My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you find getting to a Tai Chi class difficult or non-existent in your town, this may be just the guidebook for you. Dr. Aihan Kuhn, instructor in tai chi, qigong and tui na and president of Tai Chi & Qi Gong Healing Institute, has authored an easy to read and simple to follow manual that is crisp, clear and coherent; the 224 glossy pages of “Tai Chi in 10 Weeks: Beginner's Guide”. This work is meant “to help students, instructors, and practitioners understand taiji theory and technique, as well as help them to have a better experience with learning and practicing, both in a group and as individuals” (xiii).
“Tai Chi in 10 Weeks” explains, in three chapters, the value of taiji and how it is related to, but differs from, qigong. Dr. Kuhn explains what jing, qi and shen are, and how they work together. She also gives some of the history of taiji and the five styles. The author’s knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, along with her western medical training, noticeably turn up throughout these three chapters.
The bulk of the book brings the learner, by way of simple lessons and clean pictures, through the various levels of warm-up, foundation practice, qigong form, thirteen movement taiji, until finally arriving at the twenty-four step Yang style taijiquan form. The build up to the twenty-four step form is meant to prepare and condition a practitioner to be able to move into the twenty-four step form with some confidence. When the reader arrives at the twenty-four steps, Dr. Kuhn has masterfully broken the learning process down into 10 week packages, with pictures and instructions for each week. As an aid to staying motivated in practice, there is even a taiji 10-week plan checklist at the back of the book. This checklist was a brilliant inclusion in the book, as it shows the student at a glance where they are, how much they have succeeded at and how close they are to their short-term goal of becoming proficient at taiji!
“Tai Chi in 10 Weeks” is encouraging because it shows an easy-to-accomplish way for beginners to actually learn taiji in a doable timeframe and manner. There will still need to be, at some point, expert instruction, as Dr. Kuhn notes; “Eventually, however, you will need a good teacher who can guide you to deeper learning and practicing” (133). Nevertheless, Dr. Kuhn has placed learning and grasping taiji within reach of the interested. I highly recommend the book.
Thanks to YMAA for providing, upon my request, the free copy of the book used for this review. The assessments are mine given without restrictions or requirements (as per Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255).
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