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on March 27, 2008
I am favorably impressed with this complete introduction on the William C. C. Chen Yang-style form. This form is unique enough that it will take months to truly learn the 60-movement choreography. I have the opportunity to learn this form and its related martial arts from a Chen certified instructor but didn't want to waste the first 3 to 6 months just learning the basic form movements. The competence gained through practice with this DVD will allow me to enter into the refinement phase where master instruction is more valuable. Yes, Tiffany's instructions are precise and that is the goal of a good instructional program. "Peace and movement" can be a result of diligent practice, as well as other more beneficial effects, but not the goal of this DVD. This is about grounding the student in the solid fundamentals of the mechanics necessary to perform the movement correctly from which all other things flow.

The innovative features of this DVD are very valuable in understanding the mechanics and breathing of the form performed well. I've found the automatic continuous looping of each segment (12 segments in the entire form) an invaluable tool in learning the form. The momvements in each segment are presented 3 times from slightly different angles and with different vocal instructions on each pass. These can then be looped continuously until sufficiently familiar. The whole DVD can be shown in mirrored format making it much easier to mimic the movements.

If I have one gripe it is that the director of this DVD (as well as other Tai Chi instructional DVDs I've tried) can't stop himself from switching viewing angles in the middle of a movement. It's enough that each segment gets 3 seperate treatments.

Thanks for a great introduction to Grandmaster Chen's form.
33 comments70 of 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 16, 2009
This is a presentation of William C.C. Chen's expanded 60 movement version of Cheng Man Ching's Yang style tai chi form. William Chen is well-respected in tai chi circles. The form is presented by his daughter Tiffany Chen.

As noted by other reviewers, the form can be a bit difficult for beginners to follow from the DVD mostly due to the constantly shifting camera angles (hence the 4 stars rather than 5). But the content of the DVD, the instruction, and the form itself are very valuable.

In recent years it seems that everyone and their brother's uncle has produced a tai chi video or DVD (I own dozens of them), and it can be difficult for beginners to identify what's useful versus what is not. This is a good one and worth having. You just have to be a bit patient in trying to decipher things with the changing camera angles. But it's worth it!
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on March 18, 2008
I realize that this DVD is step by step, however for beginner's the instructions are confusing and visually it is confusing also. It is very difficult to see what area of the body she is referring too, because the camera angle is wrong. The approach of this instruction also seems to be rather goal oriented rather then being about peace and movement. Tiffany's perfectionistic manner makes this rather less enjoyable than it should be.
As a beginner, I find other DVD's of Tai Chi to be better, such as "discover TAI CHI" with Scott Cole, AM & PM workouts. My goal starting out, was to increase flexibility, balance, and reduce feelings of stress.
55 comments51 of 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 8, 2009
Okay, I thought...a Yang-style form Tai Chi DVD by the daughter of the well know William C. C. Chen, that should be good...refresher up on what I had learned a few years ago...so I bought it...popped it in the DVD...Mmmm...very disappointing...not the instruction...the filming....it was too artsy making it too hard to follow...the cover you see with the beautiful southwestern mountains...it's not just the cover...its the live background for the entire DVD...beautiful however...a little distracting....but anyways the main thing that made the film a wash...the view switches way too often...just as I'm trying to follow the move from one angle...Bam! The camera angle switches...so then all of a sudden you are thrown off trying to catch up again where your body relates then to the new angle...and then Bam! Again! The camera angle switches....or starts into a rotating panorama which also adds to the confusion! No one learns like this in real life...I mean...granted it is a nice idea trying to have the multi- angles...but most of us learn from a face front view...or a back view...not angled views that keep switching...so unfortunately even though I had high hopes...the camera angle switching ruined it.... :(
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on July 1, 2010
I love Tiffany Chen for kickboxing workout but this is just plain confusing. It isn't step by step if you don't tell anyone any steps! This dvd just goes right into DOING it and what that is they don't tell you. They just start moving and expect you to follow along as she says stuff that doesn't mean much in the way of how to hold your arms, where to move them or your feet etc. It is almost as if you needed to have knowledge of how to do tai chi before doing the dvd then maybe it would make sense. But, I think of "step by step" to mean that they are going to give you the actual information such as move left foot to the right, heal first while swaying arms up and down or whatever. Maybe I just need MORE structured instruction. But I don't think you will take an extremely looooong and tedious time learning this if you have to just watch and try and copy as they go. I was very disappointed. I didn't learn a thing and had to move on to Scott Cole who I really like for the best abs on earth. He is more to my "step by step" teaching style. Good luck.
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on January 28, 2009
Tiffany Chen is the daughter of Yang Style Grand Master William C. C. Chen, and an outstanding athlete in her own right. So this video had the potential to be an excellent learning tool, particularly since they had a mirror image option which reversed the instructor's moves. Unfortunately, that potential is totally destroyed by artsy-fartsy camera work, overly dramatic lighting and backgrounds, and a constantly changing viewer perspective. I found it impossible to use, even as a backup to my weekly classes.

As a work of art, it's not bad. As an instructional video on the Yang Style of T'ai Chi, there are better.
0Comment13 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 28, 2009
With the spinning camera angles, it is impossible to follow the movments throughout a complete range of motion -- and I am a certified fitness instructor with ten years of experience. Simply put, this DVD is not well directed and is extremely difficult to follow. For an activity that is supposed to be relaxing, the inability to follow along created much mental stress. Auditory directions came VERY fast and the camera angles switched from front to back to side in rapid pace. The monotone narration ripped so quickly, "Shift your weight in the left side, relax in the right hip, spin the palms open and use the energy to turn and press, softening up the arms and use the ground you have to push out the fingers to energize...use your positive leg to energize..." the voiceover was more of a distraction than an aid to comprehension. Dizzying camera shifts and rapid, non-specific narration means neither visual learners nor auditory learners can follow along. So disappointing.
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on February 16, 2009
I'm a beginning student at Master William C.C. Chen's Tai Chi studio in NYC. Tiffany's DVD is a really useful tool for helping me remember what I learned in class when I practice at home.

If you are learning Tai Chi from one of the many teachers who studied Yang style short form with Master Chen, this DVD will help you learn the form faster, so you can focus on perfecting your style during your class time.

Those who are not in a class might find Tiffany's detailed descriptions to be a little difficult to understand. But with some patience and persistence, you should be able to "get it". When you do, her DVD will provide a wealth of useful information.
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on June 9, 2008
Maybe fancy camera tricks are cool, but they are a burden when you have NO idea what is going on and are trying to learn something. Here's a hint: Let's NOT focus on the face when the whole body is moving. Let's NOT focus on a side angle when the opposing, blocked, leg is moving. And so on. Also, Ms. Chen, perhaps actually describing your movements in layman terms for all of us who have not been raised by a Tai Chi Kung Fu master would be helpful. Kthxbai ...

I'm a total noob to Tai Chi, and really want to be successful. This video is NOT for you if you have NO idea what you're doing. Thank goodness I got it as a freebie from another site!
33 comments21 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 23, 2008
I've been a taiji quan player for over 25 years and am certified to teach the William C.C. Chen form because Tiffany Chen's father is my grandmaster. While it is very difficult to learn the form from a tape or dvd, Tiffany has developed a very easy-to-follow and beautifully presented program. Experienced players will be able to see the changes in energy that accompany the movements, and beginners will get a wonderful introduction that will hopefully inspire them to seek personal instruction. Certified teachers worldwide are listed on the Grandmaster's website.
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