Tai Chi Connections
“Tai Chi Connections” is one of the best, if not the best text on theory and technique.
Sifu John Starr, M.D., February 2014
Very well written and illustrated, to say the least. Sifu John Loupos should widen his base, at least based on what I saw in the book photos.
Tai Chi Connections (5.0 out of 5 stars)
By Til Jai, March 28, 2013
I like how this book shows what we are doing it is a grate book to further what you are learning. It was organized really well and gives lots of good things to think about. This book is more for people who are already practicing it. Taiji instructor, Certified Personal Trainer
connected on many levels (5.0 out of 5 stars)
By Zenpony VINE VOICE, August 6, 2010
This book really connects the many levels of tai chi play. It’s not just martial, it’s not just physical, it’s not just spiritual, it’s all connected. Sifu Loupos has the genuine connection to the heart and soul of tai chi. His writing is clear and his photos even clearer. As a tai chi player for many years, I have discovered that students learn and process in many different ways. For myself, one of the most valuable lessons I learned from an early teacher is that it is sometimes good to show how to do a posture the incorrect way. For instance, a teacher might tell a student to follow his example and perform a posture. The student thinks he/she is following exactly, however the posture may be off. The teacher may then say, “adjust your knees, or don’t lean”. The student then thinks, “are my knees too far forward? turned in? turned out? am I leaning forward? leaning backward?.” That being said, showing the correct posture, then giving examples of just what the student is doing that does not follow principles is a very valuable tool. Sifu Loupos does just that in this book. His very clear photos will show the proper position, and a photo of the same move, done not quite so properly.
That makes this book a very valuable reference in my extensive martial library. I would buy any of John Loupos’ books. He is truly connected on a deep level to the art.
Advance your practice and move forward on a path of personal growth and development. (5.0 out of 5 stars)
By Alain B. Burrese TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE, July 24, 2010
“Tai Chi Connections: Advancing Your Tai Chi Experience” by Sifu John Loupos is a book for serious Tai Chi practitioners that have the basics down and are looking to advance their training to maximize the benefits obtained by training. If you are a beginner, or looking for a beginning tai chi resource, this book may be a bit advanced for you, and I’d recommend looking at alternate resources. But if you are an intermediate or advanced practitioner, this book will undoubtedly assist you with taking your training to a higher understanding.
The first part of the book consists of four chapters that focus on topics such as the opportunities found in slowness, the benefits of group vs. individual practice, loose ends, and tai chi as a path to congruence. This part is more academic, and will provide you something to think about regarding your practice, or as the author states, points to ponder.
Chapters five through eight comprise the second part of the book. In this section, Loupos covers arranging your body in a tai chi way. He explains transitions and connections, moving force from your earth root, the role of momentum in tai chi, and the three-treasures guide to proper stepping in tai chi. I found the photographs and explanations in this section very good, but sometimes I do feel that video would assist with the concepts Loupos is explaining. (My understanding is there is a DVD to accompany this book, but I have only read the book) Regardless, for the tai chi practitioner to really benefit from the information presented here, he or she will have to actually practice the movements covered in the chapters and “feel” what Loupos is describing.
Part three of the book contains three more chapters that are titled other topics and lectures. These include optimizing your tai chi practice, other lectures (A chapter with a collection of useful and interesting tidbits), and thoughts and musing on being a teacher. As a martial art instructor, I found this last chapter especially interesting. I always enjoy hearing other’s thoughts on teaching to make myself better at teaching so I can provide the best for those I teach.
This really is a great book for those that want to explore the nuances and technical intricacies of tai chi training. The back of the book claims that Loupos takes great joy in encouraging and motivating Tai Chi students everywhere to advance their practice and move forward on a path of personal growth and development. Well, Sifu Loupos can feel very pleased with this book, because it does just that. It will definitely help students of Tai Chi advance their practice and move forward on a path of personal growth and development.
Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author of the Lock On Joint Locking Essentials series.
Another Winner From the Folks at YMAA (5.0 out of 5 stars)
By Shawn Kovacich, July 23, 2010
Having been a practicing martial artist for almost three decades now, I can say that I have a very minimal understanding of the art of Tai Chi, but a HUGE amount of respect for it. As a matter of fact I use a lot of the same principles in some of my various teaching methods in order to have my students get the most out of their techniques. As I read this book, I found myself immediately thinking how I could apply some of the techniques and explanations that the author so eloquently stated in my own teaching. Believe you me, I found a ton of good information in this book, and I don’t practice or teach Tai Chi. Just imagine how much information a practitioner/teacher would find in this volume. It’s staggering!
I would highly recommend this and literally any book (or DVD for that matter) from the fantastic people at YMAA. They definitely know what they are talking about.
Shawn Kovacich, Creator of numerous books and DVD’s.
Great read for beginning to intermediate tai chi practioners (4.0 out of 5 stars)
By S. Schmidton, July 9, 2010
I think this book is a decent read for intermediate tai chi practitioners. Without repeating the contents of this book as presented by other reviewers, John Loupos covers many components of tai chi practice from the more esoteric to the physical. I particularly enjoyed the first and third sections of the book, Points To Ponder and Other Topics and Lectures. Within these sections are many of Loupos’ personal insights into the more mental and non-movement aspects of tai chi practice. These insights are windows into advanced understanding of theory and tai chi practice. A favorite chapter of mine was Chapter 11: Thoughts and Musings on Being a Teacher. As an instructor, I really appreciated the author’s commentary. Other tai chi practitioners may find some great insight into rooting and understanding of particular movements and postures in Part 2, which concerns itself with the specifics of motion.
Overall however I found the publication to be almost too generalized. Mr. Loupos covers rooting, breathing, principles of meditation, structure, movements, postures, transitions, teaching, and more. Hundreds of authors have written upon various components of tai chi; dozens of books exist on the various specifics of each component. Here, the author presents what amounts to an overview of nearly all the intricacies of tai chi practice within some 185 pages, not including the glossary. Because of the vastness of principles and concepts presented by the author, I consider this publication to be just another among many. YMAA Publications actually publishes more in-depth and advanced publications about the various components of tai chi practice. While I would consider this book to be valuable to beginners to intermediate students, more advance students should check out other YMAA publications and DVDs, particularly those authored by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming.
Tai Chi Connections – advancing your tai chi experience by John Loupos (5.0 out of 5 stars)
By Son, July 8, 2010
Tai Chi Connections advancing your Tai Chi experience by John Loupos
Having only practiced Tai Chi for one year, I was concerned that I would not be able to grasp the information in this book. However the art I practice is Taoist Tai Chi Society’s Internal Art of Taijiquan. Although the form is different from that of Mr. Loupos, as well as some of the moves and the names of the moves, I have gained more insight on the concept of rooting, intention, congruence, etc.
A good deal of the information was over my head. For now this book has been a helpful reference. I am sure that as I grow in my practice it will continue to be more helpful.
As a result of reading this book I plan to get his earlier books. I believe they well be of greater help to me at my current level.
In conclusion, if this book was helpful to me as a beginner then I’m sure it can benefit the intermediate and advanced students. There is a wealth of information in this book so beginners don’t shy away from it. This book can be a great help to you as you grow in your practice.
Great for advanced techniques (5.0 out of 5 stars)
By Mary L. Currie, June 18, 2010
Tai Chi Connections was not the type of book you’d sit down and read cover to cover. I would look up a technique I’d want to learn more about go to that chapter. It really helped to have photos of the correct procedures and not-so correct. It allows you to concentrate on certain areas while flowing with the intended motion.
I am used to reading/listening to a more female approach so I had to chuckle with the ‘guy wires’ – imagine the lower legs as giant screws – Tai Chi punch – torquing your knees – the world is our screwdriver – or during Shake to Your Root, ‘while vibrating, ask a partner to first pull against your front knee, and then push.’ Say what? I can imagine what stares I would get if I asked to learn that one.
All in all, I really learned about what techniques were important – the movement, alignment and quality of flow. John Loupos has a true love for Tai Chi and it shows. Good job.
A Tai Chi Book Like No Other! (4.0 out of 5 stars)
By North Star, June 15, 2010
John Loupos’s “Tai Chi Connections” is a thought provoking, illuminating, inspiring, and useful tai chi treatise.
The book is divided into 3 sections (parts) consisting of 11 chapters covering a wide range of general and specific material regarding the practice and body mechanics of tai chi. Included are simple, clear photographs that help clarify and explain concepts and demonstrate correct posture and training exercise sequences.
Although primarily written for intermediate and advanced practitioners – beginners and those considering tai chi study will also benefit from reading Mr. Loupos’s lectures. Concepts and topics such as balance, rooting, chi, momentum, breathing, transitions, how to step, body mechanics and much more will be of great value to tai chi practitioners at any level and provide prospective students with a taste of what the study of Tai chi may (and eventually will) entail.
“Tai Chi Connections” is a unique collection of lectures on a wide range of tai chi concepts, ideas and topics. One would be hard pressed to find another tai chi book quite like it. I recommend it to anyone seriously interested in the art and mechanics of tai chi and in improving upon their practice, regardless of level.
Excellent material on proper structure that is relevant well beyond Tai Chi
By Eric Parsons (Kansas City, MO USA), June 10, 2010
I must admit that, when I first started this book, I did not think that I would like it. This is because the first few chapters (Part 1) start on a rather esoteric note, discussing topics such as congruence. Although these more philosophical aspects of the martial arts are interesting, that’s not where my focus is right now. Plus, I tend to balk at the more metaphysical aspects of the arts just as a matter of course. As such, I had begun to prepare myself for a long slog through the book.
Fortunately, though, that first part was short and sweet and gave way to the meat of the book – “Part 2: Arranging Your Body in a Tai Chi Way”. This middle section was an absolutely excellent discussion of proper structure in Tai Chi, with entire chapters on connecting and transitioning the body, rooting, momentum, and stepping. This material was explained in a clear and concise manner that should make sense to any martial practitioner and was enhanced by a large number of photos and illustrations that further clarified the concepts in ways that words alone could not. What was really great about this section, however, was how relevant it was to styles well beyond Tai Chi. Even hard, external stylists could benefit from a thorough reading and understanding of this material, since maintaining a solid structure and then using it as a base to destroy your opponent’s is a vital skill in self-defense. Actually, when I read this part of the book, I couldn’t help but make connections (pun intended) to Sensei Kris Wilder’s works on Sanchin Kata (The Way of Sanchin Kata: The Application of Power,Sanchin Kata (YMAA karate) Three Battles Karate Kata), e.g. check out the section “Your Knee: Turn It or Torque It” on page 61. Really, these all work well as companion pieces and can be studied in concert with one another.
The final part of the book, however, loses some of the momentum gained in Part 2. This is likely the result of a lack of focus. Although the material presented in Part 3 is interesting, it doesn’t have the unifying theme that was present in the middle of the book. In fact, this is somewhat acknowledged by the author, as he even titles one of the chapters “Other Lectures”. Interestingly, this is not the first Tai Chi book (or martial arts book, for that matter) that I have read that becomes a bit muddled at the end. Perhaps, it is inherent in the form. My guess is that it results either from (a) having too much information to expound upon and not enough pages to do so or (b) a desire to pad the page count. In either case, I would rather have shorter, tightly focused books than extra meandering chapters that don’t fit the work’s overall theme.
In the end, I had trouble deciding how to rate this book, as a relatively weak beginning and end bookended a great middle. However, as the second part of the book was its real heart (both in terms of page count and theme), I felt that its excellence outweighed my issues with the other sections. As a result, I settled on five stars.
Tai Chi student (5.0 out of 5 stars)
By L. Einbinderon, May 30, 2010
The author, John Loupos, has given me a new perspective in the study of Tai Chi. He presents an in-depth, easy to read, clear and comprehensive treatise of the art of Tai Chi. He takes out the mystery and gives the reader a sense of what the art is all about. The book lets you learn at your own pace in that the teaching is progressive with each chapter forwarding understanding of the art of Tai Chi. There are also many photos of the exercises with clear description of the movements and also the reasons behind the exercises.
What I especially like is the explanations where the fine points are learned anew, even for the advanced student; any student can be educated into the deeper aspects of his chosen way of life. The author teaches how to have Tai Chi as a part of your lifestyle, not only as an exercise, per se.
The eight chapters are each very interesting and informative with many descriptive photos spread throughout the book. Each chapter contains so much concise information that I wondered how the author was able to get so much into a relatively small space. This book is highly recommended for anyone, no matter which level, who is interested in Tai Chi. However, while this book can definitely stand on its own, I would also recommend Mr. Loupos earlier books, Inside Tai Chi and exploring Tai Chi both of which are for beginner and intermediate students.
Great book (5.0 out of 5 stars)
By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER, November 8, 2005
A terrific book by sifu Loupos, covering many important topics and in great detail. The book should be most useful for the intermediate to advanced student. If you’re a beginner, I would recommend reading his two other books first. But the first few chapters would also be useful for the beginning student.
The book is mostly text with some photos illustrating the important points, so this is definitely a more substantial and scholarly discussion than your typical tai chi book which is often mostly pictures to illustrate the form. But the more subtle aspects of tai chi can’t be shown just through photos and require more serious discussion. This is what that book does quite well and if you’re hungry for more detailed and advanced information on how to perform the form and other important aspects of tai chi, you’ll probably enjoy this book.
This is the best book I’ve seen so far in discussing the body mechanics, including balance, how to create and transfer power, the role of momentum, how to step, how to create power, and many other topics. One important point is that many people get stuck on the structure of the final or end move, which is incorrect. As Loupos points out, the transitions are just as important, and in fact, there are really no true “transitions” in tai chi in the sense that a specific element can be identified. All that’s important is whether your structure and performance of the entire sequence of movements in a “technique” are correct.
He also points out that there is no one right way to perform each tai chi movement. For example, single whip is performed several different ways depending on the style. What’s important isn’t the actual details of the technique so much as whether the underlying body mechanics are correct. He illustrates this in detail with his discussion of the cloud hands move, which can be done with three different types of footwork, and how it’s performed correctly in each case.
There is also a lot of good general information on tai chi and specific suggestions and lectures on a number of other topics in the last third or so of the book. Very clear photos show proper positioning and alignment and common mistakes. Also, he peppers the text with useful and interesting training exercises to further develop your skills. He points out that the tai chi form itself isn’t enough to learn to project power and to fight, so he has advice on that too.
For example, he has a two-person exercise to see if you’re smoothly transferring power and not doing anything that would enable your opponent to “split” your power at any point and off-balance you. He includes other exercises to aid you in your development too. Overall an excellent book and a truly high-level discussion of tai chi.
From a Teacher…
As a teacher and a lifetime student, I found your Tai Chi Connections DVD/book to possibly be the most detailed and easily understood presentation of the Yang form. Do you have plans for a Tai Chi Connecitons II/III where you give the same thorough instruction on the remainder of the long form?
When you’re looking for “deeper advice”…
Reviewer: D. J. Jensen (Houston, TX USA)
I decided to purchase this book after 6 years of training in Tai Chi. I have found many low and mid-level discussions of Tai Chi practice, and some “high level abstract discussions” of proper Tai Chi practice (such as essays in Tai Chi magazine), but have rarely found a publication which discusses, in detail, the nuances of putting together all of the pieces of an obscure and unusual art.
This book delivers, and is a treasure for anyone at an intermediate to advanced level of practice. It contains details, suitable for all styles (although the illustrations appear to be primarily Yang style) on how to overcome many of the “sticking points” of Tai Chi practice :
- proper use of legs
- proper body alignment for power generation
- mental attitudes
The illustrations provided detail clearly the differences between “correct” and “incorrect” practice. Two-person drills for rooting and alignment are detailed as well.
If you feel stuck, confused, or frustrated with your practice, skim through this book. If you’re looking to take your art to the next level, seriously peruse this book. Compare what you’re doing to what the author details. The universal concepts, coupled with clear explanations and illustrations, make this required reading for most any long-term Tai Chi practicioner.
<< Back to Book