<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by yielding:
Just curious T -- why did you feel you need to move on?? Why three bad years??</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
This could take awhile.
My Sifu is very skilled and for 9 years taught Tai Chi and had 2 classes, a rather large beginner class that learned the long for and basic push hands and a much smaller advanced class that learned additional forms and got into more advanced push hands and free style push hands.
However, that is now almost 4 years ago, he started talking about retiring from his full time job and shortly afterwards a very large group from the beginner class appeared in the advanced class. That was no problem, nor was the fact that I and a few others were asked to help them with their form. However after awhile we were told not to correct too much and in the case of one student we were told not to correct him at all, since he claimed to have great prior experience (to be honest his form was worst of all).
Later my Sifu stopped teaching push hands and left that to a student more senior to me and I, this is also no big deal. Shortly after that the guy who claimed great Tai Chi experience started bullying the other beginners with what he called push hands, which was in reality just pushing and jerky punches. I talked with my Sifu about this and he did nothing. This went on for awhile and then the student more senior to me talked to my Sifu about this and he still did nothing. Shortly after this senior student stopped coming to class. The bullying continued until this bully challenged me and I could not avoid it. Suffice to say the bullying stopped for awhile after that, and I am sorry it came to that. However push hands stopped shortly after that too.
The new students didn’t like the idea of Martial arts and Tai Chi and they wanted to spend more time learning the long form (this was always previously handled in the beginner class) and all additional forms training stopped. After that the new students began to insist on learning a sword form, even though in my opinion they had not yet truly learned the 2 forms they had been shown. And since there were more of them than the advanced students push hands training stopped all together, except where a few of us were able to fit it in when possible.
I had several respectful conversation with my Sifu over the final 2 years about class I talked to him about what I was getting out of Tai Chi and were I hoped to go and he told me after 1.5 years that he felt I should learn Tung Ying Chieh’s fast form and he would start showing it to me at the end of the current session. The last day of the session he asked me if I had any extra swords because he was going to teach the new students the long (Straight) sword form. I brought in what I had and the class started with no mention of the fast form. After 2 weeks of watching the newer student come to class after not practicing the forms they had been shown, so it was going painfully slow, I asked my Sifu about the Tung Ying Chieh fast form and he said he was not going to teach it because the new students were not ready. This came as a bit of a surprise because he had mentioned another student and me by name as who he was going to teach it to in the prior conversation.
I went back for one class after that where I noticed the bullying starting again on the side lines in the form of forms applications (being done wrong) I later had a brief conversation with Sifu about Tai Chi when he exploded into a tirade about how the new students were good students but had no interest in martial arts, there was not enough time to teach additional forms and the new students needed a lot of work, we (the advanced students) needed to understand that and deal with it. Etc. I had said nothing about his new students in that conversation so once again I was a bit shocked. That was my last day there as a student. I did go back once to bring him some DVDs he requested that I look for when I was in Beijing. Over that 3 year period he lost all of his advanced students. When I left there was only one left and the last advanced student left 1 month later.
When I first started with my Sifu he would stop you in a posture, mid-form. To walk around and adjust your posture, it did not matter what form it was. I can remember standing holding a heal kick for a few minutes while he checked everyone’s form, that no longer occurs. I can also remember him taking people aside to talk to them about training and if they were not going to why come to class (this occurred mainly in the advanced class), this no longer goes on. My Sifu was also very big on push hands and applications but all of this stopped in my last 3 years there.
During the 1st year of the 3 years he tried to get into more of the internal side, qigong, but the new people didn’t want practice it on their own and it was constant repeating so it stopped, he also started teaching the 2 person set, but the new people complained and they didn’t understand why they were learning a 2 person set because it was more like martial arts and Tai Chi was not martial art, in their opinion, so it stopped.
I did manage to leave and stay on good terms with him and I still e-mail him from time to time.
Sorry so long but believe it or not this is the short version.