Poem From Ferrell Mercer

The following is a poem written by Ferrell Mercer about the importance of in-person instruction in T’ai Chi. Thanks to Ferrell for sharing!

Body to Body
     Why t’ai chi cannot be taught
     by a video or a book.
          – for Grandmaster Wang Fu-Lai
          with gratitude

The Zen people say
“The finger
that points at the moon
is not the moon.”

A picture of a feast
does not make your belly full,

just as the map
of my valley
is not the beauty
of my valley.

To know precisely
in each particular body
the right posture and movement
in each moment
a living teacher
who can over time
show the way.

Even the great Yang Lu Chan
who it is said
secretly watched the Chens
and learned enough t’ai chi
to be accepted as a student
when he was discovered
studied with a Chen master
to reach his own mastery.

We know
no other way
that works.
Would you be
the first patient
of a surgeon
who learned the craft
solely by watching video?

Would you
consider yourself a surgeon
if you had learned your art thus?