T’ai chi books for the plane

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May 08, 2009 T’ai chi books for the plane

To learn t’ai chi, nothing beats practicing live with excellent teachers, practicing daily and correctly, practicing with others, and relaxing to the point where it is as hard to be pushed as pushing water or a ghost.

For those times and places when practicing the t’ai chi form is not possible — for instance on an airplane, but even there one can do the raising hands movement — here are some books I just learned about from a fellow participant in the Saturday morning t’ai chi form/sensing hands sessions on Capitol Hill:

– T. T. Liang, Tai Chi Chuan For Health and Self-Defense.

– Stuart Olson,  Steal My Art (UPDATE AND WARNING: I obtained and started reading this book in late May 2009. On the one hand, the book conveys more of the essence of Mr. Liang and his t’ai chi. On the other hand, had I read the book before uploading this blogposting, I would not have listed it on my blog, because it descends heavily, excessively, unproductively (no matter one’s view of or connection to Mr. Liang and Cheng Man Ch’ing) and at points like a run-on reprehensible gossip column into the events that led to and followed the falling out between T.T. Liang and Cheng Man Ch’ing. I posted a review on Amazon, and reprint it below at Addendum II.

Fu Zhongwen (trans.Louis Swaim), Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan.

– Douglas Wile (compiler and translator), Tai-Chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions.

– Lee Ying-arn, Lee’s Modified T’ai Chi for Health. (See him on YouTube here and here.)

Here are videos of Capitol Hill T’ai Chi leader David Walls-Kaufman performing the t’ai chi form and sensing hands. The Saturday practice sessions are open to everyone, regardless of skill level.

Jon Katz

ADDENDUM: A t’ai chi teacher recommended adding the following t’ai chi book to the above list: Warriors of Stillness, by Jan Diepersloot.

In Gateways to the Miraculous, Wolfe Lowenthal talks of having been involved in compiling and publishing teachings of t’ai chi master Yang Cheng Fu. If you know where to find this volume(s), please let me know.

ADDENDUM II: On May 29, I posted the following Amazon review of Olson’s Steal My Art:

Stuart Olson missed the boat. , May 29, 2009

Jonathan L. Katz “JonKatz5” (Silver Spring, MD) – See all my reviews (REAL NAME)

The book details the essence of Mr. Liang and his t’ai chi and beyond. It is one thing to make a point that no t’ai chi teacher or any other human belongs on a pedestal, which the book heavily focuses on. However, this book descends heavily, excessively, unproductively (no matter one’s view of or connection to Mr. Liang and Cheng Man Ch’ing) and at points like a run-on reprehensible gossip column into the events that led to and followed the falling out between T.T. Liang and Cheng Man Ch’ing. Through his long and close association and friendship with Mr. Liang, Stuart Olson had the opportunity to produce a much better biography than this gossip-infested book.

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