In the world of Tai Chi Chuan many documents are considered to be “classics”, such as the Yang 40 Chapters, Chen Xin’s manual and various commentaries written by Yang Cheng-Fu and/or Cheng Man-Ching. However there are 5 core classics which tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the art of Tai Chi Chuan. These are what I generally mean when I refer to the “Tai Chi Classics”.
- Tai Chi Chuan Ching attributed to Chang San-feng
- The Treatise on Tai Chi Chuan attributed to Wang Tsung-yueh
- Expositions of Insights into the Practice of the Thirteen Postures by Wu Yu-hsiang
- Song of the Thirteen Postures by Unknown Author
- Song of Push Hands by Unknown Author
Translations vary. The ones linked to above are by Lee Scheele and are very complete. My favourite translations are by Louis Swaim and appear in his translation of Fu Zongwen’s book Mastering Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.
I’m aware that quoting from the classics produces particular ire from the narrow minded puglaists and the “you have to read them in Chinese” brigade in equal measure. Frankly, I could care less. If you find the writing here illuminates your practice then just enjoy it, if not you’re free to go elsewhere.