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Six Ways to Study Taiji on a Shoestring

Volume 5 Number 2-3
Spring 2004

By Timothy Adams

Money is tight everywhere these days, but that doesn't have to keep you from exploring the wonders of taijiquan. There are many ways that you can keep learning and practicing, even on a tight budget.

1. Keep to Your Routines?

Even if you can't make it to classes or seminars, stick to your regular practice routine. Use the time to deepen your solo practice and develop self-discipline. Read taiji books and magazines. Study taiji videos with an eye for technique and pacing.

2. Work-Study?

Are you already enrolled at a taiji school? Perhaps your teacher could use some extra help. Offer to do some extra chores beyond the norm in exchange for a reduction in tuition. The same might hold true for workshops that may offer a work-study arrangement. When offering to help out, try to remain sensitive to your teacher's needs. Don't offer to do something that you cannot deliver on. Remember that they're running a business and need professional, responsible assistance.

3. Ask About Tuition Discounts or Deferred Payment?

Ask if there's discounted tuition available for classes. Again, you might offer to do some work in exchange or appreciation. Remember that taiji schools have many costs to cover. Even if you think your teacher is teaching for the love of the art and doesn't emphasize tuition, don't make assumptions. It is still courteous to offer something. Remember, this is not an opportunity for freeloading. Don't come back to class and say, "Okay, now I'm going to the Bahamas with the money I saved on tuition."

4. Practice With Others?

Find a practice partner among your classmates or friends. Make a time to meet every week or two. Be clear about what you want to work on and help each other with, and stick to the plan.

5. Find a Taiji Workout Group?

See if there's a low or no-cost workout group in town. In some cities, a group might band together to rent studio time. A disadvantage may be that everyone is more advanced or practicing different styles, but you can still work together productively; just be respectful of each other's schools, styles, and levels.

6. Informal Workout?
If you live in an area where people practice outdoors in the parks, ask if you can follow along with a group. Don't expect any instruction. Instead, use the time to follow the flow and get the big picture.

Again, make sure if you avail yourself of one of these opportunities, to give back in some way, whether it's by helping out or by pitching in with what you can afford. Your taiji practice is a commitment not just to yourself, but also to your taiji community.

Timothy Adams practices Yang-style taiji in San Francisco, California, where he works in telecommunications.

Copyright © 2004 by Taijiquan Journal.
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or other media without permission.

Taijiquan Journal (T'ai Chi Ch'uan Journal)