Any martial artist interested in the Chinese martial arts should get their hands on Yang Tai Chi for Beginners.
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming takes the viewer through each step of the tai chi chuan form for Yang style. Each step is clearly labeled with English, Chinese, and the Chinese ideograms. At each new movement, he explains both the structure and the application and shows each from different angles.
Dr. Yang sprinkles in bits of tai chi history and philosophy throughout the nearly five-hour-long DVD. He explains why his style does what it does, and he explains that other styles have their own ways. Instead of discriminating against other styles, he acknowledges that they exist, doesn’t say whether one is better than another, and encourages the viewer to follow what his instructor teaches.
I’ve only purchased a handful of instructional DVDs. The ones I run across seem to always have poor production quality and lack easy navigation. YMAA, however, comes through in both respects.
My first introduction to Dr. Yang was through a link I clicked on Twitter from the YMAA feed. David Silver wrote a great article about Yang Tai Chi for Beginners. The link includes a video from the DVD and includes many snippets from Dr. Yang, including a great quote that I posted on the Metamora Martial Arts blog.
After taking my time to really concentrate on this video the past few weeks, I’m intrigued by Dr. Yang. Just 10 minutes in, and I felt like he and I could have a great conversation and that I could learn lots from him. I hope to be able to incorporate some of the teachings in this video to the tai chi class I’m currently involved with in order to help expand our collective thinking.
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this DVD in exchange for posting this review.