Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bagua, Xingyi, Taiji - What to look for in a teacher?

Bagua, Xingyi, Taiji - What to look for in a teacher?

Finding a teacher who will teach you Chinese Internal Martial Arts (IMA) is easy. You can find any number of teachers at the rec center, online, etc., some of which will have good credentials and lineages, some of which are high profile but can’t (or don’t want to) deliver the goods. How are you going to know without an investment of time, energy and money on your part?

The short answer is, you can’t.

But you can ask “who is this teacher as a person?” as you talk with them, watch their behavior, listen to them. You can see the outcome of training this art in your potential teacher.

  • ·         Are they out of shape?
  • ·         Are they happy?
  • ·         Are they arrogant?
  • ·         Are they a bad ass?
  • ·         Are they crazy?
  •       Are they the only ones who have "the real thing"?

I once knew a TKD teacher who had his hips replaced when he was in his early 40’s. That is something I would think about before learning his style of martial arts.

Look at their students, are they engaged? Happy? Did they buy into the “life-style”? Did they drink all of the Kool-Aid or just enough of it?

And this begs the question “who do you want to be?” Who do you want to be at the end of this martial journey?

In my opinion learning IMA and martial arts in general needs to be a balancing act between health and happiness. Inevitably, if you engage in sparring, rolling, hard training or other types of “use” training you will get a significant injury. Know you are going to get injured doing most martial arts even at a recreational level but most of those injuries are not going to impair you in 10, 20 or 50 years.

Finding a teacher is easy, finding a good teacher is hard. You have to do some research and ask some questions, but in the end you have to get in there and find out for yourself. But the real test is, does your art make you a better person in your everyday life? Does it make you happier? Healthier? More confident? Or does it make you an asshole? A bully? Or some mix of the above? Look to your teacher to see where your art will take you.

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