in Tokyo under Namiki Yasushi, 18th generation headmaster of Jiki Shinkage-ryu.
Jiki Shinkage-ryu was founded by Matsumoto Bizen no Kami during the late 16th century and regards itself as the "true" Shinkage-ryu. Its fourth headmaster, Ogasawara Genshinsai Minamoto no Nagaharu (小笠原源信斎源長冶, 1574–1644), spent 20 years in Beijing in the early 17th century, practicing Chinese martial arts. Jiki Shinkage-ryu contains a profound training regimen focused around the development of kiai (気合) using Taoist Five Element theory. It places emphasis on posture, breath, and focusing the mind and spirit. Its kata have a very austere character, and are very strenuous to perform. Its 14th headmaster, Sakakibara Kenkichi (榊原鍵吉, 1830–1894), was bodyguard to the last Shogun and keeper of Edo castle.