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CompleteMartialArts.com - The Making of a Butterfly: Traditional Chinese Martial Arts As Taught by Master W. C. Chen


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Manufacturer: Blue Snake Books
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 796.80951
EAN: 9781583941515
ISBN: 1583941517
Label: Blue Snake Books
Manufacturer: Blue Snake Books
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 200
Publication Date: 2006-04-07
Publisher: Blue Snake Books
Release Date: 2006-04-07
Studio: Blue Snake Books

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Editorial Reviews:

The only American heir to W. C. Chen, Phillip Starr continues the master’s teachings in this useful guide that also profiles the exciting early years when martial arts were still new in America. Through this entertaining collection of personal anecdotes involving Master Chen, the author, and his classmates, readers learn a particular aspect of the traditional martial arts. Included are explanations of the importance and meaning of courtesy and the custom of bowing, the significance of training with weapons and how it impacts bare-handed skills, and the value of traditional forms and how they relate to actual combat.


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: The Making of a Butterfly
Comment: Sifu Starr's book is an experience suitable for any martial art practioner. His vivid descriptions of training, when a youth with W.C.Chen are very special. I await the release of his next writing.



Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: IIlluminating and entertaining stories from a great martial artist and teacher
Comment: I had the good fortune to train under Sifu Starr for a couple of years in the early 90's before time and circumstance took my life in other directions. From personal experience, I can attest both to his great skill as a martial artist and healer, and to his teaching presence in the dojo. I will always remember him with great fondness and respect, which is odd when you consider that he spent most of my time in his school kicking my butt with old school traditional kung fu training protocols. I think that is what the Zen tradition calls "grandfatherly kindness" - where a lot of martial arts diploma mills just put you through the motions and handed you your black belt, Sifu Starr assumed that you were worth the investing the time and effort to really TRAIN.

This book brings back a lot of memories from that time; it is very much written in Mr. Starr's "voice", and it showcases his wry humor, zest for life and training, and his larger than life personality. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone interested in what really goes into the training of a real martial artist. I also hope that the book brings Sifu Starr some of the recognition and acclaim he deserves after a long, distinguished career.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: A student-eye view of solid martial arts instruction.
Comment: As a ShoDan-level assistant karate instructor, I'm always looking for good books to help me become a better teacher and practitioner. I've found martial arts-based memoirs to be particularly helpful and encouraging. I recently stumbled across "The Making of A Butterfly," and it was no exception.

Phillip Starr began his martial arts journey in the 1950s. His family moved a lot due to military service, so he studied at a couple of different clubs. In 1961, his parents finally settled into a more permanent living situation in McLean, Virginia. There, the author began looking for yet another dojo (they weren't easy to find back then). He finally found a karate school and resumed his training. However, Mr. Starr was fascinated by kung-fu, and so after more searching he discovered a Chinese Sifu (master) who taught out of his home.

Mr. Starr approached Sifu Chen and respectfully asked for instruction. After some initial rebuffs to test his resolve, he was taken on as Sifu Chen's only Caucasian student. Sifu Chen demanded much from his students, so the training sessions were often physically and mentally challenging. Despite some resentment from the other Asian students, Mr. Starr eventually earned their grudging respect. And more importantly, he became a surrogate son to Sifu Chen and his wife Mei. He often learned as much at their dinner table as he would during a typical class.

Mr. Starr writes well - the book is an easy and informative read. Each chapter encapsulates a principle learned from Sifu Chen, such as chi, discipline, and courtesy. Of course, these lessons were usually learned the hard way. Sifu Chen used many methods to impart both his knowledge and his character to the author. I found the inclusion of Mr. Starr's thought responses toward his teacher (denoted by italics) to be quite fascinating. It was easy to identify with his honest internal expressions of incredulity, or appreciate ah-ha! moments when a lesson hit home.

Unfortunately, Sifu Chen passed away in 1971 from a kidney ailment. But in 1982 Mr. Starr took what he learned from Sifu Chen and created another martial art called Yilichuan (One Principle Boxing), thereby continuing his teacher's legacy. "The Making of A Butterfly" lets us in on Sifu Chen's timeless martial arts principles, and provides insight into a good student's mentality. It's a recommended addition to every martial artist's library.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: I strongly recommend this book
Comment: Pete reminded me that it has been over 38 years we have know each other, and I stand corrected. On the third reading of the book I began to remember myself as one of Pete's students and how he taught us with the nearly same mannerisms of his teacher. I having no experience then in the arts, learned not only the physical rigors of the training but of the philosophical aspects as well. What age has taken from me, the knowledge still remains strong .

Now it has been almost 40 years later and I still can visualize the teachings, both mental, spirtual as well as physical. This book is valuable for the stylist as well as a parent wishing to know how to work with or understand their teenagers. The method and learning is the same nurturing Chen gave to Pete, and Pete sharing it with us.

I gave a copy of it to one of the people I work with and it is a copy in my classroom as well for my more difficult students to read as well.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: A great book for ALL Martial Artists.
Comment: This was an absolutely wonderful text. It really drives home what the martial arts teach. The stories are thought provoking, entertaining, humorous and motivational. Thanks Sifu Starr!


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