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Mind Over Matter: Higher Martial Arts [Paperback]

Shi Ming , Siao Weija , Thomas Cleary
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Oct 1994
This unique book by Master Shi Ming and Siao Weijia explores the Chinese science of mind/body and the refinement of consciousness in the higher martial arts.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 102 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books,U.S. (14 Oct 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883319153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883319151
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 401,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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First Sentence
MARTIAL ARTS EMPHASIZE both mental and physical refinement; all of them emphasize cultivation of the body and cultivation of the mind. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is an interesting book. It was originally published in China under the title 'Lun Wushi Lianyi', or 'On Refinement of Consciousness Through Martial Arts: From Refinement of Consciousness to Dynamic Thought to Advanced Apperception'. It is translated from the Chinese into English by the American academic Thomas Cleary, who has translated numerous Chinese philosophical texts regarding Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. Here, he presents the above named as 'Mind Over Matter', a modern Chinese text dealing with inner development through internal martial arts practice.

The paperback (1994) edition contains 102 numbered pages, and contains a Foreword, Introduction and 11 chapters:

Translator's Forwrord.
Introduction (Siao Weijia, Li Jianmin, and Yu Gongbao).
1) Refinement of Consciousness through Martial Arts.
2) Martial Arts and Traditional Theories.
3) What is Consciousness.
4) Using Consciousness to Refine Consciousness.
5) Refinement of Consciousness is Not Soley in the Domain of Athletic Psychology.
6) Breakthroughs Associated with the Modality of Penetrating Power in Martial Arts.
7) "The Last to Act Overcomes Others" and Conditioned Reflexes.
8) The Laboratory of Regfinement of Consciousness.
9) Training Dynamic Thought and Higher Apperception.
10) Refinement of Consciousness and Health.
11) Refinement of Consciousness and the Training of Human Character.

The content of this book evolves around the private martial arts tradition of Taijiquan, as inherited by master Shi Ming. At the tine of writing (the early 1990's), master Shi had been practicing martial arts for over forty years, and was a board member of the China Martial Arts Society and the Beijing Martial Arts Society.
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4.0 out of 5 stars my thoughts on this book 13 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
very deep well thought out give a lot to think about in the way of the martial arts work with mind,body and spirit a very good read
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is great 19 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book helped me overcome some really nerving times, it helps you step by step along your path to success great book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars very good 12 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback
Very, very good book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advanced Martial Arts 6 Feb 2012
By Theosophist - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is clearly one of the most advanced books expounding upon the other benefits of Advanced Martial Arts that we in the West know almost nothing. Perhaps this is reason some reviews were poor, they cannot grasp the advanced concepts required. Which means they are almost certainly NOT an advanced Martial Artist. To anyone whom has practiced for over 15 years seriously, this book is clearly a Godsend. Foremost; advanced Martial Arts is not just an exercise since no other form of exercise produces such salubrious results. Advanced martial Arts really is the refinement of consciousness. This book has my highest praise. Will be decades before the Western World can grasp this one!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The holy grail of martial arts 1 July 2006
By Jason C. Wotherspoon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and condensed 20 May 2013
By Rudi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very deep book, with deep insight and information, can be read by either a beginner or an advanced student in the arts.
Written with extraordinary simplicity and beauty
14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars From a TaiChi Player 12 Aug 2000
By KnowingShadow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pass on this one. It is poor philosophy and worse science. It's descriptions of what happens (or can happen) in martial arts training lack the poetry and even the clarity of the Chinese classics. Not one experiment. Not one case study. Looking for some help on how tai chi chuan works and how best to train, I did not find it.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh! Philosophy Majors Only! 26 Aug 2003
By V. K. Lin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have no idea what the purpose of this book was. I kept reading it, hoping I would glean some insight, some guidepost,but it never happened. This book was terrible.
Okay, if you're a philosophy major, maybe you'll get something from this book. But for a man of Western science, struggling to apprehend the subtleties of higher-order Eastern martial arts, this was of no benefit to me.
Shi Ming asserts that we need to use Western science to more fully define Qi. He then admits that while technology is progressing, it is still not sufficient to this need. He implies that defining Qi scientifically will result in considerable benefit to humanity.
Shi Ming talks about the history of China, particularly how the various political upheavals were detrimental to the transmission of Qi understanding through the generations.
Shi Ming pulls out every big word he can think of, and uses them in repetitive tautological reiterative fashion, to state that the world must try and advance itself, enlighten itself. That understanding Qi is the key to overcoming political, religious, and philosophical barriers.
Tidbits that I almost found useful: Shi Ming alleges that Qi is real. That it is something beyond the "zone" that professional athletes sometimes talk about. That it is beyond an instinctive ingraining of skills (such as Olympic boxers) from intense training. But he never quite tells us what he thinks it really is, and he never hints at how to develop or find Qi, except to find a good instructor.
I'll match my education resume with anyone's. I'm no dummy. But I have to admit that sometimes I'll read philosophy and not even have a clue whatis being talked about. This book was like that. All I can tell was that Mr Shi Ming has some nice ideals for a better world, and that somehow he thinks Qi cultivation is the answer. But Higher Martial Arts? Too high. We're talking about World Peace, and all I want to do is become better at internal martial arts.
Maybe this book would be good for that individual on the cusp of attaining enlightenment or sainthood. I'm not close to that, so it did me no good at all. Maybe if I reach that cusp, I'll try to re-read the book and see what I get out of it.... Nah.
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