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September 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm #128360
In Brighton, we talked about sharing some ideas about running a tai chi class, so I just wanted to weigh in. We’ve just started new classes at Brookline Tai Chi for the fall. Here’s what we cover for our 7-week intro class:
- One new move each week up to Single Whip
- Alignment principles and body mechanics that fit with each move (the first seven pair nicely with some of the basics, so you can spread out the teaching of things like spine alignment, turning from the hips, moving from the kwa, etc.)
- Warm-ups drawn from Energy Gates (introduce simple standing to find alignments and settle in before we do the form, using basic version of cloud hands as a repetitive movement exercises for warm-up, etc.)
I have a few suggestions for developing your curriculum and class structure, but I’m curious to hear what other people are up to.
Anyone else starting new classes?
How have you found it returning to your students after the training if you were already running classes? That’s a whole other topic, for sure!
Let me know,
DanSeptember 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm #131506
I’m getting ready to begin a new set of classes in a few weeks. I’ve never taught the Wu form before, so I’ve been considering different ways to do it. Right now, the plan is to offer it as a 10 week, twice a week session. The idea has been bouncing around in my head to possibly offer two 10 week sessions called “Bones” and “Guts” .
In “Tai Chi: Bones”, you’d start learning the basic shape of movements, basic alignments, how to do a simple standing practice, etc. . I’m planning on teaching at a bit faster clip than what Dan mentioned above, but still do not anticipate getting to the end of the form. Personally, I’ve had better success teaching new students a bit faster at first to give them a “shape” for what they’re doing, and then gradually slowing down as they begin to have an understanding and appreciation for deeper content.
The second 10wk session of “Tai Chi: Guts” would complete the basic shape of the movements of the Wu Short Form, and begin to flesh out the content starting back at the beginning from Commencement to Single Whip.
I’m planning to teach my first night of class as “Sit, Stand, Walk” to get people introduced and into the flow. The first part of the class will be a general introduction to Tai Chi, what they’ll be learning, getting to know the folks and get them “landed”. The sitting portion would be a very basic breathing exercise for presence and awareness. The standing portion will move them onto their feet and feeling connected to the ground. First alignments of width of feet, toes straight ahead, knees slightly bent and open, and relaxed hips will be introduced. Walking portion will take people into basic heel to toe walking with an emphasis on feeling the feet and continuing the mindful breathing from the first exercise. I’ll close class with a pre-set for commencement and demo of the short form.
I find doing some really simple stuff the first class is best. A lot of people out there are not terribly coordinated, so if I have some exercises that they can easily do and begin to develop the quality of relaxation and let go in their body, then their confidence stays high and teaching becomes easier. Also, giving them something that will allow them to do a lot of repetitions without needing to have it modeled (i.e. walking), gives me a chance to watch students in motion and get a good baseline for where they are and where the next classes may need to go.
So, those are a few of my thoughts. How do the rest of you usually start your classes and organize your sessions?
Looking forward to your input!
PaulSeptember 15, 2011 at 8:39 am #131507
Nice one guys! Tell me how it goes, what works and what doesn’t and I will rip off your best ideas buahahahahaaSeptember 15, 2011 at 8:39 am #131508
Nice one guys! Tell me how it goes, what works and what doesn’t and I will rip off your best ideas buahahahahaaDecember 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm #131509
you talking about specifically the wu style instructor training? or just teaching EA stuff in general?
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