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28 AUG 2012: On Teaching

I meant to write this entry last night, but I did not feel like fighting with the on-screen keyboard on my iPad. Oh yeah, some of the strange typos in my other entries are from my iPad's autocorrect feature.

Yesterday I taught the first Taiji class held at the Donelson-Hermitage YMCA. For me it was my first and only class. I resigned from my position there earlier this month. Anthony Sciarpelletti, who studied ILC with Sigung in NY before moving down here to Nashville, will be teaching the CMC 37 movement form in my place. Since I have no idea what Anthony intends to teach (I don't know the CMC form) I told them that it would be an introduction to Taijiquan. 

I took them through some quick joint mobility drills, and a few of the warmup exercises taught by Dr. Mark Cheng in the Tai Cheng workout videos. I taught them some basics about wuji standing as well as a "Taiji" qigong set that is very similar to 8 Pieces of Brocade. 

The class really enjoyed my style of teaching. To be honest, I really enjoyed teaching the class. Many of the questions I was asked required me to draw on things that Sifu has taught me. One woman closed her eyes and said that she felt very light during the 5 minutes of Wuji standing. Another woman told me that she felt very heavy and kept asking about putting more or less weight on her knees.

I did not want to deal with many metaphysical concepts or overuse terms like yin and yang too much. I pointed to the lights, and explained that there is a positive and a negative lead. In order to complete the circuit, there has to be an even flow of electricity. If there is too much on the negative lead, the bulb may not give off any light. If there is too much on the positive lead, the filament in the bulb is going to burn out too fast. So to relate this back to both questions (which lucky for me were asked in succession!) I told them that one is too positive, the other is too negative. So they both asked "so did I do it wrong?" I said no, because even with the light bulb, there is power being sent from the source. If there was nothing on either the positive or the negative lead, then we have a problem with our energy source-- it's not giving us any juice! In a person that means they are dead! I would rather you feel too light or too heavy than to not feel anything at all! The class laughed at that one. So I showed them how even though you are standing, you want to be aware of what you're feeling--just enough to notice it and change with the change. One minute you say "oh yeah, everything feels good here, I'm stable." The minute you find that point, something is off, and you are adjusting again to find that neutral point again, not too positive and not too negative. 

If that YMCA were not so far from my home, I would love to continue teaching. I enjoy this type of teaching so much more than personal training stuff. I'm interested in training the mind, the body, and the emotions. Swinging a kettlebell is great, a person can shred off fat, build muscle, and improve the heart muscle-- but ILC can help a person shred off the excess stuff really weighing them down and train the heart-mind, this is what I have observed and I have not even scratched the surface yet. 

I'm looking forward to learning Sifu's Taiji Boost program as I hope to get some form of training going in my neighborhood. 

Also, a friend of mine is interested in learning Taiji from me to see if it will help her deal with symptoms from lupus. I'm going to make her my official spinning partner, so that means I need to study more! :-)


i enjoy hearing this. Teaching is wonderful.