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Thoughts on Teaching and Learning Martial Arts

Chen Tai Chi Broadsword class

I like the “teach what they can take” approach but also see a need to give a view of what is possible.

A problem exists that where a really good teacher is available every day then the best way is one to one coupled with group work, but with UK students who have to travel long distances and do not practice so much as they might, then it becomes important that they remain 1) motivated and 2) have a way of guiding their practice in a way consistent with their teacher. I guess that ideally the student would grasp the “internal feeling” and learn quickly how to use this as a guide; many of us use our intellect to develop a model which we can then use as a guide when the teacher is not there.

I am aware that physical practice links to the emotional/spiritual and the intellectual but not everyone is open to that – this is one of those “eyes glazing over moments”

The link between health and martial arts is very important, but difficult to understand for people who are prejudiced (even in a nice way) against martial arts. It is difficult to show that the training is the same for both and that the martial background and a “does it work/absorb what is useful” approach are essential to getting the health part right – just as the health aspect is essential to developing the martial effectiveness.

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