The Theoretical Basis of T’ai Chi Ch’uan

With the introduction of an entirely new terminology to describe t’ui-shou interactions, and an unflinching castigation of current “sumo-like” definitions of t’ui-shou, this is sure to become a controversial and seminal work. Mr. Amacker seeks nothing less than to offer a theory that is, not merely useful to, but definitive of T’ai Chi Ch’uan practice. Robert Amacker, whose previous translation of the Classics of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, The Essence of T’ai Chi Ch’uan (with Lo, Inn, and Foe), is now considered a classic in its own right, here tackles the most fundamental and definitive skill of the art, its so-called civil aspect, in a way that has never been before attempted. With painstaking mathematical precision, he explores the true meaning of the Classic: “In a myriad of changes, there is only one principle.” These are the guidelines for the construction of mutual “t’ai chis” between practitioners in the context of t’ui-shou, or hand pushing. These mutually constructed t’ai chis exist in three scalar dimensions, and represent an attempt to balance the opponent’s force in all three (vector) dimensions of physical space. This is the key to the connection between the t’ai chi (yin-yang) principle and the “eight trigram postures” that are depicted in the symbol for T’ai Chi Ch’uan. With little regard, as he himself states, to the training and conditioning necessary to produce a satisfactory result, he goes directly to exactly what practitioners of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, if unrestricted by any personal physical limitations, should ideally be doing. Notwithstanding the implications of the title, this “theory” is the day-to-day practice of Mr. Amacker’s White Crow School of T’ai Chi Ch’uan in Moscow, Russia. A professional teacher of T’ai Chi Ch’uan for over fifty years, he has administered his Moscow school for the last twenty. The practical implementation of these theoretical ideas has there produced a sophisticated and unmistakably classical practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan’s most advanced exercises, Ta Lu and Sanshou. An ambitious work by a master of his craft. Profusely illustrated by Vlasta Pechova.


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