- TAI CHI BOOK REVIEWS -
THE MIND INSIDE TAI CHI Sustaining a Joyful Heart
by Yinghao (Henry) Zhuang
THE MIND INSIDE TAI CHI by Henry Zhuang is one of the more unusual tai chi books on the market today. The book offers very interesting, useful, and esoteric materials; some suitable for beginners and some for more advanced practitioners.
Author, Henry Zhuang, a chief real estate appraiser living in Shanghai, China, is a largely self-taught tai chi expert. Zhuang began his serious and dedicated training over 30 years ago and eventually honed his skills to a level where he was readily accepted for advanced instruction by some of China’s top tai chi masters. Though humble about his accomplishments, his extensive research and deep tai chi comprehension are easily apparent. Throughout the book, he quotes frequently from materials ranging from writings attributed to Chang Sanfeng in the 12th century to The Tai Chi Classics.
Zhuang’s book is divided into two chapters: the first addressing fundamental tai chi nature and practice qualities, and the second on the mind approach to tai chi cultivation. Chapter one is an excellent presentation on the true nature of tai chi, palpable to beginning students and reinforcing to the advanced. The author expands on this, presenting details paralleling tai chi methods with Buddhist meditation training. Zhuang writes, “...the universe is a big tai chi, and the human body is a small tai chi.”
The second chapter may be better suited for intermediate and advanced students. Zhuang laments that there are “tens of thousands of people practicing tai chi, but most are merely doing “tai chi aerobics.” To offer a remedy, he introduces Lao Liu Lu, the mind approach to Yang Style tai chi, once taught by Yang Jianhou, Yang Cheng Fu’s father. Zhuang then presents the technique’s simple methods for enhancing forms practice using the mind techniques. Next he progresses to more in-depth material on the subject, involving qi channels, meridians, and energy manifestations. Aided by photographs and illustrations, the author admirably explains how these methods work, both at improving health and empowering martial applications.
Though not very lengthy, THE MIND INSIDE TAI CHI, is a valuable and potent addition to any tai chi library. The book is well illustrated and glossary-ed, providing abundant information. At a time when many voices complain of the “watering-down” of tai chi training, this book offers inspiration and guidance for putting more mind into your tai chi. - TCJ