I began my tai chi journey in Indianapolis in 2002 when my tae kwon do instructor returned from a large tournament/workshop where he certified in the 1st level as an instructor. Once a week I applied myself in class to a differently focused martial art. I liked it so much that I took two different workshops to become certified to teach as well. When I moved from the midwest to the southwest, I moved completely into the tai chi world.
I retained the teaching skills I learned previously and applied them to new areas. Dr. Paul Lam's Stepwise Progressive Teaching Methods linked well with my previous training. So I have spent the years in between honing skills, learning new ones, and watching my students progress.
One thing I miss now is the ongoing insights my local tae kwon do instructor could offer simply by being there to watch me. Now I must travel elsewhere to train with instructors who have more experience and expertise. There is an annual weeklong workshop with the Tai Chi for Health Institute that rotates sites around the US in June each year. Additionally, Dr. Lam or one of his master trainers offers weekend workshops on a single form for instructor certification. I have been fortunate to attend several of these. And I have travelled to Tucson to train with the senior trainers there. I am envious of the instructors in that area as it is so easy to get together and practice. Typically it is a four hour drive each way for me to visit.
Question of the month:
How often do you train with other instructors?
The T'ai Chi magazine for the spring surfaced on my desk this week and I spent some time reading a couple of the articles on relaxation and the health benefits. In the past couple of weeks I have had new students join because their family practice doctors recommended it for them. Some for stress, some for more serious conditions. I mention this because it has been a long struggle to reach the medical world and convince them to even look in the direction of tai chi health benefits. I now have two doctors in town mentioning tai chi as an exercise option. Here's to seeing more of that!
I teach at a facility associated with the hospital and my classes are promoted monthly by their newsletter. Some of my students are very enthusiastic about the classes and have brought their friends with them. Some stay, some don't. The internal focus does not appeal to everyone.