This innovative book makes the benefits of Tai Chi directly available to Westerners by communicating its essence in poetic, evocative, and humorous images that apply not only to movement practices of all kinds but to daily life. The book does not assume any knowledge of Tai Chi forms.
The images in this book - drawn from a wide variety of sources, both Chinese and Western, ancient and modern - are easy to understand, fun to work with, and embody the true inner spirit of Tai Chi's timeless tradition. The book contains hundreds of photos and line drawings illustrating the images, detailed explanations of the biomechanical realities that underlie the images, and a summary of the latest scientific research on the benefits of Tai Chi.
Acknowledgements. Photo Credits. Introduction. Letting Go. A Key to Relaxation: Commitment. Letting Go of Muscular Tension. Power Through Letting Go. Letting Go of 'Doing'. Letting Go of Thought. Letting Go of Limitation. Stance, Rooting, and Stepping. The Importance of Balance. Using Imagery for Balance. The 'Empty Step'. The Iliopsoas Muscle Complex and its Role in Stepping. Transferring Your Weight. Feet Like an Ape's Feet that can Hold on to Branches. Riding a Horse. Stance Like a Mountain. Your Body is just the Tip of the Iceberg. Your Reflection is Underneath the Ground. Lines of Magnetic Force. Stance is an Arch. Sitting on an Exercise Ball. Stance like a Car Suspension System. Being Carried in a Sedan Chair. Doing the Form Under a Low Ceiling. Skating. The Pelvis Opens and Closes Like a Book. The Center. Life, Emotion, Power, and Breath. Sinking the Consciousness into the Center. The Eye of the Storm. Pelvic Floor like a Trampoline. Psoas and Iliopsoas. Sitting in a Chair. Climbing Harness. Hydraulic Jacks Lift Your Ribcage Off Your Hipbones. Trapping a Sheet of Paper in the Crease of the Hip. Sweeping Beer Bottles off a Table. The Trim of the Pelvis. Hipbones Resting in one Horizontal Track. Hipbones like Headlamps. Feel the Pelvis as a Large Cup with a Handle. Pelvis like a Bowl of Fruit. Circuits Around the Center. The Process of Developing Awareness of your Center. Your Spine and Your Line. Anatomy and Musculature of the Spine. The Jade Pillow – Gateway Between Mind and Body. The Golden Cord. Sitting on a Window-ledge. Feel the Spine like a Snake. The Pin of a Vertical Hinge. A Downward-pointing Spear. A Golf Ball Resting on a Tee. Feather Extends Upward from Back of Head to Paint the Sky. You have a Dinosaur Tail. As if Balancing a Book on your Head. One Line Through Back of Head, Tailbone, and Heel of Support Foot. Three Circles in the Torso. Radiance. The Inner Smile. Breathing into Every Cell in your Body. Bursting with Energy like the Michelin Man. An Aura Surrounds Your Body. Like Watering a Flower. Light Shining out from all your Energy Centres. Lights Shining out to and Beyond the Horizon. Shoulders, Arms, and Hands. Relaxing the Arms. Relaxing the Shoulders. Energetic Openness. Connection. Flow and Rhythm. Rhythm. Flow. Combating Evil Spirits. Dancing with the Spirits. The Five Elements. Power. Mechanical Disadvantage and how we get Around it. Static Power. Bracing of the Small of the Back. Dynamic Power. Wave Energy. Explosive Power. Self and Other: Push Hands. Notes on Word Choices. Push Hands is for Everyone. Intention, Relationship, and Push Hands. Push Hands 'Light'. Push Hands as a Formal Practice. Effectiveness of Imagery for Push Hands. Some Basic Images for Push Hands 'Light'. Stick, Connect, Absorb, and Displace. Imagery for Level 1: Sticking. Imagery for Level 2: Connecting. Imagery for Level 3: Absorbing. Imagery for Level 4: Displacing. Tai Chi Straight Sword and Other Weapons. Tip of Weapon Passes through a Tiny Hole without Touching the Sides. Tip of the Sword is 'Sucked' out into Space. The Sword is an Extension of your own Body. Dissecting the Air as if it were Solid. Slicing a Pillow. Imagine your Empty Hand as Another Sword. The Overhead Chop - Like Unrolling a Red Carpet - or like an Ice Skater going into a Spin. Imagery in Daily Life. Appendix A: Mathematics and Mechanics of Tai Chi. Open Curves and Mechanical Advantage. Gravity, the Ground Force, and the Balance of Forces. Elastic and Inelastic Collisions. Appendix B: Scientific Research on Tai Chi. Confounding Effects in Tai Chi Research. Research Reviews by Subject. How to Research the Research. Bibliography. The Tai Chi Classics. Imagery and Movement. Imagery and the Mind. The Five Elements.
'(...) is to my mind one of the most exciting tai chi books I have read in a long time... Martin Mellish clearly understands this and his novel approach to the subject means that his book is one that truly is accessible to Western readers... A Tai Chi Imagery Workbook: Spirit, Intent, and Motion is a must have.'
'The Tai Chi Imagery Workbook by Martin Mellish is an experiential and inspirational book that you can just pick up and choose to work with individual concepts, giving both teachers and practitioners an infinite variety of imagery to enhance their skills and practice. Not only is this an ideal book for Tai Chi, but also for those who practise or teach Yoga, Pilates, dance and meditation.
It brings alive, in a user friendly way, time-honoured wisdom into modern concepts, allowing us to explore the value of imagery and imagination in our everyday lives. This is a practice which, as the author states, in western culture has long been feared, put down or regarded as just superstition. It is a chance to return to the playfulness of childhood, and use the skill of imagination in a creative and constructive way. He has embodied the true essence and spirit of an ancient tradition, applying a skilful balance between play and anatomical, structural and philosophical information. At the same time he addresses other modalities, for those who would prefer to approach the book, not just in a visual sense but, in a more tactile and kinaesthetic way. This makes it full of accessible ideas to enhance the lives of all ages and abilities.
It is also an excellent aid to teachers and those who need to get the concepts across to others who have never experience Tai Chi before, making them illuminating and fun for all generations and fitness levels. The author's practical, no messing approach to anatomy and physiology creates an accessible way for the lay person to easily grasp the essence of what is needed in order to use their body in the correct way whilst at the same time enhancing the flow of Chi or vital life force through it... I was sincerely delighted to be asked to review this inspiring book, because and as a Yoga, Tai Chi and Shiatsu teachers trainer myself I would be happy to recommend this book to all my students and teachers, and put in into their recommended reading list. Knowing that within its covers is a lifetime of practical and thought-provoking universal images and concepts to experience and work with.'
- Positive Health Online
'Love this book! If you only ever buy one tai chi book then make it this one. Quite simply it makes tai chi movements intuitive... This book helps you to experience tai chi for yourself... This book is suitable for all levels from beginner to experienced practitioner and instructor. There's some 30 years of experienced contained within its pages but such is the clarity and simplicity that you don't feel weighed down by all the knowledge but rather lifted up because things you thought were complicated can be experienced in a simple way.'
'This is a wonderful book, full of unusual and thoughtful images to help students and teachers find new paths to Tai Chi satisfaction and success. I highly recommend this book to all Tai Chi players, no matter what style they practice.'
- Michael Gilman, President of the International Society of Tai Chi Chuan Instructors, Grand champion competitor, and author of 108 Insights into Tai Chi Chuan and 101 Reflections on Tai Chi Chuan
'In this non style specific book Martin gives the reader plenty of examples of imagery, for example "walk like a cat on a frozen pond" and lovely pictures to back them up. However, his experience in Tai Chi and authentic scientific background shines through. In particular I like the use of imagery backed by logic, illustrations and detailed explanations. If nothing else we should all try Martin's version of "Opening the Jade Pillow" whether you do Tai Ci or not. I think I will be "dipping" in and out of this book for a long time to come, with plenty of good ideas to experiment with... I would recommend this book and can see benefits to Tai chi players and non players alike.'
- UKTai Chi Ltd
'Post Cultural-Revolution tai chi does not include imagery, but Mellish learned from older teachers. He brings a sense of play to the underlying illustrated movements, while inviting body mindfulness, designed to tap into inner wisdom for building strength, flexibility, and balance... these practices, illustrated and explained with humor and wisdom, create the potential for a powerful mind-body shift. Profound moments emerge in comments such as "Commitment does not mean increasing the force that is pulling you forward, but letting go of the force that is holding you back." These physical practices combined with visuals bring such wisdom alive by igniting mindful movement in unexpected and everyday ways.'
- Bobbye Middendorf - Foreword
Martin Mellish has been studying and teaching Tai Chi for over thirty years. He is a certified hypnotherapist and Yoga teacher and teaches Tai Chi in Seattle, USA. He holds a Master's degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University, and has published articles with both 'Qi' Magazine and 'Tai Chi' Magazine. In addition to his Tai Chi practice, Martin Mellish is a technical rock climber, dancer and martial artist. He has travelled extensively in China to practice Tai Chi, and to explore the sacred mountains and minority cultures of Western China and Tibet. He resides in Port Townsend, Washington.
Edited by Zhu Bing and Wang Hongcai
Advisor: Cheng Xinnong
Editor in Chief: Tianjun Liu, O.M.D.
Associate Editor in Chief: Kevin W Chen, Ph.D.
Singing Dragon is an imprint of Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Jessica Kingsley Publishers is a limited company registered in England. Registered number: 2073602. VAT Reg. No: 455 2134 66.
© 1996, 2013 Jessica Kingsley Publishers.