Teaching levels
   
     

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Students

In a taijiquan class people are often required to work together.
Sometimes a more experienced student may help other people out.
Are they teaching?
No.


Not teaching

Examples where no active teaching is taking place:

  1. Spotting
    - students are shown what a mistake looks like
    - they work with other students and look for that mistake

     

  2. Helping (learning-by-helping)
    - a helper might assist in preparing the room or cleaning up afterwards
    - they may greet new starters
    - they may undertake responsibilities in class that exceed those of the average student
     

  3. Leading
    - a more experienced student performs exercises in front of other students and the junior students follow along
    - this involves simply copying/imitating


Knowledge

The inexperienced student lacks the necessary knowledge-base to actually teach taijiquan.
Yes, they can effectively 'lead' a follow-me group, but this remains a far cry from teaching because the process is essentially passive.
It makes little demand on the student's knowledge.



Teaching


Teaching is a dynamic process.
The depth of the teaching is determined by the knowledge-level and aptitude of the teacher:

  1. Instructor
    - an instructor can perform all aspects of the curriculum skilfully
    - they can observe, identify and correct faults
    - easily comprehensible examples and illustrations can be provided
    - a scientific approach demonstrating correct/incorrect methods is evident
    - the basic principles of the Art are evident
    - full differentiation is apparent
    - martial skill is thorough and comprehensive
    - questions can be addressed with relative ease

     

  2. Expert
    - the material is much more familiar (10,000 hours of experience)
    - a far broader degree of context and understanding is shown
    - biomechanics, martial skill, The Tai Chi Classics and Taoism are intertwined
    - adriotness with 36 Strategies, The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings is evident
    - The Tai Chi Classics are the primary resource for highlighting the nature of the Art
    - The Way and Its Power is frequently referred to and readily demonstrated
    - Te is fully understood
    - lessons concerning jing, 13 postures, neigong, chin na, shuai jiao, weaponry, self defence and meditation are all immediately to hand when teaching
     

  3. Master
    -
    every aspect of every exercise, form, drill and application is fully understood
    - the subtle nuances, the relevance, the interconnectedness of all things, the significance of the seemingly trivial
    - a broader cultural and historical richness is evident
    - complex physics principles are rendered straightforward, comprehensible and apparent
    - applications look more like 'sleight of hand' rather than brawling
    - the training is subtle, understated, with no need for aggression or
    competition, no need for reciprocity or validation
    - a high-level communicator
    - can cope with any question or uncertainty with a gentle ease
    - possesses the ability to reverse-engineer/dismantle the Art


Context

Teaching and not-teaching ultimately comes down to context.
An instructor understands taijiquan from a broader perspective; they know why things are done.
The student may know what is done, but they do not understand how or why well enough to be teaching anyone.


Page created 9 August 1999
Last updated 03 April 2017