Indoor student

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An exceptional student...

There are 4 types of student:

  1. Attender

  2. Student

  3. Indoor student of taijiquan

  4. Lineage student

Most people in our class at any given time are 'attenders'. An attender is anyone who has committed to joining a school and attends weekly lessons.
It is quite rare for somebody to become an indoor student of taijiquan and rarer still a lineage student.


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 taijiquan syllabus.
Indoor students are people who train very closely with the instructor. They have a chance to really feel the art.

Indoor student

What makes a person an 'indoor student' is the duration, intensity and quality of the relationship.
The student is privy to the innermost thoughts of the instructor; the preferences, considerations, choices, questions and options.
It is a relationship that deepens over decades, and is uncommon in modern taijiquan.

Prove yourself sincere

To be considered a suitable candidate for indoor tuition you must prove yourself. Start by gaining competence in all of the preliminary skills ASAP.
Quite literally: put your money where your mouth is. If your ambition is not grounded in the fact of your training, you are merely a talker.


Western students struggle to understand what indoor tuition involves. Invariably their own ego, arrogance and laziness intrude. Most would-be indoor students falter before the journey has even begun.

A beginner forever?

It is necessary for the instructor to ensure that an indoor student is actually 'stealing the art'. If they are not, then they are not acting like an indoor student. We are defined by what we do.
Good intentions are worthless. A lazy student is not an indoor student. To quote the proverb: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
Indoor tuition isn't aimed at people who are contented to remain a beginner, to stay in limbo...


To be an indoor student, you must 
behave as an indoor student. Expected behaviour:

Seek to attend all possible training opportunities (workshops, boot camps, indoor sessions)
Regular (ideally monthly) indoor sessions
Handing in assignments regularly 
Fast progress through the grades

Poor behaviour

If the student isn't committing to indoor sessions... or a notable period of stagnancy is apparent... or worse - deterioration - the student simply ceases to be an indoor student.
There's no shame in this. It wasn't for them. Since an indoor student directly reflects the teacher, poor attitude/behaviour is not sustainable.


An indoor student is not required to learn every single thing that the instructor knows. They may only focus on a given subject such as qigong, form, pushing hands or weaponry.
By contrast, a lineage student is committed to learning absolutely everything; every facet of chin na, shuai jiao, neigong, weaponry, Taoism, Zen...

Enhanced practice

Once an indoor student begins to make steady progress, they will revise the basics.
The enhanced level of practice will increase the effectiveness of everything encountered to date in the syllabus, and really work the body. The goal here is a greater degree of physical integration.

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Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 1 June 2012