T’ai Chi Chuan and Qigong – Seniority

Typically in western society we expect that as we gain experience and skill in a discipline we will also gain greater rights and privileges. This is a naive understanding of the way life works. For a society to continue and advance those with greater experience and skill must also take on greater responsibility. In the martial arts tradition, senior students are expected to take on greater and greater responsibilities to their art, school, instructor and junior students. The primary benefit they accrue is the respect and appreciation of the martial art community.

At a certain level, senior students are required to teach. This is a great aid in their learning, but also a necessity if the art is going to be able to survive through the generations. Students who do not make an effort to participate in this process naturally receive less attention from their instructor. As a student and as an instructor I have seen this dynamic time and again. In martial arts it is not the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, but the generous and enthusiastic one. I teach from a genuine love of my subject so the greatest reward is participating in the learning of an enthusiastic, dedicated and appreciative student.