Worthwhile books?

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby yeniseri on Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:47 am

Not a book but an insight into the perception /illusion with the arrival of tai chi to the West.
Not that I dislike the old references but there is the appearance that the modern "translations" and intent have not kept up with present reality,

Taijiquan and Cosmology of Arrival
http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/4/3/380/htm
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby charles on Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:15 am

That people aren't coming out of the woodwork with suggestions for great books from which to learn the "internal" mechanics of Taijiquan suggests some possibilities:

1. people don't care about the subject and aren't contributing,
2. people are away, or otherwise occupied and not reading/contributing to the forum,
3. there aren't any good books on the subject, and/or,
4. people agree with my experience and observation that one can't effectively learn that by reading a book on the subject.

I'm not sure which of these apply.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby oragami_itto on Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:34 am

To be honest I expect you to shit on anything I mention, so I'm just not going to bother. Can't speak for anyone else.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby Bao on Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:40 am

charles wrote:That people aren't coming out of the woodwork with suggestions for great books from which to learn the "internal" mechanics of Taijiquan suggests some possibilities:

1. people don't care about the subject and aren't contributing,
2. people are away, or otherwise occupied and not reading/contributing to the forum,
3. there aren't any good books on the subject, and/or,
4. people agree with my experience and observation that one can't effectively learn that by reading a book on the subject.


I'm not sure which of these apply.


I believe that internal mechanics can be described and taught in detail. And I believe that this is how it should be. But there are still virtually none, or at least very few. Because if you do so, you need to get rid of qi, mysticism and describe things like they really are. The more well known teachers who make money on IMA today are not interested to write this kind of book. Probably because they would be hard to sell and there's a lot of investment in time to get one done.

But there are exceptions. I can mention at least one good book. Tim Cartmell's Effortless Combat Throws. I also suspect that there are good Shuai Jiao work on effortless throwing methods.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby charles on Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:40 am

oragami_itto wrote:To be honest I expect you to shit on anything I mention, so I'm just not going to bother. Can't speak for anyone else.



Go ahead, live dangerously. What's the worst that can happen?

Even if it turns out that I have an opinion on the book(s) you like, so what? Mine is just one of many opinions.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby LaoDan on Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:58 am

I was recently asked if there was a book on Taijiquan that I would recommend, and I said no. But I did mentioned that Zhang Yun is my favorite author, and that one would do OK reading any of his material.

Recommendations are a bit tricky in that what the particular reader seeks needs to be taken into consideration. Do they want inspiration, review of a particular form, the philosophy of a particular school, general overview of TJQ or specifically addressing one style, information on specific weapons, translations of the classics, history, related philosophy, cultural context, how related arts (e.g., BGZ or XYQ) view similar concepts, how unrelated styles that one may compete against approach fighting, etc., etc., etc.?

As a teacher, I personally like to read about different approaches and different understandings of the principles of this art. I can be a better teacher when I know how others may think about various topics. This is similar to what one can get from this online forum or various blogs. However, most of those books would not get a recommendation from me. But I can learn how to approach teaching my students even from what I consider to be bad books (seeing how, or what, NOT to teach; or finding alternate ways to teach certain topics...). My needs are probably different from others, so I did not previously post a reply on this thread.

I do agree that it is best to learn from a knowledgeable teacher, but not all teachers, especially in TJQ, are particularly knowledgeable. Many do not know much more than a solo form, and do not really embody the principles of TJQ, at least as I understand them. For their students, various books that give diverse viewpoints may be important. Students may be exposed to information that they cannot get from their current teacher. So I do see value in TJQ books, even if they do not come highly recommended.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby oragami_itto on Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:59 pm

charles wrote:
oragami_itto wrote:To be honest I expect you to shit on anything I mention, so I'm just not going to bother. Can't speak for anyone else.



Go ahead, live dangerously. What's the worst that can happen?

Even if it turns out that I have an opinion on the book(s) you like, so what? Mine is just one of many opinions.


Nah. I'll pass. I just wanted you to have a complete representation of alternatives in your list.

You are far too intelligent and advanced to find anything worthy in what I may find useful
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby charles on Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:17 pm

oragami_itto wrote:You are far too intelligent and advanced to find anything worthy in what I may find useful


Leaving aside whether or not that is true, what people post here is available to a wide audience of readers, not just those actively involved in a particular discussion. Regardless of whether or not I find it useful, others might. It might even promote discussion - this is a discussion forum after all.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby oragami_itto on Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:31 pm

Like I said. Not interested in playing with you today. I just wanted to give you a fifth option for your list.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby Trick on Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:24 am

charles wrote:That people aren't coming out of the woodwork with suggestions for great books from which to learn the "internal" mechanics of Taijiquan suggests some possibilities:

1. people don't care about the subject and aren't contributing,
2. people are away, or otherwise occupied and not reading/contributing to the forum,
3. there aren't any good books on the subject, and/or,
4. people agree with my experience and observation that one can't effectively learn that by reading a book on the subject.

I'm not sure which of these apply.

I basically agree with your point 4. But for example the Taikiken book I mentioned previously in which the author mention about the importance of “standing post” practice in the CIMA’s. From the two/three pictures of stake standing in the book but lacking information on the mental input to the exercise(of which I at that point didn’t know there should be, but suspected there should be) seemingly simple I began to experiment, I took a thought of a likeness the author described elsewhere in that book and added that to my stakestanding experimenting and actually got something out of that, but very very rudimentary....And I think that’s the most one can hope for to gain from book learning, a very rudimentary understanding...........Since I was into Japanese MA’s I mostly collected books on that subject, many of those books from Tuttle and Kodansha publishing are of very high quality when it comes to binding and first class pictures and they are not just “how to do” books, they also looks good in the bookshelf :)
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby cloudz on Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:06 am

Yea.. I disagree basically; I do think it possible worthwhile books on TCC can be produced. Whilst there are many books that are short on 'good stuff' and have too much fluff, I have come across a few that were worthwhile. The ones I would recommend here either specifically TCC or neigong are by Western Authors, so make of that what you will.

In terms of body mechanics I would give this as a good example of the genre done well:
https://www.amazon.com/Internal-Structu ... 1583944486

I like the writings of Damo Mitchell and Serge Augier on the subject of neigong and related topics.
Another taiji book from a Chinese source that I recall liking at the time was Kuo lien lings Taiji Boxing Chronicle
I also really like Chen Pan lings manual on his style as it helped me with the style I still practice.

I can see where you're coming from, but for me it's still very much a mixed bag. Often the mystery and or romance of the writing can be intriguing or inspiring, other times it can leave you wanting or perplexed. Plenty of 'bad', some good, but with caveats like where you are at (in your personal journey) and what you're looking for from a particular book.
Last edited by cloudz on Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:55 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby charles on Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:39 am

Thanks, George, for your input. The Internal Structure book seems well reviewed and is a book I've not read. (I've read Kuo's and CPL's books.)
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby nicklinjm on Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:55 pm

Have tried to stay out of this discussion so far, mostly because 99% of books on taijiquan are not worth the paper they are written on. However, I would say that Nigel Sutton's book about his martial arts journey (Searching For the Way), and especially his experiences studying with teachers in Malaysia, was very entertaining and informative at the same time. There are a lot of comments in there about rooting, song, applications, how to understand yin / yang that I think would be v valuable to taiji people, especially if you are from the same branch (CMC).
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby Ozguorui on Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:51 am

Yang Yang - Taijiquan: The Art of Nurturing, The Science of Power
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Re: Worthwhile books?

Postby GrahamB on Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:11 am

Thanks for the heads-up George, that cloud hands book looks interesting. I'm in favour of Tai Chi books that focus on how you actually do it, rather than try to teach you a form through still pictures.
Last edited by GrahamB on Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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