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Drawing Silk: Masters' Secrets for Successful Tai Chi Practice Paperback – April 5, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing; 3 edition (April 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419663127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419663123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,086,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

PAUL GALLAGHER has been researching and practicing Chinese health arts for the past 45 years. Paul is an advanced degree graduate of Harvard University, then went on to study Taiji, Qigong, Chinese medicine, movement therapies, and philosophy with a number of eminent masters including Sophia Delza, Grandmaster T.T. Liang, B.P. Chan, Professor Kenneth Cohen, and Sifu Ray Hayward. A Master Herbalist, Paul was also a founding faculty member of the prestigious New England School of Acupuncture near Boston, where he taught Chinese medical history and philosophy. He is the author of Drawing Silk, a collection of writings and translations on T'ai Chi and Taoist practice, has written numerous articles, and edited T'ai Chi Ch'uan for Health and Self-Defense with Master T.T. Liang. (Published by Random House Vintage Series) Paul has taught Taiji and Chinese health arts at Hampshire College, The University of Massachusetts, OMEGA Institute, Digital Equipment Corp., The Pfifer Wellness Institute, and at many Taiji and internal arts studios across the U.S. Paul was a Marketing Protege and Winners' Circle Member with Marketing Genius Jay Abraham. And he completed the Excellence in Speaking Institute training with speaking trainer Ty Boyd . Paul started teaching Taiji and related arts in 1972, and has taught several thousand students since that time. His present interest centers around practical usage of the connection between intention, qi, mind, and spirit--and how to combine these to enhance the total life experience. In 1997, he started the Total T'ai Chi Center in Asheville, NC, where he taught Chinese life and health arts, as well as classes in achieving positive mental focus, realizing your dreams and goals, and savoring the ongoing process of Mastery--creating the life you'd really love to live. His current interest is using the energy generated from Taiji practice to explore the "law of Attraction." Now semi-retired from active teaching, Paul presents occasional seminars and coaches a few select private students.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Drawing Silk is a good book for tai chi beginners.
First, a reader
His book, Drawing Silk is an excellent distillation of his experiences, insights and personal lessons learned.
M. Cain
I highly recommend thisbook to anyone with an interest in chinese movement arts.
Sean Lucey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Shelia Rae on May 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Tai Chi world has long awaited the reprint of Paul Gallagher's DRAWING SILK as a manual for traditional Tai Chi training.

Complied from 40 years of research and practice of Tai Chi and Taoist Arts, the reader is presented not only with an essential guide to correct Practice and Study, but also with the classical writings of the early Masters in a easy to understand format.

Questions are answered and Forms are discussed in detail; yet beyond this scope of the expected, there are also insights into Nutritional Science, Herbology, Geomancy and Chinese Etiquette for Martial Arts to form a composite whole of the philosophy interrelated with Tai Chi Chuan.

It is practical, inspiring and entertaining on a level that keeps the reader wanting more from this brilliant scholar of the Taoist Life Arts.

Shelia Rae, Tai Chi Teacher

Memphis, Tennessee
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Schunk on November 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
Master Gallagher's third edition of Drawing Silk is one of the finest and most complete books on Taiji Quan I have ever read. He taps into his vast knowledge culled from over 40 years of practice and study, not only of Taiji, but Qigong, Chinese medicine, nutrition, etiquette, history, and philosophy. His resume is as impressive as his book, having studied with many of the greatest Taiji masters of our time. He weaves delightful stories of them throughout. One of the highlights of the book for me is the chapter of questions collected from some of his students over the years and his wise and thoughtful answers--absolutely inspiring. This book is truly one of the great works on Taiji and should be in every serious player's library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By V. K. Lin on October 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

The author describes this book, even this new edition, as a compilation of materials gathered together for himself and his students over the course of many years. The material was put together in the 1970s and 1980s, and originally released in and around that time. After reading it, I'm guessing that at the time of its original release, this book must have been somewhat revelationary to the English-speaking Tai Chi practitioner. It includes an impressively clear, practical interpretation of the "Tai Chi Classics"-- among thesetreatises the author's interpretation of those seminal works as outlined in Amazon's "Product Description" above. Today, however, there are several other interpretations available, and each provides a slightly different perspective, and therefore insights. Still, given that this interpretation in approaching 30+ years old, I am certainly impressed by its simple, down-to-earth clarity on how to utilize these admonitions for Tai Chi practice. To me, this is the meat of the book.

The author clearly intends this book for the beginner and intermediate practitioner, in that he opens with a long chapter on the "Five Animal Frolics"-- a simplified set of forms that enable the beginner to nail down basic concepts and biomechanics before embarking on the more complex Tai Chi set. I must say, I had never heard of the Frolics before, but a quick visit to the Internet and YouTube clarified things. Personally, I don't think that the Frolics are an absolute necessity, and certainly not without an instructor pointing out the key concepts. Instead, I'd rely more heavily on finding a good teacher, then focusing on single movement exercises to accomplish the same thing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Cain on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mr. Gallagher has studied and practiced with some of the most influential and skilled Tai Chi and Taoist masters of our time. His book, Drawing Silk is an excellent distillation of his experiences, insights and personal lessons learned. While not necessarily a "step by step - how to", this book provides rare aspects of a most profound and sophisticated art. I recommend it to anyone interested in pursuing Tai Chi Chuan and acquiring its many benefits. Besides, the various stories are really good!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sean Lucey on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Deeper understanding of Tai Chi can be hard to obtain. Looking beyond a basic understanding of the the "health" exercise form, Paul Gallagher gives a deeper sense of insight from one who has obviously studied, experienced and taught this magnificent health and self-defense system. Translations of the classics, discussions of the benefits of Tai Chi practice, what to expect from a Tai Chi class, questions and answers, form movement references, and terrific anecdotes are here for everyone from the beginner to advanced student.I highly recommend thisbook to anyone with an interest in chinese movement arts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Debra K. Dean on July 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
In "Feeling into Words," Irish poet Seamus Heaney makes a distinction regarding the practice of poetry that seems especially relevant to *Drawing Silk*: craft, Heaney writes, is "the skill of making" whereas technique is the "whole creative effort of the mind's and body's resources to bring the meaning of experience within the jurisdiction of form." The analogue in taiji practice might be the skill of doing and the whole creative effort of being. If taiji practice were thought of as a lyric poem, then Paul B. Gallagher's wonderful and timeless book might be understood as drawing the thread of connection from the outward practice of taiji to the inward contexts and meaning that gave rise to and continue to inform it.

In this, Gallagher abides by the desire Yang Chengfu expressed in his introduction to *The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan*:

I hope that later students will not merely chase after the externals, but will instead pursue what is internal. If you
want to attain the highest achievement, have some patience and it will come. The important finer details of the boxing
postures cannot be obtained in the appearance of form, but must be sought in the idea that unites the whole. (12)

I very much appreciated the various angles through which Gallagher approaches the challenges of carrying a tradition into the future while remaining flexible enough to weigh and respond to a changing world if one's goal in studying and practicing taiji is, as he puts it in his chapter on etiquette, to become "a cultivated human being in the best sense of the term." As the book's subtitle suggests, in *Drawing Silk* Paul B. Gallagher shares translations of the Taiji Classics, personal experience as both a student and as a teacher, and tales--the integrated wisdom of body and heart/mind and spirit working in concert--to point the way.
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