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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent scholarly examiation of the Classics
For taiji players its all about the classics. Problem is that there is so much myth and counter myth surrounding the art. The introductory chapters look at this and examine why the texts from different styles are so similar and so different. Trying to find the reasoning behind some of the decisions that were made. Looking at the history and where the name 'taijiquan'...
Published on 25 Aug 2004 by Gordon Stewart

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Taijiquan Classics - By Barbara Davis
This is an interesting book, not without its problems. Barbara Davis is editor of the Taijiquan Journal and has been a practitioner of Yang Style Taijiquan since 1973. Davis trains within the lineage of Zheng Manqing (1902-1975), who in-turn, was the student of master Yang Chengfu (1883-1936), the grandson of grandmaster Yang Luchan (1799-1872), the founder of the Yang...
Published on 9 Dec 2010 by ShiDaDao Ph.D


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent scholarly examiation of the Classics, 25 Aug 2004
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This review is from: The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
For taiji players its all about the classics. Problem is that there is so much myth and counter myth surrounding the art. The introductory chapters look at this and examine why the texts from different styles are so similar and so different. Trying to find the reasoning behind some of the decisions that were made. Looking at the history and where the name 'taijiquan' came from. Incredibly interesting, and it is going to make me want to get more books to delve deeper for myself. (Need a bigger bookcase!)
The book then gives the classics on their own before finally examining them with commentaries by Chen Wei Ming with explanatory notes from Barbara Davis. There is also a copy of the classics in chinese at the end.
I am glad to have this in my 'library'. It has deepened my research into the more scholarly side to taiji, looking at the texts and the history. I would advise having both this book and "The Essence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: The Literary Tradition" to really get a grip on the classics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and well written..., 13 May 2005
By 
Mr. Darren P. Hammond "shadowdh" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
This is a book suitable for all taiji practitioners. It covers the classice beautifully and in a manner which explains and clarifies them very well. I discusses the problems that translating and dating the classics hold and also breaks down the classics with notes from Chen Wei Ming and Barbara Davis. A very insightful book that helped my understanding of both the classics and the practice. Fully recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For students seeking a deeper practice, 29 Oct 2006
By 
S. Moore (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
The Taiji Classics are a collection of texts that first came to light around the turn of the 20th century. They hold the deepest understandings of taiji from its highest level practioners. They are written in a somewhat enigmatic manner and become more and more accessible as your own depth of understanding increases.

Despite this enigmatic nature, once you have found a doorway into them, they become an endless source for measuring and improving your practice. The physical practice brings things to light that the classics can clarify, and the texts can provide insights that transform and deepen the physical practice.

I have several English translations of these Classic texts, they are all slighlty different. That difference allows you to see the same thing from a number of different angles, and sometimes that change in perspective is enough to give you a sudden insight into its meaning.

Barabra Davis' translation of these texts is excellent, in that she is as transparent to the original authors as is possible, but the translations are unique in that they include the commentaries of Chen Wei Ming (CWM). CWM, a high level student of Yang Chen Fu (author of texts often included within the classics) provides another level of clarity and explanation that gives a whole new level of insight into their meaning.

This is an excellent companion to your practice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Taijiquan Classics - By Barbara Davis, 9 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
This is an interesting book, not without its problems. Barbara Davis is editor of the Taijiquan Journal and has been a practitioner of Yang Style Taijiquan since 1973. Davis trains within the lineage of Zheng Manqing (1902-1975), who in-turn, was the student of master Yang Chengfu (1883-1936), the grandson of grandmaster Yang Luchan (1799-1872), the founder of the Yang Style of Taijiquan. Barbara Davis has also translated the work of Chen Weiming (1881-1958), entitled 'Taiji Sword'. Chen was a fellow student with Zheng Manqing, under Yang Chengfu's guidance. Chen was a scholar who had passed the imperial exam (juren), and as a consequence, worked in the Qing History Office. He wrote commentaries the the Taijiquan Classics, as passed-on within the Yang school. In this book, Davis translates these texts into a workable English format, together with Chen's commentaries, and those of Yang Chengfu and two other of his students, namely Zheng Manqing and Dong Yingjie (1888-1961). This book contains the following Taijiquan Classics in both English translation, and (separately) the original Chinese texts:

Taijiquan Jing.
Taijiquan Lun.
Exposition of Insights into the Thirteen Postures.
Thirteen Postures Songs.
Playing Hands Song.

Davis presents all five Classics without annotation and comment - so that a student may read the text without hindrance, perhaps between rounds of Taijiquan practice - and then presents the five Classics again, this time with annotation and commentary. The supportive research is interesting, if not scattered, and Davis does see certain connections between aspects of the Classics and Confucian and Daoist philosophy. For instance, Davis presents Zhou Dunyi's (1017-1073) Taiji Tu, or 'Grand-ridgepole Diagram', and assesses his philosophy with regard to Taijiquan practice. Davis gets some translations wrong. For the Chinese word 'Lun', Davis offers the English translation of 'treatise', when this word is better translated as 'Discussion'. The word 'treatise' is common in Chinese philosophy, but is usually represented by the Chinese word 'zhuan'. Bizzarely, considering the number of years Davis has been training, she translates the word 'da', as to 'play', when infact it means 'to fight'.

There is a common trend in the West at the moment, that whilst purporting to translate and convey reliable English translations of Chinese martial texts, is infact judging the material being studied, and in the process actually 'stripping' away the Chinese culture that has not only created these martial arts in the first place, but also conveyed them as a body of distinct 'martial philosophy' to the West. It must be stressed that generally speaking, this is not professional scholarship, which by and large presents Chinese culture clearly and precisely, without judging or demeaning it, but is rather a form of amateur scholarship, that in its eagerness to be 'correct', is infact damaging the subject being studied, by reducing its relevance and meaning to that of a sterile 'bar-chart'. Chinese culture has been referred to as 'ignorant', and 'mythological' by such people as Stanley Henning - a person Davis thinks highly of, and references his work often in the 'notes' of this book. It is odd that Davis has made the translation errors, whilst claiming to have the input of three Chinese academics in the USA.

Within professional scholarship, the study of another culture does not begin with its deconstructon, denigration or dismissal. Professional scholarship does not ignore the culture that it is studying, and at no time assumes that it 'knows more', or has somekind of 'privileged' knowledge. The thin line that Davis appears to be walking is this; she knows full well what the chinese traditional viewpoint is, regarding the martial arts they have created. She is also aware that there are certain Western amateur scholars who denigrate this view, and instead offer what they consider to be a more 'rational' approach, effectvely telling the Chinese how to think about their own culture. Some of these amateur scholars have assisted Davis in the writing of this book, and if the discerning reader looks closely enough, it will be easy to see which way the author actually leans in this argument.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up there with the best in terms of Tai Chi theory, 4 Jan 2007
By 
Jason Tsang "RacingGreen" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
This book is one of the best for Tai Chi theory. This book is good because it covers material not found elsewhere and does it better than other books. However, it fails with the weak and commentary, due to the author's lack of knowledge and experience of Tai Chi. The author refers to her friendship with a number of Tai Chi practitioners, but it seems that this has not helped her understand the theories better. It is clear that the author does not have deep understanding of internal alchemy and fighting concepts. For somebody with knowledge of the Chinese language, she should have done better and at least found Chinese people to help her correct and proof read her work. I would have found it hard to understand if I didn't already know some theory and the Chinese. The layout could be a bit better, but I am sure readers will cope. I'd say it is weak for fighters, but not very relevent for Tai Chi practioners who do it as an exercise. I wouldn't consider this book core reading material, but I would keep a copy on my bookshelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gift for a friend, 31 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
This book is a very helpful resource for the taijiquan classics with a very well written and documented introduction that puts the Chinese martial arts into a cultural context Westerners can understand and appreciate. I refer to it regularly and it was much appreciated as a gift.
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