Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

June 20, 2013

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi


From The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, by Peter M. Wayne, PhD, with Mark L. Fuerst

Chapter 14

LifeLong Learning with Tai Chi

I left out a lot in the series of Posts reviewing this book. I was going to leave out the rest, since not everyone is that interested. But this chapter talks about how to learn, and how to find a teacher and a Style, so here I will complete my review with these excerpts.

“The two factors needed to learn Tai Chi, according to Professor Cheng Man Ching, are perseverance and right teaching. To progress in your Tai Chi training, you need to practice. Even with the right teachers, you are responsible for what you get out of Tai Chi.”

Develop a Tai Chi Practice

“Some basic rules apply in developing a Tai Chi practice. You need to find your own optimal frequency and duration to practice, the best times of day, and the most convenient place so do Tai Chi, whether in class, at home, or in a local park.”

Some practice is better than no practice. Like any learning process, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. The regimen you choose depends on what your goals are.”

Pace yourself. Like most exercises, it’s better to do a little Tai Chi frequently than to do a lot all at once and nothing in between.”

Be patient with your progress. Change happens slowly with Tai Chi.

Don’t compare yourself to others. People learn in different ways and at different rates.”

“Don’t be too overly self-critical.”

Make Tai Chi part of your regular routine. A structured routine will help you prioritize your practice. It’s like putting “Go to the gym” on your calendar. Pick a regular place and time to practice Tai Chi so that it becomes a kind of ritual.”

Keep a notebook or sketchbook. “… The process of filtering an intengible experience through your own words or pictures helps to incorporate it into your body.”

“Find ways to integrate Tai Chi throughout the day.”

“Join a Tai Chi program.”

How to Find a Tai Chi Program

“Just as it is when you shop for a doctor, or a car, it’s worth doing some research to find a Tai Chi teacher.”

“The first place to look for a Tai Chi teacher or program is on the Internet.”

“Here’s what to look for when you search for a Tai Chi teacher or Tai Chi program.”

An experienced teacher. All things being equal, someone with more experience is likely to teach you more effectively.”

“Good teachers tend to have long-term students.”

“A teacher with good teaching skills and good people skills.”

“A comfortable environment in a practical location.”

“Look for the right size class.”

Trust your instincts. If you find a teacher, but it doesn’t feel right, respect your instincts.”

“Consider the costs.”

“Understand your goals.”

“Pick a style.”

“Your progress in Tai Chi will depend on your ongoing commitment and perseverance.”

About the Photo

This is in front of Legion Hall at Legion Park in Everett, WA. It sets on the bluff above Port Gardner Bay and looks over the bay to the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Mountains. At 8 a.m. it is almost always totally empty and for the past 6 years or so I have practiced Tai Chi most mornings there. If you can find a place that is covered, that would be better, but I have practiced in airport terminals, parking lots, banquet rooms, and balconies. You just need a flat spot that’s about 15 feet from left to right and about 12 feet from front to back – and it doesn’t even have to be that flat.


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