In 2002, I first saw the principles and techniques that are now set forth in this book. After a mere six hours of basic instruction, at a workshop covering only a fraction of the book's material, I came home and knocked over my 260-lb., floor-standing heavy bag with a single forward step and a relaxed one-handed push. This bag is made to be punched and kicked with intensity for karate practice and to stay standing so you can keep hitting it again and again. Yet, if you know how to "root" your force into the ground, if you know how to "connect" your hand to your center, if you know how to stand properly to generate and transmit power, then it is a different world. You push the bag, and the bag falls down.
I'd had no prior training in baguazhang other than six months of "Quiet Sitting" and "Quiet Standing," in which you simply stand still (or sit) while monitoring posture and breathing. I didn't see how that could possibly help me knock things down, but the Jiulong people were plenty skilled and seemed to know what they were talking about, so I just did it. Well, it worked! And now it is available in a book.
Make no mistake, these techniques are difficult to master even in person, and they will not be any easier in a book! You will need to train every day, and you will need to be patient. For example, you will need the patience to perform "Quiet Sitting" every day--nothing but sitting still, breathing and focusing your attention--until you master the required powers of concentration, before moving on to more exciting exercises (such as "Quiet Standing"!). You will not stay the course, spending months on mere sitting and standing, unless you have confidence in the curriculum, confidence that it is leading you somewhere good.
That's what makes this book a rare find in the martial arts field:
1. All of these techniques were developed by a clan of professional bodyguards. They made their living and defended their very lives with these techniques, day after day, for the last several centuries in China.
2. Unlike so many martial arts books, this one is *not* obscured by mystical language, inaccurate translations, or metaphors unfamiliar to the Western mind. Yet, in Dr. Painter's unique way, the book still covers all the esoteric layers and nuances of internal power, with concise descriptions, clear principles you can understand and apply, and when possible, scientific backing.
3. This book is not about preserving a tradition for tradition's sake. The Jiulong style is about what *works*, period, living and breathing with the times. Modern Jiulong even includes firearms techniques!
4. You do not have to take up Jiulong to benefit from this book. Most concepts can be applied to other martial arts to increase your power.
So if you are a Westerner, looking for the full power of the internal martial arts, in a format that you can understand and apply in the real world, this book and its companion volume are without compare. Start reading Volume One, and it should become evident rather quickly that this is the real deal, a curriculum that deserves your confidence. That confidence will get you through the long, arduous process of learning these skills layer by layer, until you are doing all kinds of cool things.