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Steal My Art: he Life and Times of T'ai Chi Master T.T. Liang Paperback – August 9, 2002
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From the Publisher
Journal of Asian Martial Arts (Volume 12, #2, 2003) wrote:
"It is said that you never forget your first lover. I don't know about that. But I will never forget my first taiji teacher in Taiwan. Liang T'ungstai (Liang Tongcai) was his name and T.T. Liang was the sobriquet he answered to...We visited Professor Zheng Manqing's (Cheng Man-c'ing) home on Sunday mornings in 1959-62, a class for Zheng's seniors at which Liang occasionally translated. He also was an enabler par excellance, introducing me to several great boxers and, as translator, accompanying me to practice with them...A good man, sometimes quiet and reserved, Liang had a ready wit and his English was impeccable. We spent many hours together and got on famously. In fact, I knew him, his history and personality, better than I knew my own father."
About the Author
"It is said that you never forget your first lover. I don't know about that. But I will never forget my first taiji teacher in Taiwan. Liang T'ungstai (Liang Tongcai) was his name and T.T. Liang was the sobriquet he answered to...We visited Professor Zheng Manqing's (Cheng Man-ch'ing) home on Sunday mornings in 1959-62, a class for Zheng's seniors at which Liang occasionally translated. He also was an enabler par excellence, introducing me to several great boxers and, as translator, accompanying me to practice with them...A good man, sometimes quiet and reserved, Liang had a ready wit and his English was impeccable. We spent many hours together and got on famously. In fact, I knew him, his history and personality, better than I knew my own father."
—Journal of Asian Martial Arts
Top Customer Reviews
In fact, I found sifu Olson's bio of Liang quite well written and immensely entertaining, for master Liang often has a wit and sense of humor that is as subtle but irrepressible as his tai chi. The life and times of master Liang, his personality, and his philosophy emerge through numerous anecdotes, personal observations, stories, and notes that Olson took in his many discussions with Liang over the years. There is also a good deal of important tai chi history and lineage here that is worth knowing, discussing the contributions of various other masters, such as Yang Cheng Fu and Chang San Feng, and many others.
If you are already a knowledgeable or senior practitioner there might not be much here in the way of new information on how to do tai chi, but if you're a beginner to intermediate student, there is much good information and material here to further your knowledge. But Liang's life story and his amazing adventures and his inimitable personality are the main attractions of this book. Also, his personal philosophy is worth considering too. If the world followed his principles we would be better off and the world would be a far less violent and more peaceful place. But humans are humans, and so they would rather hate and kill each other than follow tai chi's taoist principles and live in peace.
There was one extremely interesting thing about tai chi in the book that I have to mention, though, about when Liang went to visit a reclusive master on a mountain, who was reluctant to discuss his tai chi. He said that all the aphorisms of the great masters about how to do tai chi are merely tricks to get you to do it correctly. For example, the statement that one must allow all one's weight and energy to sink into the "bubbling well" or kidney point on the bottom of the foot. The master said that it just isn't the upper body that is yin and the lower body yang, but that all power must come from the foot. In other words, it isn't that half of the body is yin and half of the body is yang, it's more like 95% is yin and only 5% is yang. Then he showed Liang the difference between doing "wood" tai chi and "cotton" tai chi. This was a fascinating encounter and perhaps the most telling in the whole book.
One other thing I found intriguing was when Liang had to go into the hospital at age 85 for some tests. The doctor said that his internal organs, unlike most 80 year-olds, had not shrunk or atrophied somewhat as is typical of the elderly. The doctor attributed that to the increased blood flow to the internal organs from his lifelong practice of tai chi. If true, then this is yet one more reason to practice tai chi.
For those who believe a T'ai Chi teacher is a God or Icon and not a man at heart (yo' Smith) think again.
It's Great to read about Master T. T. Liang, a man who lived beyond what most could dream. A Great work, for those of us who loved T.T. first as a wonderful man then a great teacher here's the real deal, like it or not!
The author Stuart Olson lived with Master Liang for many years and was his closed door student. Thank You Stuart !
I almost met Master Liang, but didn't. Now I feel as if I had. Mr. Olson has brought us a living portrait which one feels can't be flawed.
This book is entertaining, inspiring and historically interesting -- for Taiji practitioners especially.
Gee, Prof. Cheng Man-Ching doesn't come off too well ... so I've decided to use Master Liang's example and not judge and accept the greatness that he did or may have had.
In this book I see the portrait of an old rogue -- like many old people -- having a healthier perspective than most younger ones and understanding the give and take of life (as in push-hands). It would be interesting to know what he was like at a younger age.
In summation, I think it is a well-written book and contains some jewels for the taiji student at any level.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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