Zen reviews

Desperately Seeking Yin
Tai Chi Chuan as the Masters-of-the-next-level see it

by Shifu Damir Tenodi

zen reviewsBorn in Croatia with a background in karate and civil engineering, Shifu (teacher) Damir Tenodi came to Sydney in 1983. The author is well known in martial arts and chi kung circles, having studied tai chi with Sifu Chen Xiaowang, keeper of the Chen style, and chi kung with Sifu Chen Yongfa, keeper of the Choy Lee Fut school of kung fu. He has taught chi kung and tai chi for about twenty years, and currently teaches at the University of New South Wales, and various colleges around Sydney.

As the title suggests, the book is not strictly another book on “how to do” tai chi, but more a comprehensive account of the philosophy underlying tai chi chuan. It presents a unique explanation of Taoist Yin/Yang philosophy in relation to other schools of thought including yoga and quantum physics. For the tai chi student it also contains much useful and practical information on how to train and what to look for in a teacher. It has a good mix of simplicity and complexity, playfulness and serious discussion and contains some great diagrams and graphics.

Shifu Damir approaches the subject of tai chi chuan from two directions - from the point of view of the martial arts beginner and from the point of view of the serous student or aspirant. The book has two front covers, so it can be approached from opposite sides simultaneously. The “Yin” mentioned in the title refers to the “inner” or esoteric teaching underlying tai chi chuan. The author is encouraging the practitioner to see the art as more than a series of exercises for health and relaxation, but a practice that leads us to completeness by combining the “way of movement” with the “way of thought”.

Interspersed throughout the text are commentaries by Master Ananda, a mystic and teacher of esoteric philosophy of whom the author is a disciple. Amongst other texts on tai chi chuan the book is unique in that Desperately Seeking Yin expounds Master Ananda’s “Theory of Endeavour” which aims to incorporate “multiple effort” on various levels so that our progress is more complete and balanced. Unfortunately, the author has been asked not to reveal his master’s identity, which may irk some readers.

In summary, Desperately Seeking Yin is a book that could change lives of those who are ready to receive the knowledge it imparts. It is especially relevant to those who aspire to wholeness through the practice of “internal arts” such as tai chi, chi kung, yoga or meditation.
Available from Anan-Do (02) 9567 0765 or www.anan-do-com

Review by Alec Mitchell. Alec Mitchell runs the Moruya Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic on the south coast of NSW. He has been a practitioner of Chinese healing arts for over 15 years. He teaches Tai Chi and Chi Kung, is a classical musician and has studied Traditional Japanese Acupuncture.
(published in A to Zen, Sydney, Issue 21, 2005)