Yang Chenfu for English readers
The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan, which was written by
Yang Chengfu, was published in 1923, but despite its importance
for taiji practitioners in the west, it was available only in Chinese.
I knew about it because my taiji`s master; Dr. Qi Ke Bao, used it
as one of his main sources for studying and, of course, teaching
it. This book is for advance students who already are acquainted
with Yang style long forms and with pushing hands exercises. The
emphasis of the author is in functional features and in applications.
It is written, as the translator points out, as "demonstration
narrative"; when I was reading it, I felt as if receiving specific
instructions for the important points in each movement. I think
that the translation is precise and that Louis Swaim, the translator,
was able to make Yang Chengfu`s ideas accessible to an English reader
(Qi Tiang Shu, my master`s son and a Taiji master himself compared
some random paragraphs with the original Chinese version and concluded
that the translation kept the original sense). I found the translator's
comments appropriate and very useful. He explains the meaning of
some words, which are difficult to grasp, in such a way that they
become more intelligible for a western reader. I think that for
someone interested in Taiji, mainly in Yang style, the reading of
this book is as necessary as the reading of the Taiji Classics.