6.b.xviii.-chens-taichi-for-health Section

Chen’s Taichi Vol 1:

For Health & Wellness

Paperback: 94 pages

Author: Chen Zheng Lei

Publisher: Tai Chi Centre (1993 translated in 2010)

Translator: Jack Yan

ISBN-13: 978-0-9866756-1-4

Reviewer: Nick Gudge (Jul 2012)

This book is a very good introduction to Chen Style taijiquan. Unlike it predecessor is well translated by an Canadian/Chinese disciple of Chen Zhen Lei. It is the same book as three similarly published efforts but the translation and production are much improved. This is the first of a five volume set, written 20 years ago by Chen Zhenglei and now translated by Jack Yan and his team who are to be highly commended for their efforts.

This volume makes the effort to start at the beginning. It describes the basic stages of training in Chen style including loosening exercises and standing exercises (zhang zhaung.)

There is a section on silk reeling exercises, single and double hands as well as stepping silk reeling exercises. The most significant part of the book is a description with pictures of Chen Zheng Lei’s beginner’s / introductory 18 step form.

A student attempting to learn from this book alone would be frustrated. I suspect the introduction is a little too theoretical for most beginners and a cursory review of body mechanic’s (shen fa) (which is to be found in Vol 2.) might have been a worthwhile inclusion. A student learning this form from an experienced teacher would find it useful as a set of course notes. In some respects this book is surpassed by the several DVD’s available on this form. Nevertheless it is a useful record set by the designer of this form.

The volume has plenty of high quality pictures and some interesting descriptions of what the student is aiming for inside and outside their body initially. It does not set itself out as a definitive work on taijiquan and this is one of its strengths. It aims at the beginners and restricts itself to that information that is pertinent to the beginner.

My reservations are in that there is not enough emphasis on the principles (and I suspect this is intentional on the part of the author) and in the use of some language and terminology that mystifyise rather than clarifies. I recommend this book.

Ratings: Overall: 7.75 out of 10

Content: 6 out of 10 Language: 7 out of 10 Accuracy: 10 out of 10 Helpfulness: 8 out of 10