Xin Yi Liu He and Chen Taijiquan: Two Great New Books

It is complete coincidence that our two newest books — James Counsilman’s, “Ten Animals Kung Fu: Xin Yi Liu He Quan,” and Andrea Falk’s, Shadowboxing in Shanghai: A Memoir and a Guide to the Traditional Chen Taijiquan From Dragon Park” — have something in common: they both come from records of the authors’ experiences studying in Shanghai.

Counsilman’s book is compiled from years of detailed notes he took while studying with his Master Li Zunsi in Shanghai. It is the first (and only, to our knowledge) book in English on the lesser-known practice of XinYiLiuHe; even in Chinese, there are not many texts on the subject. Counsilman’s book is unusual in that there are almost no photos or illustrations accompanying the precise textual instructions. Nonetheless, longtime Plum customer AJ had this to say when he got an advanced copy of the book:

“I truly cannot thank you enough for notifying me of James Counsilman’s treatise on XinyiliuhequanAs for his Xinyiliuhequan book: WOW!
It is undoubtedly one of the finest martial arts treatises I have ever read. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have this. A lifetime’s training lies within.”
Andrea Falk’s newest book shines on its own. We are big fan’s of Falk’s translations, writings, and her cannot-be-praised-enough martial dictionary, but this new one exceeded expectations. She has combined detailed instruction on the 108 move Chen Taijiquan Yilu (first set) she learned in Shanghai (in the Chen Xin lineage), with notes on Taiji concepts, discussions with her sifu, conversations with other students and teachers, then added memoirs of living and studying in Shanghai in the 80’s and 90’s, with moving portraits of a city that refused to lay still as just a background. It’s an exciting work, and one we highly recommend.

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