Back more than ten years ago, there were few Tai Chi (Taiji) videos published online. My friends and I were hugging a computer to watch Grandmaster Ma Hong (1927-2013) practice Chen Style Tai Chi on YouTube. He was extremely flexible and strong and did an entire form almost all at a crouching level. Recently a student shared a video of the late master executing his incredible Fa Jing, or quick release of energy, at age 80. I was delighted to see this precious footage. At the same time, I was impressed by the website the Best Tai Chi Video Online that posts Ma’s video.
The Best Tai Chi Video Online does not produce any video clip itself. However, it re-posts videos originally circulated on YouTube. Sifu Guy Tomash of Vancouver, Canada created the site. As a Tai Chi aficionado, he has studied traditional Yang Style Tai Chi for over 30 years and has been teaching the art for more than 20 years. He recalled that before the Internet, he would purchase the monthly magazines such as T’ai Chi and Black Belt as well as books. Once YouTube was popular, he would spend countless hours sourcing for videos. But he found the process frustrating because many of the videos were not good and some good videos were lacking information about either the form or the people demonstrating it. If he forgot to bookmark a video, he would have to spend time later to locate it. He thought that others might share the same sentiment so he decided to create a website where others could easily find the best videos of decent quality with relevant information and, since it is all in one location, it is easy to come back and find again. The idea came to fruition on Aug. 8, 2012.
As of Nov. 1, there were 223 Tai Chi videos on the website. They are arranged by Tai Chi Styles, Push Hands, Tai Chi Weapons, Tai Chi for Seniors, Tai Chi Kids, and Cheng Man Ching Series. There are thousands of Tai Chi videos on YouTube, Vimeo, YouKu, and other sites if not more. The question is how to select the “best” ones for his website. According to Guy, he tends to favor videos of the traditional styles of Tai Chi. He looks for family members of the major styles, lineage masters, and their students. He admitted that with the proliferation of Tai Chi videos on YouTube, he finds that it is harder to come across the videos of traditional styles and methods. He also looks for videos of interest, such as the ones with kids and seniors.
Once he has found the video, then he usually does research to find information about the video. He searches for the lineage and biography of the person in the video, and when and where it might have been filmed. This often requires some investigative work, and can be time consuming. He also includes extra information about a style, a book written by the person, and/or an instructional video authored by the person. While I was reviewing his web pages, I came across an issue that was on Grandmaster Ma Hong’s page. There was a sentence saying, “Below is an instructional DVD by Ma Hong on the 83 posture form of the Chen style of Tai Chi Chuan”. However, I could not find the DVD at all. I reached out to Guy. He explained that the products are linked to a specific page on Amazon.com, but the link will not work if the product is no longer available. In this case, he had to replace it with other information.
Currently, the website includes styles of Yang, Chen, 24 Form, Wu, Sun, Wu/Hao, Dong/Tung, Fu, and others. He announced that soon Wudang Tai Chi videos would be posted.
When asked what is the most popular video, Guy stated that it was a little girl competing Chen Style Tai Chi with 81K likes on Facebook.
Aside from the Best Tai Chi Videos Online site, Guy and his friends also created SlantedFlying that provides information and news related to the global Tai Chi community.
(Edited by Doc Luecke.)
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