Slanted FlyingJournal of Tai Chi Chuan

Book Reviews

Review: Tai Chi: The True History & Principles, by Lars Bo Christensen

Imagine you are a 19th century team of archeologists and have unearthed the ruins of the city of Pompeii, preserved in volcanic ash from the 79AD (CE79) eruption of Mount Vesuvius. A window into the inhabitants of an ancient Roman history. An educational tool to further study our own Mount St Helens eruption in the late 20th century.

For Tai Chi historians of the modern era, the uncovering of the Li Family Martial Arts Manual is no less astonishing. This genealogy predates what was known about the origins of the Chen, Yang and Wu styles of the practice, first documented in in the early 20th century about founders of each of the main styles over a century beforehand.

In Tai Chi: The True History & Principles, Lars Bo Christensen discusses the texts, stored for 300 years by descendants of the Tang Village’s Li family, and specifically, the late 16th century documented postures known as The Thirteen Movements. This origins form, tracing back to the Thousand Year Temple, contains the eight trigrams and five phases that are still practiced. Christensen includes the Chinese translations, not only of The Thirteen Movements, but also the related postures in each of the Chen, Yang and Wu styles.

In addition to The Thirteen Postures, Christensen discusses the history and philosophy of the duality – what some call the Yin-Yang symbol – which embodies the beliefs of Daoism and Confucianism. Out of nothing and stillness, comes all things. A life of balance and interdependence. Darkness and light, soft and hard, yielding and advancing.

This book contains copies of documents from the Li Family Martial Arts Manual, citations, historical photographs, sources and references. This material is respectfully compiled and put into context by the author. He also lists additional reading material and recommended authors.

From texts found in a doorway, a doorway to the past arises. A door to the past that nonetheless impacts the future of our understanding.

Lars Bo Christensen has been a practitioner of Tai Chi for several decades. An avid scholar of Chinese language and culture, he has penned five books regarding the history and practice of Tai Chi.

You can find “Tai Chi: The True History & Principles” at Amazon.com. Click on the link below to see more about about this great book!

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Kathleen Rice

About Kathleen Rice

Kathleen Rice is a is currently mounting a return to the study of the Tai Chi Yang form with United Tai Chi of Chester County PA. She has also studied briefly with the late Master Wei Lun Huang of Huang Tai Chi in Miami. She works for a medical device company in suburban Philadelphia.

View all posts by Kathleen Rice →

One thought on “Review: Tai Chi: The True History & Principles, by Lars Bo Christensen”

  1. John white says:

    Hi Kathleen

    I was a student of Wei Lun Huang also. I learned his Tai chi long form sword and bafa also. He would come up to Massachusetts to teach since the mid 80’s with his wife Shelley. I was shocked when I heard of his passing. I had just purchased a book for him on Chinese swords. I collect Japanese and Chinese swords and would bring them to his workshops. He loved them also and appreciated them also. He has several good collectables. Well we will miss him dearly. John White

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