View Full Version : starting out teaching Tai Chi
09-08-2004, 04:59 PM
AFTER FIVE AND A HALF YEARS OF IN-
TENSIVE STUDY OF THE CHENG MAN-
CHING SHORT FORM, I HAVE DEVELOPED
INSIGHTS INTO USING THE FORM FOR
MEDITATION. I TOOK PRIVATE LESSONS
FOR ABOUT NINE MONTHS, BUT WHEN I
QUIT MY TEACHER FORBADE ME TELLING ANYONE HE INSTRUCTED ME (SINCE HE
DIDN'T "GRADUATE" ME. SO I CAN'T
CLAIM THE CUSTOMARY "LINEAGE" WHICH
EVERY TEACHER ADVERTISES. I AM SUPER
ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT TEACHING AND
ESPECIALLLY SINCE SO MANY CLASSES
INVOLVE MARTIAL APPLICATIONS (WHICH
I KNOW IN DEPTH). MY EMPHASIS ON THE
MEDITATION-ASPECT OF TAI CHI IS ,I
BELIEVE, STRONGLY NEEDED. I'VE READ
DR. LAM'S ARTICLE ON BECOMING A TAI
CHI TEACHER, BUT, NEVER HAVING RUN
ANY KIND OF CLASS I AM QUITE UNSURE
OF MY ABILITY IN THAT REALM. ALTHO'
AT THE SAME TIME I ABSOLUTELY KNOW I CAN DO A GOOD JOB ONCE I
GET STARTED. I'M THINKING OF JUST
GOING TO EVENTS/PARKS AND DOING
TAI CHI WITH A CLASS FLYER TO LET
PEOPLE SEE AND ASK QUESTIONS.
09-08-2004, 10:58 PM
When you are interested, apart from what you plan to do now i would suggest attending Paul's workshop. It is an introduction of Sun Style with a trainer module within it. It is recognized by Diabetes and Arthritis foundation and many fitness organizations. he gives a folder and a booklet with useful info. A certification would not be a problem for you so please click "workshops" onthe left side of this forum
09-08-2004, 11:01 PM
Are you sure you know enough to teach? When the teacher does not want to be mentioned he might not be too happy with you.
Without wanting to approach you negatively or belittling you i notice that you do not know the origins of tai Chi Chuan. This is a martial art, moving meditation and health exercise ALL IN ONE. Just the way how you name yourself does not show your insight of Tai Chi. Tai Chi means balance and consists of yin AND yang, so Yin Tai Chi is definitely erroneous. Sorry but Paul would teach the yin and yang in his workshops and continue to read Paul's articles
09-09-2004, 03:14 AM
Five and a half years of study? Wow, I have only studied for eight years and I would not dare to defile my teacher's name by teaching anything inferior to his technique. No offence, but you have not gained insight...maybe stronger quads at most. If you truly love the art, study for another ten years to gain some credibility, or at least long enough to deserve your teacher's respect. But if you just want to use taijiquan for a quick buck, then you have come to the wrong forum. And please do not write with caps only...
09-09-2004, 07:25 AM
Claiming lineage is foolish so it is better to let your own wisdom, experience, and training show ittself as 'lineage' as opposed to the teachers name. Let lineage show through you in action.
As long as you are enthusiastic, this is good. 5 years is sufficient time providing you know the background of your art, its 'significance' and other principles associated with taijiquan.
Modern taijiquan teaching is like anything that is progressive so it does not take 10 years (only an example) to learn.
with modern teaching methodology and the "bell curve principle" some people will take 3 years (example) others will never learn and the rest fall somewhere between.
Just like in any given situation 20% of the workers will do 80% of what is reqyured, the same concept with taijiquan.
Here is an idea:
1. Draw up a plan
2. Decide what elements you will teach or not teach
3. GIve reason for both
4. Be ready to explain yourself or know where tofind what you do not know
5.. Just do it
a. Historical background of taijiquan
b. DIfference between Zheng Manqiang and Yang style taijiquan? Why
c. Training curriculum (ideas)
Individual postures (breaking down form)
2 man form
Dao (broadsword-maynot be broad but..)
Spear (if necessary)
Rember taichi is not secret knowledge that some think, or is it the priority of special lineage, as some would fool you. IF you live taichi (principle) you can conquer.
go out and teach (into the world) but be sure you have the tools.
09-09-2004, 10:12 AM
i agree w/ stanton 5 years is sufficient to teach the Cheng Man-ching 37 step but make sure that u can show substantial and insubstantial,that you know all the postures thoroughly and that you can demonstrate some martial applications for the more important ones to the student otherwise,without these "tools" he will be lost;I have found that teachers can often have different agenda for holding you back or not giving you permission to teach (often it's because they would rather not have the competition out there.) The best way to start teaching taiji is to jump in with both feet and don't look back;don't let others dissuade you if you feel that you're ready.
you are more than welcome to share your views with us on this forum;we will be more than happy to offer you assistance in any way we can.
there is not one single thing wrong wih teaching t'ai chi for health,this is the way it's taught in China after all.
good luck to you and again let us know if we are able to assist you,
09-09-2004, 10:59 AM
This may be a dumb idea, but do you have any opportunities to become an assistant instructor? Some schools may need a qualified assistant. This might provide a chance to continue your own martial arts studies as well as learning to teach, and gaining the recognition as a teacher. Bill
09-09-2004, 11:00 AM
The feedback on my first thread is very helpful.
( I no longer use all caps ). The admonitions
not to teach have left me un-daunted, and the
encouragement to begin (Stanton , et al ) is a
welcome and much needed "go for it". You
know, I was saddened when reading about
T.T. Liang, that he was admired at the age of
80 ( or whatever it was) because he could still
'knock people down'. My concern teaching
the art is to transmit the joy of mindfulness and
balance and spiritual liberation. If that sounds
presumptious, it is ( i believe ) because that
side of Tai Chi is very little understood. Just
look at Tai Chi Magazine. It's fight fight fight.
Even my instructor, in his article on compression breathing (oops, I guess that gives away my "lineage") focuses on the in-
creased power it gives to his punches! C'mon.
Don't we have enough fighting in the world?
09-09-2004, 11:53 AM
I also agree with my daughter Melanie on Tai Chi being yin and yang. It is important to know the difference between substantial and insubstantial which has nothing to do with fighting. Martial arts is a fighting art but it is this element of intend and strong will which helps improving health. I do practise for martial arts but teach for health and truly believe that a martial artist has better health than a person who just practises for health. I know that i can punch a person dead but i keep it for myself, in case i am attacked on the street. A woman is more prone to harassment.
Is your teacher Greg Brodsky? Well lineage is not THAT important, more important is to know your art well. Also knowing exercise physiology and safety precautions is important as well as basics in general medicine. The tai Chi in Paul's workshops will be a piece of cake for you but the other subjects such as starting classes, methodology, psychology and medical knowledge along with a certificate would help you. apart from this you will meet Paul Lam in person.
Tai Chi magazine is 90% fighting but my article, published in August 2003 about "cardiovascular benefits of Tai Chi" is the absolute exception
09-09-2004, 12:44 PM
as a quick caveat to my last post,you can always learn or take a class while teaching,in fact i recommend it;
watch how the teacher conducts his or her class and how they handle certain questions from the students.
check yourself by asking some questions in class that your students ask you.(this is very helpful).
finally take some form correction as time (and money) permit from some other teachers ;this will round you out a bit and give you some more depth of perspective,good luck again
09-09-2004, 10:08 PM
Fully agree with Shark. I did learn alot by being a student in class with a good teacher and students. Many students will ask you during group work and you can explain what you know. Your teacher will serve as a role model. Go to another correction class of CMC, you will absorb a lot of their teaching methodology and psychology.
Last but not least, why not try to asnwer questions in this"ask dr. Lam' section, he supports this. We all have learnt a lot here
Dr. Paul Lam
09-12-2004, 08:40 PM
I would like to add that in my article "what makes a good tai chi teacher", i express my opinion of this topic. you can read it at
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