What do you actually get from Tai Chi classes?
Updated: Mar 2
So what do you get from Tai Chi classes, which you can't get from books, DVD's and online YouTube videos?
People sign up to Tai Chi classes for all sorts of different reasons. Some do it for health, others saw people doing in a park and want to try it for themselves. Others saw Tai Chi in a film or a YouTube video and fancied doing it. Whatever the reason, there isn't a wrong way. So what exactly do you get from going to class? Also what are you looking for from a class?
What people think you're getting taught:
Being taught aimless arm waving
What you are actually getting:
A life coach
Somebody to support you 24/7
Somebody who will wholeheartedly teach you want you need to know and more
Continuously train and develop you
Somebody who is responsible for your health & safety
Somebody who has spent years training to support you, because they have failed more times than you would know
Somebody who knows what is it like and has been there and has got the T-shirt.
Somebody who will teach you the values in Chinese martial arts, such as respect, honour, gratitude, self-control, perseverance, humility, patience, loyalty and discipline
You might wonder in your GP, lawyer or local tradesman will have this much time for you. Martial arts instructors are different breed and no amount of money will give you this much support. It shouldn't be about the money.
What happens in class?
The best way to learn Tai Chi is to attend class. At first things seem strange. You are new and it seems like everybody knows more than you do. Am I doing it right? or am I wasting the instructor's time. Don't worry about this. We have all been new and we have all had doubts in our minds. Never feel like you can't answer questions. In my class, I encourage students to ask questions. Everybody learns at their own pace.
When we're new, we all stand at the back of the class. But shyness or lack of confidence means that you aren't seeing what the instructor is doing. Don't be shy to ask for certain things to be repeated again. Work with your classmates. Traditionally, we learn a lot from classmates and many friendships are formed in clubs and with other clubs in the same lineage. The camaraderie means that you're never alone.
One thing I have noticed is that a lot of people give up, because they may have unrealistic expectations. We want things to happen and quickly. In reality, it doesn't happen like that. Tai Chi looks effortless, but that effortlessness actually required a lot of time and effort. What we call Gongfu (also known as Kung Fu). Each move requires a lot of concentration to get right and reasons why we do the things we do. In the beginning, there is a lot to take in. But that's fine if you forget it. Please feel free to ask and we will no doubt revisit the topic again in the near future.
Many people say that Tai Chi is easy. The honest answer is that it is not, but it not hard either. It just takes practice. If Tai Chi was hard, then why do so many people like doing it? An instructor takes you from A to B. But the journey is different for everybody. Which is why you can't learn from a book of videos. Books & videos provide information, they can't account for bad knees and improper postures.
So what does your instructor get? Well, as mentioned previously, it shouldn't about the money. Our role and objective is to pass on the art. We get a sense of joy and accomplishment when our students do well. We also learn out ourselves and address our weaknesses. Learning is a never ending journey and we must always embrace change.
Thank you for reading my blog.
Originally published on 29th December 2019