Various Styles of T'ai Chi Chuan

T'ai Chi has become such a popular martial practice that, naturally, it has developed into a host of variations. Some of these other styles, though not so popular and well known as, say, the Chen or Yang branches have great interest and beauty of their own. And sometimes it's not the style at all but the teacher which fate has chosen for you that determines which branch of this huge art to study.
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Yang Tai Chi by Jason TsouKF015 First Steps of Taiji Quan
by Qiu PiXiang, editor Jack Yan
$20.00; 192 pages,

This book, by world famous teacher and scholar Qiu PiXiang, offers itself as a entry level text on Taiji that would be appropriate to a beginning student wanting to get some solid Taiji skills before tackling the formal set, or for Tiji teachers who want a progressive and varied series of training exercises to increase core skills. What Teacher Qiu and editor/translator Jack Yan have done is to pick movements that are actually core for ANY style of Taiji. Like some of the work of George Xu, the circle, foot work and movements presented here can only help any practiotner of Taiji regardless of level but can be a real boon for those just starting out. Other topics covered hit the postures, hand shapes, footwork, a list of "Top 10" movements, a six and twelve short routine, and some Push Hands basics. To explain a subject takes knowledge. To explain in a way that almost anyone can understand yet does not lose the integrity of the subject is an art onto itself.



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 instructors, all in the Cheng style. We are allowed to overhear 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; 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 straight sword 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 straight sword 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 straight sword sparring."

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

Note: We posted this both in our Yang style section and our 'various Tai Chi' section because there is some question as to whether Cheng is a separate style from Yang or not. It's not a battling controversy we thought we'd honor the discussion.



Xing Yi with Li Cun YiKCT01 Taijiquan Xue by Sun Lu Tang
Translated by Joseph Crandall
$25.00; 100 pages,

Back Cover: "This is the classic text, A Study of Taijiquan, written by master Sun Lutang. This is the first complete English translation available to the public. The first part of this book contains several chapters describing the Taiji routine that Sun developed based on what he learned from Hao Weijin. The second part of this book contains several chapters describing Sun's version of Push Hands, and an addenda with texts on Taiji theory written by Li Yiyu. This book has 100 pages. The illustrations are reproductions of the photos used in the Chinese version of Sun's book. .."
Illustrated throughout sometimes rough but pretty good for their age.



Tai Chi Yang style Theory and Principles

KT051 Tai Chi Chuan Theory and Principles
by Paul F. N. Tam
translated by Peter Chan & Lee Ying Lok
$49.95 each, Softbound, oversized, photographs

This is an interesting and significant book. Bear with us for a second. This text by Paul Tam comes from a rare branch of Tai Chi associated with our own great grand teacher Gu Ru Zhang. Grandmaster Gu is world famous, always associated with his Northern Shaolin style. There is a photograph of him performing a multiple brick break which has crossed into the legendary category. He was also a compatriot and student of Sun Lu Tang who taught him Tai Chi. He amalgamated this instruction with Yang style derived from Li Jing Lin, the famous swords master. The version he created is like very old Yang with some Sun and is very relaxed. We have had a number of friends and colleagues in this style, which is even more rare than the Chen Pan Ling form. Now one of the interesting little bits is that mutual friends and acquaintances unconnected with the style have occasionally said that the Tai Chi students from Gu's lineage, though not famous, are among some of the best they have ever seen. But Gu is only rarely associated with the style. This book is oversized and gives a very clear breakdown of the entire Gu set which he called "Sun" style. It also has a very rare section of translation from Gu's own Tai Chi writings. Also a biography of both Gu and Sun; some translations from Sun's Tai Chi writings, some from the Classics. There are also notes on Push Hands and a huge lineage chart.

NOTE: This is an oversized book with a beautiful gray and green cover. Unfortunately the green is very subject to scratching and if you order you should be prepared for a less than pristine surface. We are unable to send them back to Hong Kong for minor complaints.



Essential Movements of Tai Chi

KE010 The Essential Movements of T'ai Chi
by John Kotsias
$16.95, Softbound, illustrated, 167 pages

"John Kotsias is a linguist and professor of mathematics and a passionate martial artist." These are the words of Marshall Ho, respected T'ai Chi teacher on John Kotsias, the author of this book. Having actually READ the book and talked to Mr. Kotsias extensively on the phone we can only concur. His interest in and knowledge of T'ai Chi is impressive. His experience is deep. How do we know and how did we know before meeting the author? The book is so simple, straight forward and fundamental it is the one we most often recommend for either a beginner or someone who is advanced but wants to really learn the basics of such important foundational concepts as standing and turning. An excellent and well structured text.



Chen Pan Ling's Tai Chi bookIt's back!
KC004 Chen Pan-Ling's Original
Tai Chi Chuan Textbook

Chen Pan-Ling, Robert W. Smith, Ann Carruthers (translator),
Raye McGwen, Mike Whalen, Y.W. Chang
$38.95, Our special price: $34.95, Paperback, 194 pages

Chen is considered by many to be one of the finest teachers and historians of Chinese martial arts of his time. This is a fine book, exhaustive in its text and well illustrated with pictures of Chen PanLing himself performing his "integrated" T'ai Chi a style combining the Reeling Silk of Xing Yi with the step patterns of Ba Gua. Probably the best synthesis of the three "internal arts" ever done. Probably the most significant section of the book is that of Chen's commentary on the T'ai Chi classics. Sections include a Chinese glossary and chapters on Push Hands and Da Lu.

Robert Smith has said, in his introduction to the book,
"The style of tai chi chuan taught here is Chen's synthesis of the three major styles - Yang, Wu and Chen - prevalent in China today. Though eclectic, it is grounded in the traditional forms and brimming with the ancient spirit. On the outside it is erect and aesthetically pleasing without being gimmicked by impractical sensationalist movements. Complementing this, he describes what occurs inside one's body during tai chi practice; the connection and interplay of breath (chi) and intrinsic energy (chin)."

On a personal note: one of our staff, Shihfu Mancuso, studied Chen Pan Ling for a while before it's name was widely associated with tai chi in the U.S. In his words,"I quite enjoy the style. It was created by a man acknowledged as one of the top martial historians. It successfully blends the so-called internal arts: deriving structure from T'ai Chi, step from Ba Gua and arm-body rotation from Xing Yi. Chen Pan Ling made an accomplishment rare in this day of everyone creating his own system: he achieved a synthesis that actually works."

View other works by and about Chen Pan Ling ...



Chang style Tai Chi KC002Chang Style Tai Chi Chuan
Modified Short Form

Daniel Weng Ph.D. ( Weng Chi Hsiu )
$27.95, Paperback, 176 pages, Photographs

Daniel Weng has done much to promote the art of Chinese Wrestling in the U.S. At college in Taiwan he studied for a time with that most famous Chinese wrestler of the twentieth century, Ch'ang Tung Sheng, often called the Iron Butterfly. In those days a jacket that was not tucked into the belt was the suggestion of someone who would take any challenge. It is not recorded that Master Chang ever tucked in his jacket during his lifetime. When last in Taiwan we had the honor of meeting the present head of the World Shuai Jiao association and the son of Master Chang.

Ch'ang modified a form of Yang Tai Chi into his "Chang" style set. The movements are similar but the flavor and usage of the set partakes of Shuai Jiao with many throws and very direct and severe self defense. This book shows the Shuai Jiao training postures, the Ch'ang T'ai Chi form and then the applications of the movements to self defense situations with its unique characteristics. Our only complaint, some sections of the photos are too small. This third edition, other than the addition of an ad for Mr. Weng's other works, is pretty much the same as the first edition.

NOTE: There has been a price hike in this new edition where there is a significant format change: spiral bound, larger size, etc.
Let me see more information on Dr. Weng's teacher, the famous Chang Dong Sheng 



Wu Dng Tai Yi Boxing

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KW034 Wu Dang Tai Yi WuXing Boxing
Grappling—Pouncing Techniques

by An Tian Rong
$13.50, Paperback, 176 pages, Photographs

First, our one complaint with this book. We would have liked larger pictures. Other than this we have here one of the best attempts in English to capture a Wu Dang style. According to the text by the well known instructor An Tian Rong, this form of Great Spirit (Tai Yi) boxing was taught to An Tian Rong by Pu Xuan who in 1929 began his stay at Zi Xiao Palace in Wu Dang. From Chief monk Li He Lin he learned this form of pugilism. Li He Lin was the eighth generation successor of the originator Zhang Shou Xing who was at the Palace between 1488 and 1504 of the Ming Dynasty. Tai Yi is said to combine the 13 elements of Chang San Feng's Tai Chi, the five animal movements of the great doctor Hua Tuo and other defensive techniques of the Taoist school. The form itself (actually a body enlivening method AND a form) is described very completely and in rather sophisticated terms for a Hai Feng translation. Oh, as a bonus, it is also with facing Chinese/English pages. NOTE: According to the publishers, the is the most complete set of Wu Dang boxing presently preserved. This might be true.


Tai Chi Ruler Back in stock !
Tai Chi Ruler
Chinese Yoga for Health and Longevity: Second Edition
by Terry Dunn

$15.95, 119 pages, softbound,

Originally published as the first significant text on this subject in the English language. Terry Dunn, the creator of the most popular Tai Chi video of all time, explains a number of patterns with the Tai Chi ruler, a small carved instrument for Qigong practice.

This is a very good introduction to a subject which, if you get into it, has surprising depth. For instance the history of the ruler traces its origin back to Chen Hsi Yi the legendary Taoist creator of Liu He Ba Fa and a good friend of the first emperor of the Song dynasty and the legendary creator of Tai Tzu boxing. Small world, isn’t it? The Ruler has some very useful aspects for Qigong training. For instance, if the practitioner wants an instrument but does not want to carry around a weapon the Ruler is perfect. By definition it coordinates the two hands. It also contains a rather profound self defense method but that’s another story.
NOTE: The Tai Chi Ruler refers to the "Great Extremes" of Yin and Yang, not the style known as Tai Chi Chuan or Grand Extreme Boxing. Nonetheless you may also find it in that section due to its name.
Second Note: This is a revised edition of the earlier book and has a new cover.

See the DVD companion to this book, HERE


Sun style Tai Chi Chuan

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KS042 SUN'S Style Tai Chi Chuan       
by Sun Jian Yun and Paul F. N. Tam
translated by Peter Chen and Leung Ming Yuen
$24.95, 141 pages, softbound, photographs front pieces in color

Some books are nothing less than essential. For the Sun style enthusiast this is a keystone written by the famous instructor's own daughter who practiced for over 70 years. Well written in a generally good presentation this book discusses the Sun style with its key points, Sun Jian Yun's life, the breakdown of the form with written examples of usage, key points to remember in practice and historical notes. Our only criticism is that the photographs are rather small. On the other hand there are specifics about, for instance, Sun footwork which are very helpful in understanding the fundamentals of this branch.