A magazine of martial and movement arts, with a focus on the internal style of Tai Chi Chuan
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Review by Christopher Dow
It’s tough to learn the movements of Tai Chi, in any of its aspects—form or push hands—from a book. Maybe not impossible, but tough. When this book on push hands came out in 1981, there were few Tai Chi resources aside from a couple of score of books and a handful of video tapes, which is why I bought it in the first place.
The text is presented in both Chinese and English, and the English version is very awkward. The author acknowledges this in his introduction, writing, “This book has been ‘roughly’ written by me. I wish readers would excuse my misinterpretations appeared in the book which have been brought about by my low level of academy.” [sic] The awkward writing might be excused if the information imparted is of relatively high quality, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case here. The brief expository material is limited to thumbnail descriptions of the Eight Gates (ward off, roll back, press, push, pull down, split, elbow strike, and shoulder strike), which the author calls “force feats.” You can work through the unwieldy prose to glean what the author is saying, but you still won’t get a whole lot out of the descriptions.
This meager introduction is out of the way by the end of page fifteen, and the remainder of the book is devoted to instructional material on several types of push hands patterns and a great many applications based on form postures. This material is not bad, per se, and might serve if you and your partner don’t have a live teacher or access to videos, but just barely.
Over all, this is a pretty weak book in more than one aspect: My copy has fallen apart at the spine, and that certainly isn’t from over use. Yiu's first book, The Research into Techniques and Reasoning of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, is a better beginner book, though still far from the best.
by Yiu Kwong
translated by Mok Kwink-yuen
(Yiu Kwong Herbalist, 1981, 160 pages)