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Friday, April 22, 2016

"Simplified Tai Chi for Beginners - Learn the 48 Form" by Helen Liang. A Review.


Simplified Tai Chi for Beginners – Learn the 48 Form (DVD)
Helen Liang
YMAA Publication Center, Inc.
PO Box 480
Wolfeboro, NH 03894
www.ymaa.com
ISBN: 978-1-59439-289-4; March 2016; $29.95

5 stars of 5

The graceful, flowing, effortless moves in tai chi are beginning to attract American attentions. Schools promising to teach tai chi are cropping up throughout the nation, showing up even in adult living centers. Helen Liang, eldest daughter of Grandmaster Liang, vice-president of the the Shou-Yu Liang Wushu Taiji Qigong Institute in Canada, and cancer survivor, has recently teamed up with Yang’s Martial Arts Association to produce a 180 minute DVD for level 1 students, “Simplified Tai Chi for Beginners: Learn the 48 Form.”

In this DVD, Liang introduces this tai chi form, describing how it is mainly drawn from the Yang style, while including steps from Chin, Wu, Hao and Sun. Most Americans are unfamiliar with the Taoist and Buddhist aspects of Kung Fu and Tai Chi, the place of yin, yang and the chi; but these are brought out in this introduction. Then she demonstrates the complete form with elegant ease and supple simplicity. Next she does a walk-through of the 48 positions and covers some basic guidelines. After this she delicately and descriptively takes the tai chi learner through six instructions that cover all 48 positions.  Afterwards she completes the form again showing how it looks from behind her back. Finally, she concludes the video with some words of encouragement.

Beyond the thoroughness of Liang’s presentation, there are two other items that stood out. First, as she walks the student through each section of the form, she regularly brings out their martial application; how this move is a punch, that one is a block, why this fist is hidden before it strikes, and so forth. Second, is the intensity of the form. It becomes quickly obvious to the astute viewer that this simplified tai chi – 48 form has so many moving parts that it will take weeks and months to learn it, and come to practice it well. And in the concluding remarks Liang makes sure to mention that it will likely take nine to 12 months to get this form down.

“Simplified Tai Chi for Beginners: Learn the 48 Form” is an easy-to-follow DVD. Liang’s patient teaching manner will make this video accessible to most pupils. The martial applications will thrill martial arts enthusiasts, while the discipline and fitness aspects will please those desiring its health benefits. If you’re ready to move up from the 24 position form of tai chi, this is the video to get.

Thanks to YMAA for providing, upon my request, the free copy of “Simplified Tai Chi for Beginners – Learn the 48 Form” used for this review. The assessments are mine given without restrictions or requirements (as per Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255).

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