At the end of August I traveled to Princeton, NJ to attend a seminar on Taiji Push Hands and the Bagua 18 Interceptions Dao form of Ma Gui -- this is a form using the "Goose Feather" saber, which is a long one-handed saber that has a constant width, unlike the Ox Tail saber more commonly seen. While in Princeton, I became a formal lineal disciple of Zhang Yun in Yin Cheng Gong Fa. I have been studying in YCGF since late 2005 and it was an honor to be able to join the YCGF family as Zhang Yun's 40th disciple.

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While on travel in Vancouver I was able to practice Xingyi and Taiji in my hotel room a bit, and do some yoga. In Portland, I visited Laurelhurst Park, where I found enough shade to practice Taiji and Bagua. I also visited my friends Mike Heiler and Troy Gehrett. Mike and Troy are now students of Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu -- I was fortunate to be able to visit and watch a session at the private Murakumo Dojo of Doug Walker. I enjoyed seeing a traditional jujutsu style that preserved an associated kenjutsu practice. Very often in Japanese martial arts weapons and grappling have diverged so that one has to learn a separate style of grappling from field weapons -- however, Shindo Yoshin-ryu is a wonderful late-Edo period exception. Its weapons practice is influenced by Matsuzaki Shinkage Ryu, which is a branch of Shinkage-ryu in the lineage of Ogasawara Genshin Nagaharu (Shin Shinkage Ryu) and Okuyama Kyugasai Kimishige (Okuyama Ryu).

[Much thanks to Michael Heiler for this clarification. The lineage chart on page 202 of David Hall's Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts is useful reference material.]

For me, it was nice to see a Japanese martial art that used the same body mechanics for both jujutsu and kenjutsu.

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The next day, I visited Troy's farm in Beavercreek, OR. There, Troy and Mike and I practiced sword arts taught in the Hobyokai. My focus at the Hobyokan has been Jiki Shinkage Ryu, while Mike has practiced Yagyu Shinkage Ryu for a number of years and is now learning Jiki as well. Mike has been teaching Troy Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, and I was able to join in their practice of the honden kata. I was also able provide Mike some practice and pointers on Jiki's Hojo and To No Kata. Now I am home, making the transition back to daily routine. The overnight flight home was unpleasant but I was remarkably rested afterwards. I am looking forward to practicing YCGF weapons this fall outdoors as the weather begins to improve in Maryland. I think the vacation accomplished what I was looking for. It was a much needed break from routine.