By: Cai Long
Tai Chi Tao
by Cai Long
(Wan Li Book Co., Ltd., 1980, 92 pages)
Review by Christopher Dow
Tai Chi Tao, written in both English and Chinese, is an instruction manual on performing a Tai Chi saber form. It starts with a few pages that lay out basic principles, which are economically stated. Then it’s on to the instructional material. The text is by Cai Long, but the photos depict Sin Man Ho.
In general, I think it’s pretty hard to learn some kind of form from a book, and the instructional material in most Tai Chi books is somewhat weak. This book is an exception. I know that you actually could learn the saber form from it because I did. But then, I've seen a lot of saber forms—from other martial arts as well as from Tai Chi. The photos are numerous enough, and they’re arranged along the tops of the pages so you get a good sense of the flow of the form. And they include plenty of arrows to indicate direction of movement.
This would be a decent choice if you want to learn Tai Chi saber and don’t have a qualified instructor at hand. See also the review of the similar book, Illustrations of Thirteen Tai-Chi Sword, by Li Zhen but also featuring photos of Sin Man Ho.