Saturday, July 7, 2012

Who's in Charge of Your Tai Chi?

Who is in charge of your tai chi? Do you wait for instructions about when or how to practice? You can drift through your practice, if you want to. You can limit your ability to improve, if you want to. You can wait to be told, if you want to. But why would you want to?

Let's try something different. Take charge of your practice. Your teacher provides the structure of the class and has an extensive body of knowledge. Your teacher knows and explains what you should learn. Your teacher shows you what to do. The rest is up to you.

How many students keep a notebook or practice log? You should. Do you think that you will still remember everything your teacher told you after a year has passed? After every class, take a few minutes to take notes about what you learned. Keep your notes and review them periodically. Practice every day. Keep a record of when and what you practiced. Write down what you felt while practicing. Did it feel comfortable or awkward? Are you able to remember what your teacher asked you to do?

It doesn't have to be complicated or difficult. Try something like this:
(September 1) Class day. Learned Parting Wild Horses Mane. Talked about how to shift our weight and where to place our hands and feet.
(September 2) Went through warmup exercises, practiced Commencement and Parting Wild Horses Mane for 10 minutes. Went well, mostly. Sometimes had trouble placing my feet in the correct position. It seemed different every time.

Use what you learn from your notebook or log. This will help you remember what to talk about with your teacher. After all, your teacher cannot be in charge of your practice. Only you can.

© 2012 Eric Borreson