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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

on 11 June 2016
This is a much better book than Cheng's Essays on Man and Culture, with the author expounding the arts of Tai Chi, calligraphy, poetry, painting, philosophy and medicine - in all of which he had received a traditional training in pre-revolutionary China. Beneath the conventional modesty ('my knowledge is very shallow and I await correction by the intelligent') there's a little bit of vainglory ('many people said it was a superb effort'); but beneath that in turn, you can sense a little bit of insecurity about the world's judgement of these arts and his standing within them. It's a shame, because truly to master a traditional art or skill and make it your own is one of the highest forms of creativity. Cheng was cultured and civilised in the best and fullest sense, and in the late twentieth century that automatically made him a man out of his time.

Perhaps it was a strange decision to entrust Cheng's writings to a man who was primarily a classical musician. Mark Hennessy won't win any prizes for elegant prose, even in America; but his translation here is at least not an obstruction, as in the other volume. It's as good a short primer on traditional Chinese culture as you could expect to find.
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on 8 July 2001
I found it fascinating to read about the other arts or 'excelencies' of the Professor. I particularly thought his views on poetry, calligraphy and art to be truely inspirational. I also found that a great deal of the approaches used these arts could be transferred to Tai Chi Ch'uan. As a student of Tai Chi Ch'uan under a teacher who's teacher studied with the Professor (Wolfe Lowenthal) I am deeply interested in Cheng Man-Ch'ing and it was wonderful to read the articles and lectures that are in the book as they are unlikely to be found elsewhere. The only downside was the articles about medicine where I felt the views being laid out were at odds to the current mind set. But this does not really detract from what is a wonderful book, which gives an insight into the life of Professor Cheng Man-Ch'ing. Every student studying Tai Chi Ch'uan with the Cheng Man-Ch'ing modified Yang style form of 37 postures should have this in their collection, for its insights and articles that provoke thoughts in the students as to how to approach the form, as it has for me.
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