Blog

Aug 20, 2017

No Class


Learning Tai Chi.

Posted by: Dan

When I learned Karate back in Glasgow from 1971-5 , I noted that the classes, no matter the teacher, they had weighty expectation of me making good progress purely by attending class 3 times a week.

In 1974 I started learning Tai Chi and quickly realized that it was what I had been searching for. I decided I wanted to become a professional Tai Chi teacher and so I gave up my law studies to join the Royal Hong Kong Police as a recruit inspector. I had no problem at all in making the right connexions and was immediately accepted  as a student by Sifu Cheng Tin-hung at our first meeting.

Classes were held 10am till noon 6 days a week and from 8-10pm Monday to Friday. I attended all I could. My 6 days a week attending Cheng Tin-hung's Tai Chi classes soon made me realize that it wasn't all happening at the class. In reality there was no class, just times when people could come and train. There was no structure to the training. It seemed completely haphazard.                                                                                                                           

Gradually my Cantonese became more fluent, making it easier to  deal with Sifu Cheng directly instead of through an interpreter. He started to invite me to eat with him and / or his family. Gradually he opened up and over the course of quite some years he started to reveal concepts that I had never saw him teach in an open class. 

A lot of Westerners are physically and intellectually lazy and just don't practice enough as well as being satisfied with the first teacher they meet. On the whole I enjoyed living in Hong Kong for 9 years, but I had come to learn to become an expert in Tai Chi, particularly in the combat aspect.

It is quite clear to me after teaching Tai Chi professionally since 1984 that close personal tuition with an accomplished expert is the only way to reach a good level in the art. This is why I have been offering residential courses in all aspects of the art of Tai Chi Chuan for some years now. Partly this is connected with the idea of inside the door training, but more it is about detail and depth of knowledge. A couple of classes a week just isn't enough. In the end it comes down to time, energy and money. Of these three time is the most precious; don't waste it.

 

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