After discovering Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming’s original, yellow Taijiquan book, practicing Taijiquan became everything to me. I moved outside, eating, drinking, and practicing under a Pin Oak tree. At heart, however, I am a skeptic, and seeing Taijiquan through the works of a single author did not satisfy my need to study more broadly. I later learned that the most ardent practitioners of Taijiquan suffer through the same phase.
My early passion with Taijiquan coincided with the earliest days of the Internet. At the time, there was little material online. The big box bookstores had a few titles, but for more detailed instruction you had to search the pages of Tai Chi magazine or other martial art magazines for VHS videos.
At $50 or $60 dollars a tape, and $30 or $40 dollars a book you had to be careful with your purchases. When one of the VHS tapes I bought for $40 was only thirty minutes in length, I became even more skeptical about the material available. It would take weeks for me to choose a tape or book. I became a pest to both the vendors and publishers of martial art material, seeking more information before making a purchasing decision.
Today, you can at least get previews of videos on YouTube and some of that material I paid $60 for a decade ago is available for free. Unfortunately, some of the junk I bought a decade ago is still available, for the same price, but in a different format.
I want you to be engaged in your Taijiquan practice, and nothing can ruin your engagement like getting ripped off. I don’t want you to be afraid to study on your own, so it is my intent to direct you to the best material and encourage you to practice on your own. According to the good teachers, the ones we call masters and grandmasters, personal practice is the best practice. Today, more so than any time before, you can supplement that personal practice with one-on-one instruction from the best masters of this and the last generation, and in most cases all you need is a connection to the Internet.