[Revised on 7/24/06 to address clarity questions received privately and modified rating system/scoring]
Performer: Mark Wasson
Cost w S/H: $54.95
Shipping: 8 Days
Website: World Chen Tai Chi Videos
Production Quality (3/5)
The DVD arrived in a small audio CD style casing, not the Long DVD Box case that movies come in. The DVD labeling is printed using the HP LightScribe technology, which was quite a nice touch and the first disk I’ve received like this!
Nice menu system with chapter point marking for each movement (32 in total). Video is clear and easy to distinguish as movement is done against a white background. Sound was average with minor ambient noise and echoes. Showed multiple angles for some applications.
Each chapter consisted of movement demonstration, then application demonstration. The movement demonstration was clear and generally shown one time, sometime emphasizing twining and opening/closing of the body. Application demonstrations were sometimes repeated in slow motion.
The “attacker” did not put too much energy behind the attacks, often moving very slowly or holding out the arm in order for the demonstration to be performed.
The usage of elbow strikes and wrist qinna were heavily emphasized, often resulting in the same elbow strike, wrist qinna, elbow qinna, shoulder qinna, take down for multiple movements. For instance, similar repeat applications were shown for lazy tie coat, single whip, twist knee brush step, etc. More variety would have been appreciated.
COMMON AND OFTEN REPEATED APPLICATION:
Left Hand (LH) grabs attacker’s left arm at one’s shoulder height, Right Hand (RH) sweeps under at attacker’s left arm [Qinna using shoulder if necessary][elbow strike if necessary], right arm open sweeping technique to assist in take down.
Did not show any movement transition applications. For instance, the transition between Six Sealings, 4 Closing to Single Whip.
A majority of the movments that consisted of one or more subcomponents, ie walking obliquely has 4 subcomponents, showed disjoint applications for each of the subcomponents instead of a continuous flow of attack, counter, counter-attack sequences. For example, walking obliquely showed a deflection, however neither the transition application between the deflection and the shoulder stroke, nor the shoulder stroke and hook hand was shown. This causes me to question the meaning of the sequencing as a whole if disjoint applications/movements are emphasized.
Near the beginning of the video, the following point is emphasized:
It’s very important that you focus where your hands are. Since your hands are here, the action happens here.
Perhaps this is the reason why disjoint applications are demonstrated? Again, I question the meaning of the movement as a whole if a continuous, flowing application is not shown for the duration of the whole movement.
Again, consider the movment walking obliquely (for a visual, see timing (1:48 to 2:02) of CXW demonstrating the movement). First off, the application is shown with a differing starting position than the end of White Crane Spreads Wings. If so, why even do White Crane? If an application cannot be shown for the transition of White Crane to Walking Obliquely, then why have them in that sequence?
As a comparison, in my previous review of the Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Long Form DVD, it was noted that Yang Jun showed application FOR ALL OF THE TRANSITIONS, explaining why the transitions moved as such and why one movement follows another.
Most martial arts videos are priced around $50, so this is pretty standard pricing, however based on my feedback regarding the content, I think it’s quite expensive given the negatives.
The focus on disjoint applications instead of continuous flows of attack, counter, counter-attack applications and multiple repeats of similar applications weigh heavily on my overall review of this DVD. However, by emphasizing disjoint applications, the video showed how chen taiji movements could be broken down into common elements. But for something defined as “Secret Fighting Applications” I expected more.