The above signs are by no means a prerequisite for doing Tai Chi, in fact one could say that their lack are an indicator that Tai Chi would be of great benefit. They are however things that need to be addressed before joining an established class as otherwise it can be a miserable experience which sadly can put someone off Tai Chi. For this reason we have the occasional Basics Course, but currently we have no plans for one.
At the moment we have an established Beginners Class – ie most members have been in it for at least a term. Sometimes we can take someone new on:
Some people take to Tai Chi very quickly – it’s impossible to predict, but usually they have a good sense of where their body is in space (propriocentricity) which comes with sporting activities, ballet, dance, yoga, Pilates and so on. We have found that we can let two or even three such people try a class successfully without disturbing the Beginners Class (see below for an explanation of what I mean by that). Invariably one class is enough to establish whether Tai Chi is for you but we don’t ask anyone to commit until they are sure. Other than that, being able to stand on one leg, walk slowly in a straight line, knowing your left from your right, and being able to copy someone else’s movements are all important good signs. Probably a good sense of time as in music helps too.
If this sounds like you then space permitting we may be able invite you to try a class. If not, please keep reading.
Let me explain what I mean when I say ‘disturb a class’. I mean taking up a lot of the teacher’s attention at the expense of the other students. Anita, our teacher, finds it impossible to ignore someone who is struggling with the basics, but giving one person the time and attention they need and deserve (and will get in the Basics Course) has to be at the expense of explaining things for the benefit of many students.
I hope that this explanation makes sense to you. We have spent a lot of time thinking on it. I will be happy to discuss it.
John, course manager.