In the Presence of Cheng Man Ching, hardcover edition
(Autographed copies of this book can be found here.)
When karate and jiu-jitsu expert William C. Phillips encounters a master of the soft and graceful movements of tai chi in 1970s New York Chinatown, his physical and spiritual approach to martial arts and life are transformed forever. Master Cheng teaches Phillips how to breathe, to give up physical strength, to rely on energy, to study calligraphy, Chinese philosophy and the art of being human.
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From the author…
I was the most junior student, both in age and in seniority, to become a teacher in Professor Cheng’s school. He took an interest in me, and, as I drove him to the Association, and got medicine from him, I was able to talk to him personally, as well as be there for his public talks.
I share the information I gleaned, as well as my thoughts on it. He said that there are no secrets, and we just need to practice, relax and have faith in what we were taught. There are no secrets, but that does not mean that everything is apparent, just that it is not hidden.
I hope my book, in addition to giving my history up to and through my time with Professor Cheng, will unlock some of the mysteries that people seem to find in his teachings.
William C. Phillips
Professor Cheng said we should live according to Chun Yun. We should not do too much or too little, or do it too early or too late. Professor Cheng told us: In this way we could perfect ourselves always.
James Wah Kong Chan 陈华江, PhD –
As a personal memoir, In the Presence of Cheng Man-Ch’ing, is a good accompaniment to the documentary film, “The Professor: T’ai Chi’s Journey West.” Written in a relaxed, unadorned manner, Mr. Phillips relates his memories of studying under the legendary Old Master from 1970 until his passing in 1975. It is a memory lane of a student who was eager to learn and a teacher who was willing to teach, despite their different language and cultural backgrounds. I find Chapters 11 and 12 especially valuable because they embody a wealth of practical knowledge and wisdom for both martial arts and for ‘civilians’ like me seeking exercises for health and wellness. The book is also an unintended LinkedIn of Who’s Who in Yang-style T’ai Chi.