Praise for The Tai Chi Book . . .
Perceptive insight to wide ranging aspects of Tai Chi. Robert Chuckrow is a physics Ph.D. as well as a Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi instructor and is able to present Tai Chi Chuan in a manner accessible to Westerners. He comes across as just just another Tai Chi player sharing his experiences. "...well-balanced, down-to-earth, and complete." What's most worthwhile in the book are the detailed descriptions of difficult and not always intuitive terms and concepts, including alignment, breathing, eating, chi, learning Tai Chi, push hands, stances, stretching, the Cheng Man Ching form, and warming up. Has answers to the questions you always wanted to ask... but never did.
I teach a philosophy of Mind and Body course and my students will use this as the text for the Tai Chi class they must take as a co-requisite for my philosophy course. The author, a Ph.D. in physics, offers clear examples of what Tai Chi looks like but wisely refraines from trying to teach a full course in Tai Chi. He offers a sustained discussion of the philosophy behind Tai Chi, what it is and what it is not. It is not exciting reading but purposeful and organized. It will prove helpful for my students and anyone wishing an introduction to Tai Chi.
—John Atherton (Greensburg, PA USA) Aug 24, 2001
This is THE book. It’s absolutely fantastic. I have read many books on Tai Chi, and own quite a few, but this is the one I am always coming back to, again and again. When practicing Tai Chi, when reading other books on the subject, and sometimes even in the shower after a day’s practice, Robert Chuckrow’s words come back into my mind, broadening and deepening my understanding of this great art. Many books claim to present Tai Chi Chuan in a manner “accessible to Westerners”, but only this one truly delivers. Dr. Chuckrow’s presentation is sober, encompassing, and respectful of the philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan. He is open-minded and fair, despite the fact that some of his experience are beyond his ability to explain. A Doctor of Physics and a Tai Chi instructor, Robert Chuckrow truly finds new ways to elucidate stances, double-weighting, and alignment, and never in all the book does he cease to be a person one can relate to, just another Tai Chi player sharing his (vast) experiences for the reader's benefit. The chapter on being a student is the jewel of the book. It really gives the reader pointers and references for actual, everyday relating to a teacher. It helps the reader understand his/her own practice from a broader, more realistic perspective. I strongly recommend this book to everyone who already practices Tai Chi and to all who are wondering if Tai Chi is for them. It is a rare pleasure to find, among the many books on this subject, one which is so well-balanced, down-to-earth, and complete.
—Mauricio C. Quintana “cintain” (Mexico City, DF Mexico) Sep 12, 2000
Detailed descriptions of concepts and terms and explanations of difficult concepts are what set this book apart from other T’ai Chi books. The author has researched thoroughly and writes well and clearly. Covers among other subjects, breathing, stances, eating, alignment, ch’i, warm ups, stretching, how to be a good student as well as push hands and the CMC form. This is not an all inclusive list. I would place this near the top of the list of internal martial arts books. This could easily function as a textbook for a college course on T’ai Chi. I don’t agree with everything in it, but I could always be wrong. :) Buy it, you won’t be sorry.
Robert Chuckrow is to be congratulated. At last, a highly readable and concise book aimed at the novice t’ai chi ch’uan practitioner. This is certainly not to say that more advanced students or even instructors won’t find much of value here, but as a starting point for anyone endeavoring to learn about the history, philosophy and principles behind T’ai-Chi Ch’uan Embracing the Pearl* is excellent... Even though Dr. Chuckrow is a Yang stylist, Embracing the Pearl should be in every t’ai chi ch’uan student’s and instructor’s library.
In his 20 years of studying t’ai chi ch’uan, Dr. Chuckrow has been quite fortunate in having studied with the foremost Yang stylists in this country, Cheng Man-Ch’ing, William C.C. Chen and Harvey Sobel [sic]. These instructors instilled in Dr. Chuckrow a deep understanding and appreciation of the fundamentals of t’ai chi ch’uan, and this is clearly evident throughout the book.
*The Tai Chi Book was originally self-published under this name.
—Exerpted from Journal of the Chenstyle Taijiquan Research Association, Vol 4 / No 1
... The information in each chapter is presented in a scholarly yet non-pretentious non-verbose manner. There are a few illustrations in the chapters on alignment and stances, which do justice to the discussion points. With the exception of the presentation of Cheng’s form the rest of the book is illustration free. This is just as well in that illustration would take away from the material being presented.
... Cheng Man-Ch’ing would have been pleased at the result of Dr. Chuckrow’s efforts. Codifying a system of study, regardless of the subject is never easy. Omissions, errors, personal opinion, and misconceptions always give cause for skepticism concerning the veracity of the material. Dr. Chuckrow has managed to avoid the pitfalls to produce, with the help of Cheng’s senior students, what appears to be a codification and probably the preservation of Cheng’s system. Although Dr. Chuckrow does not say so, the information and the way it is presented leads this reviewer to believe that this was Dr. Chuckrow’s intent.
... The Tai Chi Book is one of, if not the best, T’ai Chi Ch’uan reference books this reviewer has read (this remark is qualified by several large shelves of books ranging in quality to “pretty good” to “absolute waste of paper”). The only way this book could be improved upon is that it be printed on acid free paper in hardbound format. The Tai Chi Book is a highly recommended buy for all students of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.
—Exerpted from Dewey Monroe, The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fittness, Winter 1999-2000
The never-ending search for health and balance in an unbalanced world returns to the ancient roots of T’ai Chi Ch’uan in this excellent learning tool. From beginner to accomplished practitioner, all readers will benefit from the clear, concise and informative layout. The practical techniques of the 37-posture Cheng Man-ch’ing short form are covered with precise descriptions of the movements, coupled with pictures demonstrating proper alignment and posture. The basic principles are thoroughly explored in chapters on breathing and alignment, warm-ups, “push-hands” and stances. Also explained are the positive effects of T’ai Chi Ch’uan on physical health and spiritual healing, and its relation to meditation, philosophy and self-defense. This book will prove a favorite with readers seeking balance and health through the popular Eastern art and exercise form. A particularly valuable choice for beginners.
—Today’s Librarian, Volume 4, Number 6, June 2000
This book is very well written and easy to read. It covers enough ground to satisfy beginners and advanced students alike. The author was a student of Professor Cheng in the 1970’s. He teaches Physics as well as Tai Chi, which may be why he is able to explain Tai Chi so clearly in this 209 page volume. This is a book you will want to read and reread.