Tai Chi Chuan & The Code of Life

Tai Chi Chuan & The Code of Life for Both East & West details how to build chi, circulate and store it. In order to understand the energetic method of Tai Chi & Chi Kung, Graham Horwood has highlighted parallels from its source, The I Ching and the archetypal principles from both Eastern & Western philosophy and medicine. The text and diagrams show the synergy between the different cultures, yet show how they are all linked. This enables the beginner or the experienced Tai Chi practitioner to improve their understanding of Tai Chi. This will strengthen both the mind and body opening the gateway to the inner person.

Plus an exclusive set of Chi Kung Exercises which will augment the building, circulation and storage of chi for the healer and martial practitioner. These are accompanied by an explanation of where chi comes from and the its application for the mind and body as well as the flow in the meridians.
“The martial art of Taijiquan operates on multiple levels. Physically, it helps strengthen and heal the body. Psychologically, it alleviates stress and helps the practitioner achieve calmness of mind and mental focus. Spiritually, it provides a mechanism to integrate breath, life force (qi) and mind to achieve oneness with Nature and the forces in the Universe. For centuries, this profound martial arts’ secrets were hidden away in the esoteric teachings of Daoism, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Chinese classical texts such as the Book of Changes (Yijing, I Ching).

When Taiji was introduced to the West in the mid-twentieth century, those essential teachings needed to fully comprehend this art were either ignored or misunderstood by Occidental practitioners. The serious student was left to his own devices to unearth Taiji’s foundations from the few reference books that existed. In Tai Chi Chuan: The Code of Life, Graham Horwood has created an important and sophisticated work that opens the mysteries of Taiji to the West. What is unique in this book is that Horwood uses contemporary findings in DNA research and Jungian psychological techniques in which he is adept to explain in Western terms Taiji’s inner workings.

Carl Jung, who departed from Sigmund Freud’s school of psychotherapy to establish his own system, rejected the monolithic emphasis Freud placed on the effect of sexuality on the subconscious. Jung believed that just as the human body shows a common anatomy beyond racial differences, so the psyche possesses a common substratum that transcends all cultures and consciousness. Jung called that substratum the “collective unconscious.” He recognized that mankind’s conscious imagination and actions developed from certain common unconscious archetypal images and always remain bound up with them. These archetypes have been expressed in the classical mythologies and enlightened texts that man created in early historical times when the distinctions between conscious and subconscious reality were not as ossified as they are today.

Horwood utilizes these and other Jungian concepts to plumb Taiji’s spiritual depths that heretofore remained ensconced in the Eastern psyche. The author thereby lets the Western reader utilize his own frame of reference to explore this Oriental art at its core. In so doing, Horwood synchronizes Western myths and spiritual symbols with the parallel universe of rich Chinese motifs that are physically expressed in the Taijiquan movements, which have been traditionally elucidated in China by the archetypal hexagrams contained in the Book of Changes.

As observed by Horwood, the symbols of the Book of Changes are representations of energy states that can be expressed and developed within the Taiji postures at a cellular level. For example, as Horwood sets forth in his treatment, the two initial moves of Taijiquan known as “ward off” and “roll back” are represented by the Book of Change’s hexagrams of Heaven (six yang or masculine lines) and Earth (six yin or feminine lines) respectively. Horwood then presents numerous analogous archetypes that are familiar to us in the West for Heaven (the Supreme Creator, Yahweh, and Zeus) and for Earth (Earth Goddess, Sophia, Venus, and Mother Mary). Horwood so analyzes the six other main Taiji movements.

Horwood also explains how the most recent discoveries in the field of DNA genetic coding correlate to the Book of Change’s ancient permutations. Remarkably, the genetic vocabulary set forth in the DNA language unearthed by modern science consists of 64 basic combinations of acidic positive and sugar negative ingredients that seem to have been mapped intuitively by the creators of the 64 combinations of yin and yang contained in the Book of Change’s hexagrams.

Horwood elucidates how practicing the eight basic Taiji postures affects the energy meridians that correlate to the yin and yang organs of the body as catalogued in Traditional Chinese Medicine. He further reveals several distinctive energy work (qigong) breathing patterns with detailed diagrams setting forth the particular acupuncture points and meridians that are energized in the meditative practices of Taiji. These patterns, which Horwood represents as secret Yang family teachings, transform Taijiquan practice from an empty dance into a rich meditative exercise that not only can be used to prolong life, but also to enrich the spirit.

I recommend this book to Taiji practitioners of all levels. For the novice, it provides familiar Western symbolism and modern scientific explanations to the otherwise inscrutable physical and spiritual components of Taiji derived from ancient esoteric Daoist practices. For the advanced practitioner, Horwood provides multi-leveled insights that penetrate the essence of this art form that will enhance his or her practice and understanding of Taiji. Horwood provides all Taiji practitioners with the psychic and physical tools needed to penetrate deeply into and explore the realm of humanity’s collective unconscious from which the art derives.”

REVIEWED by Noah Nunberg, J.D. New York Law School
“I finally obtained the hard copy of your excellent book, “Tai Chi Chuan & The Code of Life”. I am reading it with delight, as it is a superb book, full of wisdom on Tai Chi and Eastern thought. Thank you, sir, for enlightening those of us interested in all things Taoist.” Steve Solomon