Welcome to AIKI INYO HO, the martial arts website of Mark Raugas. I currently reside in Seattle, Washington and practice classical and traditional martial arts from China and Japan, with a focus on internal martial arts. On this site, you will find a description of my martial arts background, current training activities, links to resources in classical and traditional martial arts, and essays from my blog, Inner Dharma.

Please contact me at the email address below for more information.

Internal Martial Arts

The internal martial arts (neijia) of China have similar fundamental characteristics that allow, over time, practitioners to reach very high levels of skill at sensitivity, stability, and power generation. I practice the internal martial arts of Baguazhang, Taijiquan, and Xingyiquan as part of North American Yin Cheng Gong Fa (YCGF). I am a student of Zhang Yun, who trained extensively under the late grandmaster Wang Peisheng in Beijing.

Baguazhang is known for its smooth and fluid nature, giving practitioners the ability to change spontaneously in response to an opponent's actions. Elements of the curriculum I practice include the 8 Mother Palms (Ba Mu Zhang) and 8 Big Palms (Ba Da Zhang) of Cheng Ting Hua, 64 Circular Changes of Yin Fu, and 64 Linear Bagua Forms of Liu Dekuan.

Taijiquan 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 Taijiquan is known for its focus on combative effectiveness. Elements of the curriculum I practice include the 37 posture Northern Wu Taijiquan form of Wang Peisheng, Fixed Step Push Hands, Free Step Push Hands, Da Lu, and Neigong.

Xingyiquan is known for its stability, giving practitioners an ability to express sudden and explosive power. Elements of the curriculum include San Ti Shi, 5 Elemental Fists, 12 Animal Forms, 10 Step Elemental Linking Form, and the Mixed Skills Form of Hebei Xingyiquan.

YCGF includes extensive training in the use of the dao (saber), jien (sword), and qiang (spear) -- both alone and with a partner.

Koryu Kenjutsu

I also practice classical Japanese swordsmanship (koryu kenjutsu). I am a member of the Hobyokan of Dr. David Hall, and focus my practice of kenjutsu on the Kashima Shinden Jiki Shinkage-ryu (often called "Jiki", colloquially) as taught by Namiki Yasushi and his senior students.

Jiki Shinkage Ryu is famous as one of the most powerful styles of Japanese swordsmanship. Its 14th headmaster, Sakakibara Kenkichi, was bodyguard to the shogun and keeper of Edo castle. Jiki's foundational practice of Hojo no Kata (Four Seasons Kata) was said by Yamaoka Tesshu to be just as valid a mechanism for spiritual development as zazen. Another famous practitioner of Jiki and student of Sakakibara was Sokaku Takeda, reviver of Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu and teacher of the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei.

I have greatly benefited from the David Hall's preservation of the kata of several lines of Shinkage-ryu, which offers a rich understanding of the context surrounding one of the most influential classical Japanese martial arts. I continue my practice of Jiki Shinkage-ryu in a way I feel is compatible with internal martial arts principles.