TAIJI DANCE AND TAIJIQUAN
Sigung, many of my Taijiquan students leave after a few months. They are the ones used to Taiji dance, but not Taijiquan. Those who are serious about Taijiquan are very grateful for our teaching. What do you advice me to do?
— Sifu Andrea Zilo, Switzerland
Let those students leave, and wish them well. Taijiquan is not for them. They are only interested in Taiji dance.
The difference between Taijiquan and Taiji dance is not just in the benefits, but also in the training. Of course Taijiquan brings more wonderful benefits, like good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness, spiritual joys and combat efficiency, whereas Taiji dance brings only socialization and loosening joints and muscles. Students have to work hard for these Taijiquan benefits. If they do not want to work hard, they have to leave -- on their own or ordered by you.
Our instructors are generally too soft on their students -- though I myself have become much softened over the years due to the influence of Western culture! Sometimes we need to he harsh to be kind. For example, we may have to insist that our students stay at their stance for 15 minutes, and whack them, literally or figuratively, if they don't, instead of massaging their muscles when they complain of muscular pain after 5 minutes.
Some people may tell you it is their life mission to learn Taijiquan and teach it to the world. They want to be masters over night, but they are not prepared to pay their fees or to practice hard. Sometimes they even expect you to feed and house them. These are not the types of students we want. After learning from you, they are likely to debase the art into a dance.
A good way to distinguish half-hearted students who seek Taiji dance from serious students who seek Taijiquan is to charge high fees. If you charge 50 euros when other Taiji dance instructors charge only 30 or teach for free, your fees are expensive, and half-hearted students expect you to teach Taiji dance when you actually teach Taijiquan.
If you charge 200 euros, serious students will know that what you teach is different from what 30-euro teachers teach. The question of being expensive becomes irrelevant. In fact, considering the benefits the students will get, the fees are cheap. Other people may think you are money-minded; that is their problem. We know that it is not true as you earn much more in your regular profession than teaching Taijiquan due to your love for it.
The above is taken from Question 1 of April 2012 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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