On Teaching

On Teaching

Postby Kalamondin » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:36 am

Hi everyone,

All of us are students, but some of us are also teachers. Recently I’ve been asked to teach more than I used to and I’d like to improve my teaching style. I’d welcome any advice on the subject. This is meant to be a very open ended forum, but we can always branch outward. Here are some questions:

What was it like for you when you started teaching?

How did you get started?

What was easy?

What was hard?

What distinguishes a good teacher from a great one?

Do you formulate lesson plans?

Do you use any teaching aids (books, articles, diagrams)?

What’s the craziest question a student has ever asked you?

And the yuckier stuff: insurance? liability? other legal issues?

Thanks much,
Kal
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Postby gene » Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:48 pm

Kal:

I can't answer all your questions, but here are a couple of thoughts.

1. The craziest question a student ever asked me. A few years ago, I had one of those students who had some issues. You can always tell them because they tend to go a bit overboard. This one tatooed a large yin-yang symbol on his forearm to demonstrate his commitment. During a class, he asked me whether golden rooster stands on one leg would be a good method to disarm someone with a handgun. I could only laugh (envisioning a new posture called "golden rooster lies on back with gaping hole in forehead"). Big mistake. Mortally offended, he quit the school and later made some unkind, threatening remarks about me to my teacher. I'm not sure what lesson to take away from this. One possibility: be prepared to be knocked off balance. A second possibility: don't be dismissive of ANY student question. A third possibility: Be VERY careful about conduct in class that could be interpreted as laughing AT someone, rather than joking around or laughing at an absurd situation.

2. The need for a lesson plan. I find that beginners need structure. I strongly recommend going into each class with a clear picture in your head of what you want to accomplish. Organization communicates authority, and authority is necessary to get "buy-in" and be an effective teacher.

3. What makes an effective teacher? Good teachers are short and tall; loud and quiet; young and old. In short, they come in all shapes and sizes. I believe the key qualities are these, though. First, they have a burning passion for the subject, and this is evident to all of the students. Second, when communicating with a student, they have the ability to make the student feel like he or she is the most important person in the world at that moment. A good teacher listens carefully and interacts with the student. Third, they are not wed to dogma. They have inquisitive minds and are willing to explore new ideas with the student.

The one takeway I would give to anyone considering teaching is: Be patient. You are going to have some students who don't practice, and who view t'ai chi class as an exercise class that they go to once a week. They will frustrate you to no end because they make the same mistakes over and over and over. But it's worth it to get to the couple of students who really care about the subject, and who eventually may help "carry the torch."

Gene
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Postby mls_72 » Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:18 pm

I dont really teach, I just promote various teachers and help them teach due to language barriers and such, but I am always willing to help and promote good kung fu.

I will just start off by saying a Ben Lo quote: "teach what you know"

What was it like for you when you started teaching?

It was very easy, there ar so many basics to cover- warm-ups, qigong, stretches, single movements, basic taiji walking: forward, back, side, with arm movements, without arm movements, actual form, push hands, ect. that an hour goes fast and the class can move along together.

How did you get started? I was asked to help when my teachers classes got big and having seniority.

What was easy?
Yes because the teacher was there as well to supervise.

What was hard?
When I moved and started to do a class at a local recreation center it was easy. Just followed the same routine and had fun making my own inventions to help american students progress.

What distinguishes a good teacher from a great one?
Lack of communication and sincerity. Some students really need to be pampered and spoken softly to when they get frustrated when they feel they are falling behind class or just not 'getting it'. You have to used extra care while not neglecting the talented ones and entire class as well.

Do you formulate lesson plans?
Yes and No. the same class structure gets redundant and people like change and new things. I like to give hand-outs. My teacher never gave them to me, but I do it and I think they like it.

Do you use any teaching aids (books, articles, diagrams)? I recommend books, high level masters- Yang Family of course! show videos, sometimes shared a 'Tai Chi magazine'' article that really adresses the matter at hand, chalk board helps.

What’s the craziest question a student has ever asked you?
I dont know- can I do Dim mak- death touch- fantasy tai chi 'qi' questions.

And the yuckier stuff: insurance? liability? other legal issues?

I taught a guy who was a talented student but when my teacher came to town to do a seminar he always found a way to not come. when I moved I let him take over the classes and when my teacher and I still continued to do seminars for old students he still wouldnt show. So I told him I didnt want him to teach anymore. He justified it because he had learned Karate for many years. However another long time Karate guy I let him keep teaching because he attended every seminars and did recommended events like "Taste of China' and had good character.
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Postby Anderzander » Sun Feb 27, 2005 6:42 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
What was it like for you when you started teaching?</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was quite nervous the first time. It was 12 or 13 years ago. I remember saying "what if no one comes!" - he said "then you train on your own!" lol

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">How did you get started?</font>


He asked me to teach (open a club).

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What was easy?</font>


The teaching - I had years worth of material and I'd learnt a lot about teaching from him.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What was hard?</font>


In the beginning - Keeping students when expecting a lot of them.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What distinguishes a good teacher from a great one?</font>


I think flexibility in approach, seeing where the student is now and a clear vision of where they are going.

You want a loop to occur in your teaching. You look at the student and your experience tells you where they are and the next step for them.

You then tell them or show them the next step in a way that works for them. In my experience this will be different for every person - so you need a flexible approach and good imagination to lead them to the relevant realisation. Then you go through the whole thing again.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Do you formulate lesson plans?</font>


You need a balance here - to rigid and you won't be taking into account the feedback that the students and their bodies give you all the time. Also you'd be ignoring simple things like - does everyone seem tired? is it a very hot night? if peoples focus seems poor it's not the night to work on Yi for eg Image

Too loose though and you'll run the risk of not giving orderly unfolding of things or rational development.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Do you use any teaching aids (books, articles, diagrams)?</font>


I used to give hand outs etc - now I don't. We meet for meals in my wife's family restaurant. Yam Cha is the perfect place to dicsuss concepts Image

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What’s the craziest question a student has ever asked you?</font>


"will you fight me?" said a young guy who turned up at my house!! (he was the first one)
"you're kidding?"I said
"No, my teacher told me to come" he said
"come in and lets drink tea first" I said Image

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And the yuckier stuff: insurance? liability? other legal issues? </font>


Here in the UK I think the insurance is less of a deal than in the states. Though I am about to restart my wing chun club and am looking to get insurance for that.
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Postby Kalamondin » Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:11 pm

Hi Gene,

Thanks for replying. Yeah, there really is no contest if your opponent has a gun, except under exceptional circumstances.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The need for a lesson plan. I find that beginners need structure. I strongly recommend going into each class with a clear picture in your head of what you want to accomplish. Organization communicates authority, and authority is necessary to get "buy-in" and be an effective teacher. </font>


I think these were really good points and definitely something I needed to hear. I’ve been teaching an informal beginners class for a while now (we’re at the first cloud hands in the second section). I started it for my friends so I could teach myself how to teach and get good, constructive feedback from people I trust. In the beginning, I thought I could just go in and teach what I know…after all, I’d been doing the form for a long time now—but it certainly didn’t work out like that. I found it does help me to make really basic lesson plans—like which moves we’re going to cover in class that day, or whether it will be review, and which points need reviewing. I get what you’re saying about authority too. B/c this is a group of friends, there’s less need for me to come across as an authority. They know this is what I’m into and that I still consider myself a student…but there have been times when I find myself in the middle of describing some esoteric point and have to rein myself in and bring it back to the level they’re at. Sloppy. Now that I’m moving towards more public teaching I’m going to have to be more organized.

Also good points on what makes an effective teacher.

Thanks,
Kal
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Postby Bamenwubu » Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:41 pm

Well...
I haven't taught in quite a while, except for a little Wednesday evening group. There are only three of us in my little "class", so to call it "teaching" might be a stretch.
However, I used to teach quite a lot. Beginner level students only, I taught form and beginning push hands.
That said, I will try to answer the questions put forth.

When I first started teaching I was not even aware I was going to be teaching. I agreed to help out my older brother, who had been teaching for a couple of years, by being his tackling dummy...
I mean being the guy he demonstrated applications on.
That lasted two weeks, then he coudn't make it to class for a few weeks and rather than cancel it I said I'd step in. I had been certified to teach beginners allready, so I stepped up.
But having no pre-conceived notions of how to teach, I simply walked in, told the students that my brother was not available for a while and I would be taking over and we moved on.
I guess it was easier for me, because I didn't have a long time to think about it, I found out about five minutes before the class was going to start, and the students allready saw me as being more advanced so they didn't have a problem taking instruction from me for a bit until my brother could get back on track.
And I guess that answers the first two questions in one go.
OK, three questions, as I just described what was easy for me too.
What was hard was having to explain after about a month that my brother was not coming back at all to that class. That was when the students began to "test" me, when I became their full time teacher. That was hard, but fortunately I passed those "tests" and we moved on from there and most of them stayed and actually managed to learn their form from me.

I think the best teacher I have ever met is my teacher now. That's not just lip service to Bill, it's how I feel. The reason he's such a great teacher is because he truly understands what he's teaching and he truly loves teaching teaching it. I will have to assume that helps you be a truly great teacher. I've been told I'm a good teacher, but I haven't reached that level of true understanding yet, and I don't have that burning desire to teach yet to be a great one. That will have to come with time and effort.

I didn't used to make lesson plans. I used to take each lesson one class at a time with just a general idea that we'd get to the end of the form.... eventually.
When I was in the setting of an Academy, a school with it's own facilities and open ended classes where the students paid a monthly fee rather than a set payment for a set amount of time in class, that worked very well. However once I branched out from that setting into the community centers and began to teach a ten or twelve week course with a beginning and end date that I had to fit the form into, then I had to start making lesson plans and stick to them as closely as I could.
With my little group of Wednesday learners I have found it best to take one week at a time, but to have that weeks plan in place before I get there. I decide what we're going to cover in our one and a half hours of group time, and I do my best to stick to that.

I use any articles that I can find from a legitimate Yang family source. I usually look on Bill and Carl's website, www.kentuckytaichi.com, and print up whatever Practice Point seems appropriate for what I'm trying to get across to my students that week. Handouts are nice if you're trying to introduce a concept that you aren't all that terribly familiar with teaching.

I once had a female student ask me if I get aroused doing the forms. When I looked quite puzzled at her question she continued on and told me, and consequently the entire class, that she got aroused while doing the forms.
I had no response to her question. I stood there kind of dumbfounded. Fortunately it just so happened that my teacher was listening in from his office in the studio and he came out immediately and gave us a lecture on how TCC energy is a form of sexual energy, and gave her the response that some people did indeed get aroused from practicing TCC.
I thought he might have been making that up to cover a very awkward moment, but I found out later that he was dead on right with his answer. Now I know how to answer that question, and yes it did come up agian one other time by a male student, but he asked me in private not in front of the whole school.
'Nuff said about THAT particular episode!
Hey, you asked!!!!!!

I was lucky enough to teach under the auspices of an Academy, and as a teacher and employee of that Academy I taught under their insurance policy. I didn't have to mess around with it, the school handled all that.
I'm not sure about the legalities of what I'm doing now, except that a lawyer at my workplace assures me that if I'm not charging for my "lessons" in my basement I'm not liable for any harm that comes to my "friends" unless it's by my negilgence. I have to be VERY careful to call them "friends" to their faces and not "students", it's apparently a legal issue. So I call them "friends" and I make sure we do NO actual sparring. Push hands ONLY down in my little studio for me and my "friends".

Cheers
Bob
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:08 am

One point I learned teaching English in Taiwan: if the tuition is too low the students don't feel like they have to do much studying. It's strange but when someone pays more for lessons they take it more seriously!
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:51 am

Wow, so many great responses...I'm a bit swamped at work so I may not get to everything until next week.

MLS and Anderzander: I liked what you guys had to say about listening carefully to students and tailoring what you're teaching to where they are. This was a big problem for me when I started out because I'd come in excited about what I was working on and then realize I had to lay some more groundwork for the beginners before I could start raving about whatever I was into that week.

On reading the class: because my class of friends didn’t really have a set beginning and ending time (Ostensibly, there is one, but it often starts when people have finished straggling in—it’s a Sat. morning, so I don’t give them grief.), I would sometimes make the mistake of going too long and trying to cover too much in a single class. But now it's coming a little bit easier and I'm learning to listen to a class as a unit (using listening energy), as well as individuals in it. I can see when they are famished and ready to go to brunch; I keep a better grip on my enthusiasm and am getting better at remembering that tai chi postures are difficult to sustain before your muscles adjust.

I love the challenge of figuring out how to say something to a student in just the right way for it to click. I liked the image of a feedback loop that requires imagination on the part of the teacher to figure out exactly what comes next for each student. It’s such a fascinating, organic process, and although there are general principles, and things you say to the whole class, each student has his or her own path.

Bob, LOL about the question you were asked! It’s great what happens when people rediscover how to move their bodies, their energy, and be more aware. Thanks for pointing the way on liability stuff, articles (I’ll have to check out the site more thoroughly one of these days), and teaching.

Must go,
Kal
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:11 am

Well, now that work has calmed down a bit, I can answer some of my own questions:

My teacher asked me to take over a couple of his classes at a senior center and a benevolent association. I really enjoyed teaching, and found it was really fun to try and figure out how to say things so that students would understand. But it was hard too because other than the first class, my teacher wasn’t there and I had no prior experience leading a class. I’d only been studying with him for a year at that point, so I was worried too that I was teaching incorrectly even though I’d studied for several years with a student of his before meeting my teacher. Even so, it worked out fine, and I even had assistance from my students, who as seniors had no problems telling a younger me how best to teach them! Even though I knew more than they did about tai chi, they’d had more experience leading and teaching, so we both benefited.

Now that I have had more time with my teacher under my belt I’ve been studying the way he teaches as well as what he teaches. It’s wonderful to have such a model. I really like the way he gauges where a student is on a particular day—whether they are receptive to corrections, too focused to listen, or in the zone and not to be bothered. He doles out corrections as fast as a student can incorporate them, and backs off when they have too much on their mind to listen. So not only are his instructions tailored to the student, they’re also tailored to where each student is at the moment. And yet, he also has a way of giving instruction in general terms. Although a correction may be aimed at a single student, he won’t single them out or mention their name. This saves face for the person who was making the error, but also allows a whole classroom of students to consider how the correction applies to them personally.

I agree that great teachers are passionate about their subject, but this alone is not enough. There are reams of talented, passionate people who cannot teach. I believe great teachers have a talent for putting themselves in their students’ shoes so they can understand the situation from each student’s perspective. This allows them to give very personalized instruction that will resonate with the student in a way he or she can understand. For example, if a student has a movement-oriented learning style, then requiring that they be still while you are demonstrating won’t work. Neither will it help to draw diagrams, or show them pictures. It’s necessary to let them move with you, or perhaps physically put their hands and arms where they should be. But it’s also necessary to know who can be touched and who cannot tolerate it.

My lesson plans at the moment are limited to reviewing what I want to teach and deciding what NOT to include. It’s still too easy to give them too much information instead of focusing on the key points I want them to remember for _this_ lesson. I am fond of giving out articles, but again, am trying to restrain myself.

I haven’t had any crazy questions from students yet, but I must admit, the “Will you fight me?” challenge is a concern. But then, I probably wouldn’t be studying a martial art if that weren’t a general concern in the first place. What are some strategies for handling challengers when you don’t wish to fight?

Thanks,
Kal
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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:31 pm

Kal,
On the "Will you fight me?" question.
I answer the same way every time.
"I already am fighting you! Every step of the way to your learning this form, I'm fighting you. After you've learned the entire form, ask me again."
It isn't the same as saying "No", so they don't feel like you've dismissed them and get angry enough to push it, and you leave them with the impression that one day you may indeed cross hands with them so they have that to look forward to. Most of those who would ask such a question never finish the form and drop out anyway, so it never comes up again. Those that do finish the whole form never seem to remember to ask.

Bob
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Postby bamboo leaf » Fri Mar 11, 2005 9:16 pm

(must admit, the “Will you fight me??challenge is a concern. But then, I probably wouldn’t be studying a martial art if that weren’t a general concern in the first place. What are some strategies for handling challengers when you don’t wish to fight?)

depends on your own skill level and weather you really have the abilities you feel you have. Each is a little different.

Having the abilities means that for example if you say that you do not use force and to cause people to lose balance or lead them off balance really useing no force, then even if your not quite up to the others skill level, the difference in approaches should be quite clear.

Having a high skill level you can do what you want, but I feel the best way is to compare a known skill in a non threatening way. For example my teachers grandson asked me to place my hand on his and then attempt to leave his hand, it felt as though his hand was glued to mine I cant say he followed me, as it was more like it just stuck to mine I was unable to cause it to lose contact.

If the person is still unable to understand the skill and implications of this feat, then probably they are really not suited for taiji anyway, if the skill is true and they insist on matching hands then just toss them out.

Taiji history is full of stories of past masters who handled things not by hurting the other person but showing them what high level skill really was, even if it came down to a match they where often able to handle the others quite easily and so uniquely that often the challenger would beg to be a student of the master.

david


post note: there are many times when we really are not up to the task of really useing no force and use either some or a lot depending on what needs to be done.

i dont feel this is to bad as long as its not really represented to be no force. the use of whole body force is a little differnt







[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 03-11-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:16 pm

David,
It's not just masters from the past that did this. I know of one modern master who had to show superior skill to shut down such a situation. I was not there, did not witness the event, but a person who claimed it was he that came out on the losing end of the situation told me, and anyone else who would care to listen, about it himself.
I do want to say that I never heard the master in question speak of it at all.
The story as I heard it goes:
At a public, multi-style martial arts demonstration, the master in question had a Judo practicioner, a black belt who had won many tournaments, approach him with a challenge to fight and prove that TCC was a martial art and not just a dance for old people. I guess this happens, I dunno.
The master declined repeatedly. However the Judo guy would not take no for an answer and eventually attacked the master.
I was not there, can not give descriptions of what happened or how long it all lasted, but from reported eye witness accounts it only went on for a few seconds.
This man told me himself that before he knew what was happening his leg was completely enwapped by the leg of the master and he was unable to move as the master pinned his leg to the floor and had him folded over onto himself directly over that leg with the other one sticking up in the air behind him and flopping around uselessly. The master had simply wrapped his leg around the other mans leg and then stood his ground while cutting his center and bending him over onto himself.
The master asked the black belt if he was convinced now and if they could stop, but the black belt instead tried to muscle his way out of the situation.
He ended up breaking his own leg trying.
He became a student of that master, just as soon as his cast came off, and became a fervent practicioner of TCC.

I had heard the story numerous times and did not really believe it, to be honest. I assumed it was one of those made up tales to promote the masters prowess. After meeting the master in question, several times, I had never heard him say anything about it, and when he was flat out asked by one of the newer students he just smiled, shook his head slowly, appearing to laugh inside, and moved on with no comment. He repeatedly refused to answer any questions about the incident over several years that I know of.
However, when I met the man who reputedly made the challenge and lost, about a year later, he freely admitted to his mistake and told anyone who would stand around long enough to listen about the incident, vowing to the heavens it was all true.

So it's not just old masters from legend who have performed this feat, there is at least one modern master who was able to do as you say and shut down a highly skilled opponent with apparent ease.
Or so I've been told.
Again, I did not see it, can't swear to it or affirm it in any way except by the admission of a person who says it was he that came out on the wrong end of the challenge and a long line of students who claim to have seen it themselves.
The gentleman in question freely admitted he broke his own leg, that the master repeatedly asked him to stop struggling or he would get hurt, but he ignored him and kept at it until he fell over trying to get loose and his leg got broken. He spoke of how helpless he felt, how trapped he was, and how he could barely manage to move at all, much less get away from the leg lock he was in.
Of course, all of this masters students trained to do this thing, this leg wrap, including me, and while I know the theory I have never been able to do it in reality. It requires your legs to be totally sung, and my calves and ankles are one of my most tense areas, as are most peoples. However, I have been on the receiving end of having this applied against me by some of the masters disciples, and it's a very uncomfortable feeling to be sure. You can't move, as the man said, unless your opponent wishes it and releases you.

Anyway....
That is the story as I have heard it. As I have no way to know the actual veracity of the tale I have been very careful to name no names. I don't wish to embaress anyone, most especially myself, if it's not true, or if the truth of the event was exaggerated.
Fun story to tell though. I have always used it only as a tall tale, as I can't swear to it from my own observation.
If it did happen I wish I could have been there to see it. I have seen this master perform some pretty advanced feats of martial prowess, but never saw him do the Wrap and Snap, as it was called.
Well, actually I did, as the movements to do this are one of the basic warm ups of the lineage he practices, but what I mean is that I never saw him apply it against another person, not even in practice.

Bob
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Postby bamboo leaf » Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:33 pm

(It requires your legs to be totally sung, and my calves and ankles are one of my most tense areas, as are most peoples. However, I have been on the receiving end of having this applied against me by some of the masters disciples, and it's a very uncomfortable feeling to be sure. You can't move, as the man said, unless your opponent wishes it and releases you.)

some key points you mentioned the legs must be totally sung, this has been covered in other threads but its something that really must be stressed over and over again. the whole body needs to relax, use no force.

My own teacher in china, at 86 can do some very amazing things much of which probably would not be believed or would cause to many questions that I really don't care to answer, suffice to say that, all the skill sets mentioned of the old past masters he truly has.


My point being that there are people with very high skill levels who are not widely known, high level means, high level, it takes a while and much practice to really develop the skill which many to day seem not to have to much time for, but they have a lot of time to continuely question it all the time. kind of makes you wonder!

An example of his skill, with his small finger on another¡¯s hand placed on your chest he can toss you back a couple of feat. It feels like his finger is actually poking through the others hand but actually the other person feels no force applied at all.


david



[This message has been edited by bamboo leaf (edited 03-11-2005).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Thu Mar 17, 2005 5:16 am

Hi Bob,

I like your "I'm already fighting you" answer. It's not exactly my style of operating, but it's funny--it addresses the student's concerns and diffuses tension with humor. Props for having the comic timing to pull that off--I don't think I could use it successfully--but still, I like it.

Thanks also for sharing that modern master story.

Kal
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Mar 18, 2005 2:41 am

Hi David,

You wrote:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
depends on your own skill level and weather you really have the abilities you feel you have. Each is a little different. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That’s the crux of it! It’s really hard to have a good understanding of one’s own skill level. It’s usually somewhat lower or higher than one assumes. I suspect an element of mastery is really knowing all one’s strengths and weaknesses. I think Polaris quoted her teacher on an older thread as saying something like, “You know more than you think you do. I hope that you will never have to find out how much you know.”

That said, a non-threatening demonstration sounds like a good idea. Again, I suppose it would take good listening skills to understand if a challenger were the kind who is just testing the waters, trying to make sure you have some skill before deciding to study with you. But if the challenger is wedded to being right and being the best—then a gentle demonstration of leading them into emptiness, without even tossing them too hard, could be interpreted as an insult and lead to an escalation.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Taiji history is full of stories of past masters who handled things not by hurting the other person but showing them what high level skill really was, even if it came down to a match they where often able to handle the others quite easily and so uniquely that often the challenger would beg to be a student of the master. </font>


Yeah, that’s part of what I love about tai chi chuan—the part about having the skill to NOT hurt someone. IMO, so many fights and injuries come out of someone feeling threatened enough to trigger their fight, flight, or freeze response. The limbic system in the brain isn’t even remotely rational when it comes to the interpretation of threat.

So part of mastery is staying calm enough that the body’s emergency response doesn’t kick in…but for those of us who aren’t masters, it’s a little dicey going into a situation where you don’t know what your response will be if someone insists on fighting...and where higher skill is demonstrated by not fighting. I know pretty well what I would try to do if someone offered to fight me and persisted: try to decline gently, and then decline with gradually more force…and yet I realize there’s still a gap between what I would try to do and what might actually happen.

So what can be done? More practice, I’m sure! In the meantime, I’ll try not to worry about it, since what one worries about tends to show up.

Best wishes,
Kal
Kalamondin
 
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