The publication in 1934 of Yang Chengfu's book, Essence and Applications of Taijiquan (Taijiquan Tiyong Quanshu) marked a milestone in the modern evolution of the art of taijiquan. Using what is best-termed demonstration narrative, the author presents form postures and suggested applications from his own perspective, as he performed them. This methodology renders Yang Chengfu's direct, hands-on teaching of the art with such immediacy and liveliness that the reader experiences the master’s teaching much as his students did.
This English translation finally makes Yang Chengfu's classic work available to taijiquan enthusiasts in the West. It includes notes and commentary that clarify the author's frequent classical and literary turns of phrase and elucidate the philosophical and political underpinnings that shape the text. The translator investigates and compares several early taijiquan books in order to help explain the roles played by two of Yang Chengfu's students, Dong Yingjie and Zheng Manqing, in bringing Yang Chengfu's words and teachings into print.