"Adam D. Frank notes that many people, Chinese and non-Chinese alike, look to martial arts masters to fulfill their fantasies of finding some font of wisdom, or source of power, and/or an Oriental essence. Drawing on his considerable experience as both practitioner and observer of taijiquan,Frank examines the paradoxes and ironies that proliferate when an ancient tradition enters the international media scene. He shows, with modesty and wit, that the form provides insight into Chinese conceptions of the self, the body, and social relations - all of which are put into question in contemporary China's rapid and at times uncomfortable transformation."
- Ward Keeler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
"Both product and producer of modern identity for people around the globe, the martial art of taijiquan is shown in Adam D. Frank's compelling ethnography to be a highly contemporary urban practice that can teach us a great deal about how culture travels in these postmodern times."
- John Nelson, Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Director, Asian Studies Degree Program, University of San Francisco
"Adam D.Frank's evocative ethnography is more than a story of apprenticeship to masters of tai chi in Shanghai, China. Following the path and the myth of the 'little old Chinese man,' both in embodied practice and in mediated representations, Frank tracks the circuitous and often surprising turns of cultural imaginations in both the East and the West. Indeed, analyzing the practice that most epitomizes the Chinese spirit for the West, Frank elucidates the deep transformations that take place when traditional forms are inhabited by and, in turn, transform the global imagination. His writing is highly crafted, his analysis astute, and his subject matter riveting. This is a book that will set standards."
- Deborah Kapchan, Associate Professor of Performance Studies, New York University