T'ai Chi Ch'uan Classics

Taijiquan Essential Texts, Philosophy, Theory, Sayings, Lore, Principles

Yang Taijiquan     Chen Taijiquan     Sun Taijiquan     Qigong

Cloud Hands Blog



Research by
Michael P. Garofalo

 

 

Cloud Hands - Yun Shou

Cloud Hands Index

 

 

 

Yang, Jwing-Ming Ph.D.

 

In my opinion, the most important Taijiquan Grand Master, scholar, author, teacher, guide, and publisher in the English language from 1984 to 2016  has been Yang, Jwing-Ming, Ph.D..  He was born in 1946, raised and educated in China, and graduated in 1978 from Purdue University with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.  He began his studies in external and internal martial arts in 1961. 

His over 35 high quality published books, articles in scores of publications, popular and useful instructional DVDs, his diversified YMAA publications center, and his direct Kung Fu and Tai Chi teaching have all set high standards, and informed and motivated hundreds of thousands of persons over the last 35 years.  Personally, I have purchased and used, to my benefit, many books and DVDs published by Grand Master Yang, Jwing-Ming, Ph.D..

 

Without a doubt, in my estimation,
the publications and teachings of Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming are truly T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Classics.


 

Tai Chi Chuan Classical Yang Style: The Complete Form and Qigong.  By Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.  Boston, MA, 2010.  396 pages.  ISBN: 978-1594392009.  "Awards: Gold Winner, 2011 IP's Living Now Awards; Gold Winner, 2011 eLit Award, Finalist - 2011 Eric Hoffer Award, Finalist - 2011 USA Best Book Award.  Taijiquan is a slow and relaxed moving meditation.  It is also a sophisticated martial arts system.  Through practicing Taijiquan, you are able to calm down the mind, locate your spiritual center, and consequently find your entire being.  From the relaxed moving exercise, you can bring your physical body into an ultimate level of relaxation and natural ease, resulting in smooth Qi (inner energy) and blood circulation. This is a key to maintaining health and recovering from sickness.  This book is an in-depth guide for beginners to learn Taijiquan properly.  It offers a general plan for practicing Taijiquan, and then goes into great depth to present enough content for proper learning.  Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming is a world authority on Tai Chi Chuan and Chinese martial arts.  He maintains 55 schools in 18 countries.  He is the author of over 35 books and 80 instructional videos, nominated as a person 'who has made the greatest impact on martial arts in the past 100 years' — Inside Kung Fu Magazine (1999).  Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming resides and teaches at his retreat center in Miranda, California."  VSCL. 


Tai Chi Secrets of the Yang Style.  Translated with commentary by Yang Jwing-Ming.  Translations and commentary on Chinese Classics.   Boston, MA, YMAA Publications, 2001.  Index, glossary, 192 pages.   ISBN:  1886969094.  A translation of 49 documents by Yang, Ban-Hou (1837-1892) and by a few other Yang family members.  VSCL.     


Taiji Sword, Classical Yang Style: The Complete Form, Qigong and Applications.  By Yang, Jwing-Ming.  Edited by James C. O'Leary.  Boston, Mass., YMAA Publications, 1999.  Index, glossary, list of form postures, 205 pages.  ISBN: 1886969744.  VSCL.  The standard 54 Yang sword form.  VSCL.


The Root of Chinese Qigong: Secrets of Health, Longevity and Enlightenment.  By Yang Jwing-Ming and Thomas Gutheil.  YMAA, 1997. 336 pages.  VSCL. 


Taijiquan Theory of Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming: The Root of Taijiquan.  By Yang Jwing-Ming.  YMAA, 2003.  302 pages.  VSCL. 


Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style: Chinese Classics, Translations, and Commentary.  By Yang Jwing-ming.  Jamaica Plain, MA, YMAA Publications, 2002.  96 pages.  ISBN: 1886969175.


Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu and Li Styles: Chinese Classics, Translations and Commentary.   By Yang Jwing-ming and Liang Qiang-ya.  Jamaica Plain, MA, YMAA Publications, 2001.  121 pages.  ISBN: 1886969981.

 

There are also other 'contemporary' (1970-2010) authors for which some of their publications will someday be considered "Taijiquan Classics". 

In this category, I include:  Chen Zheng-lei, Robert Chuckrow, Bruce Frantzis, Jou Tsung Hwa, Stuart Alve Olson, and John Loupos. 

 

 

 

 

 

Index to Taijiquan Classics

 

Brennan Translations  Numerous translations with Chinese characters and English language translations. 


Essentials in the Practice of the Form and Push Hands by Li I-yu     


Exposition of Insights Into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures by Wu Yu-Xiang


Five Character Secret by Li I-yu     


General Works: Bibliography and Links     


Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures by Wu Yu-Xiang.     


Plain Sayings on Each Posture by Li I-yu.    


Quotations from the Taijiquan Classics


Song of Push Hands.  Anonymous     


Song of the Thirteen Postures.   Anonymous   


Songs of the Eight Postures by T'an Meng-hsien    


Sparring Hands and Walking Frame Essentials by Li I-yu.     


Talks on the Practice of Taijiquan by Yang Cheng-fu.      


T'ai Chi Chuan Treatise by Chang San-feng     


Ten Important Points by Yang Cheng-fu       


Treatise on T'ai Chi Chuan by Wang Tsung-yueh 


Valley Spirit Qigong

 

 

Anonymous

 

Song of Push Hands.    Anonymous.   2Kb.


Song of Push Hands.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele


Song of the Thirteen Movements


Song of the Thirteen Postures
.    Anonymous.   4Kb


Song of the Thirteen Postures.   Translated by Benjamin Lo. 


Song of the Thirteen Postures.   12Kb..  Translated by Louis Swaim.  


Song of the Thirteen Postures.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele

 

 

Chang San-feng    (circa 1350)

 

Chang San-feng    Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Poems, Notes.  By Mike Garofalo. 


Quotations from the Taijiquan Classics


T'ai Chi Ch'uan Ching (Treatise)
.    By Chang, San-feng.  


T'ai Chi Ch'aun Ching
.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele


Chang San-feng Treatise Interpretations   By Mike Garofalo. 

 

 

Sun Lu Tang  (1861- 1933)

 

When a modern day "New Age" practitioner of tai chi speaks of the art as being  "good for his health and a way to align his energy with the energy of the Tao," that viewpoint came largely from Sun Lu Tang. Or when pa kua practitioners walk the pa kua circle on a California beach and talk of how "pa kua forms are physical embodiments of the I-Ching," their ideas derive largely from Sun Lu Tang. Or when modern day practitioners of xing yi opine that "the five forms of xing yi interact like the five basic elements in Taoist cosmology," they to owe their thinking largely to Sun Lu Tang."
- Elisabeth Guo and Brian L. Kennedy, Sun Lu Tang: Fighter, Scholar and Image Maker.

Grandmaster Sun Lu Tang (1861-1933) Biography

Sun Style Taijiquan: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes
By Michael P. Garofalo

Waving Hands Like Clouds T'ai Chi Ch'uan

 

 

Li I-yu  (circa ?)

 

Essentials in the Practice of the Form and Push Hands.   By Li, I-yu.  7Kb.   


Essentials in the Practice of the Form and Push Hands.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele


Five Character Secret.    By Li, I-yu.  9Kb.


Five Character Secret.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele.


Plain Sayings on Each Posture.   By Li I-yu.  Edited and translated by Peter Lim Tian Tek.  


Principles in Practicing the Form and Push Hands


Sparring Hands and Walking Frame Essentials.   Translated by Benjamin Lo. 


Taijiquan Classics: In Li I-yu's Handwritten Manuals.   Edited and translated by Peter Lim Tian Tek.   This is an outstanding collection of Tai Chi Classics.

 

 

T'an Meng-hsien    (circa ?)

 

Songs of the Eight Postures.    By T'an, Meng-hsien.  7Kb.


Songs of the Eight Postures.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele

 

 

Wang Tsung-yueh (Wang Zong-yue)    (circa 1750)

 

Tai Chi Tun  By Wang Tsung-yueh.  


The Tai Chi Treatise
.   By Wang, Zong-yue.   13Kb.


Taijiquan Classic
.   By Wang, Tsung-yueh.   Translated by Robert W. Smith.  


Treatise on T'ai Chi Ch'uan
.   Interpretation by Lee N. Scheele


Treatise on Tai Chi Chuan.   Translated by Knud Erik Andersen.  


Treatise on T'ai Chi Chuan
.  By Wang, Tsung-yueh.   7Kb.  Essay version.


Treatise on Taijiquan
.  By Wang, Tsung-yueh.   10Kb.  Verse version. 

 

 

Wu Yu-xiang (Wu Yu-hsiang, Wu Yu-xian)   (1812-1880)
Student of Yang Lu Chan
(Attributed by some to Wang Chung-yueh.)

 

Exposition of Insights Into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures.  By Wu, Yu-hsiang.  6Kb.


Expositions of Instights into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele 


Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures
.  By Wu, Yu Xiang.  14Kb.  Translation by Louis Swaim.  

Tai Chi Chuan Classic    4Kb.  

 

 

Yang Cheng-fu    (1883-1936)

 

Talks on the Practice of Taijiquan.   By Yang, Cheng-fu.  Recorded by Zhang Hong Kui. 


Talks on the Practice of Taijiquan


Ten Essentials of Tai Chi Theory
.   By Yang, Cheng-fu.  Translated by Louis Swaim.  


Ten Essential Points.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele


Ten Important Points
    By Yang, Cheng-fu.  


Ten Important Points   By Yang, Cheng-fu. 


Ten Principles on Tai Chi Chuan


Words of Experience by Tung Ying Chieh.   Translated by Albert Tang.


Yang Cheng Fu's 10 Essentials.   Narrated by Yang Cheng Fu.  Recorded by Chen Wei Ming.  8Kb. 


Yang Chen Fu's Ten Principles on Tai Chi Chuan

 

 

Taijiquan Classics

General Works 
Bibliography and Links

 


Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.  Volume One: Tai Chi Theory and Tai Chi Jing.  By Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.  Boston, Massachusetts, Yang's Martial Arts Academy, YMAA, 1986.  Glossary, 276 pages.  ISBN: Unknown.  


The Art of War.  By Sun Tzu.  Translated by Thomas Cleary.  Illustrated edition.  Shambhala, 2004.  224 pages.  ISBN: 1590301854.


Beyond the Closed Door: Chinese Culture and the Creation of T'ai Chi Ch'uan
.  By Arieh Lev Breslow.  Almond Blossom Press, 1995.  399 pages.  ISBN: 
096447302X.


The Bodhisattva Warriors
.  The Origin, Inner Philosophy, History and Symbolism of the Buddhist Martial Art within India and China.  By Shifu Nagaboshi Tomio (Terence Dukes).  Boston, MA, Weiser Books, 1994.  Index, bibliography, extensive notes, 527 pages.  ISBN: 0877287856. 


Buddhism

 


Chan San-Feng: Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes, Classics.  By Michael P. Garofalo.


Chen Style Taijiquan: Bibliography, Links, Quotes   


Cheng Man-ch'ing (1901-1975)   Links, bibliography, a list of the 37 movements in the Yang short form of Master Cheng, quotations, and notes.  


Chi Kung (Qigong, Dao-yin): Bibliography, Guides, Lessons, Research


Chinese Philosophy and Tai Chi Chuan.   By Dan Docherty. 
 


Cloud Hands Blog: Qigong, Yoga, and Taijiquan.  Often includes Taoist and Buddhist quotes, poems and commentary.


Cloud Hands Taijiquan


Confucius (K'ung Fu-tze)   

 


Dao De Ching by Lao Tzu: Bibliography, Links, Notes


The Dao of Taijiquan: Way to Rejuvenation.   By Tsung Hwa Jou.  Charles E. Tuttle, 1998. 3rd Edition.  233 pages.  ISBN: 0804813574.  An outstanding textbook on Tai Chi Chuan.  All styles are introduced and explained.  A very informative introduction to the philosophy and practices of Tai Chi Chuan. 


Drawing Silk: Master's Secrets for Successful Tai Chi Practice.  By Paul B. Gallagher.  Fairview, North Carolina, 2007.  Bibliography, 246 pages.  ISBN: 9781419663123.  Numerous classics and Taoist tales and lore are included in this text.  Originally published in 1988. 

 


Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path.  By Bhante Henepola Gunaratana.  Boston, Wisdom Publications, 2001.  Index, bibliography, 268 pages.  ISBN: 0861711769.  A clear and insightful commentary on the Eightfold Path of Buddhism.  Refer also to the Eight Precepts.


The Essence of T'ai Chi.   By Waysun Liao.  Boston, Shambhala, 1995.  Shambhala Pocket Classics.  162 pages.  ISBN: 1570620393.   


The Essence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: The Literary Tradition
.  Translated and edited by Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo; Martin Inn, Robert Amacker, and Susan Foe.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 1979, 1985.  100 pages.  ISBN: 0913028630.    


Exploring Tai Chi: Contemporary Views on an Ancient Art.  By John Loupos.  Boston, Massachusetts,  YMAA Publications, 2003.  135 illustrations.  Glossary, index, 206 pages.  ISBN: 0940871424.  VSCL. 

 


The Five Character Secrets of Li Dongfeng.  Translated by Paul Dillon.  Santa Rosa, CA, Great Achievement Enterprises, 1996.  67 pages.  No ISBN.  The Taoist sage Chen Hsi I (c 906-990) is reported to have created the Liuhebafachuan (Six Harmonies and Eight Methods Boxing) form while living near Mount Hwa (Hwa Shan) in the north central province of Shasi.  In later years, Li Dongfeng supposedly found manuscripts by Chen Hsi-I, The Five Character Secrets.  Liuhebafa Five Character Secrets.  Translated with comments by Paul Dillon.  Boston, MA, YMAA Publications, 2003.  168 pages.  11 illustrations.  ISBN:  1886969728.  


The Foundation of Taijiquan.   By Ma Hong.  Translated by Tu-Ky Lam. 

 


How to Live a Good Life:  Advice from Wise Persons 

 


Inside Tai Chi: Hints, Tips, Training, and Process for Students and Teachers.  By John Loupos.  Boston, Massachusetts, YMAA Publications, 2002.  Glossary, resources, index, 209 pages.  ISBN: 1886969108.  VSCL.    


Instant Tao: Tai Chi Chuan Discourse and Canon.   By Dan Docherty.  ISBN: 01816474135.   


Lao Tzu (Laozi), Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) 


Lao-tzu's Taoteching.  Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter).  Includes selected commentaries of the past 2,000 years.  Mercury House, San Francisco, 1996.  184 pages.  ISBN: 1562790854.


Liuhebafa Five Character Secrets.  Translated with comments by Paul Dillon.  Boston, MA, YMAA Publications, 2003.  168 pages.  11 illustrations.  ISBN:  1886969728.  


Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty.  By Douglas Wile.  State University of New York Press, 1996.  ISBN: 079142653X.  Index, charts, bibliography, 233 pages.  The most detailed and scholarly account of Tai Chi Chuan classics available.  Analysis and translation of many new texts.  Outstanding contribution!  VSCL. 

 


Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan.  Bu Fu Zongwen.  Translated by Louis Swaim.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 1999.  Glossary, bibliography, 226 pages.  Translations of many Tai Chi classics are included, with commentary, on pages: 180-218..  VSCL. 


Movements of Magic: The Spirit of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.  By Bob Klein.  North Hollywood, CA, Newcastel Publishing Co., 1984.  158 pages.  ISBN: 0878770720.  VSCL. 

 


101 Reflections on Tai Chi Chuan.  A Motivational Pocket Guide for Tai Chi Chuan.  By Michael Gilman.  Boston, MA, YMAA Publication Center, 2000.  114 pages. ISBN: 1886960868.  VSCL. 

 


Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought.  By Geogre Lakoff and Mark Johnson.  Basic Books, Perseu Books, 1999.  Index, bibliography, 624 pages.  ISBN: 0465056741.   "The mind is inherently embodied.  Thought is mostly unconscious.  Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical."   VSCL. 


The Power of Ch'i.  An introduction to Chinese mysticism and philosophy.  By Michael Page.  San Francisco, Thorsons, Harper Collins, 1988.  Index, 128 pages.  ISBN: 1855383632. 

 


Qigong: Links and Bibliography     


Quotations from the Taijiquan Classics

 


Scholar Boxer: Chang Naizhou's Theory of Internal Martial Arts and the Evolution  of Taijiquan.  By Chang Niazhou.   Translation and commentary by Marnix Wells.  North Atlantic Books, 2004.  200 pages.  ISBN: 1556434820.  Chang Naizhou, 1724-1783.  The book includes photographs and illustrations.   VSCL. 


Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life.   By Deng Ming-Dao.  Harper San Francisco, 1990.   Index, bibliography, 351 pages.  ISBN: 0062502328.   VSCL. 


Secrets to Living Younger Longer: The Self-Healing Path of Qigong Standing Meditation and Tai Chi.  By Michael Mayer, Ph.D..  Orinda, California, Body Mind Healing Publications, 2004.  Index, bibliography, 281 pages.  ISBN: 0970431066.  This book has a companion instructional video/DVD called "Body Mind Healing Qigong." Website:  Body Mind Healing.  VSCL.   


A Source Book in Indian Philosophy.  Edited by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore.  Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1957. Index, bibliography, appendices, 684 pages.   ISBN:0691019584.   VSCL. 


Staff Weapons   Links, bibliography, quotes, notes.


A String of Pearls. 108 Meditations on Tai Chi Chuan.  By Michael Gilman.  Port Townsend, Turning Point Press, 1996.  103 pages.  ISBN: 0965216403.   VSCL. 


Sun Style Taijiquan:  Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes   


Sword (Jian):  Links, bibliography, quotes, notes.

 


T'ai Chi According to the I Ching:  Emobodying the Principles of the Book of Changes.  By Stuart Alve Oson.   Inner Traditions, 2000.  240 pages.  ISBN: 0892819448.  VSCL. 


T'ai Chi Ancestors: The Making of an Internal Art.   By Douglas Wile.  Sweet Chi Press, 1999.  ISBN: 0912059044.


T'ai Chi Ch'aun Classics.   Interpretations by Lee N. Scheele based upon the translations of the Classics found in: The Essence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: The Literary Tradition.  This webapge is mirrored elsewhere.  


T'ai Chi Ch'uan Classics: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations


Tai Chi Chuan Discussion   


Tai Chi Ch'uan Experience: Reflections and Perceptions on Body-Mind Harmony.  By Sophia Delza.  Foreword by Robert Cummings Neville.  State University of New York Press, 1996.  Index, 330 pages.  ISBN: 0791428982.  VSCL. 


Tai Chi Ch’uan For Health and Self-Defense.  Philosophy and Practice.  By Master T. T. Liang.  Edited and with a foreword by Paul B. Gallagher.  Revised, expanded edition, 1977. New York, Vintage Books, 1974, 1977.  133 pages.  ISBN: 0394724615.  VSCL. 


Tai Chi Ch'uan: Links and Bibliography


Tai Chi Chuan Revelations 


Tai Chi Classics.  By Waysun Liao.  New translations of three essential texts of T'ai Chi Ch'uan with commentary and practical instruction by Waysun Liao.  Illustrated by the author.  Boston, Shambhala, 1990.  210 pages.  ISBN: 087773531X.  VSCL. 


Tai Chi Classics.   Translated by Knud Erik Andersen.  


Tai Chi Classics     


T'ai Chi Ch'uan Classics: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations


Tai Chi Connections: Advancing Your Tai Chi Experience.  By John Loupos.  Boston, MA, YMAA Publication Center, 2005.  Index, 194 pages.  ISBN: 1594390320.  VSCL.    


Tai Chi for Living - Classics     Notes by Jan C. Childress.


Tai Chi: Health for Life.  How and Why It Works for Health, Stress Relief, and Longevity.  By Bruce Frantzis.  Berkeley, California, Blue Snake Books, Energy Arts Inc., c 2006.  Index, 320 pages.  ISBN: 1583941444.   VSCL.    


Tai Chi Secrets of the Ancient Masters.   Translated by Yang Jwing-ming.   Edited by Yang Jwing-ming and James C. O'Leary.   Selected readings with commentary on Tai Chi Treasures.   Jamaica Plain, MA, YMAA Publications, 1999.  128 pages.  ISBN: 188696971X. 


Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style: Chinese Classics, Translations, and Commentary.  By Yang Jwing-ming.  Jamaica Plain, MA, YMAA Publications, 2002.  96 pages.  ISBN: 1886969175.


Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu and Li Styles: Chinese Classics, Translations and Commentary.   By Yang Jwing-ming and Liang Qiang-ya.  Jamaica Plain, MA, YMAA Publications, 2001.  121 pages.  ISBN: 1886969981.


Tai Chi Secrets of the Yang Style.  Translated with commentary by Yang Jwing-ming.  Translations and commentary on Chinese Classics.   Boston, MA, YMAA Publications, 2001.  Index, glossary, 192 pages.   ISBN:  1886969094.  A translation of 49 documents by Yang, Ban-Hou (1837-1892) and by a few other Yang family members.  VSCL. 


T'ai Chi Sensing- HandsA Complete Guide to T'ai Chi T'ui-Shou Training from Original Yang Family Records.  Translation and commentary by Stuart Alve Olson.  Multi-Media Books, Division of CFW Enterprises, 1999.  Distributed by Unique Publications, Burbank, CA.  First Edition.  280 pages.  ISBN: 1892515156.  Part of the Cehn Kung (Yearning K. Chen) T'ai Chi Series. 


Tai Chi Theory


Tai Chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions.  Compiled and translated by Douglas Wile.  Brooklyn, New York, Sweet Chi Press, 8th Edition, 1983.  159 pages.  ISBN: 091205901X.  VSCL. 


Taijiquan: Bibliography and Links    


Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation.   By Barbara Davis.  Includes a commentary by Chen Wei-ming.  San Franscisco, North Atlantic Books, 2004.  Index, notes, bibliography, 212 pages.  ISBN: 1556434316.  VSCL. 


Taijiquan Classics.   Edited and translated by Peter Lim Tian Tek.  This is an outstanding and extensive collection of Tai Chi Classics.  


Taijiquan Classics Index


Taijiquan Fundamentals   A variety of useful articles.  


Taijiquan Theory of Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming: The Root of Taijiquan.  By Yang Jwing-Ming.  YMAA, 2003.  302 pages. 


Taoism and Philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan


Taoism: Links and Bibliography  


The Tao of the Tao Te Ching.  A Translation and Commentary by Michael LaFargue.  State University of New York Press, 1992.  Bibliography, 270 pages. ISBN: 0791409864.  VSCL. 


The Tao of Zen
.  By Ray Grigg.  Boston, Charles E. Tuttle, Inc., 1994.  Book Sales, 1999.  Notes, 357 pages.  ISBN: 0785811257.  VSCL. 


Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: Bibliography, Links, Notes 


 

Valley Spirit Center, Red Bluff, California


Valley Spirit Qigong:   Red Bluff, California.  Instructor: Michael Garofalo, M.S. 


Virtues and the Good Life


Vitality, Energy, Spirit:  A Taoist Sourcebook.   Translated and edited by Thomas Cleary.  Boston, Shambhala, 1991.  281 pages.  VSCL. 


VSCL =  Valley Spirit Center Library.  The personal library of Mike Garofalo. 


 

WuWei Foundation: Tai Chi Classics


 

Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan:  Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Form   


 

Zhang Sanfeng: Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes, Classics.  By Michael P. Garofalo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotations

 

    "For those who want to go to the source, there are a few good books that attempt to translate the Tai Chi Classics into modern English.  There are, however, a few problems.  One is that the language used in these texts is Old Chinese, very much like Old English to us.  Old Chinese is often full of references to classical texts that at one time were required reading for any educated person.  As this is no longer the case, the references loose their meaning.  Sometimes it is difficult to translate or even understand the old words and phrases, as many are no longer in general use.

    Another problem is that Taiji practitioners often use common words in uncommon ways.  For instance, for most people, the phrase "to lock" would have an implication of tension when applied to the body.  Used in the correct Taiji manner, "to lock" the body simply mean to take the slack out of the joints and move in a more dynamic manner.

    A third problem is that the translators of these texts were often scholars with little or no ability in Taiji.  Chinese being a very interpretative language, translators are often at a loss for an exact translation when they do not fully understand the concept described.

    For all these reasons, the classics should be treated with some caution.  As Master Liang was fond of saying, "If you only believe in books, better not read books."  Do not treat anyone's writings as gospel.  The role of a teacher or writer is to point in the correct direction; the student's role is to follow the path indicated, testing as they go.  The other half of Master Liang's saying was, "If you only trust in teachers, better not have teachers."  What he meant is that we must make up our own minds in the end.  The teacher may have limited understanding or skills.  This is one of the reasons that learning Taiji can only really be done in person with a qualified teacher of proper lineage.  When you touch your teacher and feel what they are doing, it is worth a thousand words."
-  Gordon Muir, Yang Style Traditional Long Form T'ai Chi Ch'uan, p. 35   

 

Yang Style Traditional Long Form T'ai Chi Ch'uan; As Taught by Master T. T. Liang.  By Gordon Muir.  Berkeley, California, Blue Snake Books, 2008.  225 pages.  ISBN: 9781583942215.  Detailed black and white photographs of Mr. Muir performing the Yang long form, which precise descriptions of the movements for each named posture.  Mr. Muir was a student of Master T. T. Liang and Stuart Alve Olson.  VSCL. 


The Teachings of Master T. T. Liang: Imagination Becomes Reality.  A Complete Guide to the 150 Posture Solo Form.  Compiled by Stuart Alve Olson.  287 pages.  Minnesota, Dragon Door Publications, 1986, 1992.  Second Edition.  ISBN: 0938045091.  Hundreds of detailed and creative pictures of the form, including some interesting multi-exposure photographs of Mr. Olson doing the long form.  VSCL. 


Yang Style Taijiquan Classics


Yang Taijiquan Traditional Long Form 108 Movements   Detailed information and instructions for this form by Mike Garofalo. 


Yang Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan) Index 


Taoism (Daoism)   The underlying philosophy of Taijiquan is grounded in Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. 

 

While reading a commentary by Graham Parks about Friedrich Nietzsche, I came upon this quotation, attributed to Goethe "I hate everything that merely instructs me, without amplifying or directly enlivening my activity."

 

 

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The Five Virtues of Tai Chi

"1.  Your study should be broad and diversified.  Do not limit yourself.  This principle (virtue) can be compared to your stance, which moves easily in many different directions. 
2.  Examine and question.  Ask yourself how and why Tai Chi works.  This principle can be compared to your sensitivity, which is receptive to that which others ignore. 
3.  Be deliberate and careful in your thinking.  Use your mind to discover proper understanding.  This principle can be compared to your understanding power.
4.  Clearly examine.  Separate concepts distinctly, then decide upon the proper course.  This principle can be compared to the continuous motion of Tai Chi.
5.  Practice sincerely.  This principle can be compared to heaven and earth, the eternal."
T'ai Chi Classics, translations and commentary by Waysun Liao, p. 125 


Tai Chi Classics.  By Waysun Liao.  New translations of three essential texts of T'ai Chi Ch'uan with commentary and practical instruction by Waysun Liao.  Illustrated by the author.  Boston, Shambhala, 1990.  210 pages.  ISBN: 087773531X.  VSCL. 


T'ai Chi Ch'uan Classics: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does "Xu Ling Ding Jin" Mean?

"One of the most vexing phrases in this body of texts appears in Wang Zongyue's "The Taijiquan Treatise."  This is the phrase that I've translated "An intangible and lively energy lifts the crown of the head."  The actual phrase in Chinese is xu ling ding jing Xu means "empty," "void," "abstract," "shapeless," or "insubstantial."  Ling can mean "neck," "collar," "to lead," "to guide," or "to receive."  Ding here means "the crown of the head."  Jin is a word that should be familiar to most Taijiquan practitioners, meaning "energy" or "strength."  To translate this phrase literally in a way that makes sense is seemingly impossible. ...  To demonstrate the difficulties presented in translating the phrase, I've assembled for comparison a number of different renderings:

Yang Jwing-Ming translates xu ling ding jin as:
"An insubstantial energy leads the head upward."

T.T. Liang renders it:
"A light and nimble energy should be preserved on the top of the head."

Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo translates the phrase:
"Effortlessly the jin reaches the headtop."

Douglas Wile translates the phrase variously:
"The energy at the top of the head should be light and sensitive."
and
"Open the energy at the crown of the head."

Guttmann gives one rendering as,
"... the head is upheld with the intangible spirit."
Elsewhere, he gives it a fairly plausible if incomprehensible literal rendering as a noun phrase:
"Empty dexterity's top energy."

Huang Wen-Shan translates it as:
"The head-top should be emptied, alert, and straight."

Robert Smith's version has it:
"The spirit of vitality reaches to the top of the head."

Jou Tsung Hwa's rendering is similiar:
"The spirit, or shen, reaches the top of the head."

Finally, in one of the freer renderings I've seen, T. Y. Pang renders the phrase:
"The spine and the head are held straight by strength, which is guided by the mind."

As the reader can see, the range of nuance in these diverse translations of this one phrase is considerable.  Virtually all of the readings are interpretive; that is, the four-character phrase as it has been handed down will not yield a dependable reading based on the characters alone.  One can only conclude that this phrase is a remnant of an oral formula whose original structure eludes our knowledge.  Our understanding of it inevitably depends upon the context─ the following phrase about sinking the qi to the dantian─ and upon commentaries of former masters, including Yang Chengfu's elaboration in the first of his "Ten Essentials."  The concept is also linked to differently worded but related phrases appearing in other classics, for example, "the spirit (shen) threads to the crown of the head" (shen guan ding) in the "Song of the Thirteen Postures," and the phrase about "suspending the crown of the head" (ding tou xuan) appearing in both "The Mental Elucidation of the Thirteen Postures" and the "Song of the Thirteen Postures." "

Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan  By Fu Zhongwen.  Translated by Louis Swaim.  Blue Snake Books, 2006, p. 182-183

 

 

 

 

 

 

Principles for the Practice of Tai Chi Chuan

By Mike Garofalo

  

1.  Keep the head lifted, the torso straight, and one's energy lifted upward.  Be relaxed (sung) and allow the vital energy (qi) to circulate freely and smoothly in the body, with special attention to encouraging a feeling of alertness and presence in the head and mind.  Be level headed and composed. 

2.  Keep your shoulders in a natural and relaxed position.  Don't tense the shoulders or neck.   The elbows are relaxed, slightly bent, without any unnecessary tension.  We loose energy and vitality by keeping unneeded tension in the upper torso. 

 

 

 


 


 

 

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This webpage was last modified or updated on April 6, 2016.   

 

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