Frustrated with another student - help

Frustrated with another student - help

Postby Siahn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:59 am

I have an issue with my Tai Chi practice that I would really appreciate honest feedback on.

I have only been practicing Tai Chi for about 2 years. The school I practice at really emphasizes the principles underlying the forms and states that it is not until a student has grasped a movement within the form to a reasonable level that he or she is allowed to move on to learning the next part of the form.

This means that I have only learnt the first part of the combined 42 form after 2 years and I am happy with this. Though I know that I have lots to learn I feel that considering Ive only been practicing for 2 years I am heading in the right direction. I practice every day at home and attend every lesson twice a week and I practice to improve.

Most of the students in my class also do the same and are improving all the time and, like me, strive to apply and understand the fundamental principles of Tai Chi to the movements.

With the exception of one guy – and here we come to the heart of my issue. And I say MY issue as I know it is my issue but I am at a loss of how to address it.

One student in the class, while his attendance is faultless, seems to only ever go through the motions with his practice. There are so many obvious flaws in his movements that he seems unaware of and his approach to Tai Chi seems to be one of not improving and refining his current understanding but seems more intent on simply learning more moves, rather than refining the ones he knows currently.

The result is that his Tai Chi is awful - though he has been practicing for many years.

So how does this affect me I hear you ask? Well, quite simply it shouldn’t. It really isn’t any of my business how someone is progressing on their own path of Tai Chi.

However – it does affect me. So much so that affects my practice during class as I watch him out of the corner of my eye. I find myself getting very angry, I don’t understand why he cant practice more at home (he tells me he never does), I don’t understand why he is so intent on rushing ahead when what he currently understands is so flimsy. And I do not understand why the instructor does not pull him up on this.

I tell myself that I need to just concentrate on my own practice – I try to keep my focus totally on myself as I practice but I invariably find myself distracted and out of sorts as I follow along behind this person while he executes excruciatingly awful Tai Chi.

I know intellectually that it is my own attachment to how I think he should be practicing that is causing me ‘pain’. I also recognize that it a reflection of my own inflated ego that I feel this way.

But nevertheless I feel a terrible anger towards this person. I see others struggling with techniques but because I know they are trying to refine what they know already I feel nothing but respect for them. But for this guy I feel nothing but disdain as I watch him trying to leap ahead without taking the time to refine his current understanding.

How do I let this go? I cant do anything about it his approach and nor should I. Why am I so egotistical? Why am I so attached to how I think he should practice?

I feel deeply ashamed for thinking this way but nevertheless I do. At class today I swore that I would not let this come into my practice but it did worse than ever – to the point where I felt like walking out because I felt that the instructor should be pulling this individual up on his approach and correcting him.

How do I let this go? Why does someone else’s approach to Tai Chi affect me so? Im seriously considering the possibility that I just don’t have the right temperament for Tai Chi if something so trivial can distract me so easily.

Any advice would be gratefully received no matter how brutal.
Siahn
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:11 am

Re: Frustrated with another student - help

Postby DPasek » Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:22 pm

Siahn,

Perhaps you should be thankful for this fellow student. He is giving you something to work on that none of the other students, or the teacher, do. It seems like you have analyzed the situation carefully, but I doubt that anyone can provide a solution since everyone is different from you. It seems like a personal thing that you need to work through.

We want to have a calm mind that is free from distractions. Emotions can interfere with both our solo practice and our interactions with others. We do not want frustrations, likes and dislikes, fear, hate, nervousness, etc. to color our ability to perceive what is happening, or to negatively influence our practice. But you seem to already recognize this.

I do not really have suggestions since my personality is different from yours, but some people find meditation helps to reduce the mental distractions. Perhaps just knowing that he is providing you with an opportunity to train a very important aspect of the art will suffice. Leaving class would mean that you would be walking away from potentially valuable training that he seems to be providing for you.

People have different reasons for attending Taijiquan classes. On one extreme are those who treat it socially and do not practice outside of class, and they progress very slowly, if at all. This can still benefit them, but in a different way than your practice goals. I have known someone that entered forms competitions for years, not to medal (which he did), but to practice not being nervous. He thought that he should continue entering the tournaments until he was no longer nervous performing (i.e., his unique training situation).
DPasek
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2004 6:01 am
Location: Pittsboro, NC USA

Re: Frustrated with another student - help

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:38 pm

Siahn,
I'll take a stab at this, mostly because I've been there, done that, hell I bought the T-shirt, so I hope I can help you get to the root of the issue.
The way I am understanding your post is this:

You feel cheated because this other student is being allowed to progress in learning the postures beyond what you perceive to be his abilities, while you are being held back until you can understand each posture before you are allowed to learn the next one.
So this clown is constantly moving forward with seeming ease while you are struggling with each and every thing and the instructors are allowing this!
Why do you, and the others present, have to struggle to be allowed to progress while this peon is allowed to keep right on going despite his total lack of understanding or hard work?
It's simply not fair!

Did I get that close?
I think so, because...
As mentioned, I've been there myself.
However, once I started teaching I received an entirely new insight into this and I can say I am now "guilty" of doing this same thing.
But...
I feel no guilt over it at all.
"Why?"
Good question, I'm glad you asked.
Because...
This other student is NOT being allowed to "progress" at all.
He's simply being allowed to continue to come to class by the instructors due to his repeated attendance and his seeming "progress" is nothing but empty air.
He's being given a few new postures from time to time to make him feel like he's actually part of things but he's not really understanding either the art or that this is what is actually happening.
He's just being allowed to be there, that's it.
"BUT THAT'S NOT FAIR!", you say.
And you're absolutely right...
It's not fair.
There is nothing fair about this at all, not to you, not to the other students who are also expected to learn before they are allowed to progress. It is absolutely unfair to you all. Including him!
I fully and freely agree with that sentiment and yet...
I do this and will continue to do this same thing with my own students.
And now for the answer to the "WHY?" that I'm sure you're still screaming...

That guy is almost certainly NEVER going to learn the real art of Tai Chi Chuan, mostly because he doesn't want to, but chances are good that you and the rest of the other students in your classes will learn it because you do want to.
He's learning what I call "Tied Cheese" and nothing more, while you're learning Tai Chi Chuan.
That's what he's there for and that's all he wants, so that's what he's getting.
Why would the instructors keep trying to get him to learn and practice if he's not ever going to do so?
All that would be is a huge waste of time for your instructors and for the other students.
He isn't interested in actually learning the art, perhaps he's only interested in the camaraderie of being in the class, or it's something else entirely that motivates him. We will probably never know and... It's not really any of our business. Is it?
He's getting from the instructors what he's paying them to give him, and that's perfectly fine. In fact, it's a very good thing.
I've had MANY students like this over the years. You have NO idea how many. I really don't know what motivates them and... I don't really pry into it either. As long as they're getting what they want or need I feel like I'm accomplishing my goal as a teacher.
Do you know who gets "pushed" to learn in my classes?
Anyone, and I mean [i]ANYONE[i] who actually wants to and proves that to me.
I will push those people, hard and constantly, to learn everything that I can teach them.
I will "hold them back" until they're ready over and over again, despite their frustration.
I pay attention to them, patiently waiting for that time when I finally see the "Ah Ha" moment of understanding so that I can finally allow them to move forward to the next thing they'll be struggling with.
The others...
I will do what I can when I can to help them learn at least a little.
However it's almost always a losing battle and in the end a waste of my time, their time, and the time of the other students who do want to learn.
I still teach them, I still try to push them at least a little but...
If they don't want to do it they simply won't and nothing I do will change that.
So I spend my time focusing on those who truly want to learn and the rest get what they're there for as well.
And I have no problem with that.
Those students are getting what they want or need and I am more than happy to provide anyone with that.

So here's my advice to you...
Stop worrying about this guy. Period.
He's simply not worth it.
Let him get what he needs out of the classes and you do the same.
For whatever reason, and we will never know what that is, he needs to be there or he wouldn't keep coming back.
So leave him to it and be happy that he's getting what he needs by being there.
Instead of even thinking about his progress...
Think about your own.
That is what is important.
Everyone is there for their own reasons, including you.
Stick with that and let everyone else stick with theirs.
Because learning Tai Chi Chuan is simply not and never will be "fair".
Some people pick it up with ease, they don't struggle with it at all. They're "naturals" and everything comes easy to them.
Others never learn it despite all of their time, effort and desire. It's just not in them and so no amount of effort will ever really pay off. They may get some of it but in the end the true essence of the art simply eludes them.
Then there's those who do eventually learn it but have to work really, really, really, really hard. I'd say most people fall in this category somewhere. Some work longer at it than others, some work harder than others, but most of us fit in here.
Then there are those like this other student, they keep right on coming and they're not even coming there to learn the art. We can have no idea what it is that motivates them to keep coming week after week but it must be important to them or they'd stop coming.
Is any of that "fair"?
No, I don't think so either. But..
NOTHING in life is fair. To be honest I feel that word has very little meaning in reality.
I've just learned to accept that nothing in life is ever going to be "fair". That's just how it is and all.
It's probably best that you do so as well.

Bob Bu Hao (and how!)
Bob Ashmore
 
Posts: 723
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Re: Frustrated with another student - help

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:54 pm

Siahn wrote:I have an issue with my Tai Chi practice that I would really appreciate honest feedback on.
With the exception of one guy – and here we come to the heart of my issue. And I say MY issue as I know it is my issue but I am at a loss of how to address it.

One student in the class, .....
.....The result is that his Tai Chi is awful - though he has been practicing for many years.

So how does this affect me I hear you ask? Well, quite simply it shouldn’t. It really isn’t any of my business how someone is progressing on their own path of Tai Chi.

How do I let this go? I cant do anything about it his approach and nor should I. Why am I so egotistical? Why am I so attached to how I think he should practice?

How do I let this go? Why does someone else’s approach to Tai Chi affect me so? Im seriously considering the possibility that I just don’t have the right temperament for Tai Chi if something so trivial can distract me so easily.

Any advice would be gratefully received no matter how brutal.


Greetings! Siahn...
I have noticed that you had asked "how do I let this go?" twice. The answer is just let it go since it isn’t any of your business.

Perhaps, you will let it go after you hear my story. I went to a local gym to practice Tai Ji and sword with the people who have practice more then 10 years. Most of the time, there are about 50 to 60 people and they had learnt from the same instructor. SInce the instructor had passed away, they just continue to practice in the gym. BTW They have never learned the Yang style Tai Ji form correctly from that passed instructor. After 10 years, there was no improvement on their part at all.

At first I had tried to blend in with the group. However, I have practiced more than 40 years of the Yang style; I just cannot sync in with the group. Another thing was that when they perform the no-name form of the sword. They didn't even know how to hold the sword properly. I almost threw up from what I saw. At first, I was so excruciating to be part of the group. I had the same feelings as you had for several weeks. Hence, one day, I had excluded myself from the group and practiced on my own in a corner.

I have hundreds of eyes watching me while practicing my Tai Ji and sword. After a few month, some of the people had come up to me with some compliments. Some told me that they wish they could perform like me. Some had shown admiration of the sword movements by imitating my moves in front of me.

So, just let it go and do your best. Why should you be bothered with the weakness of others. Just have your mind to concentrate on your own practice; and anything outside of that is invisible to you. Please keep in mind. Practicing Tai Ji is to train your mind, body and breathing. The concentration of these criteria will help you to filter out all the distractions around you.


Let Nature take its course,
Wu Wei Taoist
A deep discussion requires explicit details for a good comprehension of a complex subject.
ChiDragon
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Frustrated with another student - help

Postby fchai » Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:35 am

Greetings Shaun,

Lots of good advice from experienced teachers and practitioners. Personally, when I practice Taiji I do not pay attention to anything else or anyone. My focus is on my form, breathing, energy, etc. I am aware of my surroundings and the people around, but they do not impinge on my practice. I would be concerned that you are watching someone else while doing your form. You may be causing yourself problems arising from improper alignment of neck and/or spine. Also, if you are distracted and compound this by getting agitated, you will not be calm, relaxed and intent on what you are doing. Your form will suffer!
In a nutshell, ignore the distractions and just focus on what you are doing. Practice the"Ten Essential Principles" and you will discover that the chap irritating you is if no consequence, as you will be more focused on what you are doing rather than what someone else is.

Take care,
Frank
fchai
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun May 31, 2015 6:11 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Frustrated with another student - help

Postby fchai » Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:37 am

Greetings Siahn,
Oops. Auto correction is a pain. Lol.
Frank
fchai
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun May 31, 2015 6:11 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Frustrated with another student - help

Postby Siahn » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:27 pm

Hi all,

Thank you all for your feedback and help – I really appreciate it and I have taken so much from all of your comments. Your feedback has really provided me with a lot more insight and understanding and I feel much clearer about my practice going forward.

Many thanks to you all and for your understanding.
Siahn
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:11 am

Re: Frustrated with another student - help

Postby global village idiot » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:10 pm

One of the things I stumbled into quite by accident was how nicely tai chi fits into the philosophy of Stoicism.

The name "Stoic" has a bad reputation - it conjures up images of stone-faced, passive acceptance of fate. But that's not it at all - not by a long shot. It in fact bears an extremely close resemblance to the Taoism expressed by Lao Tzu, only in a form that's much more accessible to the Western way of thinking.

http://spiritualnaturalistsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Handbook-2nd-Ed.pdf

I encourage you to spend time with the text above, because it really will help. The quick-and-dirty version as it applies to you and your circumstance, however, is: You're not in class for him, but for you. You're not there to compare yourself to him, but to yourself. He is external to you and his progress or lack thereof does not affect you in the slightest, except so far as you worry about it. Your concern will not make him better or cause him to leave - so why concern yourself with him?

Hope this helps,

gvi
global village idiot
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:31 pm

Re: Frustrated with another student - help

Postby Siahn » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:16 am

global village idiot wrote:One of the things I stumbled into quite by accident was how nicely tai chi fits into the philosophy of Stoicism.

The name "Stoic" has a bad reputation - it conjures up images of stone-faced, passive acceptance of fate. But that's not it at all - not by a long shot. It in fact bears an extremely close resemblance to the Taoism expressed by Lao Tzu, only in a form that's much more accessible to the Western way of thinking.

http://spiritualnaturalistsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Handbook-2nd-Ed.pdf

I encourage you to spend time with the text above, because it really will help. The quick-and-dirty version as it applies to you and your circumstance, however, is: You're not in class for him, but for you. You're not there to compare yourself to him, but to yourself. He is external to you and his progress or lack thereof does not affect you in the slightest, except so far as you worry about it. Your concern will not make him better or cause him to leave - so why concern yourself with him?

Hope this helps,

gvi



Thank you! I have downloaded and will read it through. Much appreciated GVI
Siahn
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:11 am


Return to Tai Chi Theory and Principles

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest

cron