Internal Body Mechanics - Whole-Body Movement in Tai Chi, Hsing-I and Bagua
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New Chen Tai Chi Book by a Disciple of Chen Xiaowang

SilberstorffBook I highly recommend this book by Jan Silberstorff. I'm reading it now, and it's great to find a book by a disciple of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang that goes into detail about the art of Chen Tai Chi. Silberstorff (who uses the title "Master" in his author name in the book) was the first Western indoor student and family disciple of Grandmaster Chen. He is from Germany but now travels and teaches in at least 15 countries. I've heard good things about his workshops.

On the cover is a photo of his teacher. As far as I know, this is the first book by a disciple of Chen Xiaowang. He traces the history of Tai Chi, the evolution of other Tai Chi styles and how they can all be traced back to Chen despite continued stories of the legendary creator Zhang Sanfeng (these are only tall tales and myths).

The book goes into detail on a number of Tai Chi movements. I would guess that it would be beneficial to have trained with someone who knows what they're doing in order to understand these details, otherwise it's easy to misinterpret.

Tai Chi is a martial art with strong benefits for health, spirituality and philosophy. I may not agree with all of Silberstorff's statements about chi (most of them without supporting proof) but in reading the details of how to do the movements, you can be sure that this information is just one step away from Chen Xiaowang himself. 

There are also great translations of articles and other material, including word of Chen Xin (of the 16th generation), ten essential staterments from Chen Changxing (who taught Yang Luchan), and articles by Chen Xiaowang such as "The Five Levels of Evolution (Gongfu) in Taijiquan."

The book is available at and you can buy it by going to this link:


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I agree it's a good book, I own the German edition of it. There's a second book by Jan Silberstorff about push hands, which unfortunately isn't available in English translation yet. Jan is a Chi believer, indeed, but then again, so is CXW. However, as long as they don't claim any supernatural abilities - and they don't - I can live with that. When I read Chi, I think "mental model for processes based in physical reality". The relevant question for me is whether they have any meaningful skill they're willing to teach, not whether their explanation why those skills work makes any sense. Of course, a sensible explanation of what's going on, as in your teachings, is valuable too.

More books I can recommend are: "Old Frame Chen Family Taijiquan" by Mark Chen, and "Taijiquan - The Art of Nurturing, the Science of Power" by Dr. Yang Yang. They also both have a more down-to-earth interpretation of Chi.


You expect Chinese masters to believe in chi. It's part of their culture. To be honest, I discuss chi flow in my teaching, but my students understand how I'm interpreting it--as more of an abstract way of visualizing body mechanics.

From what I've heard, Jan Silberstorff is very willing to teach, and will go deeper in workshops than his teacher, Chen Xiaowang will.

jim criscimagna

Hi Ken,

I read Jan's book. Lots of good information, much of which I have heard CXW say during lectures.

Jan is working from the Chinese paradigm when speaking about qi. He is a practicing Taoist and not only stands an hour a day, but does sitting meditation too, along with his Taiji practice. He practices more and harder than anyone I know.

BTW, Jan is the only western Taiji player I have met that I would say is a "master" in every sense of the word. He has mastered the style, speaks and writes fluent Chinese having lived there for years, and has studied and lived with CXW, and been his disciple since the 90s. He owns a house in China near Chenjiagou and his picture is on the wall of CXX's school. He had a Chenjiagou teacher in Germany before he met CXW, so he has been involved with Chen style for a long time. I have a videotape of a Chen competition from 1992, where Jan is competing in the Chenjiagou tournament.

He is scheduled to come back to San Diego early next year, if you can make it out here, it would be worth your while to meet a western master of the system. He is inspirational and a great teacher (and speaks English).



I sure would love to attend. When you hear his schedule, let us know. You've had good things to say about him in the past, and that's a pretty good recommendation if you ask me.

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