The Five Levels of Taijiquan
Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang
Commentary by Master Jan Silberstorff
Translated by Christina Schulz
In order to master Taijiquan you must begin with the most fundamental steps, and systematically work up to the advanced levels, slowly building up your knowledge and technique as you go. This book explains the five levels of Taijiquan from complete beginner to highest level practitioner.
Presenting a word for word translation, with commentary, of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang's original Chinese text, Master Jan Silberstorff provides detailed guidance through each of the five levels. Readers will learn how to assess their current Taiijiquan ability and identify exactly what is needed to reach the next level and ultimately the highest goal - the perfection of Taiji, or reaching a complete state of being.
This is an accessible and motivational book for all Taijiquan students and practitioners, as well as anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the ancient art of Taijiquan.
Preface. Introduction. Introductory Commentary to All 5 Levels. Level 1. Level 2. Level 3. Level 4. Level 5. About the Authors.
'Another valuable contribution from the folks at Singing Dragon Press, who are becoming an important source of excellent material on the healing arts.'
- The empty Vessel
'Taijiquan is a teaching of the Dao. The Dao is not far from man, but it is man who distances himself from the Dao. The Great Dao is without a gate. If you pursue it with insistence and perseverance and if you enter the depth step by step, you will finally reach it and enter it, just like fire ascending from water, just like a flower blossoming amidst the snow. Hence he who has the determination is indeed going to complete the task.'
- Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang
'Jan Silberstorff's illuminating commentary on Chen Xiaowang's Five Levels of Taijiquan guides the Taijiquan student from the first step, through to the deepest levels of skill. A meticulous study that will engage the most advanced reader.'
- David Gaffney & Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim, authors of Chen Style Taijiquan: The Source of Taiji Boxing and The Essence of Taijiquan, UK
'The book that Jan Silberstorff has written is one of the most helpful guides to clearly evaluating a person's progress in learning the martial art of Taijiquan. Jan has provided a precise way of examining this process of moving from beginning to advanced levels of practice. He has included the original lectures by his teacher Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, the 19th generation Gatekeeper of the original Taijiquan tradition. In these lectures Grandmaster Chen identifies the stages of development from being stiff and uncoordinated, struggling to learn the basic choreography to the requirements for the highest level of mastery. Jan has interpreted and made commentaries filled with examples that make the book entertaining as well as illuminating for the reader. This book provides practitioners of all styles of Taijiquan with concrete milestones based upon specific physical skills and their mental associations that enable a person to develop from beginning to advanced level.'
- Bill Helm, 20th generation disciple of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, Daoist priest and founder of Daoist Sanctuary, San Diego, USA
'For many, beyond the basic learning of movements and sequences of a Tai Chi form it is difficult to ascertain one's development, particularly once it goes beyond a year or two. The Five Levels of Taijiquan sets out clear, definitive guidelines on how best to evaluate and improve your progress. Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang and Jan Silbertorff set out a blueprint not only on how best to train but, more importantly, what progressive steps are necessary for effective achievement.'
- Ronnie Robinson, Editor, Tai Chi Chuan & Oriental Arts magazine, UK
'Taijiquan Grandmaster, Chen Xiaowang, has often said that no language fully captures the richness of all that is Taiji - even Chinese. But here, in this landmark translation and analysis of Chen Xiaowang's text on the five levels of Taijiquan, Jan Silberstorff has captured the essence of Taijiquan's progressive training in English. Jan's uniquely insightful commentary and explication of an accurate translation of Chen Xiaowang's writing on the topic, marks a turning point in the scholarship of this sublime discipline. Imbued with a rare depth of view into authentic Chen family Taiiquan - the original martial art from which all styles of Taiji emanate - The Five Levels of Taijiquan makes a substantial contribution to the field, as the essential guide for any Taijiquan student's practice and progress in this ancient martial art.'
- Stephan Berwick, Founder of True Tai Chi, Chinese martial arts instructor, and co-author of Taijiquan Hand & Sword, Taijiquan: Chen Taiji 38 Form and Applications and Tai Chi for Kids, Washington, DC, USA
Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang is the 19th generation lineage holder of Chen Family Taijiquan. He is an official "national treasure" of China and he conducts seminars all year round across the globe. Together with Jan Silberstorff he founded the World Chen Xiaowang Taijiquan Association (WCTA) in 1994 which is the largest Chen style Taijiquan organisation in the world.
Master Jan Silberstorff became the first Western indoor student and family disciple of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang in 1993 and now teaches in 15 countries around the world as a 20th generation successor of the Chen family. Jan co-founded the WCTA and is the leader of the German section. He has also recently founded sections in Brazil and Chile. In 2009 he founded a charity organisation called WCTAGhilft, which is helping 170 children in need in Sri Lanka and Brazil. He is a champion of many Taijiquan tournaments in both Europe and China, and has published books, articles, DVDs, and produced TV series on Taijiquan. Jan is fluent in Chinese having lived in China for many years. He now lives in Germany and Brazil.