New Book on the Taijiquan Classics

New Book on the Taijiquan Classics

Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:00 pm

Greetings Friends,

I’ve just received delivery of Barbara Davis’ new book, _The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation_ (2004, North Atlantic Books). In this book, Barbara freshly translates what have come to be known as the “five core classics” in the Yang tradition. These texts have appeared in previous translations, including my own versions in _Fu Zhongwen: Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan_. Barbara’s book is particularly valuable for her careful synoptic presentation of the history of the taiji classics, her close textual analysis of the language of the core texts, and her full translation of Chen Weiming’s original commentaries on the classics. Many of the early English versions of these classics cribbed bits and pieces of Chen’s commentary, but Barbara’s is the first full translation of his commentary in tact and clearly marked as such. Her book also includes the full Chinese text of the five classics with Chen’s interlinear commentary in a 20 page appendix.

This is not a formal review, but just an advisory to those who seriously incorporate the taijiquan classics into their training: you should add this book to your library. I recommend it highly.

Take care,
Louis Swaim
Louis Swaim
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Postby Shi Tianren » Sat Feb 28, 2004 8:10 pm

Hey Louis,

Can you post the ISBN # for that? I work for Barnes and Noble; so, it's much easier to look up any book using the ISBN.

By the way, I thought your translations were well done. It was also nice to see the Chinese version on the opposite page.


Shi Tianren
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Feb 28, 2004 8:16 pm

Greetings Tianren,

Here's the ISBN for Barbara Davis' The Taijiquan Classics: An Annotated Translation:


Take care,
Louis Swaim
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Audi » Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:39 am

Greetings Louis,

I have bought a copy of this book, but have only had a chance to glance at a few pages. What I have seen does indeed match your judgment. It really does seem to be a gem.

One topic I do recall is where one of the writings talks about "not neglecting the Thirteen Postures (Shi2 San1 Shi4)". At least, that is how I had always recalled the reference.

Davis points out that this is a legitimate rendering of the Chinese, but not the only one. She reminds us that the Thirteen Postures was also an early name for Taijiquan and that the Chinese could also be understood as saying that Taijiquan should not be taken lightly. The former rendering suggests that one should practice thirteen sets of exercises to distinguish and master the thirteen distinct "postures"; whereas, the latter rendering yields no such implication.

I look forward to a chance to read the entire book.

Take care,
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Postby Anderzander » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:42 pm

Thanks Louis

I have bought it too - and find it an excellent book. Thank you or drawing it to my attention.

Do you have a new offering in the wings at all? You have posted a few translations of texts here that I feel would make a book to be valued.

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Postby psalchemist » Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:00 pm

Greetings Louis,

Thanks very much for the reference.

Always helpful...There is alot of documentation out there and I really don't know which are valuable....Where to start...I appreciate the tip.

Best regards,
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