Each year there are more “How to” books and DVDs on Taiji form. This is a good thing. As more people become exposed to Taiji, the benefits of practice will become more apparent. However, we should all recognize that it is very difficult to learn form well from a DVD and even harder from a book.
Books and DVDs are great support for beginners taking classes and can allow more advanced students to compare the details of one form or interpretation to another. There are also sets of DVDs (Jiang Jian-ye’s or George Xu’s, for instance) that serve as archives of many different forms and allow those who do not have access to teachers locally to get an introduction to these forms. Even for an advanced student, however, it remains challenging to learn a brand new form well from a DVD.
Personally I have used books and DVDs to broaden my understanding of forms I already know and to compare interpretations. I have also found it very useful to “learn” a form from a DVD prior to attending an event where I can receive instruction on that form.
On this blog I will review several “How to” books and DVDs. If you are a beginner, I would recommend that you find a teacher first and then ask the teacher what books or DVDs you can get to support your practice and understanding.