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Review by Christopher Dow
Tinn Chan Lee’s The Wu Style of Tai Chi Chuan is most definitely a Category I book, but even so, it was fairly important to me when I was a beginner. Up until that time, there were only a couple of books in English describing versions of Wu family style, which I was then practicing, so it at least gave me a look at somebody doing that form. Lee learned from members of the Wu family, and he was the first teacher of Wu style in Hawaii, teaching students of all races.
This isn’t to downplay the book’s many weaknesses. The expository material in the beginning and at the end of the book presents a mythic history of tai chi more as fact than as legend, and the discussion of basic tenets and principles, while accurate, is only cursory. The photo series depicting ghe form is okay in terms of content, though by no means complete. The form depicted is a very standard version of the Wu family style, and Lee performs it very well. Both of these are positives, but the photos are very muddy—so much so that Lee’s limbs occasionally disappear against the background. (Maybe this has been corrected in later editions.) And the verbal descriptions are only modest in content and detail.
Despite the importance to my tai chi early on, this is, I hate to say, one of the more mediocre books on tai chi. The photos can, though, provide a reference for those who practice the Wu family style.
by Tinn Chan Lee
(Unique Publications, 1981, 124 pages)