Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate
Written specifically for the Western practitioner, Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate blends modern science and philosophy with the traditional wisdoms—drawn from classic t'ai chi literature—that underlie Chinese martial arts. Author Rick Barrett authoritatively describes a wide range of movements, practices, and positions in the context of such topics as being in the zone, effortless power and force versus power, the whole-body energetic connection, instant meditation, and energetic coherence. Step-by-step exercises help make this sometimes daunting discipline simple and accessible.
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This book truly is revolutionary. This is the only Tai Chi book I have ever read where the author's own experience and study of the principles has revealed a new way of looking at the internal arts. Other books tend to be re-interpretations of the classics, or of the same ideas. Most tai Chi books are as follows:
1. talk about how bad, and fast our culture is, and how we are out of touch with nature. Then how tai chi is healthy, etc...
2.Basic theory: ying and yang, 5 elements, the bagua, etc...
3. Talking about rooting, relaxing, etc...(stuff any tai chi teacher will talk about in the first week)
4. Even though it says you need to find a teacher (who may teach a different form than shown) it shows you the form. Meaning that the book spends half it's pages on showing something not necessarily meaningful.
Taijiquan:Through the Western Gate, radically breaks with this format. It explains the cultural assumptions and limitations with subtlety and depth, not generalizations, and new age cliche.
It uses the terminology of and writings of Daoism, but also of western philosophy and science.
It teaches ideas you will not find in another book.
It teaches exercises, not form.
A must have for any serious Taiji player, or a novice wondering what it is all about.
This book was too mystical for my tastes. Many books on the internal Chinese arts discuss chi in a mystical sense, but they typically still contain some information that I find useful. This wasn't one of those.