Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Pros: Gets to the heart of matters quickly. Discusses, in clear, Western-perspective English, the what and why of exercises such as meditation, breathing/relaxation, power standing, stepping, palm shapes, and walking. Discusses the biomechanical and physiological principles to support his theories. Draws on modern day research to further back up the Eastern philosophies, and on rare occasions why Western research has changed the way he trains. Gives a step-by-step program for how to pursue his system's training method.
Cons: Not enough detail discussing power transference from legs to waist to shoulders to palm. I think another chapter on this linkage would have been ideal. Leaves a little bit lacking in this regards-- study each palm shape for about a year is what he says.
Items of Interest: The opening chapter is trying to find the place of his Nine Dragon System into the family tree of BaGua-- I guess there is some question as to whether the Nine Dragon System is truly BaGua. From the shape of the palms and all that, I'd say it has to be, personally. But this system has no forms. It is training technique and principles then linking it together.
Content: History, Philosophy, Training Philosophy, Relaxation (Meditation, Breathing, Standing Postures), Structure (Alignment, Testing Structure), Use of Imagery, Principles of Power Generation, Stances, Palms, Stepping--> Walking (Direction Changing). These are more my terms than his, but is what is included.
Summary: Awesome book, really. Mechanistically, rates up there with Park Bok Nam's books in describing BaGua technical mechanics. Superior to that landmark book in terms of technical principles behind breathing, relaxation, imagery, meditation, standing postures, etcetera, Would ask for more detail on palm shapes and the year-long process of exploring each palm (he gives about 2-pages on each palm, including pictures, and leaves the rest to the reader to find those revelations). This book does not contain a form! Basically the idea is, if you become the palm shapes, and understand them inside and out, then you can create your own forms effortlessly.
Reviewer's Note: I am reading through Volume 2, and scanned the entire book. It does not seem to contain the elements I would have liked above. It may indirectly, as it talks about combat principles and training methods-- but much of the training seems to consist of physically doing this or that, and does not appear to look further into the connections or detail of upper torso mechanics that would have made this the perfect book.