Tai Chi Essential Learning Tips.
Tai Chi ís ‘hard’ (simple but not easy).
Tai Chi takes patience.
Tai Chi takes time.
So, how do you really learn Tai Chi and actually get good at it? Like any other art form like music or painting, the obvious answer to get good at Tai Chi is daily practice. And what is best about all this is that, the older you get, the more you improve.
Below are some other pointers that may not be obvious to the folks that are taking their first Tai Chi class.
So, think again when your instructor says that your posture is ‘good’.
Your teacher might have taught you the first section of a Tai Chi form in about 9 months. Ready to move on to the next section? Wrong.
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art that is very rich in Daoist philosophy. Keep in mind that when your teacher says that your Form is good, it ís only good for the time being! There is a lot of detail to the postures and transitions in the Tai Chi Form. As your brain can only retain so much information, each lesson with the posture must be broken down into little pieces. More than likely the most important postures to learn in your Tai Chi Form are included in a beginner class. Try asking repeated questions to your instructor on how to perform the basic movements, you might be surprised to receive material that you’ve never learned/noticed/retained before.
When the teacher says stop, literally STOP
Often times I’ve noticed in my own class where a student would stand up and break out of their posture immediately after I try to make a correction. It is best for you to stay in the corrected position so that you can feel the difference between an incorrect and correct posture. Part of what makes Tai Chi an ‘internal’ practice is to train your muscle memory on how to maintain structural integrity when performing the different postures.
Pain does not equal gain
Not in Tai Chi at least. A practitioner must be able to decipher the difference between soreness in their muscles or joints versus a really sharp pain. Tai Chi is a great form of exercise and you may feel a slight soreness from performing the certain postures in Tai Chi. If you feel any sharp pain in your practice, more than likely you are doing something wrong in your posture. It is very important to let your instructor know of this immediately so he or she can correct you. Prolonged periods of incorrect body alignment can lead to serious injury.
I hope these tips help you better understand what to expect when you join a Tai Chi class. For all of you fellow Tai Chi practitioners out there, what other advice would you be able to give people when they take their first Tai Chi class? Please send me an email with your thoughts and comments.