Daily Prompt: I was taught a lesson

tai chi in Russell Square
“Rooted in watery soil, the lotus floats free and pure. Although humble, she surprisingly radiates natural truth.
Chen Man Ching

It had been a hot, night and I was tired of being restless so I rose early. The day was already promising to be summery and a splendid opportunity to take my camera out and capture some morning light.

In the park, I caught sight of her, moving soft and slow in aqua silk so I stayed out of sight to watch. She was performing what I practice and teach but at a level of litheness, I could only dream of attaining.

Once finished she picked up her cardigan and bag to go and I bounded over with barely restrained enthusiasm: “I too do Tai Chi” I said,  hearing how lame those words sounded after her performance. Yet she was delighted and asked me to join her every morning.

And so I did. With embarrassed efforts I followed her every move, reminding myself yet again, that to be a good teacher we must never forget how awkward and challenged the student can feel. I knew my practice had plateaued at the same level of proficiency for a while  whilst my own Tai Chi teaching to elderly students had grown stale.

Li Y’an was patient but particular, knowing how much and how often to correct my moves. But the date of her return to China loomed ever closer and I was keen to learn the next stage –  Yang Form 40 moves. And so for the last couple of weeks she took time out of her own practice to go over and over the form until finally I could complete it on my own.

I was a fast learner.  I had the sketchy outline. I could go on and do it on my own but Li Y’an had inspired me and sparked dedication and steadfastness to practice. That is what makes a good teacher.

Written for the Daily Prompt: We can be taught…What makes a teacher great?


12 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: I was taught a lesson

  1. Loved this post, Laura. How fortunate you were to work with this woman, and how generous of her to teach you.
    And I so agree with your comment about no medals belts etc. I’ve been doing Tai Chi- Yang style form for about 15 years now. And when you finally realise it isn’t about how good you look in the park, it becomes a rewarding practice, for me anyway. My teacher’s theme this season is ‘Enjoyment’, and is focused on finding the pleasure in the movements, and in the connections in one’s body, how a finger movement, let’s say, originates all the way to your shoulder blade. I love it, you can keep going deeper forever, and it grounds me and floats me at the same time.
    I think I have a Tai Chi category on artcalling where I’ve written a few posts about my own practice, if you’re interested.


    1. thank you Sarah – I enjoyed your comment! Distraction in the park is one of the hardest lessons as well as the more uneven ground and over-enthusiastic dogs passing by. You obviously have an excellent teacher – how fortunate


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