6.b.xvii.-turning-silk-kinthissa Section

Turning Silk

Author: Kinthissa

Paperback: 215 Pages

Publisher: Lunival (2009)                                                                                 

ISBN-10:  0956284604 ISBN-13: 978-0956284600    

Reviewer: Nick Gudge (Dec 2011)

Turning Silk Book CoverIn some ways this is a beautiful, poetic book. The author, a student of Chen Xiao Wang since 1995, using some contemporaneous notes and her memories describes the feelings she had as she studied Chen style taijiquan with her teacher.

 Her writing style might be described as poetically descriptive. The book reads like a composition of her study notes and contains many thumbnail photos of Chen Xiao Wang correcting her in her studies with him.

 I do have major reservations with this book, and rereading for the third time,  I am left with two strong conclusions. The first is that the quality of the authors taijiquan is low level. (This conclusion is derived from both pictures and her own text.)

 The second is that as a mechanism for helping others progress in their understanding of taijiquan, this book is 70% distraction, 20% inconsequential and 10% informational. Of that 10% that is informational, some of it is unfortunately her own conclusions and not the teachings of her teacher so a further measure of inaccuracy must be added to the mix.

 I do not doubt either her own or Chen Xiao Wang’s good intentions, or her dedication of practice. Nevertheless the results of this lengthy process do not appear to be desirable. So I must question the merits of her chosen approach which appears to one of concentration on proprioception and internal feeling i.e. the movement of qi, given her apparent level of Gong Fu.

 Overall I find the book to be highly introspective, not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case not helpful. The author’s frequent meanderings into descriptions of her environment, the weather, local fauna etc may add to the poetic element of the book but are, in my opinion, a distraction. As an aid to helping a student understand the process of study with Chen Xiao Wang I would say this is a weak assistant.

 Ratings:          Overall: 3.50  out of 10

Content: 2 out of 10  Language: 4 out of 10       Accuracy: 5 out of 10     Helpfulness: 3 out of 10