TC: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced
Beginner – From first thought of learning to working on a basic form (short or long). Usually can’t go through a form by oneself, but can follow well enough. Read basic material on what Tai Chi is – history and philosophy.
Intermediate – Able to move through form, knows the names, and applications. Getting started on another form. Can apply images to help with focus and chi generation. Able to apply classic Tai Chi philosophy to form.
Advanced – Knows all the forms. Plays Push Hands. Knows the Partner Form, and all the weapons. Helps others in classes.
Of course, there is really no clear delineation between skill levels. The above just gives you something to ponder as you move through your studies.
Once again I state, “ Most Tai Chi books are of limited value to Tai Chi students”. If you are a beginner, and have an instructor, read only the classics. Put your time into form practice. Listen to your instructor and do as he or she says. If you don’t agree with the what this person is teaching, find another instructor.
Of course, if no instructor is available, you must turn to reading and watching videos. But be careful of taking in too many conflicting ideas. Most Tai Chi books are really reference material for their own students by an instructor. In the beginning, I would search the internet and find one instructor and stick with this person until you have digested what this person offers.
The intermediate student can find some benefit from reading and doing workshops with various instructors. The student now knows the fundamentals and is ready to expand the horizon. Mostly the student needs encouragement to keep up practice. There is a sticky point when the student has learned the form well enough to practice on their own, and says “I’ve learned Tai Chi. Now on to something else.”
It is so important to memorize the movements as quickly as possible. Then a student can start applying the use of images and special focus exercises to make the form really meaningful and interesting. If you put quality time into learning Tai Chi, you will certainly be rewarded.
That is why most of my writings – books, articles, Tips, etc. are “why to”, not “how to”. Students need encouragement to continue their studies, and I hope I can provide ideas that can be translated into actions that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Advanced students should move into writing – writing about their experiences, thoughts, ideas, progress, etc. I recommend students take frequent videos, (at least every year), to monitor progress. It is very valuable, years later, to see how one has, and is, progressing.
So try not to get too filled up with the advice of others. Limit your intake. Practice on your own. Find inspiring places for practice. Play, and enjoy what you are doing. Slow and steady progress always wins. Find like minded people to commune with. Keep the corners of the mouth slightly turned up to enliven your energy. Share your knowledge and experiences.
I wish you success on your Tai Chi path to wholeness.
Sat. in the Park Update
Two weeks ago I wrote about Sat. in the Park also being held in the Studio for those who feel the park in the fall and winter is too challenging, weather wise. After much discussion, we have decided to, for the month of November at least, keep the Tai Chi practice to the Park only. So no Sat. in the Studio for now. I’ll let you know how the plans progress.
First Saturday Workshop, Push Hands, Nov. 3, 1 to 4 PM at the Studio – Fee $30
We will continue working on the two and four hands forms. Quite a nice turn out last month. Let’s keep it up. Just show up.