Q: How can we know that the Li Family Manual is genuine?

A: There may have existed a number of copies within the Tang Village, and we don’t know exactly how old these particular copies are or if any of them are originals from the author. They were, however kept by the family who originally wrote them and the texts are clearly not corrupted from having been copied many times like the other known versions of the classics. The previous versions of the Tai Chi classics are full of obvious copying mistakes, most do not disturb the meaning, but many do. The Li Family Manual is seemingly flawless and makes perfect sense.

The documents included in both the Li Family genealogy and the martial arts manual have been examined by several university professors. The first was Wang Xingya from the History Department of Zhengzhou University. None of them doubt the validity. There are already many academic papers that has analysed the texts.

Furthermore, the person who owns the house where the manuals and biography were found was illiterate. No one in the family had any idea they had a sensation hidden in a small room over the door. It was the historian Li Libing who insisted he wanted to see it, and it was he who brought it out in public. Although the owner had the manual for many years he never attempted to sell it or become famous by publishing it. And, apparently, no one in the family has practiced the family’s Tai Chi heritage for well over hundred years.

Back to Q&A