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Book Review: String of Pearls by Ray Hayward

Review by Christopher Venaccio

String of PearlsThis book is a documentation of the Twin Cities T'ai Chi Studio. That might sound like you'd be reading a history text, but it couldn't be more different. It does contain the school's history, but it captures more of the resilient spirit of the school embodied by the instructors and students. The school has it's roots with Master T. T.Liang. The Chief Instructor, Sifu Ray Hayward, and Instructor Paul Abdella are Master Liang's only two disciples. The book contains some of the background on these instructors, their past studies and their continued growth with Master Wai Lun Choi. Added to this are reflections and testimonials from the student body of the school, many of them lineage holders. These sections provide insight into the art from a variety of different views: why people study T'ai Chi, what student's get from studying, stumbling points, humorous first attempts and impressions. Many times I've read these sections laughing out loud, thinking 'Yep, been there' or 'Yep, am there now.' Packed with photos, this book is a testament to a living art.


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