Written specifically for the Western practitioner, Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate blends modern science and philosophy with the traditional wisdoms—drawn from classic t’ai chi literature—that underlie Chinese martial arts. Author Rick Barrett authoritatively describes a wide range of movements, practices, and positions in the context of such topics as being in the zone, effortless power and force versus power, the whole-body energetic connection, instant meditation, and energetic coherence. Step-by-step exercises help make this sometimes daunting discipline simple and accessible.
In probably the best contemporary book on Taijiquan I’ve encountered in recent years, Rick Barrett has created a visual and energetic guidebook to assist each of us in understanding the world of mind and energy that lies hidden under the cloak of western scientific and philosophic rigor. This cloak constitutes the “Western Gate” and can prevent us from understanding and participating in the full beauty and magnificence that awaits us in the world of Taijiquan, Qigong and other Chinese (or other cultures’) arts.
Mr. Barrett is right to say that entry Through the Western Gate requires more than a simple intellectual understanding of cultural and contextual differences between where we’ve begun and where we wish to go. It requires real work, gong fu, to help us absorb the elements of this cultural treasure into our very being – our bones and marrow and breath – to become one with it.
This is a book for taijiquan novices, practitioners, enthusiasts and aficionados of all skill levels from abject beginners to those that have practiced for decades. I picked up this book on recommendation from a fellow teacher and dear friend and was so convinced of its value that I added it for study and discussion with my intermediate/advanced students. We spent 12 weeks reviewing and discussing this book and playing with the many exercises. This has had a profound impact on my study and practice and that of many of my students. Many thanks to Rick Barrett for this wonderful contribution to the literature of taijiquan. Read this book!