I was pleased to get an early Christmas present yesterday – my review copy of Scott P Phillip’s Possible Origins has arrived!
I’m currently simultaneously listening to the Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin and reading Happy by Derren Brown, so I can’t wait to add a third book to my list of ‘books I haven’t finished yet’. But seriously, I need to get myself together, because Possible Origins looks like a great for anybody involved in Chinese martial arts. It’s not academically written – it’s highly readable, controversial and mind expanding.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what the book is about, but my quick summation of the point of Scott’s research is that over the years, and thanks to several different political movements, Chinese martial arts (including Taijiquan) have been stripped of their cultural associations so much that a lot of things we do today don’t make sense anymore. Only by researching the previous connections to Chinese folk religion, ritual, theatre and opera can we make sense of the arts that have been handed down to us today.
My explanation above probably doesn’t get exactly to the heart of the matter, or present the argument in exactly the right way, but it’s a good start. I look forward to reading the book and finding out more. One thing I’ve noticed by skimming through already though is that he answers all the obvious questions you might have about this theory, or at least does his best to tackle them, right away.
Full review to follow!