Introduction by Wolfe Lowenthal|
Recently as it occasionally happens, I had a new spark of insight into my Taijiquan, having to do with storing and releasing Jin. Soon after, Jürgen Licht sent me his translation of the Taiji Classics. In reading it I came upon the principles I'd so happily "recently discovered" presented clearly and in detail.
From his mid-60's to mid-70's, Professor Zheng planted and nourished the seeds of American Taijiquan. For many years afterward, when Americans spoke of Taiji, they most often meant the Taiji of Zheng Manqing - even now, a large percentage of the Taiji in the United States traces its lineage to him. All this he accomplished between the ages of 65 and 75, through his teaching and the example of his person.
The experience emphasized to me the importance of this material. Whether or not they produce an epiphany in the moment, or even an applicable insight, the Classics contain the whole of the most subtle, most profound teaching of Taijiquan. Passage after passage of Jürgen's fine rendering reminded me of years and decades of study, and the necessity of focusing on these ideas in order to make progress in this wonderful art.
A student of Taijiquan would greatly benefit from being immersed in the Classics, having them permeate body, mind and spirit - have them fill and nurture us through our practice as we move along the path of becoming Taijiquan. They become a kind of subconscious foundation for insight and understanding. I am very thankful to Jürgen for his work in creating such a fine rendering of this invaluable tool.
I'm also grateful for Jürgen's inclusion of Zheng Manqing's Song of Foundation and Application, as well as his own "parable". Professor Zheng is an inspiration to so many of us, and this important work is a compelling prod onward into the power and mysterious depths of the art that he taught and manifested so marvelously.
The art he taught is a marvelous system of self defense, but even more is a path to a quality of health that reaches not just physical, but psychological and spiritual realms. Through the cultivation of internal balance and harmony, we can reach great good health and psychological well-being.
There are many versions of the Classics. Jürgen Licht's version has the virtue of his experience as well as his careful dedication to Taijiquan. Professor Zheng once said of a translation of a book on Taijiquan: "This is a dangerous book, because it is 90 per cent correct. What's dangerous about it is that it is very difficult for the reader to find the 10% per cent that is in error."
It's nice to be able to say that I believe Jürgen's book is safe.
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