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"Tai Chi Chin Na: The Seizing Art of Tai Chi Chuan" by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming; a Review
Tai Chi Chin
Na: The Seizing Art of Tai Chi Chuan
Publication Center, Inc.
PO Box 480
Wolfeboro, NH 03894
$26.95; (1995) October 2014
5 Stars of 5
with Chin Na
A martial arts practitioner can quickly get stuck in a
rut. Doing the same kata week after week for months on end, learning to kick
with precision and strike with exactness, going through the motions to learn
various one-step training forms, and sweating through self-defense moves over
and over, can rapidly bring one to think they’re learning all there is to a
particular martial style. But a moment’s plunge into the 2nd edition
of “Tai Chi Chin Na: The Seizing Art of Tai Chi Chuan” will expose the
shallowness of such a perception. Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, renowned author and
teacher of Chinese martial arts and Qigong, has reworked this 432 page
paperback. He carefully explains the methods and metaphysics of tai chi chin
na, and shows how chin na can be “adopted easily by almost all martial arts
styles and blended into their own techniques” (xix).
The first two chapters of “Tai Chi Chin Na” cover the
general concepts of chin na, which means “seize and control” (1), and the basic
fighting theory of tai chi, which is “to use the soft against the hard, and to
use the round to neutralize the straight or square” (Ibid.). The author works out the five categories of chin na;
dividing or grabbing the muscle or tendon, misplacing the bone, sealing off the
breath, pressing or sealing the artery or vein, and pressing the primary qi channel or cavity (5). These five
categories build the framework for the later portions of the book. Dr. Yang
explains the importance of the three fighting ranges – long, medium and short
(31), as well as the way of circles in chin na – large, medium and small (32).
By the reader grasping the ranges and circles early on will add to the
execution of the moves explained later in the book, especially as they are
applied to the eight technical moving patterns and five strategic directional
movements. By the end of the second
chapter it is clear that this is a fairly technical book; technical with
emphasis on technique and mechanics, but also the inner logic of positions and
Chapters three through six take the reader deeper into
the eight fundamental methods, from which “hundreds of techniques can be
derived and developed” (63). Though these chapters can seem exhausting, they
are not exhaustive, as the author is only introducing the reader to “some of
the possible techniques” with which he is familiar (Ibid.). What this means is that there is plenty of material to work
on in “Tai Chi Chin Na” that will last a learner a long time, and as they
master the material they will find other ways and other uses for each
procedure. To aid the reader through
these chapters, Dr. Yang carefully describes each step of the position or
movement, the theory behind it, and attaches very clear pictures with
directional indicators that are well-defined. The author expresses, explains
and exhibits with such lucidity that, as he promises in the beginning of the
book, “it can be learned easily, even by a martial arts beginner” (1).
“Tai Chi Chin Na” at first appears daunting by its sheer
size, yet in relation to the number of pages there is a minimal amount of
reading after the first two chapters.
Most of this book revolves around the instructive pictures and the
Spartan verbal descriptions. It is easy to grasp the point of any given technique
and apply it without much difficulty. This would be an ideal book for anyone
serious about martial arts, whether they’re newbies or veterans. And for those
who may be sliding into a numbing rut in their martial arts style, this volume
will likely refresh and rekindle a renewed interest. This paperback is a keeper;
get a copy as quick as you can!
Thanks to YMAA for the free copy of "Tai Chi Chin Na" used for this review.
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