When a student is having difficulty learning the simple T’ai Chi Chih movements, it is often because he or she is not moving correctly and has no clear concept of how to move. It is necessary for the teacher to then focus on how the student moves, bringing him or her to the point where he or she is flowing in the T’ai Chi Chih manner, not just moving hands and legs.
It is necessary to instruct students that it is how you move, not what you move that is important. Effortless flow, from the substantial to the insubstantial and back, is what causes the arms to move softly.
The example the teacher sets for the student is all-important, and, naturally, all teachers are sincere in their efforts to do the best job possible. There are a few excellent teachers who do not immediately begin to teach movements to their students but spend the initial time in inculcating the students with the “feel” of T’ai Chi Chih and the vital principle of how to move.
So, if you, as a teacher, find difficulty with a particular student, you might want to first concentrate on how that student moves – always being tolerant and allowing for physical disabilities and advanced age.
This article is published in Spiritual Odyssey.