Praise for Tai Chi Concepts and Experiments . . .
“With a lifetime of commitment to deep study and practice, diligent teaching, and the promotion of martial arts, Robert Chuckrow, Ph.D., sets an example of how to grow your personal practice through contributing to the greater martial arts community. Now through this book, he has demonstrated a determination and commitment to understanding the depth of martial arts practice.”
—Grandmaster Sam F.S. Chin, Founder of Zhong Xin Dao; Gatekeeper of I Liq Chuan; author of I Liq-Chuan—Martial Art of Awareness, I-liq Chuan System Guide, and nearly 30 DVDs; Honorary Professor Emeritus.
“Its my great pleasure to recommend this latest book on T’ai Chi by my friend and classmate, Robert Chuckrow, Ph.D., a T’ai-Chi devotee who never stops studying and learning. As a Western scientist, he delves deeply into esoteric jargon, principles and teachings of T’ai Chi and interprets them for Westerners.”
—Lawrence Galante, Ph.D., author of Tai Chi: the Supreme Ultimate and Energy Healing: Director of The Center for Holistic Arts, NYC; Professor at State University of New York.
“Author, Robert Chuckrow, Ph.D., offers his enlightening wisdom and educated perspective on the paradoxes of T’ai Chi in his latest work. Through [his] brilliant research, Chuckrow resolves so many nagging questions that all beginners have and offers many new tools for instructors to share this venerated art. It’s a must-read work for T’ai Chi practitioners of every level, not to be missed.”
—Gene King, 32nd generation disciple of the Shaolin Temple, Author of Shaaolin Trips, publisher of Kung Fu Magazine, former publisher of Kung Fu T’ai Chi, weapons expert for El Ray Network’s original TV show, Man at arms: Art of War.
“Brilliant! Robert Chuckrow’s new book is brilliant! He has given us a treasure trove of information, a ten-course feast covering myriad aspects of the Chinese art of T’ai-Chi Ch’uan. As I started reading it, I got a taste of the exhilaration that European sailors must have felt when they first caught sight of the land we now call America. This is the book I would have written were I as schooled as Robert Chuckrow. I am very impressed by his thoroughness and his perspicacity. His voyage has been long, and his rewards are great. A high level teacher of both T’ai-Chi Ch’uan and physics, he takes us along on his own 50-year exploration into the very heart of China’s most respected “internal martial art,” challenging us each step of the way to deepen our own understanding of this marvelous practice. It is a book that every taiji practitioner—and beyond them, every martial artist—should read, cogitate upon, and keep for life-long reference. Robert Chuckrow, I salute you!”
—Myles Angus MacVane, T’ai-Chi Ch’uan expert and direct student of Cheng Man-ch’ing.
“Robert Chuckrow is a teacher and scientist who comprehends and synthesizes what he learns and then shares it for the benefit of others. He couples his knowledge of physics with his T’ai-Chi skills, and the result enables the reader to understand this art more clearly than they could from studying translations of ancient cryptic Chinese sayings.
“People learn T’ai Chi for various reasons— some for health, some for self-defense, and others for philosophical or spiritual reasons. And some do T’ai Chi for years without understanding much of what they do, which will make them healthier and more sensitive to the world around them. But they will miss the wondrous benefits that a deeper study will offer. This book will take you further along this path.”
—Ken Van Sickle, Professor Emeritus (cinematography) NYU, T’ai-Chi Master in the lineage of Cheng Man-ch’ing, third-dan black belt in Karate under Peter Urban, Author of Ken Van Sickle Photography.
“Robert Chuckrow’s new book offers tremendous insights into the physical, spiritual, and healing aspects of T’ai Chi. His discussion of natural movement and expansive strength is enlightening and well-referenced. Dr. Chuckrow encourages readers to perform the experiments he sets forth in order to experience for themselves the sensations and therapeutic benefits of expansive strength. He promotes critical thinking, reviews historical perspectives, and clarifies classical teachings. This book will enhance the practice of any student of this ancient and powerful art.”
—Dr. Catherine kurousu, M.D., L.Ac. Co-author of the True-Wellness book series.
“I was immediately impressed with Robert Chuckrow’s approach to the soft-style arts. In the beginning of the book, Dr. Chuckrow’s discussion of expansive strength versus contractive strength was immediately useful to me in my daily practice. Every chapter that followed presented new insights and ideas I had not considered before, as well as exercises and experiments that that helped me experience them directly.”
—Master Joe Varady, M.Ed., rokudan, author of The Art and Science of Staff Fighting and The Art and Science of Stick Fighting.
“With chapters like expansive strength, swimming on land, rooting and redirecting, movement, timing and relaxation, plus many more, this book is a guide to learning, practicing, and better understanding. Dr. Chuckrow, an experienced T’ai-Chi practitioner and teacher. In this book, Chuckrow will turn difficult archaic Chinese meanings into simple and easy to understand English by using simple and practical exercises to get his messages across.”
—Mario Napoli, T’ai-Chi practitioner since 1988, black belts in Judo and Karate, All-China National Push-Hands Champion in the Chen Village competition.
“As a physicist, Chuckrow offers the unique perspective of a scientific analysis of the practice of T’ai Chi. As a student of Cheng Man-ch’ing, his years of explorations and discoveries have yielded deep insights into this extraordinary art.”
—Barry Strugatz, filmmaker, director of The professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West.
“This book has reignited my passion to further explore the art of T’ai Chi.”
—Peter Doherty, Trainer of corrective exercise, twenty-eight years studying martial arts, black belt in Karate.
“The mysteries of the Chinese martial art tai chi are illuminated with the help of science in this primer.”
“This informative introduction to tai chi combines extensive discussions of principles with hands-on techniques.”
“Chuckrow—the author of Tai Chi Dynamics (2008), a physicist, and a tai chi instructor—addresses the seemingly contradictory teachings of the masters of this martial art, like the admonition to use “no strength” in practicing it, and interprets them in light of Western physics and biology. His main idea is the concept of “expansive strength,” a kind of “hydraulic pressure” in which “bodily tissues can actively expand under the action of bioelectrical stimulation.” Expansive strength, he contends, is better than ordinary strength through muscle contractions because it doesn’t create metabolic waste products or telegraph one’s intentions to attackers. He goes on to apply more physics—explained in plain English, with the math tucked away in the appendix—to tai chi problems, like the niceties of maintaining one’s balance in a pushing match. (“If an opponent A exerts a force F on me, according to Newton’s third law, I automatically exert the same force F on A in the opposite directionÉ In order to remain in balance, A must arrange things so that the total frictional force of the floor on his feet exerts a force that is opposite to the force I am exerting on him.”) Much of the intricate book explores tai chi’s preoccupation with an exhaustive, even eye-glazing analysis of rudimentary bodily acts, such as taking a step—“As the knee k starts to arc forward, the lower leg lags behind, swinging backward relative to the upper leg; (b) the knee stops, and the lower leg swings forward past (c) to (d); (d) the lower leg has freely swung forward into a position with the heel just touching the ground”—or sitting down. (“True T’ai-Chi practitioners lower themselves slowly and first contact the chair without any commitment. Then, they mindfully transfer weight until it is safe to commit it fully.”) Physiologists may scratch their heads at Chuckrow’s notion of expansive strength, but otherwise his explications of the fundamental laws of natural motion, complete with diagrams, are written in reasonably clear, if involved, prose. Tai chi students will gain from the author a deep theoretical grounding in the discipline’s basic approach to movement along with a wealth of useful exercises to help them practice it.”