A Letter from a Visitor


Jan 8, 2000

This letter is a response to an evening I had spent observing your classes. As I had mentioned to you in an earlier letter, I have been a practitioner of Tai Chi for almost 8 years now. My former training has been rather extensive in many areas and aspects of Tai Chi. But I must admit, after spending a few hours watching you teach, I was more than impressed. To be quite honest I was shocked. Over the past several years I have read a countless number of books concerning "internal power" and though I am certain of the presence of an internal energy, never before have I ever seen anything quite like this. In the past I have treated the "legends" of tai chi martial application as just that, legends. Perhaps in my arrogance I closed my mind to the possibility that these claims just might be true. I conditioned myself to believe that the extraordinary things accomplished by some of the historical figures in tai chi were the workings of beautiful story tellers colorfully describing something that was an integral part of their way of life. But after spending an evening with you I have been forced to re-think my entire approach to this art. I am certain of an internal happening that occurs with the cultivation of chi, but never really believed that it could be used as a martial application. Two months have past now and I must admit, I have not stopped thinking about what I saw there that night. I consider myself to be an extremely sceptical person and when I watched you that night, I watched close[ly]. Needless to say, I was impressed. And somewhat discouraged. After spending years studying and practicing tai chi, I feel like it was all in vain. I fear that I have spent all those years learning a distorted view of Yang style tai chi. But I am willing to start all over again, if it means progress. I know that I could learn a lot from you, and hope that you would accept me as a student as soon as I can get enough money together. Thank you ever so much for allowing me to watch your class. It was an incredible experience for me. I eagerly anticipate the possible opportunity to study under you. Take care and good luck.


Brooke Pennington