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Tai Chi Ball Qigong: For Health and Martial Arts [Paperback]

Yang Jwing-Ming , David Grantham

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Book Description

30 Jan 2011
Tai Chi Ball Qigong training is a long established method for increasing the body's physical power and Qi (energy). This training strengthens the torso, bones, muscles, ligaments, and improves root and balance. It helps with concentration and alertness, and teaches you how to lead and manifest Qi, which is key for martial power. Tai Chi Ball Qigong is good for all ages and any martial art style

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Tai Chi Ball Qigong: For Health and Martial Arts + Tai Chi Ball Qigong DVD 1 (YMAA Tai Chi) [DVD] [2006] + Tai Chi Ball Qigong DVD 2
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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: YMAA Publication Center; 1 edition (30 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594391998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594391996
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.5 x 2.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 374,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming is a renowned author and teacher of Chinese martial arts and Qigong. Born in Taiwan, he has trained and taught Taijiquan, Qigong, and Chinese martial arts for over forty-five years. He is the author of over thirty books, and was elected by Inside Kung Fu magazine as one of the 10 people who has "made the greatest impact on martial arts in the past 100 years." Dr. Yang lives in Northern California.David W. Grantham has been training in martial arts for twenty-one years. He currently holds Certificates as Coach Instructor and Chin Na Instructor and teaches at the Hunterdon Wellness Center in Clinton, New Jersey. He offers privates, classes and seminars on Tai Chi Ball and Chin Na. David Grantham resides in Hunterdon County, New Jersey with his wife and two children.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for our Taiji Ball Qigong classes! 22 Dec 2010
By Joshua Craig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thank you to Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming and David Grantham for authoring the first comprehensive guide to Taiji Ball Qigong practice. Whether you are new to the practice, or a long-time practitioner, the 300+ pages of this book contain everything you need. In fact, this book is now the textbook at our NYC Taiji Ball Qigong classes and is also suggested reading for our seminars.

Chapter 1: General Qigong Theory
Chapter 2: Qigong Training Theory and Procedures
Chapter 3: General Introduction to Taiji Ball Qigong
Chapter 4: Theory of Taiji Ball Qigong
Chapter 5: Taiji Ball Qigong Training
Chapter 6: Applications of Taiji Ball Qigong
Appendix A: Translations and Glossary of Chinese Terms
Appendix B: Tai Chi Ball Qigong DVD 1 & 2

Chapter 5: Taiji Ball Qigong Training
-------------------------------------
This chapter is 128 pages in length and it includes all of the major training methods of the solo practice of Taiji Ball Qigong, including:

Warm-ups
Breathing
Hand Forms
Stances
Stepping
Circling Patterns
Rotating Patterns
Wrap Coiling Patterns

Chapter 6: Applications of Taiji Ball Qigong
--------------------------------------------
This chapter is 41 pages in length and it details the following:

Solo Practice with Tables and Walls
Partner Practice (variations of the methods shown in Chapter 5)
Rooting Practice
Integrating Taiji Ball Qigong practice with Taijiquan
Power Training

Appendix B: Tai Chi Ball Qigong DVD 1 & 2
-----------------------------------------
These three pages were an unexpected treat. As this book is designed to be used with Taiji Ball Qigong Courses 1 and 2 (YMAA Tai Chi) chi kung [VHS] and Tai Chi Ball Qigong Courses 3 and 4 (YMAA Tai Chi) taiji chi kung, the authors have provided this guide which matches the location of the material on the DVDs to the section and page numbers in the book. Tremendously useful for anyone who has the DVDs.

As mentioned above, this book is designed to be used with the DVDs. Having had the DVDs (and the previous VHS versions) I had been somewhat disappointed that more detail was not available for students who only had access to the DVDs. This book more than fills that void - if you already have the DVDs, be sure to get the book, it will make all the difference.

The strength of the DVDs is that you are able to see the motions, the transition points "between the pictures" and the overall rhythm and flow. The strengths of the book are outlined above. If you ever have the chance to take a class or seminar, your learning will be reinforced with hands-on experience and corrections.

Regardless, a few minutes a day will enable you begin to experience the benefits of Taiji Ball Qigong. I have used Taiji Ball Qigong to recover from injuries, and later began to teach.

One comment for beginners: When doing some of the stances, be sure that your knees point in the same direction as your toes. For example, when performing the exercises shown in Figure 5-59 and Figure 5-60 on page 133 and Figure 5-79 and Figure 5-80 on page 143, it is easy to lose this alignment and to experience pain.

Overall I have graded this book five stars. Though being a teacher of Taiji Ball Qigong means I do have some bias, at the same time it also provides me with the perspective and experience from which to judge this title. I have waited many years for this book to see the light of day and I am not disappointed. Is there more to Taiji Ball Qigong? Of course. However this book will provide you with essential tools for your journey.

Joshua Craig
NYC
[...]
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful book 11 Jan 2011
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Tai Chi Ball Qigong
For Health and Martial Arts
Written by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming and David Grantham

ISBN-13: 978-1-59439-199-6
ISBN-10: 1-59439-199-8

If you don't want to read my whole review, I will sum it up for you:

This is a great book. The only flaw it has is that it greatly benefits from having the Tai Chi Ball Qigong DVD, to help explain some of the movements.

Ok, now on to the review itself.

Tai Chi Ball Qigong (Henceforth refered to as The Book for the rest of this review) is a terrific addition for any martial artists library, regardless of what style they study.

The book starts off with an overview of Qi Gong, goign more in depth into some of the explanations than the previous book I reviewed, Yang Style Tai Chi. Moving then from the discussion of how Qi works, Dr. Yang discusses proper breathing, and various types of breathing. Yes, there is more to breathing than just "Breath in, Breath out".

So about a third of the way into the book itself begins the introduction to Ball Tai Chi, with a quick overview of the benefits of Tai Chi Ball training. Then moving on to how to chose a tai chi ball and some standard stretching exercises, nothing really new for someone who already trains in martial arts.

At last we move into the actual practice with the Tai Chi Balls, first in the air, then on a table, up to using it against a wall, and with a partner. It is easy to see how that, even if you don't do push hands exercises, how these exercises can help you in other arts or in other aspects of life. The massage on the hands, coordination practice, and while not meant for it, the conditioning your hands would get.

The flaws in this book? Well they don't really tell you where to find a Tai Chi ball, and the quick google search I did while writing this review, didn't come up with much. The few I did find, they are bloody expensive. Like $100 or more for the ones on the cover of the book. Not that you can't use a cheaper ball, or plastic ones, but they recommend wood as it conducts the bodies energy better.

You really need the DVDs to understand some of the movements, as pictures can only do so much explanation.

This really is a great book and I highly recommend it to any martial artist. If you are thinking about buying it for someone, wait till Christmas or their birthday, and get them the DVDs and maybe a ball to practice with as well. It may be an expensive present, but it is well worth it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Book, Best Paired with the DVD 11 Jan 2011
By Susan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has two sections: the theoretical material at the beginning, and the exercises. If you are familiar with Dr. Yang's qigong dvd series, the material in the beginning will look familiar. It's a nice summary of his introductory qigong theory. The second half, however, is what I find most intriguing. I do Yang Tai Chi, and what I see in Tai Chi Ball Qigong is a way of training familiar movements but with a slightly different twist. The ball makes the connection between the hands and the circularity of the techniques much more immediate.

The ball also adds a little weight to the movements. As a middle-aged woman, I lift light weights to stave off bone loss. The Western way of lifting weights, a way that "isolates" muscles, has never made sense to me. We don't use muscles in isolation in daily life, why isolate them in our exercise? Tai Chi ball allows me to use a light weight (the ball) in a way that is integrative and whole-body. It gives me a little bit or resistance while also training balance, fluidity, and flexibility.

One word of caution, however: If you wish to actually do these exercises (as opposed to reading about them from a theoretical or "tourist" perspective), assume you will also need to purchase both the book and the DVD. The photos are clear and good-quality, but I find myself unable to decipher the more complex movements from just photos with drawn-in arrows.

With that one proviso, I highly recommend the book to anyone wishing to add a new dimension to their Tai Chi practice.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource on Tai Chi Ball Qigong 31 Jan 2011
By Alain B. Burrese - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Tai Chi Ball Qigong for Health and Martial Arts" by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming and David Grantham is a treasure trove of information and instruction on tai chi ball qigong. This lessor known type of training can strengthen and increase power as well as improve health and movement. And this text book on its theory, execution, and application is a definitive guide book to assist the reader in furthering their knowledge of qigong and learning to perform movements and patters with the tai chi ball. Dr. Yang continues to impress with his thorough resources on the Chinese arts.

This text starts with chapters on general qigong theory and qigong training theory and procedures. These chapters are not just light coverage, but very in depth to be included in a book that focuses on the tai chi ball. Part of this is because Dr. Yang believes in providing the why behind the what, so readers will understand what the movements, breathing, and thinking are for. Additionally, it is because there is so much to learn to fully understand the complexities of qigong theory and training. And while these chapters contain a lot of information, they are only a fraction of what Dr. Yang teaches and writes about, and for this reason, there are numerous places where different books are recommended for further study and more complete instruction on various aspects of qigong training.

Chapters three and four go into a general introduction to tai chi ball qigong and the theory of tai chi ball qigong. (Note that the title of the book uses the "tai chi" Romanization, where inside the book, the Pinyin "taiji" is used.) I must also point out that these first four chapters are not light reading. This is complex information, and meant for serious students of gigong.

Chapter five focuses on how to select a ball for training, how to practice, warming up without the ball, and then exercises with the ball. This chapter is around 130 pages long, and contains many photographs with detailed descriptions to assist with the learning of the movements and exercises. The pictures, diagrams, and descriptions are clear and allow the reader to learn the movements. However, for an easier, and more complete, learning experience, one can use the accompanying DVDs along with the text. Throughout the book, there are DVD icons on the sides of certain pages that indicate that companion material is found on the DVDs. There are two companion DVDs for the book, and both are advertized in the back. I think this is a fantastic way to provide information and instruction.

Chapter six contains instruction on applications of tai chi ball qigong. Both solo exercises with objects such as tables and walls and partner exercises are included. There are also a couple of advanced drills not shown on the DVDs. The book concludes with a glossary of Chinese terms and then a navigation guide for using the DVDs and the book together.

If you have any interest at all in learning about tai chi ball qigong, this is a must have reference. Even if you don't want to practice with a tai chi ball, this text will help you better understand qigong and the various trainings used for health and martial art practice. I commend both Dr. Yang and Grantham for creating an excellent reference for all of us to learn from.

Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author of the Lock On Joint Locking Essentials series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best book on Taiji Ball Qigong 17 Feb 2011
By RichardW - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a very interesting book about a relatively obscure Yang style Tai Chi / Qigong exercise process. It is not widely taught nor are there many books or DVDs that can be easily obtained.

Here is a summary of the table of contents:
Chapter 1: General Qigong Theory
Chapter 2: Qigong Training Theory and Procedures
Chapter 3: General Introduction to Taiji Ball Qigong
Chapter 4: Theory of Taiji Ball Qigong
Chapter 5: Taiji Ball Qigong Training
Chapter 6: Applications of Taiji Ball Qigong

Appendix A: Translation and Glossary of Chinese Terms
Appendix B: Tai Chi Ball Qigong DVD 1 & 2

(No, I didn't copy the table of contents incorrectly. The title of the book is "Tai Chi", the historically common English language spelling. The table of contents and the book itself refers to "Taiji" which is the more accurate contemporary spelling.)

The content of the book probably merits a 5 star rating. It is one of the few sources on Taiji ball Qigong. The organization of the book could be improved.

The early chapters on Qigong are very good and relatively clear for a subject that is difficult to describe in print. You really have to experience it to understand the written information. But, the written information is a valuable supplement in the process of learning the experience. The right path to learning is probably to read these chapters, practice and get verbal guidance from a good instructor, and then go back and read the chapters again. Followed, of course, by more practice.

The Taiji Ball Qigong Training & Application chapters are well illustrated and clearly described. There are references to the companion DVD. That is probably critical since seeing a video often clarifies the correct way to do an exercise that is challenging to understand by just reading a book and looking at static pictures.

The organization of the book may be a problem to many new readers because there is no description of Taiji ball training exercises until midways through chapter 5. I expected to see this information on page 1. The first picture of someone using a Taiji ball is actually on page 130.

Another issue with the content is that there is limited advice on obtaining a Tai Chi ball to use. There are a few pages in chapter 5 that discuss choosing the proper weight and material for a Tai Chi ball. They say: "For a beginner, a wooden ball made with a single solid piece of wood is highly recommended." That is great, but where do I get one? How much will it cost? Are there inexpensive alternatives that I can try while getting started? Can I buy one from a recommended internet vendor? I couldn't find that information in the book. If you go to the book's publisher YMAA web site, they do have a single recommendation. But it is probably too expensive ($80) for someone who is just getting started who is exploring whether they will be interested. Here is my recommendation: get a 4 pound medicine ball from Amazon. It will cost less than $20 and can be used as a good substitute. That's what I did. I am sure the wooden ball has a better texture / feel. But, the medicine ball is a good starter alternative.
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