Ping Shen Tao: The Art

The Five Principles of Ping Shen Tao
The Eight Rules of Ping Shen Tao
The Component Arts of Ping Shen Tao

The Five Principles of Ping Shen Tao


  • SINCERITY: Honesty of mind and or intention: truthfulness.
  • EFFORT: Putting forth an exertion of strength or power, physically or mentally.
  • ETIQUETTE:The conventional code of good manners which governs behavior in society.
  • CHARACTER: The total sum of the qualities making up an individual: moral excellence.
  • SELF-CONTROL: Control over one’s own impulses, emotions or acts

I have always known these to be the five principles of Kempo. I have put them in an order in our dojo as to have the students realize them in a way that follows suit with the phrase or acronym “S.E.E.C.S.”.

In this order, the acronym SEECS must come from a practice of the following: First the Sincerity to the teacher that we want to learn, then the Effort that it takes to learn the Etiquette, in turn we develop our Character and to maintain it takes Self-control. While this is but one way to say it… it’s our way.

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The Eight Rules of Ping Shen Tao

  1. Rule of “The Matador”
    The best block you ask? Don’t be there. Our art emphasizes economy of motion. The Matador principle teaches you to avoid being struck by use of foot work. Foot work is your best line of defense in many cases. It’s much better to move out of the way and simultaneously counterattack but, move we must. The rule does not mean no blocking. PST teaches many blocking systems and dozens of trap sets. When employed with the foot work we become a hard target. Remember be the Matador. Olé!
  2. Rule of “The First Strike”
    If a confrontation is inevitable, you should not wait for the aggressor to attack first. You need to hit him first fast and hard and continuously until he is downed or the threat is no more. This may sound somehow dishonorable, but the truth is, if you are sure the attack is coming, your best defense is a good offense. It must be stressed that this rule is to be invoked only if a confrontation is inevitable.
  3. Rule of “The Machine Gun”
    A machine gun is designed to fire bullets as long as the trigger is held down and ammunition is fed into the weapon. PST is different from many styles in that it teaches you to strike first (when needed) and strike often in rapid succession. One strike loads the next and so on — bullet in the chamber and fire.
  4. Rule of “The Lumber Jack”
    This principle teaches us to chop low at the tree before trying to push it over. If he is well rooted this task is not possible without this rule. PST’s teaching to kick the low lines is based on line of sight. It is also very hard to see a low line of attack to the leg in a close in situation, making it hard to counter. High kicks take longer to execute and are easier to counter as they expose your weaknesses to your opponent. Kicking low to the legs, executing a “Lumber Jack attack” can break your opponent’s balance, and then we may push them over with much more ease. Be the Lumber Jack.
  5. Rule of “The Bulls-eye”
    Aim at a dime size target and you will come close enough to do the damage needed to be done with the fight. Precisely targeting the Eyes, Neck, Kidneys, and Groin are far superior to simply pounding away on random the body. If you had to punch a hole through a wall, would you rather hit a half-inch of sheet rock, or a 2×4 wall stud? PST teaches the path of least resistance. We teach striking soft targets with our hard and hard targets with your soft. The target must be specific to the damage that is needed and no more.
  6. Rule of “The Open Mind”
    This rule of is based on flexibility. It’s the rule of “use what is good for you and that is all”. Your art should adapt to your build, age, and spirit. In a fight for your life you should use what you know best and forget about the style. Every practitioner has different attributes that make them effective. The rule of open mindedness allows them all to develop their own repertoire of techniques from within all the arts that make up PST.
  7. Rule of “The Yin & Yang”
    The symbol of Yin & Yang is best exemplified in the art of PST by the word Redirecting. When your opponent attacks hard, you should counter attack soft. If they attack soft, you should attack hard to end the attack. PST also teaches you to block soft and strike hard. Flow is what we look for in PST, from block to counter to trap to lock to escape. Be like the river, strong, yet flowing.
  8. Rule of “The Spirit”
    The final rule of PST is composed of two components: the Internal and External. To have a warrior spirit, you must be ferocious on the outside but calm on the inside. To fight with anger takes more energy than we want to spend. We must stay cool on the inside. When used in this way, your spirit can be your most important skill.

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The Component Arts of Ping Shen Tao

Kempo Karate
In general, our Kempo consists of Okinawan, Japanese and Chinese based arts: Shaolin Kempo Karate, American Kenpo, and San Chai Na Kempo. It is the base of the art we teach. Our Kempo has 1 thru 40 combos plus a numerous amount of punch and kick techniques. Our Kempo has numbered forms: Pinan 1-5 and Kata 1-6. Numerous other forms have also been added to our system, such as Statue of the Crane, Hun Suki, Sho Tung Kwa, Baisi Dai, Nafachin Shodan-Hachidan, and Swift Tigers.

Yoshitsune Jiu-Jitsu
Our Jiu-jitsu’s combinations will work your skills to escape from grabs and holds. The techniques will teach you how to trap, lock and control your attacker. Training is practical with a heavy emphasis on drills and mock combat.

Jiu-jutsu was almost lost. However, some masters continued to practice their art “under-ground”, or moved to other countries, allowing the style to continue. By the mid-twentieth century, the ban on the art in Japan had lifted, allowing the free practicing of the style.

We are proud members of the International Federation of Ju-Jutsuans (IFOJJ) spear-headed by Ni-Dai Soke Michael Depasquale Jr. of the Yoshitsune JuJitsu clan.

Shaolin Five Animals (Shaolin Wu Hsing Chaun Fa)
This system is taught in the following order: Tiger, Crane, Snake, Leopard, Dragon.

The Tiger is the cornerstone of the system, Shaolin Ch’uan Fa. From the Tiger we learn strength and tenacity. The Tiger employs powerful upper-body movements to overwhelm its opponents. Clawing, ripping, tearing and grappling are characteristic tactics of Tiger style fighting.

The Crane teaches grace, balance and coordination of the entire body. Crane-style fighting combines evasion with deadly counter attacks to avoid injury and quickly incapacitate an opponent. Crane techniques are extremely powerful, employing the entire body to generate force.

The Snake teaches rhythmic endurance, focus and penetrating internal power. The fighting techniques of the Snake employ both hard (external) and soft (internal) power. The Snake uses circular movements of the arms and legs with rigid, penetrating and focused strikes with the hands and feet.

The Leopard develops power from its great speed, balance and muscle development. The Leopard techniques are characterized by loose, whipping movements that are delivered at great speed.

The Dragon combines the fighting techniques of all of the other animals and adds the quality of Spirit strike with purpose and focus. The Dragon teaches us to “Ride The Wind”: ie, flow from one technique to another. The Dragon adds its total of Mind, Body and Spirit. Above all, the Dragon teaches commitment, purpose and focus.

Kobudo is a Japanese term which can be translated as “old martial way.” Within Japan, it generally refers to any traditional martial art, but outside of Japan it generally refers to several different weapon traditions of Okinawan origin. Some of the original Okinawan Kobudo including Tonfa, Sai, Kama, Bo, Jo, Nunchaku, and Katana.

Modern Kobudo was founded by Shinko Matayoshi (1888-1947), born in the Naha region to a wealthy family. His kobujutsu training began in his early teens and included kobujutsu, kamajutsu, ekujutsu, tonfajutsu and nunchakujutsu. At the age of 22, he ventured into Manchuria by way of northern Japan. There he joined a team of mounted bandits and learned several other weapons arts, including the bow and arrow, all from horseback, making them unique from other Okinawan Kobujutsu styles. Later, after returning to Okinawa, he traveled to Fuchow and Shanghai where he learned even more weapons arts in addition to acupuncture, herbal medicine and another form of Shaolin boxing.

Shinko Matayoshi, along with Gichin Funakoshi, was the first to publicly demonstrate Okinawan kobudo to mainland Japan in 1915. With the 1921 royal visit of Emperor Hirohito on Okinawa, Matayoshi performed kobudo at a demonstration with Naha-te master Chojun Miyagi.

  • Nunchaku
    The nunchaku is a double-pieced hardwood weapon. The separate pieces of wood are hinged by silk cords or chain, end- to- end, by a universal point that permits freedom of swivel. Each piece is identical in shape, being about one foot to fourteen inches in length and of round, hexagonal, or octagonal cross section. Each piece may be of one diameter for its entire length, or may be tapered.
  • Sai
    The sai is primarily a defensive weapon. It has always been a truncheon, never a blade weapon. The sai may be used to deflect, block or parry a cutting or stroking attack of a bladed or staff weapon. Three sai are usually carried, one in each hand and one thrust through the belt or sash of the user. The third one is to replace one that might be lost in combat, or may serve as a projectile weapon.
  • Rokushakubo (aka Bo Staff)
    Rokushakubo is the name of this weapon as well as well as a fighting system. In Japanese roku means “six”, shaku is a measurement of unit of about one foot in length, and bo means “staff”. As its name implies, it is a hardwood pole-like weapon about six feet in length. The Okinawan bo have tapered ends, the diameter from between one inch and two inches.
  • Kama
    The sickle was an agricultural tool. This tool has been used as long as rice has been grown but was not long before it was used as a weapon. On Okinawa the sickle is called a kama. Kama tactics are primarily Okinawan. The hardwood handle is slightly larger at the butt end to keep the weapon from slipping out of the users hand. Kama attacks are chopping, hooking, hacking, blocking, deflecting, or covering actions against the enemy.
  • Tonfa
    The wooden handle normally wedged into a hole in the side of the millstone serves their combat purpose well. This handle, known as the tonfa, consisted of a tapered shaft of hardwood fifteen to twenty inches long. To this shaft was affixed a cylindrical grip projecting at right angles from the shaft at a place five or six inches down from the larger end of the shaft. It was held by grasping the short grip loosely but firmly so it could not drop out of the users hand. The tui-fa lies along the undersides of the forearms so that the short projection beyond the grip extends forward toward the enemy.
  • Jo
    The jo is a wooden staff 48 to 50 inches in length and tapering like a bo. The jo is normally manipulated with both hands; however, it is sometimes used with one hand. The jo is a close quarters combat weapon, where a bo may be too long.

Chinese weapons taught include Spear, Shaolin Broad Sword (Dao), and Butterfly Swords.

Kali – Arnis – Escrima
Kali, an ancient Philippine martial art, is also known by other names, such as Escrima, Arnis, Arnis de Mano, and FMA (Filipino Martial Art). Many believe that Kali originated from Chinese-influenced Indonesian fighting tactics such as Kun Tao, and Ch’uan Fa. This art began to develop into a more martial discipline when the Spanish prohibited indigenous Filipino weapons such as the Bolo (machete), daggers and fighting sticks in the late 1600s. By the 16th Century, Kali was a highly developed warrior art which was used against the invading Spanish. Primarily a weapon-based art, Kali is a complete defense system. It features numerous rapid-fire hand strikes along with kicks, knees, elbows, throws, weapons disarms, and locks.

The rattan stick is the most common weapon used in Kali training. Other weapons include burned and hardened sticks made of hardwood, such as Kamagong. The footwork enables efficient control of ranges. The footwork is demonstrated in terms of triangles with two feet occupying two corners of a triangle and a step to the third corner. Because of its effectiveness, Kali is also taught extensively in the Army’s Special Forces & the Navy Seals. Emphasizing continuous flow and sensitivity over strength, it is a highly functional art. This art is taught in real world settings without a need for uniforms.

Training in the stick arts is not always what it may seem. I think many people are shocked to hear that most Kali systems are meant for the use of the blade but most use the baston to train with for safety purposes. The practitioner learns to use all the weapons that they might have to face. So while we do learn how to use edged weapons in our dojo, it is also to learn how it may be used to hurt us. To know the weapon is to also know its weaknesses. Whenever possible we would like to take the weapon away from the attacker, but the truth is that it is easier to avoid the cut and do your job as a striker first and then when possible disarm. This is to say that we should not just expect to simply trap his blade hand and strip it away, it takes some distraction and disabling first, and a lot of training.

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