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We offer 3 different approaches to tai chi. These are listed in order of difficulty:
Tai chi for health syllabus
Tai chi for fitness syllabus
may train at whatever level they are
capable of doing.
Our program is entirely self-differentiating.
A lot of people still believe in the notion of 'natural talent'. According to scientific research detailed in a number of books published in the 21st Century, there's no such thing...
Ability begets ability
People who excel, do so because they put in more time and commit to greater practice than other people do.
They also receive regular feedback, learn from their mistakes and get better (continuously). Read Grit, Smarter Faster Better and Peak... Find out for yourself.
Martial arts skills cannot be bought or gifted to you. You must do the work. After all, it is your body that performs the movements, your mind that sees the opportunities.
Even if we wanted to, we could not just give you the skills.
Students are taught relative to initiative. Passive people are left alone; they attend, they enjoy the night and there may be a minor improvement each week.
By contrast, active learners make the best use of their time and make the most of every training opportunity.
are content to work on whatever is most
appropriate for their ability
level and competence; stretching
beyond their comfort zone
moderately but not trying to
force a result.
A few students are the opposite; seeking to perform the most advanced skills they can find. They continually flounder; with neither body nor mind possessing the requisite foundation. They make no real progress but mistakenly believe that they do.
You are attending a learning environment. You are shown new material. You receive tips & pointers, corrections and refinements.
What you do with the new information is what really matters...
Practice takes place between lessons.
As you like it
Students are encouraged to work at the pace that best suits their own interest, motivation and grade. We avoiding putting students under pressure.
If you want to train at home, then do so. If you do not, then that is OK too but you may need to adjust your ambitions accordingly.
If a person wants to move to the next stage of training, the opportunity is there. The criteria is clearly stated and the student knows what skills are necessary.
Whether or not the individual is prepared to do the required work is entirely up to the student.
In order to do mathematics a person would need to be able to count to ten, understand how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Without these basic skills, nothing more complex is possible.
Everything in life is like this. You learn the foundation and then you build the first level on top of those basics. The next level on top of the first, and so on...
Example #1 - qigong ticksheet
All students in our school study qigong and tai chi for health.
If you want to learn taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist) as well, you can apply to do so once you know all of the exercises on the qigong ticksheet.
Once you know the exercises, Rachel will determine whether or not you are fit enough to undertake the taijiquan taster.
Example #2 - form sections
If you can demonstrate section 1 with a reasonable degree of competence then we can teach you section 2.
There would be no point in acquiring a vast number of sloppy movements that you cannot remember accurately.
By incrementally working through the skills, your brain has a chance to slowly gain knowledge and become familiar with the material.
Example #3 - mirror the form
Once you can perform a form movement one way, mirror it. Mirror every form, drill and exercise in the syllabus.
Example #4 - weapons
You learn set 1 of the stick drills, then you learn set 2 and finally set 3. When you know the Long Yang form and the 15 solo sword drills you can study the walking stick form.
Example #5 - shuai jiao
Taijiquan students may only undertake shuai jiao if they can prove themselves to be fit enough.
We cannot in good conscience (or in keeping with the insurance regulations) offer shuai jiao to students who are physically incapable of performing the required movements.
Although we will assist students in cultivating the necessary degree of fitness, there is no scope for latitude/concessions.
Shuai jiao is physically demanding. Both the attacker and defender must be supple, flexible, strong and relaxed.
Example #6 - combat
When you have a working knowledge of a reasonable number of applications and body skills, you can begin to apply taijiquan in unrehearsed combat.
This is quite different to friendly partnered training. The level of unpredictability is high. You must draw upon all of the preceding skills and experience in order to cope.
Revision & refinement
A student is shown pushing hands (or any other skill). They manage to perform a crude sense of the pattern. This is a start. But that is all.
Progress is made by repeatedly refreshing the basic skills and slowly introducing new considerations and qualities. The process is continual and on-going.
I do not enlighten those who are not eager
to learn, nor arouse those who are not quick to give an explanation
If I have presented one corner of the square and they cannot come back to me with the other three, I should not go over the points again.
Asking for more?
Prove that you can handle it. Our insurance company insists that students are taught relative to competence.
If you want to learn more advanced material, you need to be capable of 'wielding the sword'. Otherwise you will just get hurt.
Do not ask for more if you are not going to put in the work.
Not everything will make sense to you right now. That is fine. A surgeon did not start out in the operating theatre. They began in primary school (or nursery).
Long journeys take time, patience and effort. Failure to understand is not a sign of stupidity; it signifies that you need to learn more in order to understand.
If an instructor demonstrates a skill/insight and the student fails to pick it up, it may be because:
The instructor did not explain it well
The student was not paying attention
The student is not physically or mentally capable of using that information yet
Students may be quick to argue
point 1, but the truth is far
more likely to be points 2 or 3.
Just be patient with yourself.
Being a beginner is OK. A karate white belt is not taught material at a black belt level; they are taught at a white belt level. The same principle applies to taijiquan.
Unless we enter into experiences
by direct participation, we remain on the outside. This law allows no
18 March 1997
Last updated 20 February 2018