Helping the Instructor Demonstrate
Being chosen as a helping partner to demonstrate an application for a movement in a Tai Chi class is an honor. This means that the instructor trusts you to help him or her explain the dynamics of the move. It is so important that the helping partner follow certain rules.
– Do not think of yourself – how “you” look or appear. You are there to help the instructor demonstrate a principle or detail.
– Do not, under any circumstance, try to show up the instructor, or act in any way that might surprise the instructor. Even if you know you could overcome the technique the instructor is explaining, don’t. The instructor will be placed in an awkward position. He or she might react in a way that the helper doesn’t expect and it might result in injury. Or you might make the instructor look bad in front of the students, resulting in negative feelings all around.
– If the instructor is demonstrating a push, for instance, don’t resist or try to neutralize the push. Go with it, but don’t overdo the dramatics. I have seen so many fake reactions to just a touch, sending the partner across the room. Be real, be natural, but go along with the program.
– Don’t contradict or elaborate on what the instructor is demonstrating, unless asked. You are not there to make yourself look good, or to be the instructor.
– Don’t assume, because the instructor has done something one way in the past, that the technique will be done the same way this time. Stay open, and go with the flow.
– Being the helper is the best way to learn the inner dynamics of Tai Chi energy. You actually get to interact with the instructor and experience something that the other students only get to watch. Give yourself a pat on the back for being chosen to be the helper.
Reminder: No First Saturday Workshop on Feb. 2. Keep up your practice!