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User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars Best Cheng Man Ching book (along with 13 chapters)
I have been practicing the Cheng Man-Ching Form for about two and a half years. I have made a point of buying every book with the great man’s name on the cover and this book is the one that I pick up and read more often than any other.
5 Stars best
When a master knows his art then there is no comparison.
Excellent information to deepen ones practice
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars Why don’t you own this book?
If it is your intention to figure out what Yang Luchan could put into practice, you know that all we have are hints. A written hint here. An oral hint there. A rediscovery from this person. An oral tradition from that person. In other words, you know how hard it is to stay on the path. Well, here is a book that is chock full of hints, a veritable roadmap of them. If taijiquan is for you a “martial” art, why don’t you own this book?
5 Stars A scholarly compilation of early Yang oral and written works
Though “secret transmissions” is somewhat of a misnomer, what the author presents is a collection of early published taiji material–mostly by Yang Cheng Fu, though there is one work
indirectly attributed to Yang Ban Hou.
These early works are not a step-by-step manual, but guides to the practicing student to help gain insight into what they’re practicing. What any reader should immediately pick-up, however, is that these guides were written for someone learning how to fight.
Though much of the material is by (and thus, oriented towards) a Yang-stylist, the fundamental principles of taiji remain the same in all styles, so there is enough material that all taiji practitioners can benefit by. In fact, this book was recommended to me by a Chen-style practitioner.
The other part of this book, the author’s foreword, gives the colorful (and sometimes conflicting) historical background and accounts of the Yang family, which is in of itself a fascinating read.
This book is definitely recommended for any serious taiji student.
5 Stars A must have for any serious practitioner
This is a wonderful book but it is most suited for serious practitioners who already know the CORRECT Yang 103 empty hand form. This book will truly motivate you to become a better Tai Chi Player.
3 Stars Know the source
Here’s a statement issued by the Yang family (Yeung is Cantonese for
Yeung Family’s Tai Chi Chuan
The Yeung family’s style of Tai Chi Chuan is unique to the Yeung
It was started by Great Master, Yeung Lu Chan, who was born over two
hundred years ago, and has been passed down to family members,
generation after generation to the present day. The lineage under
discussion is that of Mr Yeung Sau Chung, the eldest son of Mr Yeung
Ching Po. Mr Yeung Sau Chung moved to Hong Kong with his family in
1949, and continued to dedicate his life to practicing and teaching Tai Chi Chuan until his death in 1985. Since then his family has devoted
themselves to practicing and teaching Tai Chi Chuan.
Mr Yeung had taught for over fifty years, and his daughter Ms Yeung Ma Lee, taught for over twenty years. Over these seventy years, they both have taught many students. Their method of teaching is personal and individualized. Through this methodology, they have employed various teaching approaches that take into consideration an individual’s learning level, capabilities and physique.
It is important to clearly define the different categories of learning
Category one is family. Yeung family members are taught the complete
body of knowledge. In the family, the methods and formulas are observed
most strictly, and the teaching methods employed are quite severe.
While all family members learn, not all like teaching and not all take
Category two is disciple. Generally, a student is required to spend a
specific amount of time studying with the teacher before being
considered for discipleship. Students are accepted as disciples based
on several criteria. The disciples must have aptitude and possess virtues
such as honesty, kindness and loyalty to the Yeung’s family. Once
accepted, they would acquire from the Master skills that lead to a
level of comprehension that far exceeds that of the students so that they can help the Master to spread the Yeung Family’s Tai Chi Chuan.
A disciple is allowed to use the Yeung family’s name when teaching.
Disciples can choose to take their own disciples. All disciples are
listed in the chart of School of Yeung’s style of Tai Chi Chuan but not
in the Yeung’s family lineage despite the fact that some people
shamefully promote themselves this way.
Category three is student. With permission from the Yeung’s family
students could teach using the Yeung’s family name.
The family itself has published books about Tai Chi Chuan. One must
understand that books only serve as a guide; you could only learn the
art well with instructions from the Yeung family. Recently a movie of
Mr Yeung Sau Chung surfaced on the internet (without family permission).
The same principle applies. It may be the best form one has ever seen,
but without the underlying formula, it is impossible to learn from it.
There are a lot of claims by some people saying they are practicing the
“real” Yeung style, or they possess the “forgotten secrets” etc. It is
absolutely important that the followers should exercise the utmost
caution to discern the authenticity of these claims and whether the
martial art is appropriate for their physique, otherwise it is not only
a waste of time and money but also it might cause serious injury. Yeung
style Tai Chi Chuan is both an extraordinary defensive art as well as
an unparalleled health maintenance exercise. The principles and
applications are only as valuable and effective as the source from
which they spring.
Know your source.
Not my words, but the words of the Yeung family. There are a lot of taichi chuan masters teaching terrible and innacurate form. Buyer Beware!
5 Stars Tai Chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Trasmission
It is a very interesting approach to Tai Chi. It explains the philosophy and the basic. It is good for people that are starting with the study of Tai Chi.
This volume makes available some of the most important discovered source material for the historian of the ancient Near East.
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars Indispensible Guide
Absolutely recommended for anyone who is interested in studying the culture and writings of the ancients in the near east. Many documents are translated and there is a gallery of photographs of items and what they are/signify. Some of the language used in translation is a tiny bit dated (the occassional thee and thou and so forth) but that doesn’t diminish an excellent resource.
4 Stars A useful compendium of original source material
I obtained this volume of translations of Ancient Near Eastern texts and pictures along with its companion Volume I – An Anthology of Texts and Pictures which was first published in 1958. This volume, which was published in 1975, includes translations of more recently discovered material selected from the 1969 anthology of Supplementary Texts and Pictures Relating to the Old Testament.
This volume contains 72 texts and about 110 black and white photographs of artefacts from various and states and cities of Ancient Near East. The documents include myths, laws, treaties, inscriptions, hymns, letters, wisdom literature etc, from Egypt, and from the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and later periods of Mesopotamia.
The format is similar to that of Volume I with cross references to the ANET text number. Translations have been made by 13 eminent scholars, most of whom have provided some explanation of the content and meaning of the texts they have translated. In general, however, there are fewer notes than in Volume I, and no cross references to illustration number or to any biblical passages.
I found the translations to be generally quite readable, but, in the same way as for Volume I, they definitely had to be read with full care and concentration to understand them, and some, being somewhat fragmentary, are rather more difficult to follow than others. In reading the texts, I was, of course completely dependent upon the translations and the interpretations of the scholars themselves. In particular, I found the comments and notes by Professor S N Kramer on the various Sumerian Texts to be most helpful.
I am happy to have read this book and its companion, because they have given me some direct insight into the cultures of the Ancient Near East. Whether it is better to obtain the larger parent anthologies is, I think, a matter of whether you are prepared over US$250 for the latest editions of these two volumes ( ISBN 0691035032 for the texts, and ISBN 0691035024 for the pictures). But if these smaller volumes are anything to go by, then they are probably worth it.
I didn’t want to spend that much on this subject at this stage of my studies. So for the moment, I have decided to be selective about next set of texts to read, and as a next step, will be studying Volume II and III of Miriam Lichtheim’s translations of Egyptian texts, and William L Moran’s translations of the Amarna Letters.
5 Stars A useful compendium of original source material
I bought this book along with its companion: Volume II – A New Anthology of Texts and Pictures, because it was time for me to see for myself what the the original sources had to say about the Ancient Near East.
This volume, which first was published in 1958 contains over 70 ancient texts and about 280 black and white photographs of artefacts from the Ancient Near East. The ancient documents include those from Mesoptamia, Egypt, Canaan, Israel, Assyria from the period about 2500BCE to about 500BCE. The editor states that the selection of texts was made from the point of view of relevance to the biblical Old Testament, having been taken from the original larger anthologies of texts (ANET) and pictures (ANEP) which were originally published in 1955 and 1954 respectively.
The texts themselves have cross references to the original text number, the relevant illustration number, and the specific biblical passages where there seems to be some point of contact, The translations were made by 11 eminent scholars, all of whom have provided an explanation of the content and meaning of the texts which they have translated, as well as providing useful notes on aspects of the text which might require clarification
I found the translations to be generally quite readable, but they definitely had to be read with full care and concentration to understand them. Some, being somewhat fragmentary, are rather more difficult to follow than others. In reading the texts, I was, of course completely dependent upon the translations and the interpretations of the scholars themselves, but at least I am now starting to have a fuller understanding of the cultures of the Ancient Near East.
3 of the 18 Egyptian texts in the book were included in Miriam Lichtheim’s Ancient Egyptian Literature Volume 1: The Old and Middle Kingdoms, and I noticed that the translations in this book had been somewhat shortened. Except for a difference in style, however, I did not notice any significant differences and found it very interesting to compare the two translations.
All in all, I am very happy to have read this book, which will probably serve me as a useful reference from now on. As so much work has been done on ancient text translations in the 35 years since the two parent volumes were published, and the price of these full anthologies was in excess of US$250, I am glad I chose to buy the shortened versions. That is not to say that I won’t buy them sometime in the future, but in the meantime, I want to be selective about the next set of texts to read, and have decided, as a next step, to read Volume II and III of Miriam Lichtheim’s translations of Egyptian texts, and William L Moran’s translations of the Amarna Letters
3 Stars Just a little bit boring
I love ancient history and found the book interesting, but just a little bit stale.
4 Stars A Stimulating Resource
Volume II or “The Ancient Near East” is a good companion to Volume I, containing mythic, legal, and monumental information from the Middle East Bronze and Iron Ages. It really puts you back there to read actual letters and contracts, or to see the developments in poetic, narrative and visual arts. The only real problem is the lack of consistent dating infomation, particularly for the artwork. It makes it difficult to form a conceptual picture if things are presented in what appears to be a random order.
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars Master Cheng’s Thirteen Chapters on T’ai Chi Ch’uan
Great book on the subject by a master. It is what I expected. The service related to my purchase, shipping, etc. was very good as well.
5 Stars This is the Best translation – authorized or not!
No offense meant to Madame Cheng, but this translation so far outstrips the Lo and co. version that the only reason to buy the other one is that the pictures are superb, the hardback is very well made and there are minor sections not to be in either of Wiles’ 2 Cheng Books.
Wile however it must be noted, only presents ‘the core 13 chapters themselves. No pictures, Q and A, forwards, etc. Tese are mostly available in his ‘Cheng Man Ching’s Advanced Tai-Chi Form Instructions’.
The Footnotes added to the second edition make it probably the best documented book on Tai-Chi in English.
Unfortunately neither edition is complete as they both lack the classics, LO and Co. published them seperately as Essence of tai-Chi Chuan and Wile included them in his ‘Tai-Chi Touchstones’.
Wile’s initial translation it may be noted was the steam that moved ‘the official translation’ out of the station as far as I can tell, so if he had not gone ahead and provided this seminal Tai-Chi textbook to us, would Lo finally have done it anyway?
Back to translation. Wile clearly has a better grasp of Taoist Alchemical and Medical terms, or at least abeeter sense of presenting them in English [which is odd considering that Martin Inn, a co-translator, is an Acupuncturist! But there it is, what is clouded and obscure in the hardback/North Atlantic version often shines with clarity and grace in Wile’s.
So if you do not do Cheng’s style and pictures of him prqacticing are a minor point woth you, compared to his exposition of Yang Tai-Chi Theory and Philosophy, this version is probably not just the one you want, but the only one you will need.
Seamm-Jasani, an ancient Tibetan movement system, teaches us how to look and feel younger than our biological age, to increase health and decrease illness, and to find inner peace, calm, and relaxation.
More than 10,000 years ago in the ancient Himalayan Mountains, an ancestral civilization committed itself to the study and development of the Science and Art for Eternal Youth. A form kept in close secrecy for millennia is now revealed for the first time in this practical and dynamic guidebook. The teachings focus on cultivating the powers of the individual’s mind, the harmony of movements, and the discovery of internal potentialities as the ultimate force of self-healing to extend one’s lifetime.
Comparable to a cross between yoga and tai chi, this ancient Tibetan system is designed to increase vitality, balance, and Inner Energy. The Secret Art consists of slow and fluid movements that improve coordination and strengthen equilibrium between body and mind through various breathing and movement techniques. In particular, Seamm-Jasani is known for its combination of relaxation, active motion, and breathing exercises.
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars Yoga meets taichi meets ibuki
I loved this book, and found its teachings very useful. Only problem is the repeated claims that the practice will bring about eternal life, but then again I haven’t died even once since I started…
5 Stars This is the beginning of a wonderful JOURNEY!!
I am a former professional athlete and currently a martial arts practitioner for 10 years. I have been practicing this art for 3 months and I have read the book 3 times. Each practice session is a new journey. What makes this art unbelievable is that you do not have to practice each day to feel the benefits. The movements add benefit to everything you do. I would suggest this to all former athletes who want to feel the thrill of the energy of their playing days. I would also suggest to continue to read this book as it is full of clues to unlock personal limitations.
Many compliments to Asanaro for providing the road map to Discipline!!!
5 Stars Take it from one who knows
Having practiced various martial arts, tai-chi, chi-gung, yoga and pilates for over 40 years this is by far the most effective and practical exercise I have encountered. By far. The book is excellent, the art of Seamm-Jasani is amazing.
First, I was able to actually learn it from the book. I read some reviews that call the author pompous and such but I did not get that from the book at all. He is blunt and unapologetic about preferring this gentler and less violent method of exercise to say karate or weight lifting or marathon training etc. Some others observed that this is simply chi-gung revisited. Apparently these people have not had any exposure to chi-gung other than by reading books. It is not warmed over chi-gung. There are some similarities but did it ever occur to those so-called critics that this art precedes chi-gung by millennia. Chi-gung is like Seamm-Jasani not the other way around. Besides, so the genesis of the art or even the author may be in question…the results are not.
My experience: I bought the book and practiced and learned many of the moves. I saw results very quickly and without any pain. I felt better, slept better and thought better after I started Seamm-Jasani. Mark me completely satisfied at that point.
Then I found out that Asanaro (the author) was conducting a weekend class at the Boston Baobom School in Brookline Ma. I live in Texas on modest means but I cashed in some miles and rewards points, signed up for the session and enjoyed the best training days of my life. It turns out that the book instructions were very good and I was doing most of the movements approximately right. But the weekend transcended the practice of Seamm-Jasani. Every member of the school staff and to my pleasant surprise, each participant were simply wonderful people.
As for the author himself, it would be hard to describe the humble, kind, almost monk-like Asanaro. The man exudes love, contentment and friendship. To say he is unique I would be guilty of vast understatement. He would patiently answer every question of every student until there were no more. He was such an amazing teacher that even people who had not read the book learned all the movements easily during the weekend’s five mini workshops. His only request was not to practice the art in front of anyone because doing so would show ego and not be true to the energy of the art, which is after all, eternal youth and vitality. On that note I must add that upon my returning my friends and colleagues and co-workers could not stop talking about how much better I looked after my weekend trip.
Let me clear up some confusion about the so-called secret part of the art of Seamm-Jasani. Each student is shown and taught all the appropriate information for their level. Each level, provides more of the art but is given as the student demonstrates the commitment to the art. There were many questions I had about things during the session and many went politely unanswered. This did not bother me, as I knew that I was simply a beginner. Some people might have a problem with that, though I can hardly imagine why. The whole process, in fact the whole art, has tremendous integrity.
Great book, excellent instruction, easy to use and most of all it truly works. You may want to find and visit the Baobom website and see when they will repeat the course. It is priced incredibly low and no where near the value it provides for a lifetime.
3 Stars Worthwhile in Spite of the Hype
I’ve done various exercise systems over the years and I’d say this one is far beyond all others in terms of giving a workout to the fingers and wrists, major sources of stress in the computer age. It is also a very methodical system, going step by step; for example, one exercise involves the legs, the next adds arm movements, and then another integrates breathing and visualization.
It seems to me that there are several key questions when trying to learn exercises from a book:
1. Are the exercises beneficial?
2. Are they explained clearly enough thru static images and words?
3. Are they presented in a way that encourages the learner to continue practicing them regularly?
I just completed the 12-week program in the Chart of Pedagogy and enthusiastically answer YES to all three questions. The system provides a thorough workout, carefully and compassionately filled with reminders not to push oneself. I found the reminders helpful because my initial stance was nowhere nearly as wide as that shown in the cover photo, but it increased as time went on. I should mention here that I’m over 50 years old.
The book has only a few minor flaws:
a. typo on page 68 (exercise 28 was already introduced in Week 3, so Week 4 should refer to exercise 35 instead)
b. exercise 11 on page 98 would be clearer if the arrow arc on the left side was swapped with the one on the right side
c. exercise 33 on page 126 has impossible arrows, which would make sense if the left and right ones were switched.
But the exercises constitute only about 100 pages of this 200-page book. If it focused exclusively on them, I’d rate it a 4 plus.
Before reaching the experiential part, the reader must wade thru more than 60 pages of background info, including an Introduction in which Asanaro portrays himself as a rebellious Prometheus who decided to teach against the advice of his guide. There is also the hype about Eternal Youth and the Art being 10,000 years old, as well as repetition of the urban legend that humans only use 10% of our brains. All this theory and preparation is chatty, but smooth narrative flow is not sufficient evidence of truth.
I suppose that having a school of meditation compels a teacher to explain how the exercises fit into broader goals, but Asanaro comes across as merely teasing: first hinting about advanced practices, then saying “That part of the art is secret and can’t be taught through books.” Then why mention it? In my opinion, keeping the book focused on the exercises would have been a clearer and cleaner approach, exuding the confident recognition that those who want more info will ask for it.
By the way, has anyone noticed a strong correlation in the feedback from fellow customers regarding whether a review is “helpful”? It seems that a review that gives this book 4 or 5 stars will get 90% “helpful” votes but any review that gives the book less than 4 stars gets under 50% “helpful” votes and is rebutted in a subsequent review. If someone feels disturbed by the few critical remarks I’ve made here, perhaps he or she should read my review of Halevi’s book School of the Soul.
5 Stars Great exercises to unblock stuck energy!
This book is fantastic and has just captivated me. I found it searching for simple and effective body-mind-spirit techniques to increase my healing power, stamina and body wisdom. Illness and emotional problems happen when our energy is blocked, but we all have inside the power to heal ourselves, and I have verified that these exercises are excellent to unblock stuck energy.
Most of the times we are so absorbed in what we are doing that we forget to move or even to breathe, with serious consequences to our health until we realize we need to change our habits.
The book explains through clear and easy to follow drawings and instructions 58 simple and effective exercises of breathing and movements, which now I know are essential for the free flow of energy through the body, producing immediate balance, health and well-being; of course that you need to be constant and follow the program given by the author.
I’m so happy to have discovered it! The practices have worked very good for me, proving once again that living a positive lifestyle can make a difference. Besides, the author has a corky sense of humor that really made me laugh.
I’ve become vital and healthy through these simple but powerful exercises, and they have absolutely given me a boost. An incredible energy practice!
User Ratings and Reviews
3 Stars Sweet and Sour
Sweet and Sour
Tales from China retold by
Carol Kendall & Yao-wen Li
Folk Tale/Fairy Tale
“In choosing the tales to appear in Sweet and Sour, we made just two simple conditions: first, that they be Chinese; and second, that we like them,”
- Carol Kendall and Yao-wen Li
“The title is apt, for this eclectic assortment of Chinese lore is piquant blend, with plenty of wit at heart… The selections are choice; enjoy them”
- ALA Booklist, Starred Review
Sweet and Sour contains many different Chinese tales from various periods of time. The stories contain a wide variety of characters who all take part in a different moral story. From foolish wise men to clever magistrates, this book lets you read the clever folk tales of China.
My favorite story in Sweet and Sour was titled, “Ten Jugs of Wine”. In the story there lived ten old greybeards who at the end of each year would welcome the New Year with hot wine together. But there was a little problem. Each of the ten greybeards was so picky about there wine (“My wine is so strong” or “My wine, indeed, is so weak…”) that they decided to be clever. Each of the men, without telling their other nine friends, would bring hot water as a substitute for red wine and no one would notice. And that’s exactly what they did and no one said anything in fear that their warm water had overruled the taste of the nice red wine.
Out of the twenty-four stories in this collection I would say to read eighteen of them. Compared to other Chinese tales this collection was fantastic, but some of the stories were so dull; it just sort of ruined the book for me.
But if you like fables or specifically Chinese tales then I would definitely recommend this book. Sweet and Sour: Tales from China is available at a library near you.