Monday, March 27, 2017

Taking the Next Step, or Not?

Should I take the next step?

That is the question.

I have been practising on my own, but I know that is only good for maintaining my current level, to retain what I have learnt over the years.

In order to improve further, I need to teach.

But that is not an easy decision. Although my teacher, Mr Kwek, has given me the go-ahead to teach in Japan, teaching taiji is not a decision to be made lightly.

Because teaching is a long-term commitment. When I look at my teacher, his commitment to teaching, I ask myself if I am ready to live up to the same commitment. Turning up for lessons week after week. Students may take a break every once in a while, when they are sick, or have other commitments, even just to take a break and go for a vacation. And classes will still go on.

But the teacher cannot just take a break like that. When the teacher doesn't show up for class, the students are left to themselves. A teacher can't just disappear like that. Falling ill is not an option. Going on a vacation, or even any trip, is something that needs to be carefully planned so as not to disrupt the learning of the students.

So while I want to teach so that I can continue to improve, I am apprehensive about whether I can make such a commitment now.

Meanwhile, it is back to regular practice, and reading widely.

At least until I can make that commitment towards the next step.


zhutou gege said...

Hi Teck

As you also know and wrote, teaching will take you to another level of Tai Chi. I remember watching a YouTube interview of Yang Jun where he said he learned more after he started teaching. Before that, all he did was to perform while his grandfather Yang Zhenduo did the teaching. He said that performing was easy, and I think for him, it was already second nature and almost mechanical for him to do the form. He did not have to use his brains, so to speak.

Do you want to stop learning? I am sure your reply is "No" and you would want to move on to the highest level possible, but one of your concerns is "time". Well, when you were learning, you did set aside time to attend classes, so why has it become something to consider when setting aside time to continue learning?

I think one of the most noble things to do in life is to pass on your knowledge to another generation of pupils. I know there are lots of teachers around but there's only so many students they can teach in their lifetime. Every teacher counts and I am sure your teaching will go some way to keep the art alive.

Another concern of yours is whether you or not you can commit to a schedule. From what I know, teachers had suspended classes for a week or two due to urgent personal matters, so instead of the training ending in say, mid-May, it ended in end-May or the first week of June. Of course, it would be terrible if you stop lessons completely before finishing the course, and that is if you discover that you don't like teaching at all. In that case, why not bear with it and still finish the course, and only stop taking in new students? However, I believe that once you start teaching, you will probably never stop.

Teck said...

Thank you for the kind words. I do wish to teach, and it is now more a matter of finding a suitable place. Hopefully I will be able to find a place where I can teach, once I settle another aspect of life over the next two months.