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Posted January 1, 2012
I can testify, as can anyone who has studied under Master Ting, that this book is written by a true master, whose tai chi skills are as exceptional as his knowledge is encyclopedic. But what makes this book unusual is its clarity and accessibility. Tai chi literature, as anyone knows who has tried exploring that dark continent, can be obscure and misleading¿especially for the westerner. Much of it deals in mystification (born of a tradition of secrecy); some is poorly translated (partly because the translator is insufficiently versed in tai chi), while other works are written by would-be masters whose understanding and experience are limited.
Master Ting, who is fluent in both English and Chinese, and who has taught tai chi for over twenty five years, has the ability to translate, distill, and demystify Chinese concepts and images (often fictional constructs of misleading complexity) in a way that makes them easily accessible to the western mind. His years of teaching American students has enabled him to develop ways of explaining (images and concepts to help imagine and understand) the tai chi experience. (I challenge anyone, for example, find a clearer, more comprehensive and helpful account of tai chi posture than Master Ting¿s answer to Question 59.) The fact that the book answers student questions gives it a sustained relevance and (though it is much deeper than this) a kind of handbook practicality. This doesn¿t mean, of course, that you can learn tai chi from reading the book¿or any other book for that matter¿but you can learn how to correct your mistakes and better understand both how and why you should do a movement this way rather than that. In other words, you learn not just the technique but the underlying principles and concepts that enable you to shape technique to the occasion. Without this kind of understanding, there is no way you can make progress in this exceptionally difficult meditative martial (but not mystical!) art. In this respect, the book, like Master Ting¿s articles, is invaluable.
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Posted March 3, 2012
I like this book for it's honest and straightforward approach in delivering answers to questions most Beginners & Westerners might have regarding Tai Chi & QiGong. I do not have unlimited access to a qualified teacher and my brief Tai Chi lessons occurred over 5 years ago. My exposure to a QiGong form performed by a Qualified Practitioner occurred over 5 years ago as well during a trip to Korea with an impromptu visit to a Martial Arts school that surprisingly was not teaching Taekwondo. Even if I don't remember both forms exactly as demonstrated, I feel a good understanding of the underlying principles is as important or perhaps even more important. That's where I think this book bridges the gap left open by other texts I've either browsed or read and Videos I may have watched. I think the author effectively addresses the issues involved in developing and growing one's awareness of what Tai Chi & QiGong comprise and what benefits are attainable. Aside from what is observed when one practices a form, there is something vital going on within the one who practices. That is what most of this book addresses and it has managed to do it better than any other book or article I've encountered. I'm also glad to have acquired this book in electronic(Nook) format.
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Posted March 19, 2012