Have you ever wondered why taijiquan is traditionally known as an internal art?
READ THIS BOOK.
If you want to understand, beyond mere tactics and techniques, the martial functions of the advanced two-person taijiquan exercise know as dalu,
STUDY THIS BOOK.
To learn how to practice the essence of ‘four ounces’ and ‘familiarity with correct touch’, the substance and application of taijiquan,
USE THIS BOOK!
Browse any collection of books on the Chinese art of Taiji and you will find plenty that discuss the solo Form, the two-person exercise Push Hands, meditation, and the development of internal energy. But there has never been a dedicated book (in either English or Chinese) on the advanced two-person exercise Dalu, the four-corner push-hands method, a fundamental component of the Taiji curriculum.
Concepts for Taiji Partner Training—Dalu captures for the first time this sophisticated component of the Taiji curriculum that was previously restricted to oral instruction.
Based on many years of study with Robert W. Smith and over three decades of practice and research the authors present the most comprehensive presentation of Dalu to date. This book includes the Dalu form, the two-person Dalu exercise, the Tifang (uprooting) technique, detailed discussions of physical mechanics, and conceptual observations drawn from the oral tradition. This book draws heavily from the Taiji Classics and Zheng Manqing’s seminal work Thirteen Treatises.
AMAZON Book Reviews
"This is a fantastic book written by two students of Robert Smith, student of Zheng Manqing, on the less-covered (compared to the solo form and sensing hands) topic of da lu. If you are a lover of taijiquan and you buy this book, you will learn something new and practical. I found the discussion of 4oz and tifang to be particularly engaging,"
"Unlike many books on traditional martial arts, this thin tome is almost entirely devoted to a specific piece of the larger Taiji Quan curriculum. After a few obligatory pages providing a context for the Dalu exercises, the authors waste no time in getting to the topic at hand. The book begins by using full page, color photographs to demonstrate the solo form and is immediately followed by an explanation of the two-person practice. These two sections make up about 2/3 of the book. The final 11 pages explain Tifang, provides some pointers on Dalu, details some more subtle ideas on Tifang, and lists a few helpful abbreviations and definitions of terms spread throughout the book.
The full-color pictures make it very easy to discern small details and is especially nice considering that the majority of MA publications are producing black-and-white photos. The writing is clear and concise, with the authors using metaphors to explain concepts and ideas. As an example, "Parelli students have equated this four ounce touch with the amount of force necessary to push a full glass of water across a table..." (pg. 46). The book's narrow focus, attention to detail and clarity of writing makes this book a worthy addition to any IMA library. However due to the complex and subtle nature of the topics covered, I recommend this as a supplement to regular Taiji instruction. To quote the authors, "Without hands-on instruction, it might very well be impossible to transmit these ideas." (pg. 53).
"This relatively small volume is proof positive that "good things come in small packages" - it's a little jewel!... It not only fills a VOID in Tai Chi literature (specifically the method of "Dalu")... but, perhaps even more importantly, it clarifies the subtle phenomena of "TI FANG"... and that alone is worth the price of admission! All of us "Tai Chi types" are eternally inspired by the image of a tiny Tai Chi elder crossing hands with a big and burley young man... and, with a seemingly magical and minuscule movement, send him flying many feet away. That in a nutshell is "TI FANG"... and this small volume truly tells the secret - let's the cat out of the bag... and, for those willing to truly trust in using only "4 ounces", contemplate Professor Cheng's "INVEST IN LOSS" principle... and, put in the needed time in "Sensing Hands", this book shines a much needed light on how to get from point A to point B in actually being able to replicate the method within your own body. I recently had the good fortune to get some one-on-one time with Stephen J. Goodson at the "Greater DC area Quarterly Sensing Hands Gathering" sponsored by the WuWei Tai Chi group there (which, by the way, is a veritable Mecca for East Coast folks who aspire to "Sensing Hands" within the realm of actually using TAI CHI PRINCIPLES as opposed to the principles of Sumo wrestling). Anyhow... I found Stephen's methods of explaining "Ti Fang" to be amazingly CLEAR and superbly INFORMATIVE... and, being on the receiving end several times, I found his "TI FANG" to be very FUNCTIONAL... in other words, he knows from whence he speaks - he not only talks the talk - he can walk the walk... and can UPROOT in an apparently EFFORTLESS manner. That's not to say that ANY book can instantly bestow on you the exquisitely SUBTLE and seemingly "magical" skill of "TI FANG"... but this book provides the "HOW"... you must put in the time and energy to develop the skill once you have an "intellectual understanding" of how it works. Suffice to say... I give this book 5 stars!"
"Extremely valuable resource. Very well written. Illuminative pictures. This book skillfully combines theory and practice. The authors take on the monumental task of describing the elusive art form that is Dalu and present the groundwork for the art in a straightforward way. Well done!!"
"This big, little book by Stephen Goodson and Billy Fox is a treasure and a very necessary addition to the toolbox (not bookshelf) of any T'ai Chi Ch'uan practitioner. I have the curious distinction of having crossed arms with Stephen both before he began studying T'ai Chi Ch'uan with Robert W. Smith and - decades later - in the past few months. To express my opinion concerning his skills and the value of his and Mr. Fox's significant contributions to the T'ai Chi community within this book, I must borrow one of Mr. Smith's favorite quotes: "I am as biased as a scream from the dentist's chair."
"This is a nice little book with lots of detail on a fairly obscure subject, the Dalu Tai Chi form. I had learned the form from a friend years ago but I was not sure about many of the details. There is a section of on Dalu in Chen Pan Ling's workbook, and another one in Yang Cheng Fu's book. But after struggling to make sense of each of these books I was ready to pull my hair out. Goodson's Dalu book is very clear and easy to comprehend; Dalu without the hair loss. The book has lots of photos and illustrations to go along with the straight forward text. Although a beginner could follow this book, I feel it is really targeting the more advanced student/teacher who is interested in understanding the deeper concepts of Tai Chi practice. The author was a student of Robert Smith, who has also published a few books on martial arts that are very interesting."