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Snake Style Tai Chi Chuan: The Hidden System Of The Yang Family Paperback – March 28, 2012
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About the Author
Bob Boyd has been a martial artist for over four decades. He trained in Okinawan Uechy-ryu karate for 17 years, retiring as a fourth degree black belt. In 1983, he began studying the tiger style of tai chi and taught tai chi for 17 years. In 2001, Bob became the Disciple of Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak in Hong Kong, and was taught the snake style tai chi system. The snake style is the original, martial system of the Yang family that was taught only to male heirs of the Yang family. When Yang Sau Chung, the fourth generation heir of the Yang family had no sons, he took Ip Tai Tak as his First Disciple and heir. Grandmaster Ip chose to change the secretive tradition of teaching the snake style by giving his Disciple, Bao Tak Fai (Bob's Chinese name), permission to teach the snake style system openly. Now the snake style is being taught throughout the world thanks to the foresightedness of Grandmaster Ip. Bob is the Executive Director of the Bao Tak Fai Tai Chi Institute, Inc. and the founder of the International Snake Style Association (ISSA). You can learn more about Bob, the snake style, and ISSA by visiting www.ipfamilytaichi.org or www.snake-style.org on the internet. Bob is also a writer and a musician. He lives in South Hero, Vermont.
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This is a somewhat lazy effort, in my view, lacking in clarity and drawings and photos that would have been most useful. It's worthwhile for the dedicated tai chi practitioner, but frustratingly unclear at times on points Boyd says are essential. It's also a bit overpriced but, as the first book I've seen to emphasize these various adjustments to how one normally performs the tai chi form, worth reading. Although it's clearly geared to the Yang style its principles could be applied to any style of tai chi.
One thing this book does extremely well is actually showing you diagrams and formulas with research into the way the body connects to an internal structure. There are very few books on Tai Chi that do this a all.
of why this secret system was never seen- in opening notations - Master Ip in his own writing states the existance of this style that he taught Bob as his disciple....having studied the public style "tiger style"
for over 15 years myself - it was not until allowed to be taught this ancient yang style "snake style"
did I finally really begin to understand what an "internal style" truely is - as Bob Boyd
notes in this book - all the words in the orginal public instructions are the same - for the first
time however the true meaning and application are explained and illustrated which makes ALL the difference!!...well written and carefully detailed - every martial artist will find value in this guide....it is a proud legacy to one of the worlds Great Martial artist....Master IP....who gave Bob Boyd permission to give to the world this "Holy Grail of Tai chi"
I trained with Master Ip and can attest to the accuracy of Master Boyd's presentions in these teachings.
The most amazing revelation is that truly powerful tai chi is a matter, not of Eastern mysticism, but of biomechanics that stimulate every meridian. It is an essentially physical art. It gets down to things like correct posture, and what your bones and internal organs should be doing.
Bob explains the true meaning of the seemingly esoteric Yang Family 13 Principles in terms of the mechanics of movement. Although this book has photos of tai chi masters in impressive stances, the staple of every tai chi book, it's also rich in anatomical drawings that illustrate the muscles and bones that, when properly deployed, deliver tai chi power and health benefits.
My husband uses the snake style principles as explained by Bob Boyd in all sorts of movement, from walking to kayaking.
The book is also well written and full of personal anecdotes about the legendary Master Ip. Which makes this an entertaining read for even the recreational reader.
I studied tiger style tai chi with Bob Boyd in the past, and recently I went back to class to unlearn it, and study the secret snake style. So you could say I'm a biased reviewer, or you could say I'm writing with some personal experience of the astonishing differences between the tiger and the snake. I highly recommend Bob's book and consider it a new classic in the literature of tai chi chuan.
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Also, no claim by any earlier reviewer to have learned the small frame, or even the...Read more