Summary: Well Written Book on Chinese Swordsmanship
Comment: Although this book is written for Wu style T'ai Chi Ch'uan (taijiquan), the information presented can be adapted and used for all styles. The author goes into detail on how to hold the sword, how the empty hand should be held("sword finger"), description on the parts of the weapon, and the stances. Also, there is a full chapter detailing the sword's 13 techniques/energies and how to apply them in Chinese sword fencing. As a Yang style practitioner, I personally use this book as a resource for sword applications/techniques, philosophy, and strategy. A well written and organized book on Tai Ji Jian.
Summary: Great !
Comment: there is nothing other to say besides JianshÃ¹ lovers will be totally satisfied in reading that book. Explanations are simples and illustrated by pictures for example to show moves. I don't think it is a book to practice. It is better to learn in specified establishement, but, it can be a more for personal culture !
So if you don't have that book yet, don't wait for buy it !
Summary: Excellent book on little seen art
Comment: There aren't many books available on the tai chi sword, and most are on the more popular Yang style. This book is on the less well known Wu style, a later development from the Yang style. In the empty-handed version of the art, the Wu style typically uses a somewhat more forward leaning posture, but that doesn't appear to be the case in the sword form. Also (at least from the master I studied with for several years), there is a lot of chin na, similar to the Chen style, but regardless of what style you study, you'll find this a worthwhile book.
The author explains clearly and concisely many basic and advanced principles relating to training, practical applications, and theory, emphasizing the differences and similarities between empty-handed tai practice and weapons practice. The more advanced principles are discussed and are presented in a way that is more easily understood than in many tai chi books. The photo section showing the postures and positions and describing the martial application of each is worth the price of the book by itself.
This is probably the best book on the tai chi sword that I've seen. It's well written and easy to understand even when the author gets into discussing the more abstract principles of chi and of tai chi practice. The author's comments on the practice of the sword apply equally well to empty handed practice, as I said.
The sword is the most widespread Chinese weapon, and the tai chi sword form is a very special example of its use. It there's one weapon that a 70, 80, or 90-year old Chinese will still be able to wield with skill, it's the sword. Interestingly, the tai chi form is only about 150 years old, which I hadn't realized until reading the author's introduction where he discusses some of the history.
This book covers the shorter 32-position Wu style form. Although shorter than the long form and the most difficult positions have been removed, it will still be useful for those interested in the tai chi sword but whose time is limited. Some masters are critical of the short forms since they believe they have limited usefulness for truly cultivating chi and for self-healing purposes. These considerations aside, this is still a very detailed and well done discussion of the principles, theory, practice, and martial applications of the tai chi sword. The serious student, however, will no doubt prefer to learn the long version of the sword.
The author discusses the basics of the sword, including construction, different parts of the sword, length, weight, and balance, grips and how to hold the sword, finger sword or sword helper, jian flowers and jian circles. The applications show the use of the straight sword against another straight sword, the spear, and the curved broadsword. Footwork, stances, movement, and how to hold the body are discussed before getting into the details of the form.
The 13 basic techniques are discussed and illustrated, which are the cut, thrust, block, wash, draw, take back, raise, explode, chop, point, stir, press, intercept with the edge, and block with the ridge. A discussion of combination techniques follows before the author gets into presenting the actual form.
Most of the text, however, is devoted to the presentation of the form, including illustrations of the basic and advanced postures, and practical applications. There are 32 of these and all are shown in photos and described more fully in the test. A nice touch is the author's discussing not only the details of the body position and martial application, but additional key points and internal considerations for each posture and how the chi should feel in performing the move. The photos of the positions are very clear and easy to interpret.
The book concludes with two chapters on how to prctice and fighting applications. There are two appendices which present a lineage of the tai chi sword form and the accupressure points of the human body.
Many people aren't aware that tai chi also has a broadsword form, a spear form, and a staff form, in addition to the straight sword. It is my hope that some day another master will also write a book as good as this one is on those aspects of tai chi. In the meantime, this is an excellent book on the straight sword that will be of interest mostly to the serious and advanced student of tai chi.
I only have one complaint about the book, which is that in some of the photos in which the sword is held edge-on to the camera, the blade is practically invisible, making it difficult to see what's going on. But overall, this is a fine book on the tai chi sword and probably the best one I've seen so far on the subject.
Summary: Just a point more
Comment: I completely agree with every word the previous reviewers wrote on this book. So I only want to say the book refers to the WU stile Tai chi sword form and not to the 32 position of the Yang stile. Anyway whatever stile you practice this book is a worth to buy.
Summary: A Manual of Taiji Jian
Comment: First of all the book is well written. I read every word of the forward. It was that interesting. This book is written by a true master who has practiced the sword for over 27 years... This book describes the history of jian swordsmanship and its fundamental principles. The practice of Taiji Jian is based on Chinese yin-yang, five-elements, and Daoist philosophical concepts, and combines meditation, martial and healing arts. If you study taiji Quan (T'ai Chi Ch'uan) this book will be of great value to you, even if you do not study sword; And priceless if you do. A good book for every library.