Friday, 17 October 2014

Tai Chi or Qigong - Which do you prefer?

My experience is that most people have never heard of Qigong when they set foot in a Tai Chi class. I certainly hadn't but I instantly fell in love with the Qigong and I am convinced that is what kept me coming back to the class. I am not the most patient person (better since doing Tai Chi) and I found Qigong easier to pick up and practise at home although it took several months before I confidently could remember the routine. Nonetheless I would try it each night after the children were in bed and loved the feeling of relaxation and calm it gave me.
Tai Chi was definitely a bigger challenge and a much slower process but I loved the Tai Chi because of that and there was nothing else like it that I had ever done. Having asked the question I'm not sure which I prefer. I love both systems but I know that some students are not as keen on the Qigong as the Tai Chi. I have taught classes that are just Qigong and just Tai Chi. I think Qigong classes can survive quite easily without any Tai Chi but I'm not sure that Tai Chi works as well on its own. The Qigong is a great system to get in the right frame of mind for doing the Tai Chi although I guess that might depend on which Qigong we are doing. In any case all my Tai Chi classes include Qigong. The question isn't really about which is better as they both have proven benefits - its a personal question and one which I can't answer!!! I love them both.
So come on, any thoughts or comments?

Friday, 10 October 2014

Tai Chi qualifications - how important are they?

This was not the post I originally had in mind however as I am going to Wolverhampton tomorrow for an instructor module and assessment some other thought/question sprang to mind - namely, "How important are Tai Chi qualifications?" On a personal note I find the training and instruction for them extremely useful. Certainly from the organisation that I train with - The Deyin Taijiquan Institute. The training is very good and thorough. Both Masters Faye and Tary are experienced practitioners and excellent teachers. I also think that having these qualifications gives me some credibility. It is also good to belong to an organisation that reviews your training and supports you in your development.
Interestingly though in the time I have been teaching Tai Chi, no-one has asked me for my credentials except one student who found himself apologising once I started to rattle them off. I actually didn't mind him asking but I think he thought he had been a bit cheeky - not at all. I worked hard to achieve what I have so far so to be asked is a refreshing change. When working for other organisations I have never been asked to produce my certificates or prove who I was (except for a school who wanted to see my passport and CRB). They had seen my website and that seemed to satisfy them. So are qualifications important? - does it matter whether your instructor has been through a training programme or has just decided to impart their knowledge of Tai Chi to anyone willing to pay? Tai Chi is not a regulated activity so basically anyone can set up a class. When I hire a hall I'm rarely asked for my public liability insurance let alone asked to prove that I am actually a qualified teacher. I guess students can decide for themselves what makes for a good Tai Chi teacher and use their feet if need be - or can they? If you don't know what Tai Chi is how can you make that judgement? Or maybe it is enough for some just to be out in a class with other people. If the Tai Chi isn't quite right, it doesn't matter, does it? I never want to get in a slanging match about good or bad teachers of Tai Chi although I have seen examples of what I would call bad teaching/Tai Chi but the question does get asked among instructors. I have to think about myself - I can't change other people but I can ask the questions and put it out there for discussion. Personally I feel better as a teacher having the qualifications behind me. It gives me confidence to actually share what I know (or think I know!). It would be good to hear others points of view. So please don't be shy, let me know what you think by commenting to this post.