bookrev: Sunrise Tai Chi by Ramel Rones
Sunrise Tai Chi provides an introduction to Tai Chi Chuan, with easy to understand descriptions of the history and principles, plus visualizations to help with the hard-to-understand breathing/mental disciplines and a short “Sunrise Tai Chi Form” that should prove a quick learn for beginning and advanced students.
More advanced students will find benefit from the visualizations provided for focus and energy. The concepts of qi/chi and Eastern concepts of energy are difficult to grasp, especially when described in flowery languages that are unfamiliar. Mr. Rones (an advanced student of Dr. Yang, Jwing-ming, whose martial arts books are among the best I’ve read) provides a different perspective for these visualizations which should help all students look at energy flow in a different way.
The book is broken down into the following sections:
Chapter 1: What is Tai Chi – a brief coverage of the history and philosophy.
Chapter 2: Human Energy: Internal Visualization – this visualizations chapter provides a step-by-step program, building simpler visualizations (starting with abdominal breathing), progressing through visualizations for both the upper and lower dan tien to gates and bubble breathing. Physical and mental aspects for both are covered. This is the most fundamental but complex portion of tai chi / qigong training, and Mr. Rones breaks it down into simple repetitive pieces, including providing a great description of the “baton” between the upper and lower energy centers.
Chapter 3: Sunrise Tai Chi Mind/Body Program – the program goes through twenty-one sitting or standing meditations, again with focus on both physical and mental aspects. Mr. Rones provides discussion on what these movements are doing and why they should be held for three minutes or more (as you progress through the program).
Chapter 4: Understanding Tai Chi Movements- in preparation for presenting his form, Mr. Rones provides a detailed walk through posture, stance, Tai Chi movements and transitions. Much of this material is available in other books, but the descriptions included here are quite detailed; he walks through stances (such as diagonal flying, press and ward off) first with legs stationary, then combining the leg movements.
Chapter 5: Sunrise Tai Chi Form – Mr. Rones Sunrise Tai Chi Form is a balanced left side/right side form, incorporating some basic Yang-style stances and movements.
The subtitle of this book is “Simplified Tai Chi for Health and Longevity”, and describes exactly what this book provides: taking the complexities and sometimes dauntingly long forms and putting it into a format accessible for all.