Sorry about the delay on this week’s blog post. I was planning to post a presentation I recently gave on the origins of Tai Chi, but unfortunately I can’t find a way to record the audio for the presentation and still be able to see my speaker’s notes at the same time. I’m sat in my hotel room feeling quite glum about this defeat. One for the weekend, when I’m back home and can hook my MacBook Pro up to a second monitor!

This week’s class was a first for me. It was Week 14 (out of 30). The students I’m teaching are now about half way through their first year of learning Tai Chi; they’ve probably got a good seven or eight minutes of the form that they can now play in one go. And this week we took on a new student, Julie.

Whenever the topic has come up before, I’ve always been reluctant to take on a new student part-way through the year. To help students the most during their first year, they need (and deserve!) the majority of the instructor’s time and attention. That’s fine if you also have an advanced group at the other end of the hall, because they can be left to learn through self-reflection (that’s one of the lessons they need to learn, come to think of it 🙂 ), but I’ve never been confident that I could run two separate beginners’ groups at the same time.

My wife and I were talking about this over lunchtime, and she wisely pointed out that there was nothing for it. Just run one beginners’ group, and anyone who joins late will have to start where everyone else is, learn the same moves going forward as everyone else does, and they’ll just have to come back the following year to do the beginners’ classes that they’ve missed so far. Fortunately, when Julie turned up that evening, she was of the same mind, and quickly fitted in with the group.

So it’s good news this week. Normally, over the 30 weeks, numbers go from around 25 to just a handful by the end of the course. This year – my first teaching the class on my own – at Week 14 we have twelve regulars (up from eleven last week), and if anyone else in the Cardiff, Barry or South Wales area wants to join the class, you’re more than welcome.

And I’ll do my best to get that presentation posted at the weekend, too.

(I’m very interested to learn how other groups cope with this situation. Let me know what your group does in the comments below.)