"Yang Tai Chi for Beginners (DVD)" By Dr. Yang. Jwing-Ming. A Review

Yang Tai Chi for Beginners (DVD)
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming
YMAA Publication Center, Inc.
PO Box 480
Wolfeboro, NH 03894
ISBN: 978-1-59439-230-6; February 2012; $29.95

Steady and Sequential: 5 of 5 Stars

Tai Chi is spreading through the United States like a dust storm blowing across the Oklahoma plains! I have seen versions of it surface in adult care facilities, libraries, yoga centers, YMCAs, and hospitals. But what is the meaning of Tai Chi, its various purposes, and its benefits? All of those questions, and more, are answered in the 293 minute instructional DVD, “Yang Tai Chi for Beginners,” by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, award-winning martial artist and instructor.

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming walks the learner/viewer through the longer form of Yang style Tai Chi, a form that includes 37 postures and 113 stances. Though the thought of learning 113 stances may sound daunting, the majority of the steps are repeats of the 37 postures being done in several different directions throughout the form. Therefore the student is really only learning the 37 postures, with a good amount of muscle-memory reinforcement. Proper breathing is also emphasized, when to inhale, exhale, and how to breath.

In the first half of the DVD Dr. Yang breaks the form down into three segments. The first is the most instruction-intense because almost all of postures surface here. He spends a considerable amount of time explaining stances, spine position, foot location, hand action, fluidity, and movements from one part to the next. But also, since Tai Chi is a martial art, Dr. Yang emphasizes the self-defense features that are just under the surface. To the untrained eye Tai Chi may look limp, lithe and primarily about relaxation, yet Dr. Yang makes a strong case for the self-protective facet flowing in the postures and positions that are not easily perceived.

The second half of the DVD is set up for the learner to practice the three segments of the Yang style Tai Chi uninterrupted. Accompanied by the calming music playing softly in the background, the viewer can follow, step-by-step, with Dr. Yang. There’s even a rear-view part in the DVD to make following along easier. Finally Dr. Yang spends a few moments explaining the history of Yang style Tai Chi, why it is more popular than another type, how it gets easily and thoughtlessly promoted only for its relaxation benefits, and why the fighting purpose of the form is important to keep in mind.

“Yang Tai Chi for Beginners” is a pleasant instructional DVD for those wanting to learn Tai Chi, get extra coaching outside their classes, or pick up the self-defense principles in the form. This DVD would make an ideal addition to the loanable resources at a martial arts school. It would also be fitting for a public or private library, and is invaluable for studying at home. I highly recommend “Yang Tai Chi for Beginners (DVD).”

Thanks to YMAA Publication Center, Inc. for providing, upon my request, the free copy of “Yang Tai Chi for Beginners” 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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