Thursday, February 25, 2010

Teach Because You Want To

I went to Tai Chi class despite my throbbing shoulder. I knew I would not be able to participate in the entire class or push hand practice. The format of the class is form, exercises, instruction/explanation and push hands. I went because I could still benefit from hearing the instruction and observing the push hand practice.

I listened to my body and only practiced the form. My shoulder creaks and cracks at a specific range of motion...reaching out hand above shoulder or big clearing motion with the bo. I ran through kama last night and left the protective covers over the blades...just in case. I am giving my shoulder another week before I make an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor. I still don't know how I injured my shoulder.

During Tai Chi class, the senior student made a lighthearted comment about fees to instructor. The class is held at a health club and is offered to all members. Students have come and gone but three remain. Some classes (yoga) at the gym require an extra fee to attend. Tai Chi is a weekly class with no additional fees. I walked out to the parking lot with the senior student and asked if he would expand on his comment. He mentioned that our Tai Chi instructor does not get paid to teach the class nor is he even a member of the club. The senior student summarized that our Tai Chi instructor:

Teaches because he wants to.
Teaches to share what he learned.
Teaches to continue the tradition.

I understand.

This is the same lesson I learned from my Okinawa Kenpo instructor. My husband and I have the same philosophy in our dojo. It is the same reason that I teach.

I am lucky and grateful for all my instructors and training partners.


Sue C said...

A teacher who wants to 'give' is definitely a superior teacher.

Felicia said...

Hi, Michele,

I read a quote a few weeks ago that you might appreciate: "You give your [instructor] your spare time. Your [instructor] gives you his/her life." Definitely sounds like you are blessed with an instructor who truly has a love for what he teaches and a willingness to share it.

Michele said...

Hi Sue: So true...

Felicia: Thank you for sharing the quote.

Jim Roach Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo said...

Here's another perspective: What does the instructor have to sacrifice in order to get and keep just 3 long term students? In a consumer oriented culture what value do students place on something that costs nothing? If the Tai Chi instructor down the street is charging $15 per lesson and has 10 students, your teacher charges $0, what can anyone compare the value of $0 with? In other words if something is worth nothing (consumer oriented) what is there to compare it with...something else that is worth nothing?

Thoughts I have had over 30 years, I too have taught classes for $0 and ended up with 3 students. I now charge $15 per class and have many more.

Jim R. classical tai chi blog

Michele said...

Hi Jim...thanks for stopping by.

Difficult subject. My husband and I had many discussions regarding the consumer culture. We have been told we charge too little for classes and the consumer perception is that we are "less" than the strip mall dojo. My husband does not want to charge more because he wants karate/self-defense to be available to people who want to learn.

We are still working on finding the right balance.

Thanks again for your comment.

Zen said...

I see you are still at the Tai Chi, excellent.

A couple of things.

Your shoulder maybe giving you problems because you carry to much tension in it when doing your Bo or push hands.

Not all Americans understand the karmic value of giving with out charge. It is figured, if it is free it is not worth much as someone else said. However nothing is free.

Hang in there, train well.

Michele said...

Zen: Thank you for visiting my blog. I appreciate your comments and insights.

I do hold tension in my shoulder. I catch myself at work and while I am training. I need to work on it. :)

Thanks again,