A New Book on Zheng Manqing


Douglas Wile has dedicated his rather formidable writing ability to continuing and expanding on the “legend” of Zheng Manqing. For those interested in at least one version—and a widely accepted one—of Zheng’s achievements, this will be a thorough and interesting read. The other side of the story, which we mention here only in the spirit of balancing the often uncritical view of Zheng, is that not everyone was in agreement about Zheng. Even his top students doubted his medical skills. High level Taiwanese fighters considered his martial skills unexceptional. Some people, such as Kuo Lien Ying, despised the man. His own students felt his attitude imperious and non-sensical. Does this in any way contradict the rosy view often expressed about Zheng? Not really, these are more in the spirit of research avenues which might be explored. We will say that not all of them are easily dismissed and much of the glory may have come as much from Western gullibility as Zheng ‘s own skills. The Greeks say, “Count no man’s life happy until his death,” and, in terms of reputation this might not be a enough of a limit. This book, on the other hand, shows Zheng as basically a genuis and a man of tremendous and varied talents.

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