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Posts Tagged ‘Francis Bacon’

Push-hands: The Handbook For Non-Competitive Tai Chi Practice With A Partner”  —  book review
Today’s book review is for “Push-hands: The Handbook For Non-Competitive Tai Chi Practice With A Partner” (1997©), written by Herman Kauz.  This is one of those learn martial arts by pictures books.  Having said that, which makes my review sound disparaging – this is a valuable / useful book.
This is a very short book.  It is 128 pages (in my hard-bound edition), and the second half of the book has images on almost every page (at least a hundred images over the 50 pages).  If you are reading this book straight through, you can easily complete it in a day.  Unfortunately, you will get almost nothing from the book if you do this.  To borrow from Francis Bacon: this is a book to be “chewed and digested”.
I first became “aware” of push-hands as a teenager, when my uncle (who was taking Kung-fu lessons) demonstrated it to my brother and me.  Unfortunately, if you don’t have a partner close at hand for a LONG period, it is (IMHO) very difficult to get the prolonged experience necessary to learn from this practice.  I’ve never had such a partner.  At any rate, I have been a life-long dabbler / dilettante in several martial arts: boxing, wrestling, Hapkido, Judo, and Aikido.  I spent the most time playing Aikido, but even with almost a decade of intermittent practice, I was never very advanced.  With advancing age, I recently have become interested in Tai Chi as a form of exercise. I primarily wish to strengthen my ligaments and improve my balance.  “Push-hands” is one of the “forms” of practice which helps improve the Tai Chi students awareness of self and of others.
The author states early in the book, that one must have practiced the Tai Chi “first form” for a minimum of six months before attempting push-hands.  This is to establish the sense of self which will serve as your foundation for sensing others and establishing balance. I found this assertion to be very much in accordance with my own Aikido experience and from then on the book (author) had me “hooked”.  One note here.  The “balance” which I was seeking is not the same “balance” being used by the author.  I don’t want to fall down.  He wants more.  The author wants the reader (practitioner) to balance their personality and life – as well as – understand “balance” for martial purposes.
If the second half of the book is a picture-book tutorial of a martial art technique, what is the first half about?  History, philosophy, society and economics.  Huh??  Yup!  There are chapters on society, economics and history, the positive and negative aspects of competing, how we change what we think and why we should want to, the difficulty of doing so, seeing the world differently and then (finally) how we can use push-hands to develop ourselves as responsible / caring beings.
So, is this a good training / instructional manual?  Yes.  I believe it will be if you can find a partner to work with.  Is it interesting and / or well written?  Yes.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find it much better than (the many) martial art picture tutorials / books I’ve read in the past.  Final recommendation: highly recommended.  Of course, I do have qualifications, but they are mainly about trying to learn any physical activity by reading about it.  Having said this, I think most anyone who is willing to do the pre-training (the six months on the first form) will find this a valuable addition to their library and a source of material for deep thought about society and about Tai Chi tactics as a martial art – beyond it’s calisthenics / health usefulness.
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On This Day In:
2019 I’m Still Struggling To Rise
2018 Once Suddenly Free
2017 What Is Childlike
2016 The Latter A Lot Quicker Than The Former
2015 Notes On My Nightstand
2014 Generations
2013 Two For One
2012 Seen And Heard
2011 The Hazards And Vicissitudes Of Life

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He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.
  —  Francis Bacon
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On This Day In:
2018 History Will Judge Harshly
Father Time, Perhaps?
2017 Odds Are
2016 Prayer, Too
2015 History, n.
2014 See It Sometime
2013 Precious Friend
2012 It Couldn’t Be Done
Feeling Surrounded?
2011 Surprise!

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Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
   —   Francis Bacon
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On This Day In:
2016 So Go On And Deal With It
2015 From A Letter To A Friend
2014 Your Part (Here)
2013 Complements
2012 Sound And Light
2011 Two Politicians Visit A Farm…
2010 Labor Day And Honorable Men

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The best way to keep good acts in memory is to refresh them with new ones.
   —  Francis Bacon
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On This Day In:
2015 Will You Be Leaving Soon?
2014 Just Long Enough
2013 R.I.P. – Tom Laughlin
Seeking Success?
2012 All Aboard
2011 Sail On, Sailor

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Dubbed “Prospero’s Precepts”, these eleven rules culled from some of history’s greatest minds can serve as a general-purpose guideline for critical thinking in all matters of doubt:
1.   All beliefs in whatever realm are theories at some level.  (Stephen Schneider)
2.   Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own.  You may both be wrong.  (Dandemis)
3.   Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.  (Francis Bacon)
4.   Never fall in love with your hypothesis.  (Peter Medawar)
5.   It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.  Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.  (Arthur Conan Doyle)
6.   A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong.  (Francis Crick)
7.   The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting.  (Richard Feynman)
8.   To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.  (Charles Darwin)
9.   It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.  (Mark Twain)
10.  Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.  (Thomas Jefferson)
11.  All truth passes through three stages.  First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.  (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  —   Peter Surrock
From his book: “AKA Shakespeare: A Scientific Approach to the Authorship Question
[Found at a site I like to visit every now and then:   http://www.brainpickings.org/
The specific post was found at:  http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/04/01/aka-shakespeare/
Well worth a visit…   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Friends
2013 Learning Bitter
2012 Remembrance, Minstrels & Going Off To War
May I Have More Happiness, Please?
2011 There Is No God, But God
2010 Another Running Book…

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It is my intention to make the circuit of knowledge, noticing what parts lie waste and uncultivated, and abandoned by the industry of man; with a view to engage, by a faithful mapping out of the deserted tracts, the energies of public and private persons in their improvement.
   —  Francis Bacon
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On This Day In:
2013 The Sweet Path
2012 Living Free And Abolition
Morning Wood
2011 I Resemble That Remark

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Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.  Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.  Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things.  Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.  And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know, that he doth not.
  —   Francis Bacon
From “On Studies
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On This Day In:
2013 Off Defending The Universe
Taking Precautions
2012 Never, Never, Never
2011 Testing 1, 2, 3

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Some books are to be tasted; others to be swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested.
  —   Francis Bacon
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