In Scott I discovered a teacher who has a really deep knowledge of the body and a direct and clear way of presenting it. Scott is lean and fit and his Northern Shaolin kicks are something to see – they shoot out with the accuracy and suppleness of a frog’s tongue! His level of body knowledge, which he continues to develop through daily training, is very very high. He pointed out several spots where my body was not moving efficiently and provided strategies and even hands-on manipulations to remedy them.

Many of the martial arts practitioners I know have a ‘performance’ way of being and a more casual, daily kind of behavior. It appears that from his years of Daoist training Scott doesn’t just have one performance mode but rather can manifest several ways of being that are quite dramatically different from each other. It is impressive to see and has a real quality of credibility, as though he were enacting, rather than performing his martial art. Scott also has a really nice group of students who brave the early hours and the cold San Francisco fog to train with him. It was a pleasure to meet such funny, devoted people.

--Daniel Mroz Phd (University of Ottawa)

 Scott is one of my dearest friends. I trust and respect him deeply. I have studied with him in the Taiji class at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and in his thrice-weekly Bagua class for the past three years. I choose to study with him because he has more knowledge, insight, self-discipline, experience, integrity and genuine compassion than almost anyone I know. What I have learned from him -- about martial arts, history, culture, politics, religion, and the human body -- is immeasurable. What I appreciate most about him though is simply that he is a courageous, fair-minded, and authentic individual.”

--Jennifer Barber

“Scott is a genius and a contrarian who really knows his stuff!”

--ACTCM Student, teacher evaluation.  

“I enjoyed and learned the most from the explanations, descriptions, and adjustments made in class. I found that my questions were not only answered but usually opened-up to reveal related questions and ideas. Scott’s answers are direct when necessary but also revealing of the complexity and richness of Taijiquan, Chinese Medicine, and Chinese culture and beliefs in general.”

--ACTCM Student, teacher evaluation.

[The Northern Shaolin Residency]...was an excellent experience for all my students. Kungfu dramatically improves my students’ ability to focus in all curriculum subjects....Scott is an outstanding teacher!

--Lilly Chow, 5th Grade Teacher SFUSD  

[The residency]...made me more aware of how kinesthetic development is very important in helping students learn more and stay more focussed....and my students enjoy his class very much!”

--Ricardo A. Cortez, 4th Grade Teacher SFUSD

“I liked everything you taught us, even though kungfu is sometimes really hard. My favorite moves are spinning double jump kick and windmill punch...I really enjoyed learning from you.”

--Nomin, 3rd Grade

I started training in Bagua and Qi Gong with Scott about three to four years ago on sort of a whim. Tim was consistently attending his 7am class three mornings a week, and I was impressed with how disciplined he was. What could get him out of bed that early in the morning? So I visited one morning out of curiosity, the night before having had a dream about the class. In my dream a small group of martial artists were underneath a great big tree. The teacher was an old Chinese man with a stern face, his students silent and disciplined doing their exercises with only the sound of the swish of their uniforms. But then I saw for myself who Scott was and what his class was like. I love Scott! He is quite a character. A fan of horror films, an ex-skater of SF hills, teenage sailor, regular shopper of Civic Center farmers' market, tea educator, African dance major, teacher who doesn't order his kids to tie their shoelaces ("If he can function without tied shoelaces, then why should he have to tie them?"), master of pulsing and warming up cold hands, and the list goes on. He has an opinion about everything and loves confrontation, so I think some people are rubbed the wrong way. But I think he's funny and just tries to be honest. I miss those days when I didn't have a car and he'd pick me up to carpool to the park. He'd turn off NPR after ranting for a minute and then ask how my weekend was. He's so laid back his students feel comfortable enough to talk about whatever comes up. Morning warm-up while chatting is one of the many many perks of taking Scott's class. I am not a martial artist- I don't think I could kung fu fight a mugger though I often daydream about it. I take Scott's class for my health and self-defense. I have learned how to attain warm hands in an atmosphere of chill and fog (without working up a sweat). I have been learning how to twist and wrap my muscles, move my organs, work out the tension in my body, pulse my joints, walk properly, make myself soft, move internally. So far, Scott's taught me five of the eight palm changes. I am constantly learning every class from watching him, watching my classmates, and listening to his creative explanations of how to maneuver and readjust the body. Next week we're making a video about a pizza delivery guy who fights off ninjas. And this summer we're going on a camping trip. We do fun things and are a motley crew of low key individuals - come join us if you're interested in a martial arts scene that isn't stereotypical.

--Mijin Lee (Creative Writing Teacher)

Scott is an outstanding teacher with real depth and quality and he truly embodies his teaching. I've been attending Scott's class at the Hatha Yoga Shala since it's start last year and I feel he is offering something of great value to the community here.  Each class consists of Yiquan, Qigong, Bagua components and Scott skillfully gives guidance while at the same time creating a context for each student to find his own way. I have a growing appreciation for his teaching as I see more and more how his instruction is also clearly demonstrated in his own body and movements.  He also offers a tremendous amount of individualized direction and modifications with a keen eye to what each student needs. I feel fortunate to study with him and highly recommend his class and his teachings!

--Judy Yu, Oakland

Excellent Teacher. Exceedingly knowledgeable, the real deal. If you are truly interested in studying martial arts internally, and not just putting on a show, Scott is a right teacher. He combines Chi Kung and Baqua in a fluid and integrated class which is both energizing and insightful. Studying with Scott has helped me recover from a serious ski injury a year ago. Since studying, I have regained a significant degree of strength and range of movement.  

--David M.  Manhattan, NY  8/8/2011

Extremely interesting teacher. I have been a student for 11 years.  My goal was flexibility and vigor in old age.  I am more than happy with the results.  Training was and is fun interesting and challenging

.--Michael P.,  San Francisco, CA  8/4/2011

I've tried other martial arts in the past but none of them got me very interested in the subject. However, Scott Phillips explains and demonstrates the potential that we all have to understanding and optimizing our bodies and minds. My favorite thing about his instruction is that he welcomes questions and he answers them very thoroughly. He genuinely cares about all of his students and takes the time to give you individual feedback on what you're practicing. He's a wonderful and talented person who really believes in what he's doing, and I think those kinds of people make the best instructors.-

-Reyna S. San Leandro, CA  10/11/2008

I found Scott through his blog and website (google for 'northstarmartialarts').    My background doesn't make me a natural at Bagua but Scott is very patient.  Every class he has a different way to think or move in an effort to improve my posture and loosen me up.  Lots of tailored instruction lets each student improve at their own pace.  7 AM is not to early to be up and now is a good time to start, with the rains behind us and early sunrises! 

--Eric B. San Francisco, CA

I had to pleasure of meeting Scott a few years ago through a circle of acupuncturist friends.  I immediately felt his deep appreciation and multi-faceted understanding of Chinese internal arts.  Only recently have I  had the chance to train with him... since I'm a new transplant to San Francisco.   I've been practicing ba gua (among other things) for 4 years now and I must say I love his teaching style: organic moments of quiet focus, playful and engaging didactic conversation, and organized chaos... very holistic.  In just a few short weeks I feel I've learned so much and have so much to learn about the internal mechanics of the body(ies).  All this and he does it in a manner that demonstrates "power with you" as a teacher rather than "power over" you as a teacher. We train in a beautiful park that has a nice view the city, majestic conifer trees, raptors and tricky crows fly over head.  We arrive and finish before the families do and early enough to bask in the varicolored sunrise...  Scott is there before dawn immersed in silent standing practice.  We start with gentle "stretches" (ask Scott why I put it in quotes) and chat informally.  Once our legs begin to open up and the chi begins to flow beyond standby, we move to the tennis courts and begin drills - maybe they're more appropriately called "flexible patterns" - all the while Scott is moving with us and describing the specifics of the movement/stillness.  We then walk the circle working on specifics and/or freestyling and Scott goes around making individualized corrections/additions.  We usually end with two person drills and or weapons.  All the while, Scott infuses movement instruction with the somatic, intellectual, psychic and spiritual aspects in an accessible and experiential fashion. Always fun, always challenging, Scott's classes have been such a great addition and grounding force in my life and practice.  Here's to a mindful preservation of the arts.  Thank you so much Scott!

--A.J.M San Francisco, CA

“How competent, clear and careful Scott is in his teaching. He keeps the right pace and conveys his passion about Taijiquan.... He is a treasure!”

--ACTCM Student, teacher evaluation.