By Shifu Ralph Dehner
Be on time. One of my teachers said “If you arrive at class at the appointed time you are late”. You should be in class ready to go at least five minutes before the start of class. If you have an ongoing conflict; let your teacher know about it so he can accommodate you.
If you arrive late, salute the class when you enter and do the same if you need to step out early.
What to wear to class; in Tai Chi there are traditions associated with proper dress for a Tai Chi class, formal demonstrations and competition.
For class – wear loose, comfortable pants and shirt. Qi flows close to the surface of the skin; and tight clothing, even if it is spandex, inhibits qi flow. Tradition says that the shirt should have sleeves (short sleeves are okay) and should not be tucked in so that the qi flows freely as you move.
Shoes are required in a Tai Chi class. They should be flat and have backs that keep the heel in place. Sandals are okay if they have heel straps. For those who like to be bare footed there are shoes called “five fingers” that are a good option.
Cell phones should be turned off in class. If it is important to have your phone on in class, put it on vibrate and remove yourself from the classroom to answer.
Formal demonstrations; clos (your teacher will tell you which, either a school shirt and black pants or a formal Tai Chi uniform (your teacher will tell you which) should be worn during demos.
Tai Chi uniforms should be worn for competitions. Your teacher can advise you on where to obtain one.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE – your teacher can only lead you in the right direction. The level of your Tai Chi skill will be directly correlated to the effort you put into your daily practice. It is not how many moves you know but how well you know them that define the level of your skill. The secrets of tai Chi are unlocked through repetition. Strive for quality, not quantity.