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A handy one-volume "root-reference" for the novice
on 2 September 1997
For the newcomer to this art, the selection of core writings on the history, meaning and practice of Tai Chi that are found in this slim book make it worth the price. However, it has still more to offer in the author's own writings and interpretive commentary. His introductory chapters set forth the key concepts which form both the foundation and the "tools" of Tai Chi, and attempt to prepare the reader for the latter chapters containig the writings of three of the great early masters of Tai Chi. The author attempts to clarify the somewhat pithy and obscure teachings of these men, with mixed sucess; this must be expected, given the difficulties involved in attempting to delineate the intangible and express the internalized.
If this reader can be said to find fault, it would be with the final section of the book, which outlines the 37 movement Short Form developed by Master Cheng, who felt that too many people simply did not have the time to devote to learning the full form. Rather than using the space to show this form at the expense of the other forms or schools of Tai Chi, it might have been more worthwhile to show more of those exercises which focus on developing specific techniques in the art. However, this does not detract from the worthy qualities of this book. Certainly, if you are looking for a place to begin your journey toward understanding of the "Grand Ultimate," Tai Chi Classics will give you a good home to leave, and a useful place to refresh yourself on the way.