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The Essence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: The Literary Tradition [Paperback]

Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo , Martin Inn , Robert Amacker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

31 Jan 1982
A handbook of the classical Chinese literature on which the art of t'ai chi is based. First English translation of the classic texts of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. This is required reading for practitioners of every style.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books,U.S. (31 Jan 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913028630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913028636
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.1 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 315,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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In motion all parts of the body must be light nimble and strung together. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The collection of writings that comprise the Tai Chi Classics make it a book of wisdom, rather than of tuition. One can read and reread it and re-examine the nuances of the prose each time. It is analagous to Sun Tze's art of war, but is more to do with individual combat, the application and understanding of Tai Chi Ch'uan, in terms of the integration of mind, body and spirit. It contains texts from the legendary Chang San-feng (1279 - 1368 A.D.) right up until the modern day writings of Cheng Man Ching. It has formed the literary foundation of both Yang and Wu styles of the art, and a basis for the teaching of the art. I consider it essential reading for any serious student of Tai Chi Ch'uan.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By ShiDaDao Ph.D TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book carries the subtitle 'The Literary Tradition'. This is explained in the Preface, (written by Susan Foe), as a reference to a more literal and exact process of translation, rather than an emphasis upon a more poetically inspired translation. Foe points out that certain expressive Chinese words are very difficult to translate into compact English words or phrases, and that instead of trying match an often meandering (and bewildering) plethora of meaning, instead, the translators offer the most direct way of understanding the Chinese terms in English. The result is an easily accessible translation of various T'ai Chi Chuan texts that convey a mixture of technical advise and profound wisdom.

The paperback (1979) edition contains exactly 100 pages and is separated a Preface, an Introduction, a Glossary and nine chapters, which represent the following texts:

1) T'ai Chi Ch'uan Ching - Chang San-feng.
2) T'ai Chi Ch'uan Lun - Wang Tsung-yueh.
3) Expositions of Insights into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures - Wu-Yu-hsiang.
4) Song of the Thirteen Postures - Unknown Author.
5) Song of Hand-Pushing - Unknown Author.
6) Five Character Secret - Li I-yu.
7) Essentials of the Practice of Form and Push-Hands - Li I-yu.
8) Yang's Ten Important Points - Yang Cheng-fu - Commentary by Chen Wei-Ming.
9) Song of Form and Function - Cheng Man-Ch'ing.

Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo writes the calligraphy featured in the book, and provides a very interesting Introduction which discusses a number of theories about the origination of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, including the traditional and the modern ideas.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich, timeless treatise on the principles of tai chi chuan 23 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has become a bible for me as a practitioner of tai chi chuan and push-hands for the past twenty years. It is a collection of brief, often poetic classic writings from the tai chi masters. I read it at least twice a year, and I consider it a must-read for any advanced practitioners of the internal martial arts.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to tai chi theory 4 Jan 2002
By John Ball - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a new translation of a number of classical tai chi texts. The translations are clear, and the language flows well. The translators also included brief explications of difficult terms withing the text itself so as not to disrupt the flow of words. The presentation of the book is well done, with many illustrations and pages of calligraphy. While fairly short, this book is very nice introduction to the classic Chinese texts on tai chi.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Wing Chun Practitioners Too 14 Mar 2005
By Armando Sainz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found that this book contains the best writings on Wing Chun available. It was recommended to me by my teacher's teacher. I know it's about Tai Chi concepts but the astute Wing Chun practitioner will benefit immensely from it. No it doesn't show any forms. It's not a "how to" book. It's a "learn deeper things about what you already know" book.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest way to learn the phylosophy behind the movement 15 Mar 2002
By Pablo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Any serious Tai Chi practitioner will know that Tai Chi is more than just movement. This book presents the original Tai Chi texts translated into english, which allow the reader to think and feel each movement in a new, more intense manner.
Each sentence is a lesson in itself. While some are easy to understand, others will not be so clear in the beginning. I am sure that you will read this book more than once, reflecting on the movements and thoughts behind each form.
I recommend this books to any Tai Chi practitioner who wishes to understand the roots of the discipline.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resoource for advanced students. 11 July 2009
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After 10 years of Tai Chi Chuan practice advanced books like this are becoming a valuable resource. Until you understand chi flow, rooting, adhering, following, and the myriad of other terms that describe the fundamental elements of the art, much of the book may come across as esoteric. A respected elder in the art once told me that the 'classics' will not lead you astray. The trick is to find good translations without too much personal commentary.

This book is a raw translation of many well known Tai Chi Chuan classics. The direct instructions are utterly essential in the art but some of the book can be very difficult to fully understand. That said, this has become my primary resource. I read this book often.
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