by William C. C. Chen Acacia, 2009 Review by Natalie Kelley-Wilson on Jun 8th 2010
As the title indicates this video offers instruction for beginners of Tai Chi. The menu consists of an Introduction in which Grandmaster Chen gives a brief overview of the physical health benefits of Tai Chi and insight into what he hopes this video to accomplish, Step-By-Step Movements, Complete Form, Bonus Features, Music Options, Also From Acacia and Credits. The purpose of the video is to provide step-by-step instructions on a longer Tai Chi form. The Step-By-Step Movements provide an introduction to all 11 segments which explains how each segment of the form is completed 3 times at which point the viewer can advance to the next segments. Each of the 11 segments are a small section of the form in its entirety. For each segment, a list of the movements are provided. Following the list when the segment is played, Grandmaster Chen provides a mirror view of the motions involved with a voice descriptions; the movement and description is repeated 3 times. The Complete Form can be played with Basic, Counting or Energy Instruction, and provides the Tai Chi form in its entirety so that one can see the complete and fluid movements of it. The Bonus Features provide Tai Chi Tips, information about William C.C. Chen, and excerpts from Yoga For Beginners and Qi Gong. The final three menu options are self explanatory.
This video would be appealing to people with interest in overall nervous health, and balance to reduce muscle tension and stress and align the body. This is not for somebody who is trying to focus on weight loss or increased heart rate, but instead for somebody who is interested in strengthening core balance and reducing stress. It would be good for people who are not necessarily strong enough to do a high impact workout. As much as this video is focused on a person's physical well-being, the person's emotional well being is taken into consideration as well; to the extent that better balance and more oxygen flow is conducive to stress reduction.
This video would be helpful to somebody who is a visual learner and able to keep up with movements merely by watching somebody without a lot of vocal instruction. While Grandmaster Chen does provide vocal instruction while going through each segment the instruction primarily mentions what each move is called and focuses on footwork, while the viewer is left to follow handwork visually. As previously mentioned, if the viewer is a visual learner who is not in need of tediously minuscule step by step instructions, the repetition of separate segments should provide enough detailed instruction to progress through the segments until being able to complete the form in one flowing section. If however, the viewer is like me and needs every movement and step very slowly and tediously shown and explained this video might be a little more difficult, though not impossible to do. I would have benefited from even smaller segments and slower movements, but I am aware that visual learning is not my strength. I would recommend this video to anybody who is inclined to visual learning and interested in a low impact health regime.
Natalie Kelley-Wilson graduated from Allegheny College with a BA in English Lit. and from Clarion University with a Masters in Library Science. Currently she works at her town's public library and the county historical society. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org