When an Aikidoka saw Dave they thought it was highly skilled Aikido. A Wing
Chun student assumed he was doing soft style Wing Chun. Similarly a Taiji person
assumed Dave's art was Taiji, as a Bagua practitioner thought it was Bagua.
After over 45 years of intensive study in the
martial arts they were all one to Dave.
His footwork was Bagua, his balance stealing and throws were Aikijitsu, his
trapping hands wing chun & mantis, his postures look Taiji. When he's
subtle it looks like Taiji, when direct it's Xing Yi. He had the full
range to be soft and light, or direct and penetrating.
His personal style goes by several names.
Early on it was Karate Jitsu, then Shoshin Ryu Aikijitsu (beginner's
mind techniques of blending), he jokingly referred to
his system as: 'The Fools School of Traditional Eclectic Improvisational Chinese Hand Dance.' More correctly
called Yueng Quan. Dave was the longest continual student of Master Fook
Yueng and perhaps his most brilliant student. Master Yueng referred to him as son.
In the 1960's - 1990's, whenever a martial arts master arrived in Seattle, Dave
found the time to study with them. He's been a continual student of Master Fook Yueng since the
early 1960's. During this time Dave would take frequent
trips to Richmond, WA to study Aikijitsu with Master Sid Woodcock. In the
late 1960's he became a student of Taiji Master Raymond Chung (a good friend of
Master Yueng's) and learned the entire traditional Yang Cheng Fu system from
Master Chung. After Master Chung wasn't able to continue to teach in
Seattle, Dave went up to Vancouver B.C. to seek another Taiji teacher to come to
Seattle. Dave is responsible for Master Tchoung Ta Tchen teaching in Seattle. Dave was one
of 5 people who studied with Master Tchoung who received a teaching
certification after 6 years of study. In addition to learning Taiji from Master
Tchoung, he also learned Bagua and Xing Yi Quan.
When internal arts master T.Y. Pang first began to teach in Seattle, Dave was
one of the first to sign up. Dave studied the Yang (Tung Family) Taiji method and
Pang's Bagua Zhang for several years. When Aikido master Koichi Tohei was
teaching in Seattle, Dave was in each session he could manage. Similarly, when Aikijutsu Soke Don Angier was teaching workshops in Seattle, Dave was there.
In the late 1980's Dave attended as many workshops with Chen Taiji master Gao Fu
that his schedule would permit. In the 1990's when Bagua master Zhang Jie arrived in
Seattle, again, Dave was one of the first to sign up and took private lessons
for several years. There have been many other workshops with visiting teachers but you get the idea.
As in the tradition of Master Yueng,
Dave's pursuit of the arts was to have fun and play, not fighting. Though a
highly skilled martial artist, Dave's practice was the study of energy in
movement and the dynamics of balance, intent, and momentum. It's not about
throwing or hitting someone, it's the interaction of energy, the conversation
and possibilities that happens when one person directs force at another.
The common experience ukes (partners)
have when working with Dave is that every movement done to respond or counter is the wrong
one. Dave surfed the action and let the uke just trip over themselves.
His touch was so light that there was no feeling of being thrown or manipulated.
Just as a musician doesn't just sit down and play Jazz, Dave internalized
his training to the point that everything he did was Jazz.
DVD's of Harris sensei
are available through