6.b.ix.-old-frame-chen-family-taijiquan-mark-ch Section

Old Frame Chen Family Taijiquan

Paperback: 256 pages
Author: Mark Chen
Publisher: Blue Snake Books (2004)
ISBN-10: 155643488X ISBN-13: 978-1556434884
Reviewer: Nick Gudge (Dec 2009)

This book was written by a disciple of Chen Qing Zhou, who was himself a long term student of Chen Zhou Pei. It is an introductory book to the laojia (old frame) teaching method of Chen style taijiquan. It is composed of six sections, Introduction, Evolution, Instruction (about finding a class and a teacher,) Basics (covering basic taijiquan theory and body mechanics - shen fa,) Forms, and Training with an Opponent (mostly about Push hands.)

The book is well composed and has been carefully thought through. The author’s state purpose in presenting this book is “to provide an instructional reference for the Western student who has little or no background in Chinese philosophy and cares primarily about results.” Also that “this is not a do it yourself manual.”

As an introductory text it provides some thoughtful insights into beginning taijiquan. However it does restrict itself to one point of view about Chen style, presumably that of his teacher Chen Qing Zhou, and this point of view is not particularly common. As in most teaching methods there is a degree of stylisation and there is no acknowledgement of this made so it would be easy for a beginner reader to perceive that this and only this was Chen style. This is quite misleading

As a set of course notes for someone learning from the author, it has much to recommend it. More than 50 % of the book can be set in this category. However, in comparison to the media of video, it is perhaps a less effective method of conveying this information..

It does however attempt to do both things and they are not highly compatible. In my opinion this books most significant short-coming is its attempt to cover all things and be a comprehensive text. It includes sections on push hands, applications, listing of other forms and a plethora of paragraphs and ideas that might better have been left to another volume or require considerably more detail to make their inclusion warranted.

Ratings: Overall: 5.75 out of 10

Content: 5 out of 10    Language: 6 out of 10    Accuracy: 7 out of 10    Helpfulness: 5 out of 10