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Do you want to learn Tai Chi online? You might not know that our website was the first to have a completely internet-based, teach-yourself program. Yes, we created our first "learn Tai Chi online" courses in 2002, before YouTube even existed. (It was also before Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, iTunes, and Gmail existed as well.)
We now have over 4,500 students learning tai chi online in just about every country that the internet reaches.
So as you might guess, we know a lot about what it takes for you to learn tai chi online successfully.
But let's start with this radical idea ...
Is learning tai chi online right for everyone?
No, absolutely not.
You have to have the right "mentality" for learning Tai Chi online.
For one thing, the best online students are inner-motivated. By that, I mean that the motivation to learn and practice comes from inside them.
Many students are NOT inner-motivated. They require external motivation. For example, many can learn only in a class format. Having to keep up with a class keeps their home practice on track. Without the weekly class, their home practice eventually falls apart. They require the external discipline of the class. That's the only way they keep their interest in Tai Chi and Qigong. And it's the only thing that keeps them practicing.
In addition to inner motivation, the best online students that are independent-minded. That is, they love to explore and discover things for themselves.
Of course, many students are just the opposite. They require a "guru" or "master" on whom they are dependent to set training goals and practice schedules. Left on their own, without a guru to follow, their self-practice would quickly fall by the wayside. Or without some sort of persistent direction, they would flit from program to program, or from teacher to teacher, but never really work towards a strong, independent Tai Chi practice.
So to know if you are the right student to learn online, the most important question you can ask yourself is:
"Am I - or can I be - an independent-minded, self-motivated Chi student?"
Can you practice on your own without the discipline of having to keep up with a class? Or can you determine your own path to Tai Chi Development without the constant attention of a master to keep you on track?
Now, don't be surprised if your answers to these questions are "no," especially if you are a beginner.
But just be honest with yourself. If you need external motivators right now, that's OK. Most people do. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just realize that, if that is you, you will have limited success trying to learn online, and would probably be better off with an in-person class.
Also realize that many of us actually STARTED OUT that way before making the transition to being independent and self-motivated. So over time, you may grow into an independent, inner-motivated student, even if you aren't starting out that way.
One of my main principles for learning Tai Chi is this: Your practices should be all about making Tai Chi fit you, rather than forcing you to fit Tai Chi.
Of course, that's true in the way I teach the movements. I'm always showing you ways to make the movements fit you, rather than having you copy-cat what I do.
But even when it comes to motivation and "learning styles," you need to make the teaching fit you, rather than you fit the teaching. Just be honest with yourself. If you aren't independent-minded or inner-motivated, that's who you are. Don't pick a Tai Chi program, such as learning Tai Chi online, that requires it. Stick with programs like in-person Tai Chi classes, that better fit who you are.
Bottom line: It's really about FINDING OUT WHO YOU ARE, and making your Tai Chi reflect that.
The difficulty of course is in knowing who you really are. Much of our "self-image" is tied up with things other people (parents, teachers, friends, co-workers, etc.) have dumped on us throughout our lives. So it's sometimes hard to find the REAL YOU underneath all the programmed feelings and conditioned thoughts and socially approved responses you've acquired from childhood and through your adult years.
So let me share with you something the late Harry Browne wrote. Harry was not a Tai Chi teacher, not by a long shot. But I think he put this best:
You are what you are. Your greatest pleasures will be those you experience when you can be yourself completely. Only then will you be free to enjoy every good thing the experience has to offer you ...
Being yourself is actually a skill. It takes time to become thoroughly acquainted with yourself, to throw off a lifetime of pressures, to relax and accept what you see in yourself (no matter how it may conflict with social standards), and to learn to act in ways consistent with your nature.
- Harry Browne
That's what we strive for here in our programs - to help you find who you really are under all this. And to help you learn Tai Chi in ways consistent in your nature. And most of all, to help you with the skill of being yourself during Tai Chi.
After all ... If you can't be yourself during Tai Chi, well then, where CAN you be yourself?
You have my best wishes for health, well-being, and Chi Development,