How to Make Tai Chi Classes more Fun?

How to Make Tai Chi Classes more Fun?

Postby Parkallen » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:30 am

I wanted to start a thread for teachers and students to brain storm about what would make a Tai Chi class more interesting and enjoyable, maybe a little novel. The type of class I had in mind are the most common types, classes for seniors. These classes are often a mixture of men and women, with many returnees. I find it is easy to get stuck into a routine of warm-ups, form... then the next week another warm-ups, form... and then.... For the teacher this routine can get especially tiring and over-used. I'm certainly not implying that Tai Chi teachers, or any type of teacher, is present for the purpose of being an entertainer or to spoon feed, but we certainly can encourage the types of engagement that are possible in our classes.
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Re: How to Make Tai Chi Classes more Fun?

Postby Parkallen » Fri May 01, 2015 4:43 pm

Maybe I could start some ideas moving on this topic. It is a refreshing idea to think about how to teach Tai Chi and make it more engaging. The nature of the art is that it can be difficult to maintain interest past a certain point. Initially Tai Chi is very alluring and I think people who take the first step find Tai Chi very interesting, but then after some time the interest can wane. I've come to include many extra components in my classes. I always do push hands at my senior's classes. In fact, that is often how I start my classes: it builds one's root, and leg strength due to the fixed foot positioning. Push hands is also far easier than the form and so its a nice way to prepare for the coming form practice. One aspect of Tai Chi difficult to attain for all of us is the activeness of the waist and so doing push hands puts this aspect in focus without complicated hand or footwork.
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Re: How to Make Tai Chi Classes more Fun?

Postby T » Thu May 14, 2015 8:25 pm

Sorry but I can't think of, nor to I want to think of, a way to make taijiquan novel and push hands without an understanding of the form or at least the 13 postures is, IMO, not push hands, its a dance. I currently find Taiji very interesting and enjoyable as it is. And I am speaking as one who did completely lose his way and interest in it not to long ago,
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Re: How to Make Tai Chi Classes more Fun?

Postby fchai » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:57 am

Hi Parkallen,

Taiji as fun? I find this an odd concept. I conduct classes for primarily retirees and semi-retirees in an adult education organisation. Initially they attend for the health benefits that they have heard attributed to the practice of Taiji. Once they start, they very soon begin to realise the multi-dimensional aspects and pathways that Taiji offers. It is a martial art, it has health benefits both physical and mental, it increases self-awareness both physiologically and mentally, it focuses the mind and the spirit. Taiji is not fun, it is serious and potentially life changing. With my students, I emphasize to them that Taiji will take them on a journey for as long as they live and breathe, and along the way they will become better because of it. There are fun things we might do along the way, such as weapons, the Tung Family fast form, etc., but Taiji, the full long form, will always remain the core and where they will derive the greatest benefits.

Cheers,
fc
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Re: How to Make Tai Chi Classes more Fun?

Postby Mike Lucero » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:47 pm

I would also like to make it more fun. Most of our new students drop out within 3 months, and we don't understand why. Of course it is challenging, but I feel if it were more fun, that would make it worthwhile for them.

At the end of each quarter, we have a little intro to push hands, which most find fun. But by then, we've already lost most.
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Re: How to Make Tai Chi Classes more Fun?

Postby fchai » Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:41 am

Hi Mike,

Not clear of the age demographic of your students. Mine are mature age and possibly more inclined towards having greater patience. Also, they generally seem to have a greater awareness of improvements in their health and wellbeing with their practice in Taiji. As most of my students tend to be female, seems typical for this age group, this may also account for their patience and perseverance. I am also a little hesitant with teaching push hands here, as many older women might find it a little uncomfortable. However, the more youthful might be drawn to the martial arts side of Taiji and teaching them the martial application of the various movements might keep them challenged and interested. Then they can also be introduced to push hands and subsequently to the "san shou dui da" forms. To my way of thinking, if Taiji is to become a part of their lives, it is not through it being fun but through it having realisable personal benefits and which continues to challenge them in being better than they are.

Cheers,
fc
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Re: How to Make Tai Chi Classes more Fun?

Postby Jaxi » Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:34 am

Thanks fchai for stating that it's something to be taken seriously, and not meant to be fun, but rather should be considered a high-endeavor for life changing results. I feel like I should be similar to some old kung fu master who only accepts students after they kowtow and complete tasks to show their interest and level of dedication and honor before I even teach them, but the world is a different place. Shame. The interest isn't anywhere near the same because of all the fools who think they know it all, and also because guns/tasers/pepper-spray exists. Shame.
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