Yang Style Tai Chi

This is still the most popular form of T'ai Chi in the world. And with good reason. It's low, slow, majestic motion is a pleasure to the eye and a seduction to the skin. Yang's "large frame" is relatively easy to learn and, for many people, is the perfect example of T'ai Chi's graceful and fluid power.

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Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KW043 Wisdom of Taiji Masters
Insights into Cheng Man Ching's Art
167 pages, photographs, softbound,
by Nigel Sutton; Compiled and Edited by Mark Wiley
Retail prcie $19.95 Plum $17.85

Nigel Sutton has long and deep experience in CMA (Chinese Martial Arts). This new book, an exploration of the Cheng Man Ching contribution to Taiji takes the experiences, memories, and insights of eight insructors all in the Man Ching style. We are allowed to over hear conversations, some of them recorded years ago but available for the first time, that form a composite view of Cheng and his teachings. True, the vantage point is decidedly positive but, given that, there are many ideas here as, for instance...

Tan Ching Ngee: "When you train the empty-hand form it is difficult enough to get everything right....The spear is harder still and the straightsword yet harder. Practice of the weapons slowly but surely raises the standard of our gongfu."

Ho An San: "When Shifu Lu (one of Cheng's disciples) took on challenges, he would initiate his attack by slapping them in the face. But if they were more of a challenge he would use the single phoenix-eye fist to the solar plexus."

Koh Ah Tee: "That old gentleman took the straightsword that he learned from the Yang family and changed it and made it more natural. Like his form, the movements became more internal, more subtle. Another practice that he developed was that of the straightsword sparring."

Due to its soft and subtle approach Cheng's Taiji has remainded as much a puzzle as a practice for many people. This book advances considerably that knowledge and insights on this subject.

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Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KT022 T'ai Chi Chuan
It's Effects and Practical Applications
182 pages, photographs, softbound,
"Compiled and Edited by H.C.Chao"
$12.95

Notice that we put quotations marks around "compiled and edited by H.C.Chao." This book was published by McLISA in 1995 but it is obviously the book of the same title written by Yearning K. Chen originally published in 1947 and with beautiful drawings based on photos of Yang Chen Fu. McLISA reissued the same book, translation and all, with uninspired photos but retaining the original floor charts. The text is the same, so if you want an available copy of the book complete with photo of Yang Chen Fu and Chen's original teacher, Tien Sou Lin, this is an inexpensive version. The translation is literate, the instructions detailed. The entire Long Set and Push Hands are described along with some short essays on broader topics such as Tai Chi related to psychology, morality and mechanics. Except for the placeholder photos, a possible but collectible bootleg.

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Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KT053 T'ai Chi Ch'uan Ta Wen
Chen Wei Ming
61 pages, front piece photograph of the author, softbound,
$12.95, PLUM price $10.25 (20% discount)

Considered by many to be a classic in the field of Tai Chi writings. Chen Wei Ming (see biography) was the top student of Yang Chen Fu. This Ta Wen (Q & A) book is a slim but invaluable resource and discussion on the art of Tai Chi. Chapters cover:Tai Chi:
Commentary on the History and the Correction of the Legend.
Tai Chi Form
Push Hands
Fighting Techniques (San Shou)
Chin (Internal Force)
Relation of Tai Chi to Tao Yin and Meditation
Physique and Achievement
The Five Word Secret of Li I Yu
Glossary

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Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KZ004 Zhi Chui "Wise Hammers"
The Indoor Yang Taijiquan
by Jonty Kershaw
108 pages, photographs, softbound,
$24.95

First we should all recognize that there is one indisputable fact about Yang style Taiji, namely that there are indeed a number of Indoor aspects to the knowledge (see Jason Tsou's book below). Whether or not these are “secret” forms and such is another issue but there’s not doubt that many martial practitioners are still looking for the “whole story” on the Yang style and the causes of it powerful reputation. We actually sell a VCD from the “Imperial Court” teachings of the Yang style. This book is the written description in English of one of these Imperial teachings, the Wisdom Hammering form. This set is based on the Taiji method of punching and supplements the Long Form with its specializing in the punching skills of Yang style. The layout is good and straight forward with slightly smallish pictures and “footwork boxes” indicating stance and weight distribution. Kershaw gives the breakdown of the movements and general principles for Taiji performance. This is the first presentation of this knowledge we know of in the English language.

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Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KY002 Yang Taiji The Untold Story
by Jason Tsou & Arthur Schonfeld
233 pages, photographs and illustrations, softbound, large size
$32.95

 

Jason Tsou and Arthur Schonfeld have created a major project. This is a complete renovation of the approach to Tai Chi with a blending of deep Tai Chi theory and modern concepts from math and science. In one sense we see this upsurge as a new validation of martial studies coming from many quarters but this particular effort is a keystone because it incorporates classical martial theory with a strong rationalist approach. What is even better is that all of Tsou's previous efforts—such as his Random Circle approach and the "reaction force" of his highly interesting take on Chin Na— dovetail with this new contribution and fit right in as stepping stones on the same path. Taking an equational approach, this book offers teachers and students much to think about and, more importantly, much to research. We at PLUM see the whole field finally passing from the earlier phase of parroting to preserve and into a phase of true research and validation. This book is a major step in that direction with enough ideas to scrutinize and experiment with to more than justify the price.

Also: See the Random Circle on Push Hands and Jason Tsou's course on Chin Na.
Two Qigong DVDs: Taiji Qigong and Bagua Qigong.

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Anatomy of Yang Tai CHi

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KA005 Anatomy of Yang Family Tai Chi
by Steffan de Graffenried
108 pages, photographs and illustrations, softbound
$16.95

NOTE: The author is working on a greatly revised edition of this book and we will restock it as soon as it is finished! Please click here if you would like to add your name to the want list for it.

From the back cover...
"This is the Tai Chi book that westerners have been waiting for. Anatomy of Yang Family Tai Chi finally gives the West the real secrets of Tai Chi Chuan practice. Teachers and students alike will find this text both enlightening and challenging.

Learn the relationship between Yi, Qi , Jing and Shen. This volume one of two explains in great detail how to create your perfect Chuan Jia (fighting frame) and how to move your conscious mind into all parts of your body. Achieving conscious movement sometimes seems unattainable but the author take you takes you there in a language you can understand."

See a review of this text and Steffan de Graffenried's background

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Yang Chen Fu's Tai Chi

KY003 Yang Chen Fu: The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan
Translated by Louis Swaim
124 pages, old photographs, softbound
$16.95

"The publication in 1934 of Yang Cheng Fu's book Essence and Applications of Taijiquan (Taijiquan Ti Yong Quan Shu) marked a milestone in the modern evolution of the art of Tai Chi. Yang Cheng Fu uses what is best termed 'demonstration narrative' to present form postures and suggested applications from his own perceptive as he performed them. This methodology renders his direct, hands-on teaching of the art with such immediacy and liveliness that the reader experiences the master's teaching much as his students did.

This English translation finally makes Yang Cheng Fu's classic work available to Tai Chi enthusiasts in the West. It includes notes and commentary that clarify the author's frequent classical and literary turns of phrase and elucidate the philosophical and political underpinning that shape the text. The translator investigates and compares several early Tai Chi books to help explain the roles played by two of Yang Cheng Fu's students, Dong Ying Jie and Zheng Man Qing in bringing Yang Cheng Fu's words and teachings into print."

This translation, by Louis Swaim, is interesting in that he gives his own textural notes on the translation. In some ways this can be considered a bit of "not playing the game" for it is the translator's problem to make decisions, not the readers. On the other hand Swaim's comments on the ambiguity of the language give us an insight into exactly the problems deal with and sometimes even solved by anyone working in the Chinese language. This is a key book for anyone studying Tai Chi, especially followers of the Yang style.

See Lion Books' original Chinese version of the text.

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Yang Style Tai Chi

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KY001 Yang Style Taijiquan
by Yang Zhen Dou
124 pages, old photographs, softbound
$15.95

This was one of the first substantial English books on the art of Yang style Taiji. Written by Yang Zhen Dou, Yang Chen Fu's son, it gives a very clear, standardized and well written accounting of the form and numerous other key points. A very good, solid book for the money.

DVDs by this author

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Wu Meng Xia on Taiji

KW029 Excerpts from,
"Annotations on Taijiquan's
Nine Songs and Eighty One Postures and other selections"
by Wu Meng Hsia (Wu Meng Xia) & Wu Bei Feng
translated by Bradford Tyrey and Marcus Brinkman
$26.95 each, 120 Pages,Oversized, softbound , small photographs

"This book covers deep internal training aspects of Taijiquan. Photos accompany each section of the text. It is a rare text written by Wu, one of China's most famous teachers of Bagua, Xingyi, and Taiji during the 1930's thru 1950's. Approximately 93 pages; black and white printing and photos. Photos of Wu are somewhat unclear, but visible. Partial contents include:

Synopsis of Practice and Theory Song,
The Thirteen Character Training Song,
The Confounding Round Song,
The Eighteen Locations,
Original Skill of Taiji Boxing, and more.
Song 1: includes a section entitled "Skill Significance" (Ji Su Yi Yi). This is a section included with the original text's technical explanation of the 81 Taiji postures, providing a short synopsis of each posture's martial function. A text necessary for those wanting to learn many of the secrets of internal martial practices."

This is from the text page itself. Other interesting and important attributes include a biography of Jiang Rong Jiao with some key points. Some background on Sha Guo Zhen. Sha's introduction to the writings of Wu Meng Xia. Unlike many books on the "classics explained" this one has a more definite stance and - though with difficulty - really tries to explain the meanings of the classic with strategic examples of how they might be put into use. These are notoriously ambiguous phrases and concepts and Wu's interpretation is important and often clarifying.

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Taijiquan  in 88 forms

KT035 Taijiquan in 88 Forms
Compiled by Victor Wu, translated by Huang Jin
229 pages, softbound, illustrations
$10.95

Talk about a best seller! This little edition of the official 88 movement Taijiquan sold over 1,500,000 copies in its native mainland China. This edition was brought out in 1980 and shows a longish official version based on the Yang style Taiji. The introduction has much then current information on the scientifically validated benefits of Taijiquan. The rear section deals with the basics of push hands operations. The text is clear and detailed. The overall presentation is straight forward with clean illustrations (see scan). In addition, this book is presented with side by side Chinese and English.

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