Study broadly. Read widely. Think critically.
The Basic Thirteen and The Supplementals: a reading list
by: Sifu Nick D’Antoni
This list is in two parts and in no particular order other than alphabetical by author. The first section, The Basic Thirteen, is aimed at my primary goal: creating a selection of books that provides - first, a well-rounded introduction into the fundamentals and practice of taijiquan, second, an entry into the exploration of the history, philosophy, and culture of taiji and, lastly, includes information on related disciplines/practices that can help deepen our understanding and inform both our daily practice and the ways we may choose to grow in our taiji. I’m not suggesting that any one of these books is necessarily the best or most essential, nor is this list anything like exhaustive. What I am saying is that I think this list, when considered as a whole, includes at least an introduction to most – if not all – of the elements of taijiquan and that, when combined with practical study create a powerful, unique, and special thing – one’s own personal practice. The second section is a supplemental selection of titles that will allow for a broader and deeper exploration into some of those areas on the basic list that may be of special interest. Again, there are many more books available, but these are titles that I know and feel have some substance worth recommending. I hope you find it useful.
I leave it to you to decide for yourself what sounds interesting and where you would like to begin. However, I realize that so much choice can seem a bit daunting, especially at the beginning. If you’d like help with where to begin, Lynn or I would be happy to help you with suggestions for a starting place that we feel best suits you. Just ask.
The Basic Thirteen:
1) Barrett, Rick. Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate. Berkeley, CA: Blue Snake Books, 2006.
2) Cheng, Man-ch’ing. Master Cheng’s Thirteen Chapters on T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Douglas Wile. Brooklyn, NY: Sweet Ch’i Press, 1982, Douglas Wile.
3) Chuen, (Master) Lam Kam. Feng Shui Handbook: How to Create a Healthier Living and Working Environment. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1996
4) Hoff, Benjamin. The Tao of Pooh. Penguin Books, 1994.
5) Jou, Tsung Hwa. The Dao of Taijiquan: Way to Rejuvenation. Print _8. Scottsdale, AZ: Tai Chi Foundation, 2001.
6) Kaptchuk, Ted J. The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine. Chicago: Congdon & Weed, Inc., 1983. 0-8092-2933-1.
7) Kuo, Lien-Ying. The T’ai Chi Boxing Chronicle. G. Guttman. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1999.
8) Liang, T.T. T’ai Chi Ch’uan for Health and Self-Defense. Philosophy and Practice. Revised, expanded edition, ed. Paul B. Gallagher. New York: Vintage, 1977.
9) Liao, Waysun, ed. and trans. T’ai Chi Classics: New translations of three essential texts of T’ai Chi Ch’uan with commentary and practical instruction by Waysun Liao. Boston: Shambala Publications, Inc., 1990.
10) Liu, Da. T’ai Chi Ch’uan & Meditation. New York, NY: Schocken, 1986.
11) Merton, Thomas. The Way of Chuang Tzu. Boston: Shambala Publications, Inc., 2004.
12) Watts, Alan. Tao: The Watercourse Way. With Al Chung-Liang Huang. New York: Pantheon Books, 1975.
13) Wile, Douglas, trans. T’ai Chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions. Brooklyn, NY: Sweet Ch’i Press, 1983.
The Supplemental Twenty-six:
Chen, Wei-Ming. T’ai Chi Ch’uan Ta Wen: Questions and Answers on T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Trans: Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo & Robert W. Smith. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1985.
Cheng, Man-ch’ing. Cheng Man-Ch’ing’s Advanced T’ai-Chi Form Instructions: with selected writings on Meditation, the I-ching, Medicine, and the Arts. Compiled & trans: Douglas Wile. 3rd edition. New York: Sweet Ch’i Press, 1986.
Chuang Tsu. Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters. Trans: Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English. New York: Vintage Books, 1974 Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English.
Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu: The Basic Writings. Trans: Burton Watson. New York: Columbia U. Press., 1964.
Cleary, Thomas, ed & trans. Vitality, Energy, Spirit: A Taoist Sourcebook. Boston: Shambala Publications, Inc., 1991.
Deng Ming-dao. Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life. New York: Harper Collins Publications, 1990.
Elia, Randy. Ancient Health Teachings of the East. Emerson, NJ: Lotus Publications, 1999.
Hsu, Adam. The Sword Polisher’s Record: The Way of Kung-Fu. Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 1997.
Huang, Chungliang Al. Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain: The Essence of Tai Ji. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1997.
Jou, Tsung Hwa. The Tao of Meditation: Way to Enlightenment. Scottsdale, AZ: Tai Chi Foundation, 2000.
Kuo, Lien-Ying. Tai-Chi Chuan in Theory and Practice. Presented by: Simmone Kuo. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1999.
Kwok, Man Ho and Joanne O’Brien, ed & trans. The Eight Immortals of Taoism: Legends and Fables of Pupular Taoism. Intro: Martin Palmer. New York: Meridian - Penguin Books, 1990.
Lee, Martin, PhD. and Emily Lee. The Healing Art of T’ai Chi: Becoming One with Nature. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1996.
Liu, Master Hui. Dayan Qigong: An Ancient System for Today’s Modern Life. El Cerrito, CA: Wen Wu School of Martial Arts, 2006.
Liu Yanchi. The Essential Book of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Volume I: Theory. Trans: Fang Tingyu & Chen Laidi. Written & Edited in collaboration w/: Kathleen Vian & Peter Eckman. New York: Columbia U. Press, 1988.
Olson, Stuart Alve. The Jade Emperor’s Mind Seal Classic: The Taoist Guide to Health, Longevity, and Immortality. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2003.
Schorre, Jane. How to Grasp the Bird’s Tail if You Don’t Speak Chinese: A light-hearted look at meaning in Taiji. Calligraphy: Margaret Chang. Houston, TX: Arts of China Seminars, 1997 Schorre & Chang.
Skinner, Stephen. Feng Shui: The Living Earth Manual. Rutland, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2006.
Sun Tzu. The Art of War: The Denma Translation. Trans, Essays and commentary: The Denma Translation Group. Boston: Shambala Publications, Inc., 2002.
Wile, Douglas. Lost T’ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch’ing Dynasty. Albany: State U of New York Press, 1996.
Wile, Douglas. T’ai Chi’s Ancestors: The Making of an Internal Martial Art. New York: Sweet C’hi Press, 1999.
Wong, Eva. Cultivating Stillness: A Taoist Manual for Transforming Body and Mind. Trans. & Intro: Eva Wong. Boston: Shambala Publications, Inc., 1992.
Wong, Eva. Nourishing the Essence of Life: The Outer, Inner, and Secret Teachings of Taoism. Trans. & Intro: Eva Wong. Boston: Shambala Publications, Inc., 2004.
Wong, Eva. The Shambala Guide to Taoism: A complete introduction to the history, philosophy, and practice of an ancient Chinese spiritual tradition. Boston: Shambala Publications, Inc., 1997.
Yang Chengfu. The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan. Trans: Louis Swaim. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2005 Louis Swaim.
Yang Jwing-Ming. The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung: Health and Martial Arts. Jamaica Plain, MA: YMAA Publication Center, 1994.
Of Course there are also classics like the I-Ching (Yijiing), and Tao Te Ching (Dao de jing) which are available in many translations and versions with and without commentary and annotations. I suggest you try compare two or three versions of these to find one with language and style that appeals to you before buying one.
Remember, our intention here is simply to present a fair sampling of the books available for further study and exploration. While this list is extensive enough to keep you going for some time if you choose to stick with it, it is by no means complete or all-inclusive . There is always more and we’re always open to new discoveries so please don’t hesitate to share your own personal discoveries as you travel down this way. These authors are
all holding doors open for us. It's up to us to choose and walk
through those we find most fitting and appropriate. And above all -
Practice, Practice, Practice.
... Some Extra Goodies!
Here is a short additional bibliography. Again, a somewhat eclectic selection of books on taiji and related disciplines and practices that we've read and can recommend. Some will certainly appeal more than others, and though they're not all MUST reads we feel they all do have something to recommend them.
By the way, of course the list is not yet complete. We're still working on it. If only they'd stop publishing new books for a while so we could get caught up! ... Enjoy!!!
Cheng, Man-ch’ing. T’ai Chi Ch’uan: A Simplied Method of Calesthenics for Health & Self Defense. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1981, Julianna T. Cheng. ISBN: 0-913028-85-1
---. Master Cheng’s Thirteen Chapters on T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Douglas Wile. Brooklyn, NY: Sweet Ch’i Press, 1982, Douglas Wile. ISBN: 0-912059-00-1
---. Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo and Martin Inn. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1985, Juliana Cheng. ISBN: 0-938190-45-8
Chen, William C. C. Body Mechanics of Tai Chi Chuan. NY, NY: William C. C. Chen, 2002. Master Chen’s basic theories and his complete 60 movement form
Chiang, Yun-Chung. Thirty Basic Exercises, Traditional Names of the Sixty-Four Movements of Tai Ji Quan, and Nineteen Basic Principles. Privately published manual with sections in both Chinese and translated English. Includes stick figure illustrations of Dr. Chiang’s “Thirty Basics” as well as the Guang Ping Yang style long form. Nicole Miller assisted w/ translatiions. El Cerrito, CA: Chung Hua Wen Wu School of Martial Arts, 1976.
Chuen, Master Lam Kam. Step-by-Step Tai Chi: The Natural Way to Strength and Health. NY, NY: Fireside: Simon & Schuster, 1994.
Delza, Sophia. Robert Cummings Neville, ed. The T’ai-Chi Chuan Experience: Reflections and Perceptions on Body-Mind Harmony. Albany: State U of New York P, 1993. ISBN: 0-7914-2898-2
Dong, Y.P. Still as a Mountain, Powerful as Thunder: Simple Taoist Exercises for Healing, Vitality, and Peace of Mind. Boston & London: Shambala, 1993. ISBN: 0-87773-688-X
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. Muscle/Tendon Changing & Marrow/Brain Washing Chi Kung: The Secret of Youth. YMAA Chi Kung Series. Jamaica Plain, MA: Yang Martial Arts Association (YMAA), 1989. D r. y j-m presents good theory and excellent discussion along with clear instructions, accompanied by photos and diagrams as needed. Good connection made between meridian theory and the practices.
Galante, Lawrence. TAI CHI The Supreme Ultimate. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1981. ISBN: 0-87728-497-0
Harrell, John C. Kuang Ping Poems. Deborah E. Plummer, photographer. Fullerton, CA: Lightning Publications, 1994, John C. Harrell, Deborah E. Plummer. ISBN: 0-9632702-5-7
Book of poetry w/photos inspired by the movements of Guang Ping Yang style taijiquan.
Hsu, Hong-yen, Willam G. Peacher. Chinese Herb Medicine and Therapy. Oriental Hearling Arts Institute: Long Beach, CA. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1982. Text written for a relatively general audience.
Jin, Yunting. “Xingyi Boxing Manual.” The Xingyi Boxing Manual: Hebei Style’s Five Principles and Seven Words. Trans. John Groschwitz. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2004. Groschwitz translates and interpolates this early xingyi manual - first published in 1923. Includes a lineage tree and short bio’s of the main figures in Jin’s lineage.
Johns, Robert. The Art of Acupuncture Techniques. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1996.
Kit, Wong Kiew. The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan: A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Practice. Rockport, MA: Element Books, Inc., 1996. ISBN: 1-85230-792-7
Kuo, Simmone. Long Life Good Health, Through Tai-Chi Chuan. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1991. ISBN: 1-55643-111-2
Look, Master Henry. I-Chuan: Visual Aid to Internal Power. Sacramento, CA: Master Henry Look, 1995. Sifu Henry Look’s excellent illustrations of the basic eight stance forms of yiquan
Sun Tzu, Samuel B. Griffith, trans & intro. The Art of War. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1971.
Wile, Douglas, compiled & trans. Cheng Man-Ch’ing’s Advanced T’Ai-Chi Form Instructions: With Selected Writings on Meditation, the I-Ching, Medicine and the Arts. New York: Sweet Ch’i Press, 1986. Yang, Zhenduo, Yu Shenquan, ed., Yang Yashan and Wang Junji, ed. consult’s. Yang Style Taijiquan. Beijing: Morning Glory Publishers, 1996.á291.