What is 'Tai Chi'?

What is 'Tai Chi'?

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by Gilligan, Peter A.
     
 

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This book grew out of a question one of the author's students asked. The answer proved to be longer than either teacher or student could have anticipated.

As he looks at the complex art of 'Tai Chi', the author answers questions such as why, unlike in other martial arts, 'Tai Chi' has no gradings; how hard you should try; and how to make the most of your teacher

Overview

This book grew out of a question one of the author's students asked. The answer proved to be longer than either teacher or student could have anticipated.

As he looks at the complex art of 'Tai Chi', the author answers questions such as why, unlike in other martial arts, 'Tai Chi' has no gradings; how hard you should try; and how to make the most of your teacher. A wide range of material is covered, including fundamental points about the mechanics of movement and the 'energetic' aspects of practice, as well as the relationship between body, mind and spirit that emerges. The author also provides answers to questions that even experienced practitioners may not have thought to ask, such as what are the levels of self-defense in 'Tai Chi'? How do I refine and develop my 'Tai Chi'? What is the difference between method and technique? How do I put principles into practice?

This insightful book covers all aspects of 'Tai Chi', answering questions that are beyond the scope of many classes. It will be of interest to anyone beginning 'Tai Chi' or Qi Gong, as well as to more experienced practitioners at all levels, practitioners of other martial arts, and friends and relatives of "Tai Chi" players who wonder what all the fuss and enthusiasm is about.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781848190245
Publisher:
Kingsley, Jessica Publishers
Publication date:
01/15/2010
Pages:
220
Sales rank:
1,117,736
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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Meet the Author

Peter Gilligan has over thirty years' experience of Tai Chi, Qi gong and the Nei Jia (internal arts).He also has extensive experience as an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor and as an Associate Research Assistant at the Ergonomics unit of University College London. This, coupled with three months study of the therapeutic applications of Qigong and Taijiquan within the Chinese National Health Service, make him uniquely qualified to relate the art of Taijiquan to both Western scientific method and physical culture and education. A registered instructor with the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts, he is founder and director of the DAH School of Chinese Internal Arts, the only full-time school of its kind in Belfast.

Peter Gilligan had over thirty years' experience of Tai Chi, Qi gong and the Nei Jia (internal arts).He also had extensive experience as an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor and as an Associate Research Assistant at the Ergonomics unit of University College London. This, coupled with three months study of the therapeutic applications of Qigong and Taijiquan within the Chinese National Health Service, made him uniquely qualified to relate the art of Taijiquan to both Western scientific method and physical culture and education. Peter was a registered instructor with the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts, and he was founder and director of the DAH School of Chinese Internal Arts, the only full-time school of its kind in Belfast.

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What is 'Tai Chi'? 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ausonius More than 1 year ago
Peter A. Gilligan has produced a book that speaks for itself: WHAT IS 'TAI CHI'? The more you have watched tai chi ch'uan (taijiquan), "played" at it, received instruction from a master or otherwise struggled with its form in daily practice, the readier you are for Gilligan's masterly meditation. You will want to read it again and again. *** The Chinese have a tradition of public exercising for health far older than the renowned Fifth Century B. C. gymnasia of Periclean Athens. "... four and a half thousand years ago ... the incumbent emperor ordered the people to engage in 'daily dances and exercise to improve the health and strength of the nation'" ("What to Expect From This Book"). Gilligan argues that there are a handful of axiomatic insights underlying and unifying Chinese culture: more basic than but taken for granted by Taoism (Daoism) and by Confucianism. These elements make up "Chinese General Systems Theory," ... "the world as energy in movement. ... a seething sea of oneness, indivisible and whole. ... This energy is the cosmic Qi (Chi). ..energy in complex ebbs, flows and interactions. ... in this sea of Qi ... The peaks are Yang and the troughs are Yin. Yin and Yang together are sufficient to analyse all this complexity. ... This is analogous to the Fourier analysis of complex wave-forms into the sum of simple sine waves."(Ch. 1). *** To me the remaining scores of pages, photographs, drawings and tables are no more than commentary on the passages quoted above as applied to the health through exercise of those four-limbed, bipedal animals called human beings. Yin, Yang, Qi, taken together, analyse traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and "Therapeutic exercises from TCM, generically Qi Gong" (Chi Kung) (Ch. 1). Tai Chi and Chi Kung may or may not be "martial." They are certainly forms of self-defense. "Every breath you take is an act of self-defence... (here is) a quote from Yang Cheng Fu: 'Learning self-defence applications is indispensable in Taijiquan'" (Ch.3). Humans are four-limbed animals who stand erect. Most of us stand and move incorrectly. Helping us, with a teacher, find for ourselves our own true nature is what tai chi is all about. Let us learn to walk like cats. *** Our uncultivated energy (Chi) is usually blocked. Tai Chi unblocks it. Posture by posture, movement by movement, Gilligan talks us through four stages. (1) Before we begin studying with a teacher, we are incompetent at retrieving our true, intended self, but unconscious of that incompetence. (2) We next become aware "how corrupt and unnatural our movement is." We zero in on natural movement. (3) We then become, for the first time, "consciously competent." We clear out the malformed, overgrown internal channels blocking our Qi (energy). (4) At last we become "unconsciously competent." We are just plain good, without noticing it any more. (5) We practice, practice, practice for the rest of our lives. (Ch. 7) *** A teacher's main job is "helping students to clear out their bodies to remove blockages and wastings." The real growth flows from within, from the students' will, mind and heart. (Ch. 8) This book I found immensely true, insightful and personally rewarding during my first careful reading. I expect to find it even better during the many subsequent readings that I intend. -OOO-