Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 281
Instructor Shows, Student Grows
All of the Tai Chi Instructors I know have a common idea – to share what has helped their own lives become healthier and happier. We are thankful to the students who support our ideas and the work we put in to help each and every student to achieve their goals, for whatever the reason they joined the class.
Many people work for money at jobs that don’t bring them satisfaction. My fellow Instructors want and need to share a way of life that helps to make the world a better place for all. Our calling has no negative side effects as far as I can see. I have been involved in the training of many Instructors, and not one has ever complained to me that they don’t enjoy teaching. I feel blessed to be a part of their lives.
Since the pandemic has started, we have used the park as a healthy, outdoor environment to get together and play. We spend two hours in our practice. The first hour is warm ups, working on basic principles and ideas, and qigong. The second hour is spent putting our discoveries and ideas generated in the first hour into playing the forms – 34, 54, 108. It is so beneficial to spend the time in the first hour with letting our minds explore new physical, mental, and spiritual experiences, no matter how far fetched, so our forms can be new and exciting every time we practice. Often a new student will ask a question whose answer I have never contemplated before, and that may lead to whole new discoveries. The student encourages the Instructor to be more clear about what he or she is doing and why. The growth of the student helps the growth of the Instructor. Simple.
When I first started teaching, I confess I had very little idea of what I was really doing. I was good at reproducing the forms taught by Master Choy, but he didn’t explain very much about the philosophy and practical applications. In my early classes, as the students asked questions, I was forced to figure out an appropriate answer. Teaching made me grow.
Thinking about Tai Chi instruction, there are two basic approaches – the Eastern and the Western. The Western is based on our school system – the students sit in a room and are lectured to about a topic. The instructor “talks” about something.
I remember learning to box as a kid. The instructor would lecture about what to do and how to do it, then put two students into the ring and let them go at it.
In the eastern, the instructor “shows” the students how to do the subject. In learning Tai Chi, Master Choy would demonstrate what we were to do, then if needed, he would partner up with the student and show them how the action felt and was carried out.
As the Instructor “shows”, the student “grows”.