“My compliments to Stewart McFarlane on his extraordinary new book collection; T’ai Chi for Life, Health and Fitness.”
There is absolutely no question that his Tai Chi book is the best there is. I recommend it to any student of Yang Tai Chi and I personally make sure every one of my students obtains this book.
The detailed and well-illustrated step-by-step instructions are simple and clear. I have never seen such a concise and detailed set of instructions for the marvelous 37-posture form of Cheng Man-ching. Master Cheng would be proud.
Thoroughly grounded in very sound principle and theory, it also represents to most widely practiced and contemporary interpretation of the form, as taught by Tan Mew Hong; who is recognized as the “gold standard” in her performance and teaching of the 37-posture form.
Senior Teacher, The Walking Tiger Tai Chi Club
T’AI CHI FOR LIFE, HEALTH AND FITNESS – Stewart McFarlane
T’AI CHI CH’UAN: WISDOM IN ACTION IN A CHINESE MARTIAL ART – Stewart McFarlane
“If you want to learn a popular form of traditional T’ai chi ch’uan as well as understand the cultural background and persistent appeal of T’ai chi to Chinese, and increasingly to the western world, then this is the collection for you.”
Before the release of this collection by Dr Stewart McFarlane and Mowbray Publishing, I would have said it was impossible to learn a T’ai chi form correctly unless you had access to a teacher.
Now for the first time it is possible for anyone with access to a computer or laptop, to learn the Ch’eng Man Ch’ing form.
Stewart McFarlane’s accurate breakdown of the form is presented in clear and easy to follow graphics and text. The realistic and precise drawings of the figure doing the form can also be run as an animated sequence in the Power Point presentation, making it available to learners of the form to learn the positions and movements in their own time and at a comfortable pace to suit them. So for the first time self-learners are not forced to learn at the speed of a teacher or class, but to control their own rate of progress.
In addition to all this practice oriented material, Stewart McFarlane has written an insightful and highly readable account of the nature of T’ai chi and its role in Chinese culture and its values as a martial art, meditational practice, as well as a mind-body based health regime.
“T’ai chi ch’uan. Wisdom in Action” gives a clear explanation of why this system is so highly valued in Chinese culture; and why it now appeals to so many reflective people in the western world.
I warmly recommend this collection to all those who wish to learn a T’ai chi form accurately, as well as to those wishing to understand the nature and value this respected martial art, meditational system and mind-body based training system, incorporating a challenging perspective and approach to life.
Imelda Maguire, May 2011
Imelda is author of the bestseller Yoga for a Healthy Body (Chrysalis Books, now Anova Books, London, 2005).
“I recommend this package as a valuable aid to understanding the nature of this system and the specifics of the Ch’eng Man Ch’ing form, written by Dr Stewart McFarlane, a leading scholar and practitioner of this art.”
The main components of this excellent package of T’ai chi publications are:
1) T’ai Chi for Life, Health and Fitness. A detailed breakdown of the Ch’eng Man Ch’ing or 37-step form, suitable for absolute beginners, with precise and clear illustrations of each move and step, with detailed annotations and supporting text explanation.
2) Supporting this is a PowerPoint presentation of the same form that can be run as a continuous sequence, for the learner to follow, or pause for more precise guidance on the moves and stances. This makes for a very useful tool especially for independent learners of the form or those without regular contact with a call or teacher. The animation sequence will run on a computer, laptop or device that runs MS Office and PowerPoint.
3) T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Wisdom in Action in a Chinese Martial Art. This volume is an overview of the historical, cultural, conceptual background to T’ai chi ch’uan, and its role in Chinese culture, including a discussion of its value to people both east and west, as a means of de-stressing, developing mind-body awareness, and gently exercising the body deepening ones understanding of the connections between mind and body. It is of great value to those who wish to understand the role of this traditional martial art and preventative health and meditation system in Chinese culture, and as valued system is itself.
Leander has been interested in the arts and philosophy of Asia for many years, and for a few of these he taught Indian and Chinese Philosophy and Religion at degree level at a couple of UK universities.
Unlike Buddhist martial arts, the Taoist schools have survived comparatively well, and of these, T’ai Chi Chuan is certainly the most widespread and accessible. Diaspora Chinese have preserved several lineages of T’ai Chi including a wonderful adaptation of the Yang form that was created by Cheng Sifu in the 1940’s.
“Professor McFarlane, a noted scholar and pugilist, is to be congratulated for pioneering this innovative method of studying T’ai Chi that will be of great benefit to practitioners.”
Mr. Pema Namgyal, gardener and handyman in a large Buddhist temple. He has studied martial arts for many years.
“I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to step into T’ai Chi for the first time and also for anyone seeking an extensive glossary of T’ai Chi forms and positions.”
Due to my busy schedule and the lack of exercise that I get from my telecommuting desk job, I was seeking a new past time that would be beneficial to my health and help me be more active in my spare time. I was also keen to find something that I could learn gradually overtime and that would not be so intensive so that I could not fit it into my schedule. I happened to stumble upon this T’ai Chi book and it really ticked all the boxes for me and I have found that performing T’ai Chi is both beneficial to mind and body.
The author’s approach to this subject is very easy to get into from the outset and the format in which the fundamentals are put across inspire you into trying out T’ai Chi in order to experience the benefits that the book teaches. Beginning with the fundamentals and theory aspects of T’ai Chi and progressing through a multitude of T’ai Chi forms the book proves to be a good introduction to understanding the activity; as well as providing a solid step-by-step learning process to guide you through the subject and onto practicing T’ai Chi for yourself. The illustrations are also an asset to the book and enhance the learning experience greatly – showing the correct forms, stances and movements including the body rotations and feet diagrams in a clear format.
Mr T Bill, Web Designer – UK
I had some Song Jiang Zhen photos published in a Tai Chi e-book written by Dr. Stewart McFarlane, a scholar of Chinese Religions and Martial arts teacher, so I got a copy. I don’t do Tai Chi and was expecting to give the book a quick look, just to see what it was all about, which I did.
The main book is 287 pages of Tai Chi how to. It seems quite nice; simple diagrams that actually move as you flip the pages like on the edges of Mad magazine. It also comes with a companion book, T’ai Chi Ch’uan: ‘Wisdom in Action in a Chinese Martial Art’.
This is a fantastic book describing China’s martial history. The web page explains: “Inside this special 72-page report, you’ll discover the rich, turbulent history of T’ai Chi Ch’uan and how it came to be the physical and spiritual foundation of Chinese culture over thousands of years.” It is densely packed with fascinating information and I would buy the Tai Chi book for this companion book alone. Being so information rich, it is a great book for dipping and savouring.
Nowadays I rarely read English language books on Chinese culture as there is so much more (and generally better) information to be had from those who write about their own culture. Not so with Dr. McFarlane’s book — it is the personal experience (like insights had during drinking sessions after practicing martial arts with Taiwanese Song Jiang Zhen troupes) gained from years of living in the East that sets this book apart from many others like it.
Rich Matheson – Southern Taiwan
Rich Matheson resides in Southern Taiwan and has been shooting and selling photographs since 1998. He is published in many national/international magazines, newspapers, websites and books and has amassed a large archive of Taiwan photos. If you are looking for something, send a request, he will do his best to fill it. http://thetaiwanphotographer.com.