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5 September 2000

"Soong"— I don't know the Chinese character or the proper pronunciation, I only know what the word, as my teacher says it, sounds like to my ear— means soft. To do t'ai chi properly, one must be "soong."

I relax my hand and it appears to be "soong." But that is not being "soong."

Each time my teacher has told me to "be soong," — and he has done so constantly— I've felt the prick of what I now know to be resentment. Now I realize that each time he has said, "Be soong," I have been hearing the voices of everyone who ever loved me admonishing me, saying, "Don't be so hard." And it makes me angry. And it makes me want to lash out.

I can easily learn all the forms my teacher can teach. I can train my body to do whatever I want. But how do I learn to "be soong"? Can I learn this thing?

I am terrified, and my shoulder is killing me. This may be my last chance.

What if I fail?


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