The Tai Chi Book

When an author's name is followed by an advanced degree — "Robert Chuckrow, Ph.D." in this case — perhaps that's a danger sign? The Tai Chi Book: Refining and Enjoying a Lifetime of Practice (1998) waves that red flag, and a number of others. Chuckrow's credentials as an experimental physicist and high school physics teacher aren't particularly relevant to T'ai Chi. His physiological beliefs, particularly as described in Chapter 9 on "Health, Healing, and Sexuality", are astoundingly unsupported by evidence; the discussion of "Taoist Sexual Practices" is unscientific and bizarre by rational standards. His prose is first-person anecdotal, embarrassingly so at times.

And yet, there are also insightful moments, as in the discussion in Chapter 8 ("On Being a Student") about "Practice in Everyday Life":

Professor Cheng used to say that mere practice of the form is superfluous when everything a practitioner does is in accordance with the principles of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. As a result of these words, early on in my study of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, I became inspired to infuse every action in my daily life with the T'ai Chi Ch'uan principles.

For example, when I drove my car, I practiced holding the steering wheel so lightly that I could feel the effect of every change in the road surface. ...

I used opportunities, such as standing on a check-out line in a store, to root by standing on one leg while relaxing the upper body. I also practiced walking in such a manner that I did not commit my weight to a foot before feeling the ground underneath. ...

Overall, though, the mix of mysticism and muddle, the general disorganization, and the lack of critical analysis make it hard to read and learn from The Tai Chi Book.

(cf. Robert Chuckrow's web site, ...) - ^z - 2014-05-21