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Dear Student,

Welcome. You have decided to try Tai Chi Chuan. People come to Tai Chi for various reasons. Most people do not stay, also for various reasons. But for those of you who do, Tai Chi reveals itself as a rewarding and beneficial endeavor for your health.

Some of your basic concepts about exercise are about to be challenged. If we may suggest a beginning approach, keep an open mind and relax. (You're going to hear that word a lot, but not in the way you're probably used to!) Tai Chi can be fun, but it is hard work. And not just for the body. You are not about to learn a specific set of aerobic routines. You are about to learn of the connection between the mind and the body. The Chinese call it "I" (pronounced "E"), and it means "mind intent."

True, Tai Chi Chuan is a specific set of movements done in a specific order, but that is a superficial understanding of Tai Chi, and should be quickly abandoned as an issue as you progress. The Chinese say, "Don't mistake the footprint for the foot." The movements of Tai Chi are the footprint and the foot lies somewhere else in the Tai Chi Chuan principles. These are the essence of Tai Chi: relax, separate yin and yang, body upright, waist is commander, and beautiful lady's wrist. The movements (refered to as the Form), are there to teach us the principles.

Tai Chi Chuan is a true student's dream. The levels are endless and the learning is endless. But at any point a student may stop and say, "This is enough. I could spend a lifetime on what I've learned to date." Others push on. Which are you? No one can say. Some students will stop after the first month, while others have never stopped.

Again, welcome.


Bob Goodwin          Kim A. Bozark

"Never give a sword to a man that can't dance." -- Celtic saying

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