I saw video footage of Shi Ming many years ago, on the BBC's Healing and the Mind documentary; what he demonstrated defied explanation at the time, and so I wrote him off as a fake. Subsequently, I forgot about him and the video, but one day I purchased this book out of interest, without recognising at all that it was authored by the same individual in the video.
Having studied a martial art for a decade already, (Aikido for 16 years now, and Tai Ji for 4) I found the material then to be fascinating, very deep, and very advanced, and still pertinent to my training now. The writing style is very dense, concise, almost bulging with detail, but also very dry, impartial - almost clinical in its description of the processes of transformation that can be achieved through training. And the book really is only intended for someone who is actively training, and has done so for many years. It is not meant to be an academic document, ready to stand the rigours of peer review, because frankly, there would not be many peers of Shi Ming's level, and secondly, he wrote it for the martial artist, as a guide to map out one's training goals well into one's future. What is all the more attractive about this book is that he writes in a way that speaks to all arts, not just the Tai Ji, which is his background. He does not get bogged down on styles or arts, but just focusses on the "psycho-physical" processes that occur while training in an art that has an aspect of softness and development of "internal" power.
The book withstands many re-readings, in fact, often the light comes on with some of this material only after reading it through several times. It is useless to pick out a random passage from a random page and quote anything from this work...the whole document is a train of thought that begins with simple concepts and develops throughout the course of the text, to a highly advanced exposition on the transformative process that conscisouness can, and does undergo, through prolonged training in an internal art. It is difficult to understand, nay, believe what the author writes about in the later chapters of the book, if you have not personally experienced and understood the content of the earlier chapters. I was able to follow the author's train of thought without difficulty until about around chapter 8-9, and then I am on unfamiliar ground. So the later chapters for me suggest "what is possible", and what to strive for.
Only much later did I recognise that the author's photo on the back cover was in fact of the same man on the video I saw years before. I realised after reading his words, that I had to make a serious reappraisal of the video footage, because knowing the thoughts of this man through his writing caused me to rethink that he may very well have been demonstrating something that was not fake at all, but very real...and that my friends, is very scary. He teaches (or did) in Purple Bamboo Park in Beijing every morning...go check him out for yourself.