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The Essence of T'ai Chi Chuan: Trans Lo/Inn/Amacker/Foe.
on 30 June 2011
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. Lo, of the Universal T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association, has been assisted in this translation by Susan Foe, Robert Amacker and Martin Inn, all members of the Inner Research Institute School of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. The stark simplicity of this book makes it a very compelling read, and something of a martial arts classic. The translators have produced a very popular work that has been used by many as a philosophical supplement to their T'ai Chi Ch'uan practise. More than this, however, this book conveys in reliable English, a deep Chinese system of holistic thought, and is literally a breath of fresh air in a world where materialism is taken for granted. Superb.