Yang Style Tai Chi

This is still the most popular form of T'ai Chi in the world. And with good reason. It's low, slow, majestic motion is a pleasure to the eye and a seduction to the skin. Yang's "large frame" is relatively easy to learn and, for many people, is the perfect example of T'ai Chi's graceful and fluid power.

Click on pictures to see bigger versions

Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KT071H Tai Chi Chuan's Internal Secrets
Doc Fai Wong, Jane Hallander
128 pages, Profuse photographs, softbound
$12.95, Plum Price $7.95

Sifu Doc Fai Wong’s book on Tai Chi Chuan Secrets, which has been around for many years, continues to offer exactly what it promises: Internal Secrets from Yang styl Tai Chi Chuan. Starting with a Yang Family-centric history, with many scenes and anecdotes differing from the present-day story, what stands out are the "alternative" views detailing the lineage and evolution of this worldwide practice.

With this in mind, we read the no-nonsense straight talk about modern practice (Long Set memorized), with a realistic breakdown of how Tai Chi was taught for centuries, with individual parts practiced then added to the overall structure. In this "me too," the Long Set and other forms impart repetitions but not understanding; and Tai Chi must be understood to offer maximum meaning, excellent posture and movement.

Of course, not all of the "internal" secrets are presented, but Sifu Wong, in clear text and photos, definitely tried his best to match his title, and give meaning to the reason behind these so-familiar movements.



Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KY012H Tai Chi Sword and Other Writings
Yang Jwing Ming
208 pages, profuse photographs, softbound
$14.50, Plum Price $7.95

Published in 1982, Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan was the standard for many Tai Chi players over the early years. The strongest advertisement of the book is its layered approach to separate sections of the form. This book could claim itself as the Yang Style Bible, in the full meaning of the word.


"To help the generation of instantaneous or quickly applied power, one must yell two sounds. “Ha,” the first sound is used during the attack. When “Ha” is yelled out the Dan Tian is made to expand and harden. This yelling assists the Qi into the lungs. “Hun,” the second yell, is usually used during defense techniques such as dissolving and sticking. In this case, “hun” is made in the act of exhalation. “Hun” can also be used. Besides helping the release of power, both yells are used to clear the lungs of dirty air and to distract an opponent."

Other chapters include history, principles, Qi Gong, Meditation, Chi and Chi circulation, Fighting Concepts, Empty Hand Drills, Tai Chi Sword, and Pushing Hands.

Still a standard text and good reference, even with its smaller type and slightly crowded photos.



Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KT064 Tai Chi Sword and Other Writings
Chen Weiming, Translated by Barbara Davis
93 pages, photographs, softbound, Vintage Photos
$14.95, Plum Price $12.95

Without a doubt, an integral piece of the growth of Taiji, especially Yang style, in America.

Chen WeiMing was a noted disciple of Yang ChenFu. All 55 breakdowns of the sword are included though some may not have an accompanying photo. Published in 1928. Though not large this book has a number of small surprises. Two pages show calligraphy and translation, one of which by the swordmaster and expert calligrapher, Li Jing Lin.

A quite charming group of a dozen Yang Family stories is included. Chen knew his art and wrote a number pf books on the fine art of Taijiquan. We would have loved to see some of the master’s matches with broken-off sugar cane staves. Additionally, a short section on the history of the Chinese straight sword, is given here. This should be in any practitioner’s library, along sideChen’s other writings. See his essntial book below, Tai Chi Chuan Ta Wen



Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KT063 Tai Ji Quan developed by Master Li ShuJun
125 pages, photographs, softbound, good photos, Chinese/English

In this book, Sifu Lee teaches a style situated mainly in the US and around Shanghai.

Li Sifu is the son and disciple of one of the most famous Tai Chi masters, Li Jingwu. Master Li famously studied with a variety of important teachers such as Chen FaKe, Wang Pei Sheng, Yang Yu Ting, Wu Tu Nan, and others. His integration of these various studies informed his own practice as well as his teaching.

The Tai Chi that Li Sifu presents in this book has an elegance that does not betray traditional usage. Well-displayed photos and instruction present a solid source text.



Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KT053H T'ai Chi Ch'uan Ta Wen
Chen Wei Ming
61 pages, front piece photograph of the author, softbound,
$12.95 PLUM Price $9.95

Considered by many to be a classic in the field of Tai Chi writings. Chen Wei Ming (see biography) was the top student of Yang Chen Fu. This Ta Wen (Q & A) book is a slim but invaluable resource and discussion on the art of Tai Chi. Chapters cover:Tai Chi:
Commentary on the History and the Correction of the Legend.
Tai Chi Form
Push Hands
Fighting Techniques (San Shou)
Chin (Internal Force)
Relation of Tai Chi to Tao Yin and Meditation
Physique and Achievement
The Five Word Secret of Li I Yu



Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KT061 Taijiquan (Book & DVD)
by Li DeYin
402 pages, oversized softback, $42.95 PLUM $38.65

This is a huge book filled with many things; really a major achievement and, if you counted price by page, the least expensive presentation of all this material. Li Deyin has established himself as a widely known and respected Tai Chi teacher. In this book he stuffs multiple versions of the Yang family form and the Tai Chi sword in two versions. Herein is contained:

81 Step Tai Chi Chuan
24 Step Tai Chi Chuan, authored in part by Li Tianji
42 Step created by Li DeYin and introduced by him in1990
42 Step Tai Chi sword Competition form
32 Step Tai Chi sword, more for personal enjoyment and practice

Each of these performances by students, as well as Li, who are impeccable, smooth and professional.

Li’s family has a deep and long commitment to Chinese martial arts, spanning over 100 years. This is a tradition associated with many famous teachers like Sun Lu Tang and Li Jing Lin not to mention the contribution of the Li family itself. Four generations of his family are shown demonstrating including 1931 photographs of his grandfather Li YuLin.

All these routines are shown on the accompanying DVD.


Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KW043 Wisdom of Taiji Masters
Insights into Cheng Man Ching's Art
167 pages, photographs, softbound,
by Nigel Sutton; Compiled and Edited by Mark Wiley
Retail prcie $19.95 Plum $17.95

Nigel Sutton has long and deep experience in CMA (Chinese Martial Arts). This new book, an exploration of the Cheng Man Ching contribution to Taiji takes the experiences, memories, and insights of eight instructors, all in the Cheng style. We are allowed to overhear conversations, some of them recorded years ago but available for the first time, that form a composite view of Cheng and his teachings. True, the vantage point is decidedly positive but, given that, there are many ideas here; for instance:

Tan Ching Ngee: "When you train the empty-hand form it is difficult enough to get everything right…The spear is harder still and the straight sword yet harder. Practice of the weapons slowly but surely raises the standard of our gongfu."

Ho An San: "When Shifu Lu (one of Cheng's disciples) took on challenges, he would initiate his attack by slapping them in the face. But if they were more of a challenge, he would use the single phoenix-eye fist to the solar plexus."

Koh Ah Tee: "That old gentleman took the straight sword that he learned from the Yang family and changed it and made it more natural. Like his form, the movements became more internal, more subtle. Another practice that he developed was that of the straight sword sparring."

Due to its soft and subtle approach Cheng's Taiji has remained as much a puzzle as a practice for many people. This book advances considerably that knowledge and insight on this subject.

Note: We posted this both in our Yang style section and our 'various Tai Chi' section because there is some question as to whether Cheng is a separate style from Yang or not. It's not a battling controversy we thought we'd honor the discussion.



Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KT022 T'ai Chi Chuan
It's Effects and Practical Applications
182 pages, photographs, softbound,
"Compiled and Edited by H.C.Chao"

Notice that we put quotations marks around "compiled and edited by H.C.Chao." This book was published by McLISA in 1995 but it is obviously the book of the same title written by Yearning K. Chen originally published in 1947 and with beautiful drawings based on photos of Yang Chen Fu. McLISA reissued the same book, translation and all, with uninspired photos but retaining the original floor charts. The text is the same, so if you want an available copy of the book complete with photo of Yang Chen Fu and Chen's original teacher, Tien Sou Lin, this is an inexpensive version. The translation is literate, the instructions detailed. The entire Long Set and Push Hands are described along with some short essays on broader topics such as Tai Chi related to psychology, morality and mechanics. Except for the placeholder photos, a possible but collectible bootleg.



Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KZ004 Zhi Chui "Wise Hammers"
The Indoor Yang Taijiquan
by Jonty Kershaw
108 pages, photographs, softbound,

First we should all recognize that there is one indisputable fact about Yang style Taiji, namely that there are indeed a number of Indoor aspects to the knowledge (see Jason Tsou's book below). Whether or not these are “secret” forms and such is another issue but there’s not doubt that many martial practitioners are still looking for the “whole story” on the Yang style and the causes of it powerful reputation. We actually sell a VCD from the “Imperial Court” teachings of the Yang style. This book is the written description in English of one of these Imperial teachings, the Wisdom Hammering form. This set is based on the Taiji method of punching and supplements the Long Form with its specializing in the punching skills of Yang style. The layout is good and straight forward with slightly smallish pictures and “footwork boxes” indicating stance and weight distribution. Kershaw gives the breakdown of the movements and general principles for Taiji performance. This is the first presentation of this knowledge we know of in the English language.



Yang Tai Chi by Jason Tsou KY002 Yang Taiji The Untold Story
by Jason Tsou & Arthur Schonfeld
233 pages, photographs and illustrations, softbound, large size


Jason Tsou and Arthur Schonfeld have created a major project. This is a complete renovation of the approach to Tai Chi with a blending of deep Tai Chi theory and modern concepts from math and science. In one sense we see this upsurge as a new validation of martial studies coming from many quarters but this particular effort is a keystone because it incorporates classical martial theory with a strong rationalist approach. What is even better is that all of Tsou's previous efforts—such as his Random Circle approach and the "reaction force" of his highly interesting take on Chin Na— dovetail with this new contribution and fit right in as stepping stones on the same path. Taking an equational approach, this book offers teachers and students much to think about and, more importantly, much to research. We at PLUM see the whole field finally passing from the earlier phase of parroting to preserve and into a phase of true research and validation. This book is a major step in that direction with enough ideas to scrutinize and experiment with to more than justify the price.

Also: See the Random Circle on Push Hands and Jason Tsou's course on Chin Na.
Two Qigong DVDs: Taiji Qigong and Bagua Qigong.



Yang Chen Fu's Tai Chi

KY003 Yang Chen Fu: The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan
Translated by Louis Swaim
124 pages, old photographs, softbound

"The publication in 1934 of Yang Cheng Fu's book Essence and Applications of Taijiquan (Taijiquan Ti Yong Quan Shu) marked a milestone in the modern evolution of the art of Tai Chi. Yang Cheng Fu uses what is best termed 'demonstration narrative' to present form postures and suggested applications from his own perceptive as he performed them. This methodology renders his direct, hands-on teaching of the art with such immediacy and liveliness that the reader experiences the master's teaching much as his students did.

This English translation finally makes Yang Cheng Fu's classic work available to Tai Chi enthusiasts in the West. It includes notes and commentary that clarify the author's frequent classical and literary turns of phrase and elucidate the philosophical and political underpinning that shape the text. The translator investigates and compares several early Tai Chi books to help explain the roles played by two of Yang Cheng Fu's students, Dong Ying Jie and Zheng Man Qing in bringing Yang Cheng Fu's words and teachings into print."

This translation, by Louis Swaim, is interesting in that he gives his own textural notes on the translation. In some ways this can be considered a bit of "not playing the game" for it is the translator's problem to make decisions, not the readers. On the other hand Swaim's comments on the ambiguity of the language give us an insight into exactly the problems deal with and sometimes even solved by anyone working in the Chinese language. This is a key book for anyone studying Tai Chi, especially followers of the Yang style.

See Lion Books' original Chinese version of the text.

Yang Style Tai Chi

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KY001 Yang Style Taijiquan
by Yang Zhen Dou
124 pages, old photographs, softbound

This was one of the first substantial English books on the art of Yang style Taiji. Written by Yang Zhen Dou, Yang Chen Fu's son, it gives a very clear, standardized and well written accounting of the form and numerous other key points. A very good, solid book for the money.

DVDs by this author


Wu Meng Xia on Taiji

KW029 Excerpts from, "Annotations on Taijiquan's
Nine Songs and Eighty One Postures and other selections
by Wu Meng Hsia (Wu Meng Xia) & Wu Bei Feng
translated by Bradford Tyrey and Marcus Brinkman
$26.95 each, 120 Pages,Oversized, softbound , small photographs

"This book covers deep internal training aspects of Taijiquan. Photos accompany each section of the text. It is a rare text written by Wu, one of China's most famous teachers of Bagua, Xingyi, and Taiji during the 1930's thru 1950's. Approximately 93 pages; black and white printing and photos. Photos of Wu are somewhat unclear, but visible. Partial contents include:

Synopsis of Practice and Theory Song,
The Thirteen Character Training Song,
The Confounding Round Song,
The Eighteen Locations,
Original Skill of Taiji Boxing, and more.
Song 1: includes a section entitled "Skill Significance" (Ji Su Yi Yi). This is a section included with the original text's technical explanation of the 81 Taiji postures, providing a short synopsis of each posture's martial function. A text necessary for those wanting to learn many of the secrets of internal martial practices."

This is from the text page itself. Other interesting and important attributes include a biography of Jiang Rong Jiao with some key points. Some background on Sha Guo Zhen. Sha's introduction to the writings of Wu Meng Xia. Unlike many books on the "classics explained" this one has a more definite stance and - though with difficulty - really tries to explain the meanings of the classic with strategic examples of how they might be put into use. These are notoriously ambiguous phrases and concepts and Wu's interpretation is important and often clarifying.



Taijiquan  in 88 forms

KT035 Taijiquan in 88 Forms
Compiled by Victor Wu, translated by Huang Jin
229 pages, softbound, illustrations

Talk about a best seller! This little edition of the official 88 movement Taijiquan sold over 1,500,000 copies in its native mainland China. This edition was brought out in 1980 and shows a longish official version based on the Yang style Taiji. The introduction has much then current information on the scientifically validated benefits of Taijiquan. The rear section deals with the basics of push hands operations. The text is clear and detailed. The overall presentation is straight forward with clean illustrations (see scan). In addition, this book is presented with side by side Chinese and English.