The hare and the tortoise
I often get asked by students regarding how they are progressing. To be honest, there isn't a simple answer which I can give. What exactly is progress to you?
This blog article is not about one of Aesop's fables, but I did take inspiration from it. The blog is about the Tai Chi journeys of two different types of students. The hare and the tortoise. Before you get excited, I'm generalising and such people exists in all walks of life.
The hare thinks they are smart and rush through the whole syllabus. Because they think that they are ahead, they think that they are winning the race. But in reality, they've learned nothing. Their forms are poorly executed, with no substance and there's no technique. The tortoise knew from the beginning that they're not going to be fast and knows their limits. But they have spirit to keep going and do what they can to get it right. In the end, they do it right and they do it well.
So is the hare really the winner? No, the tortoise won, due to the persistence and spirit. Some people treat their class as a race and it is only a race if you're going into a competition. If the hare thinks they are good, then enter a competition to prove it. Being ahead within a small group is not really anything to brag about. Everybody learns at different paces and you will find obstacles along the way. Some things are easier to overcome than others. I would rather students do a few things well, than do everything poorly. Tai Chi is a very sophisticated art and people often assume that it is easy.
Teaching Tai Chi is not an easy job. You are both the coach, the mentor and you're the one to blame if it goes wrong. Teaching Tai Chi it isn't a lucrative way to earn a living and very few actually can. I'm in it to improve myself and to further the art of Tai Chi. Your students are reflection of yourself, so how would you like to be judged? In hindsight, I am grateful to my teachers and my seniors who helped me on my Tai Chi journey. I didn't enjoy the hair drying experience or the harsh feedback. But they helped me to be who I am. At the end of the day, your training doesn't lie. Thank you for ready my blog.
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