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Choosing your Path: Can I Learn From Books, Audios or Videos?

© Roger Jahnke OMD

There is vigorous debate on whether one can learn Taiji (T'ai Chi) and other forms of Qigong (Ch'i Kung) from books, audio tapes and videos. Hundreds of experts have insisted that it is impossible. Yet in China there are thousands of books on Taiji and Qigong. In the West there are hundreds of books. There are several excellent videos that are not overly complex.

Numerous people who could not find a teacher brought focus and enthusiasm to the use of books, audios and videos and were able to learn quite a bit. Of course such learning is best as an addition to study with a teacher or a group practice.

Simple forms of Qigong are the most accessible through books and tapes. Longer and more complex Qigong forms and most forms of Taiji are impossible to learn without a teacher. The benefit of books, audios and videos is also in exposure to stories, the history, the science and the testimonials that can enrich your practice.

The primary short coming of books is that the postures are usually depicted with poor illustrations or very un-dynamic, posed pictures. It is nearly impossible to "guess" what movement connects the postures in the pictures. There are some excellent books available and it is to your benefit to read about Taiji and Qigong.

The primary shortcoming of audio tapes is that you can't see what is being described. With meditation forms of Qigong this is OK, however, the moving forms really require visual the support not available in an audio. There are number of excellent audio resources for Qigong and Taiji particularly on the theoretical and philosophical aspects.

The primary shortcoming of videos on Taiji and Qigong is that the production costs are very high, to get excellent quality. So, some of the videos are low quality. Others are not very well thought out so that the visual material is poor. Some videos are excellent and very useful.

Books, audios and videos are best as follow-up to workshops and trainings or to modify and enhance one's practice. There are many cases, however, of people who have developed their own practice using these resources.

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About The Author
Roger Jahnke has been in the health field since 1967 beginning with body therapies, herbal medicine, Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation. He turned his attention seriously to Oriental medicine in 1972 with study at the North American College of Acupuncture in Vancouver, B.C., under Dr. Kok Yeung Leung who now has his school in France. In 1975 Roger transferred to the Tai Hsuan School of......more
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