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Compassion, consideration, kindness, restraint, respect and mercy all have value in a martial arts class. However, charity has no place.
Charity is intended to give to those in need. This attitude is antithetical to martial arts training.
A martial arts school is a business. This means that the instructor must pay for hall rental, petrol, publicity, web hosting, professional affiliation, insurance, teaching resources and (of course) their time.
Students pay to learn the art. There are no free taster sessions.
People e-mail our school explaining that they do not possess the wherewithal to learn a martial art but would like to purchase the combat skills regardless. They are actually serious.
We cannot imbue anyone with 'warrior spirit'. Not everyone is cut out for martial arts practice. This is simply a fact. In the same way that not everyone likes The Bee Gees.
Students often expect charity:
Wanting to learn a new form movement despite the fact that the preceding one is far from correct
Expecting an understanding of the tai chi principles just to emerge without practice or study
Cherry-picking syllabus topics
Wanting to undertake training when not fit enough
Injuring themselves at the gym/running/gardening and then asking to be 'fixed up' in class
Wanting to undertake training when distracted, unfocussed, stressed and unable to concentrate
Treating a group session like a private lesson
Expecting martial competence that exceeds the external martial arts without doing anything like the amount of training typical of those systems
Failing to perform an application adequately and then looking surprised when told to keep practicing
Complaining that they cannot remember the form when at home
Buying a DVD-R to play on a DVD player that is not DVD-R compatible and then expecting us to fix it
Wanting to undertake training when emotionally uptight
Receiving one-to-one attention and then asking for more
Coming to chat after the class has finished
Telling us that they don't have time to practice at home (we don't teach time management skills)
Asking for more advanced material knowing full well that the current skills are lacking
Wanting to undertake training when not medically capable
countless other examples but the point is fairly simple: students are
often confused about class. They think that they have
bought the skills.
They have not.
They have only paid for tuition.
Not everyone can learn tai chi. The art is not elitist but it is advanced. It is not easy to learn. Patience, self-discipline, commitment and dedication are necessary.
It requires a state of mind uncommon in modern society.
Not everyone is physically, mentally or emotionally suited to tai chi. We are all different. The insurance requirement is pretty self-explanatory.
Latitude with combat standards would result in the student getting beat up in the street. Incompetence equals defeat.
Attempting to negotiate with Sifu Waller is pointless. He is eager to share the art but can only do so with students who have the requisite skill set.
An instructor has no need to discuss/explain/make an account of himself to a student. Pushing the matter will end badly.
When you come to the dojo, it is a recognition the
teacher there has something you want. He will give it to you in his own way.
You must accept that. If you do not, you are free to leave. The dojo,
however, is never run by consensus.
What can we give you?
Even if we wanted to be charitable with students, what could you expect from us?
We cannot carry you through the form movements. We cannot download martial skills into your brain. We cannot cure laziness or apathy. We cannot make you brave.
We cannot make you tall, small, rich or happy.
Taking us for granted
Once upon a time Sifu Waller used to loan out books, DVDs, movies and training equipment to students who could have easily purchased those items for themselves.
People took him for granted. They stole his goods, didn't return things and got defensive when asked to give Sifu Waller back his own equipment.
If you think that we owe you some charity, take a moment to think about what is on offer in our class. Spend some time trying out the other tai chi classes in the region.
Then you'll understand: we don't owe you charity.
A cunning thief...
A dedicated student aims to steal their instructor's art. This is akin to acquiring a trade secret. Only by taking responsibility for their own learning can a student hope to learn the true depth of the art.
Your body performs the fighting skills. Your body makes the art manifest. Nobody can give this to you. It must be taken.
If you want more from us, show us that you can do tai chi. Prove your competence.
• Are you a martial artist?
• Are you strong enough?
• Getting your own way
• Learned helplessness
• Meet us halfway
• Strong mental attitude
• Tailored learning
• Verbal understanding
created 15 April 2008
Last updated 26 January 2020