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The 'inner school' offers serious depth and is not for the half-hearted student. Indoor tuition is aimed at people who want fast-track progress through the tai chi syllabus.

Can you become a fast-track student?

If a student is seeking a faster rate of progress, they need:

  1. Skill with form

  2. Work the mind as hard as the body - assignments, reading, meditation

  3. Frequent exposure to the material

  4. Heavy repetition of basic elements

  5. Practice in class with a variety of partners

  6. A commitment to daily home training

There are no shortcuts, quick fixes or secret methods to assist you. There is just practice.

What's the rush?

Every student is expected to proceed at their own pace. We accommodate all ability levels. However, if you possess the skill and the inclination to practice, then why dawdle?

If you can, do...

The lower grades lay the foundation for the art. It is prudent to work hard to get through these grades ASAP.
They introduce the applications, the weapons and the skills. The deeper you penetrate the syllabus, the more powerful your skills will be.


Dawdle whilst young and the dreams of youth will become the regrets of maturity...
The ideal is to make as much progress as you can whilst your youth, lifestyle and family situation offer this opportunity. Typically speaking, the older you get, the slower your progress will be.
This is to be expected.

Train hard whilst you can

A 40 year old may have the patience and the life experience to appreciate tai chi but a 20 year old has the drive and the stamina to pass the grades.
As people age, they struggle to learn and they struggle to change. Work hard in your youth. Be moderate in middle age.
If you can make serious progress in your youth, you will enjoy the benefits throughout most of your life.

You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair.

(Zen mondo)


Many people dream of becoming a martial arts expert. Very few people accomplish this dream. Everyone who became a master started out as a student and became an indoor student.
This is the Way.

Realistic goals

Your mind may want certain skills in a particular time frame, but maybe your body lacks the coordination or you have not set the necessary time aside.
Be patient. Be realistic. Do not be silly. Everyone has limits.  Do what feels right for you...


Students often comment that they lack the willpower to train hard. This is a misconception.


You go to work in order to earn money. If you could earn money without going to work, you would. So, the act of going to work (for many people) is reluctant.
This requires willpower. You recognise that work pays for your food, shelter, belongings and quality of life. Therefore you have self-discipline: you acknowledge the purpose of going to work and you go.
Tai chi training is not like this.


If you enjoy doing something, and have a genuine enthusiasm for it, you do not need to be persuaded. You do not need self-discipline.
Does a thirsty man need to be persuaded to drink water?

Your idea of what training constitutes

If you see tai chi training as being akin to the gym, you are still a novice. There is no strain, no forcing involved in tai chi. The exercises are not strenuous or painful.
Weight training, cycling, swimming or any other sport - they drain your energy.

Internal training

Qigong and tai chi are not easy, but instead of tiring you out, they have the opposite effect. Your body feels nimble, agile, relaxed and comfortable.
Your skeleton is not distorted by body building and your system is not addicted to endorphins. The exercises sharpen the mind, increase acuity and calmness.
The nerves are smooth and the emotions settled.

The great leap forward

Setting yourself targets is worthwhile but not for everyone. Realistic learning goals can help a fast-track student focus their training.
Look at your progress page and determine what you need to work on and get through it. Ask for tuition in class, attend the relevant workshops, read the appropriate books and web pages.

school database

Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 16 June 2023