Sifu Joshua Eaves
Martial Arts Credentials:
Si Quan 1998 (4th Level)
Wu Quan 1999 (5th Level)
Mid-West Representative 2001
Lineage Holder 2009
Lee Tzun Gin
Il Dan 1997 LTG (1st Black)
Yi Dan 2000 LTG (2nd Black)
Sam Dan 2004 LTG (3rd Black)
Sa Dan 2008 LTG (4th Black)
USA Regional Head LTG 2010
Green Dragon Kung Fu
Tae Kwon Do
Il Dan 1992 TKD (1st Black)
Yi Dan 1995 TKD (2nd Black)
Sam Dan 1998 TKD (3rd Black)
Weapons Instructor Modern Defense Systems
University of Missouri-St. Louis M.A. 2006
University of Missouri-St. Louis B.A. 2006
University of Missouri-St. Louis Minor 2006
*Participated in a rigorous combined program whereby both M.A. and B.A. were simultaneously pursued and subsequently awarded.
Sifu Josh Eaves
Having started martial arts at age 5, some of my earliest memories are of being barefoot, sweating and throwing kicks in a hot and musty dojo. My first instructor, and the single most influential figure in my martial arts development, was Sijo Gregory L. Taylor. Officially, I was told that I might be too young to begin martial arts, but at my mother’s pleading and with my two older brothers joining as well, Sijo Taylor relented.
Sijo Taylor first taught my brothers and me traditional Tae Kwon Do, which means the stances were low and the kicks were high. I accomplished much during this period and garnered many skills that served me well later in my martial arts exploration.
However, always being the youngest and smallest made me crave a more efficient means of defending myself.
When I was about 13, I was finally admitted into the Lee Tzun Gin class. Again, I was formally too young to be in the adult class, but Sijo Taylor acknowledged my skill, earnestness, and my desire to deepen my study in the martial arts. Being admitted into the Lee Tzun Gin class was a true gift. Few people in the country were doing what Sijo Gregg Taylor was doing at that time—blending disparate martial arts together to create a new martial method without the downfalls inherent in the originating styles. Those that were doing similar experimentations were mainly on the east or west coast.
Later, when I was about 13 or 14, I met Sifu Jeff Felty. My father worked with Sifu Felty and convinced him to train me. Much of my training with Sifu Felty could have been out of a kung fu movie. We trained in back yards and basements, in alleys and cramped apartments. I was very happy that I started Lee Tzun Gin because Sifu Felty’s sessions were rigorous and demanding.
From Sifu Felty I learned Green Dragon Kung Fu and became a certified weapons instructor in Modern Defense Systems. In retrospect, it seems Sifu Felty and Sijo Taylor were on comparable martial journeys. Similar to a translator having the benefit of multiple translations of a text, I believe that being able to study with both masters at the same time greatly accelerated my skill and understanding. However, the main thing I learned was to evaluate the concepts underlying the martial arts. All martial arts are fundamentally the same, as physiology ultimately dictates available techniques and lines. In the end it is the details that make the "art". And I am very fortunate to have gotten the details from these two masters.
After much long and arduous research, I began to realize that styles like taijiquan, hsing-yi, and baguazhang were the most conceptually sophisticated. Though these arts are called “soft,” my previous training allowed me the insight to ascertain that the martial applications were devastating, bearing close resemblance to the formidable art of Silat which I have also studied.
As luck would have it, in 1995, I found a very charismatic and talented taijiquan teacher named Sifu Dennis Bussell.
Sifu Dennis Bussell’s understanding of taijiquan was unmatched. Question after question, test after test, he was always able to provide not just an answer but object lessons or assignments that directly communicated the principles of taijiquan. Whenever I reflect upon one of the many lessons, I gain a deeper understanding of the meaning, a further insight into that which he was trying to teach me.
Sadly, Dennis Bussell died in a car accident in 2009. He was a great brother, father, teacher, advisor, and friend.
Though he appointed me his top student before his death, I still feel unworthy of the honor, as I felt he had so much more to offer me in my martial walk.
Nevertheless, I have endeavored to pass on his legacy to the best of my ability. In order to help me do that, I continue to teach the soft style components of Lee Tzun Gin and I have created tingtaiji.com, which hopefully will become a resource for all who are interested in bettering themselves with this timeless art and Sifu Bussell’s teachings.