Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Video and Book on Cheng Man-ch'ing

Two wonderful new items about Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing have recently been released. The first, the long-hoped for "Shr Jung tapes." These were shot in New York City in the late 1960s and have only been shown at special events. Through great effort, these were edited into a coherent, thematically arranged set of four DVDs titled Cheng Man-ch'ing: The Master Tapes. Disks are Form, Push Hands, Sword, and Ch'i (encompassing informal Q & A with students, calligraphy, and flower-arranging. The DVDs, though expensive at $149, are an incredible boon for any serious student, as you are able to "be in the room" with Professor Cheng, watch him teach, and see him interact with students. Ed Young and Tam Gibbs provided translation in the original videos, and you can see many familiar faces among the participants: Maggie Newman, Ken Van Sickle, Lou Kleinsmith, Natasha Gorky Young, and others. New commentary by Ed, Maggie, and Ken make this a very meaningful presentation.

Douglas Wile has come out with another valuable book Zheng Manqing's Uncollected Writings on Taijiquan, Qigong, and Health, with New Biographical Notes (Sweet Ch'i, $11.95), this time combining Professor's own short works with those about him by Chinese students, articles from Taiwan newspapers, and Wile's own extensive essays that focus on historical and cultural context. This is a very intriguing book with much fresh material that will give food for thought.