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The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan Paperback – March 2, 2005
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“I highly recommend The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan as a valuable resource for Taiji players, with the actual words of Yang Chengfu to guide them in their practice.”
About the Author
Louis Swaim lives and practices in Oakland, California. He is the translator of the highly regarded handbook on the art of taijiquan, Fu Zhongwen: Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan (North Atlantic Books, 1999). He studied Chinese history, Mandarin, and Classical Chinese at U.C. Berkeley. After completing a master's degree, he continued his language study at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taiwan. He has been a taijiquan practitioner for thirty years.
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Yang Chengfu attempts to describe the applications to techniques, giving the reader some idea of what the intention of the movements are. However, knowing that real applications were traditionally reserved for in-door (rumen) students, I am a bit skeptical about the descriptions being provided.
A few of the Taiji classics are listed at the end, which is a plus for any Taiji Quan book. Overall, a good source of reference to the long form, originating directly from the source (although I still prefer Fu Zhongwen's version.)
No, a beginner won't learn Taiji from reading this book, that is not its purpose. It serves as an inspiration for more experienced students, as a means of illuminating practice and study of the Classics, and as a glimpse back in time to the end of imperial China and its climate of martial arts.