Classics are the books that everyone should read and almost nobody does. This 1934 book by Yáng Chéngfǔ (楊澄甫) is a classic in its own right, as it was one of the books of its generation to open wide the tradition. It was not the only one, Sūn Lùtáng (孫祿堂) and others have done likewise. Moved by the nationalistic fervor of the time, they all wanted to share practices that would strenghen fellow countrymen. Being one among others does not diminish its merits, as the company is very noble, and this is one the first veritable book on the Yáng Style Tàijíquán (楊氏太极拳).
It reads like a manual, as it is supposed to do. The translator, Louis Swaim goes far in lifting ambiguity and clarifying the text for the western reader. More than the instructions themselves, the main interest for me is in the pictures: seeing the postures executed by a grand master is always a lesson in itself, even though a beginner like me cannot capture much of what is really going on.

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