Volume 1 Number 1
Pity the poor library catalogers. Classifying unruly
topics is their trade, but some things simply elude clear categorization.
The Yijing, the Chinese Book of Changes, for example. Is it a book of
philosophy or fortune-telling? Is it a classic of literature, or a historical
artifact? And what should they do with books and such on Taijiquan. Should
these be part of a library's sports collection? Or do they belong with
material on Chinese philosophy, or with health and medicine? On which
shelves would a magazine such as Taijiquan Journal best fit?
At the core of this discussion is how we Taijiquan players
define ourselves, and how we describe Taijiquan to others. We as insiders
know that Taijiquan is an eclectic mixed bag, and that there are as many
reasons for practicing Taijiquan as there are practitioners. Ask yourself
and your classmates. Do you go to class to work out, to socialize, to play,
or to spar? Are you seekers of the Dao, or warriors-in-training? Is Taijiquan
a form of physical therapy for any of you? Or is it that it's a Chinese
art? Perhaps you're intrigued with it as a longevity discipline, or a tool
for emotional growth. Maybe for some of you it's a natural substitute for
Since its earliest years, the Chinese martial arts have
been practiced and viewed as disparately as dance and defense, for kindness
and for killing, or for meditation and self-mastery. In the case of Taijiquan,
there is clear evidence of these multiple approaches from two centuries
ago in the Taijiquan Classics: one poem in the Classics insists that Taijiquan
is for creating long life and yet, on the next page, another text vividly
depicts an agile old man fending off a gang of young ruffians. And quite
typical of Taijiquan, both approaches can reside in one person.
There is no single answer to what Taijiquan is, why it
is practiced or, for that matter, where its literature should be shelved.
We hope that in Taijiquan Journal you will enjoy reading about not only
what has brought you to Taijiquan, but also what others find intriguing
about this wonderfully multi-dimensional art. We hope you will find a shelf
to keep us on, and enjoy many hours of reading!
Barbara Davis, Editor
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