Review of Chen Xin’s book (Part 1)

[ Part 1 | Part 2 ]

Happy to report my book has arrived. Hardcover, 750 pages.

I pre-ordered my copy from INBI. Don’t bother, they’re already sold out… 😦 You will have to wait until the second printing.

Sender was “chen xiao-wen” – the same person who is listed in the book as editorial manager. Translator was alex golstein. I am unsure if chen xiaowen refers to chen xiaowang, since it does seem somewhat plausible chen xiaowang might be involved, and additionally his picture is on the very last page of the book.
Editor: Juliana Ngiam
Project design: Roman Mukhortikov

I don’t have time to do a full review right now and I haven’t read the book at all yet but I will make some observations.

-Editor’s note starts off saying “(this book) is universally acknowledged by the Taoist community and Taiji practitioners as the seminal sourcebook…”

-The very first page of the book contains a song of taijiquan by chen pan ling, in commemoration of this book.

-There seems to be a large amount of information pertaining to the location of accupoints and meridians in the book, and a large amount of illustrations, nearly all of which appear useless at first glance. I doubt the value of the illustrations and explanations of postures because they do not appear specific enough; but again I have not read the book yet so I don’t know what Chen Xin was trying to accomplish with those descriptions.

-The translation on pages 110 and 111 is functionally similar to the one on Jarek Szymanski’s page (http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/taiji/chenxin.html). There are some omissions and the translation seems to gloss over some things which might deserve a few words. Notably it omits ” (I do) not know (if this is) correct or not, for the time being (I gave) illustrated explanation to make it more funny.”. As a result of this omission I realise that this book is intent at presenting information and not a faithful translation of what chen xin may have said or meant. This makes me frown but on the whole it seems like a worthwhile “first translation”.

-Most of the useful portion of the book appears to be in songs and poems and explanations of the postures.

-one song which starts off sounding like wang zongyue’s tai chi classic has a different idea of yin and yang/movement and stillness. (I didn’t read the whole song)

I will write a more detailed review after work if anyone is interested. This book would appear to be quite authoritave on the subject of what chen taiji was like in chen xin’s day (1849-1929).

Anyone else get their books? Thoughts? Impressions?

[ Part 1 | Part 2 ]

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2 Responses

  1. I’d love to read a longer review when you’ve got the time. I know that several people are waiting for a longer review of this book. The expectations are quite high for it. Does it live up to it?

  2. BTW, did you see that INBIWorld has now disappeared? So much for that second edition.

    Anyway, I have Chen style recommendations for you:
    http://www.tosaint.com/forum/showthread.php?t=675

    http://163.17.222.10/taiji/6.5/alexboard/content.asp?ID=598&Topic=%B9%C5%B8q%B3%AF%A4%F3%A4%D3%B7%A5%AE%B1&VIP=0

    I’d also contact this guy:
    http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/chiayi-taichimay/

    He should know everyone.

    Do you ever come to Taipei to visit? I would love to hook up with you.

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