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Sword Fundamental Training – DVD by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming


This basic sword training DVD reviews the fundamentals about the weapon, taking common techniques and drills that should be applicable to all sword training. As always, Dr. Yang’s teaching style is excellent; his Engineering background provides a logical approach to his teachings of his wealth of martial arts knowledge. There is much knowledge to be gained from each of his books and DVDs that I have studied, and, now including this one, I highly recommend them.

As with many of his other DVDs, the drills and techniques are shown with Master Yang performing them, then with students of a variety of skill levels performing them.  Yang will sometimes correct the students. I found the different displays and the corrections quite helpful during my own review of the lessons.

An outline of the DVD follows: (more…)

The Clan Corporate by Charles Stross (book 3 in the Merchant Princes)

The Clan Corporate by Charles Stross (book 3 in the Merchant Princes)

In this third book in the series, Stross’ world building gets more complex and even more interesting. Plus Miriam, our protagonist and heroine, gets into more trouble than she can get out of.

At the end of the last novel, Miriam discovered that her foster mother Iris was her real mother Patricia, and Patricia returned (somewhat unwillingly) to the world of the Clan after an attempt on her life. Mattias, the security chief of Miram’s Uncle the Duke, turned traitor and, with a well thought out plan, decimated the Clan’s safehouses and couriers in our world, and in turn informed the FBI that it was the Clan that was responsible for a large smuggling operation. Miriam’s lover Roland is killed in the destruction and takeover of the Clan safehouses. Miriam is kept under lock and key while she recovers, but is furious to find out that the business she set up in world 3 (which is using patents/inventions from our world to make money) is being run by someone else in the Clan. (more…)

The Hidden Family by Charles Stross

The Hidden Family by Charles Stross

This is the second book of the Merchant Princes series (got the first four books in the series at a sale at Katy Budget Books). It is very much a straight continuation (i.e., no cliff hanger) from the 1st book, The Family Trade.

Miriam, fresh off several assassination attempts, is back in our world, bringing along Brill from the Clan’s home world (for background, from the first book, Miriam and others with similar DNA can world-walk by looking at a particular braid design; her family in world 2 is called the Clan, made up of six families; world 2 is about 150 years behind our world in development, and has a monarchy and hierarchical caste system). From one of the assassination attempts, she retrieved a locket from one of the assassins (whom Miriam killed); the locket contains a braid, but of a different design. She cannot use it to world walk from our world, but she can from world 2, and it takes her to…world 3, which is more advanced than world 2 (airships, primitve cars) but not as advanced as ours. (more…)

The Family Trade by Charles Stross

The Family Trade by Charles Stross

This is the first book of the Merchant Princes series (got the first four books in the series at a sale at Katy Budget Books). The series combines the idea of parallel worlds with severe economics; each of the worlds are at a different stage of economic development, and our protagonist is determined to take advantage of this as a wealth creation mechanism.

Miriam Beckstein is a reporter on the trail of a huge story about drug smuggling. She and her investigative helper, Paulette, get fired upon presenting their story to management. In a funk, Miriam goes to see her foster mother, who sees this as a good time to give her a box of things from her “real mother”. This box includes a locket, which when opened shows a braid design that enables those of a particular bloodline to “world walk”. (more…)


Simplified Tai Chi Chuan – DVD by Master Liang, Shou-Yu

Almost all martial artists will say that you need a good instructor. But ymaa_simplifiedtaichihaving a video or DVD at home that can help you remember or get through the rough spots is very helpful.

I was given a copy of the DVD Simplified Tai Chi Chuan featuring Master Liang, Shou-Yu for Tai Chi Day (thanks Barbara). It is an excellent companion study guide, well organized and detailed on both the Simplified 24 form and the Standard 48 form.

An outline of the content is below: (more…)


Baguazhang: Theory and Applications by Master Liang, Shou-Yu and Dr.Yang, Jwing-Ming

There are four well known styles of so-called “internal” Chinese martial baguaarts: Taichiquan, Xingyiquan, Baguazhang and Lin He Ba Fa. While I have only practiced Taichiquan from this group, this book on Baguazhang gives particioners of other martial arts an excellent grounding in Bagua, and frankly gives motivation for further study.

In a long list of excellent books on Martial Arts from Dr. Yang and his YMAA, this book covering Baguazhang is one of the most thorough I have studied. In the style of most YMAA books, the book covers a genral introduction, a translation and discussion of ancient texts on the subject, fundamentals of the style, barehand form and weapons form.

Contents include: (more…)

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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