With the academic year over, I’m now focusing on planning the Tai Chi courses that I’ll be running from late September 2008. I feel that the Beginners’ Tai Chi class went very well, and it only needs a few tweaks here and there. This will be the first year I’ve run the Intermediate Tai Chi class, and there’s a lot of hard work to be done to prepare the syllabus for this class.

The students enrolling for Intermediate Tai Chi have all successfully completed the Beginners’ class. They can all do the warm-ups, and they can all play the form from start to end under supervision. They haven’t begun to incorporate the Ten Principles yet, and they haven’t done any push hands yet. These are things that I’ve deliberately not included in the Beginners’ Tai Chi, because I believe that it’s simply too much all at once.

My current thinking (which will doubtless change as I refine my plans over the next two months) is centred around my desire to enable my students to take their Tai Chi and enjoy it for the rest of their lives without having to come back for regular classes. I would love for them to come back (we all get on very well), but I don’t want them to have to.

Proposed learning outcomes for the Intermediate Tai Chi class:

  • Students should be able to perform the warm-ups with minimal instruction.
  • Students should be able to perform the form with minimal instruction.
  • Students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the Ten Principles.
  • Students should be able to perform the static push-hands drills.

What do you think?

I’m wondering how to incorporate both learning the principles and getting enough time at the push hands drills in just 60 hours of contact time. When you take away time for warm-ups, playing the form at least twice each class, and breaks, at the very best that leaves about 40 minutes each week to introduce students to new material (principles and push hands). Will that be enough to cover both topics sufficiently?

Today, I don’t know.

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