T’ai Chi & Qi Gong books

This is the first book to get. Mr. Smith wrote it with Professor Cheng, and for me, in many ways, this book is ground. I bought it from Mr. Smith in the Bethesda YMCA parking lot after a Saturday morning class along with Ta Wen (which appears below), and I always return to it. You can’t learn T’ai Chi from a book, of course, but the prose about the practice and the translation of the Classics in the back are accessible to everyone.

Ta Wen is “Questions and Answers,” written by Chen Wei-Ming, remembering lessons from his teacher, Yang Cheng-fu. Mr. Smith and Ben Lo (another gem of a gentleman I’ve been grateful to study with) worked on this translation together. It never mattered to me how far over my head it was, and still is; I find it a great comfort, somehow.

Most of you know by now that T’ai Chi is recommended by Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic, and recognized by NIH as part of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine). Here's a link to the Harvard Medical School article on the benefits of T'ai Chi:

…and to their new book, which we have talked about in class, but which I have not yet read, so if you get it, please let me know what you think!

Sometimes I quote the amazing Wolfe Lowenthal, whose seminars and classes I’ve occasionally been lucky to attend, and who taught my daughter while she was at school at Hampshire College. Here’s his first book on T’ai Chi Ch’uan. It is *not* a “how to” book, meaning there is no form instruction per se, but what there are, are wonderful stories from his life as a student of Professor. This is just a great read for anyone, whether they are fans of T’ai Chi or not.

The T’ai Chi Classics are the traditional writings our predecessors in the practice offer up to us. There are many translations out there, and I have yet to find one that does not hold value for me. Ben started working with Professor when he was 19 years old; few people on earth have had that much time to explore the depths of this material. He worked with valued colleagues on this translation, which features his lovely calligraphy as well.

As is typical with Qi Gong, there are several versions of The Eight Brocades out there. The version I learned from Peter Kay is very close to what is taught in this book, The Way of Energy by Master Lam Kam Chuen. And, there is lots of excellent material in addition.

The Five Element Nei Jing Boundary Meditation we do in class is from a podcast reading from this book. I find Dr. Friedman’s work to be effective, straightforward and clear. She has two other books as well.