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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on January 4, 1999
Any Taiji book begs the question "why does this book exist?" You can't learn from a book after all, so a book must either enhance what you get from your current teacher, or help you find a new one.
The typical Taiji book doesn't stand up to this question. It shows a form (usually poorly executed) sandwiched in a big wad of esoterica that is at best useless to a typical student and at worst misleading.
Master Liang's book, on the other hand, is among the best that I've seen that are available to the public.
First, of all, the examples are shown correctly. My pet peeve in Taiji books is bad posture and poor habits that should be purged after a few years of studying under a competent teacher, if not in the process of editing the photos. In contrast, master Liang's execution is, of course, impeccable. Second, this book contains guidelines for correct execution, which in most Taiji books is completely missing.
These two factors alone make it stand above any of the widely distributed titles. I would prefer a little more emphasis on readily observable criteria of correct performance. Armed with this knowledge, a student could readily critique himself, or a potential teacher. I've seen only one or two better books in this regard, and those were privately published.
Third, the book contains many demonstrations of applications for the 24 movement form which will be of interest to serious students and martial artists. Many people are unaware of Taiji martial applications because the abundance of grappling, throwing and other close quarters techniques makes Taiji fors difficult to interpret.
Finally, while even students of traditional forms will find much of value here, this book covers two of the most widely studied standardized forms. Students of the 24 or 48 forms will find this a valuable reference.
The main drawbacks of this book are that (1) the uniform that Master Liang wears is very loose, while this good for practice, it obscures the posture of the hips and lower back; many students would benefit from a clearer view. (2) This book continues a few bits of obscure nomenclature that has prevailed in the US since early, bad translations of Taiji books. For example Yema Fenzong ("Wild Horse Parts its Mane") is translated as Part the Wild Horse's Mane. Generations of American students have been waving their hands around like they were stroking "My Little Pony's" mane, which is not the right idea at all.
Aside from these minor faults, this book sets a new, higher standard for mainstream Taiji books in English.
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on September 21, 1998
This is a superb book for practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan who have been taught the basics and need a reference guide. (In fact, although I would discourage anyone from learning any martial art from a book, this book is one of the few that might be able to do just that!) The pictures are clear, abundant, and pertinent. The descriptions of each move (or part of a move) are concise and detailed. Also, the various applications shown for each move truly demonstrate the ENERGY of the move, not just an obvious attack and/or defence. The level of Master Liang's skill is evident throughout the book.
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on September 1, 2002
I bought two tapes to learn the 24 Posture Yang Short Form. One by Paul Lam and the other by David Dorian Ross. I liked both and especially enjoy anything David Dorian Ross does. However, I kept finding myself wondering when I tried to practise what I learned on the tapes without watching: "what foot should the weight be on." I looked at many books. This one is great. It gives clear instructions and has photo's with lines to show the direction the hands and feet should move. However, you have the same problem with these directional lines as with a video when you are facing the instructor, i.e., they are mirroring you so what looks like a move to the right is actually a move to the left. That is where the text helps so much. I still am using the videos to learn but this was exactly the adjunct help I was looking for to memorize the moves. After doing a section of the tape, I can go to the book and begin to memorize which foot is bearing the weight and which foot is moving in which direction etc. I am so impressed I am going to order the accompanying video from [online store} as soon as I submit this article.
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on May 4, 2002
When I ordered this book, I had some hesitations about how tai chi could be learnt merely thru a book. However, Mr. Liang's book completely wiped out my hesitations. Every figure of the postures is photographed and explained very well. When a camera angle is not enough to view the figure, another photograph at a different angle is put to clarify it. Mr. Liang's vast experience shows in martial applications of the 24 postures and in the warnings about possible exercising mistakes for beginners. I hope he would issue another book that explains martial applications of the 48 postures as well...
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on January 13, 2003
This book is an excellent book for the beginner it shows the moves very clearly. good photos. It also includes the applications for those who are interested in self defense. I think applications are important because they demonstrate the why and hows of a particular posture. I highly recommend it.
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on September 16, 2001
For a book of this type I feel I must first begin with this statement; One cannot learn a martial art from a book or a video. There is no substitute for the person to person instruction of a competent teacher.
That said, this book is one of the best texts available on taijiquan. It is an excellent supplement to anyone's regular studies in taiji. The author provides clear (although brief) explanations of taiji theory and history. Then the author provides step-by-step instruction through the standardized 24 and 48 movement forms. For those who have already learned these forms the book is especially valuable as a source for study, review, and comparison. I repeatedly return to this text to examine Master Liang's posture and description of technique and application. For those who are just learning taiji the many photographs and descriptions are good references for learning the postures.
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