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I want to learn Tai Chi but I can't afford a teacher, do you think I could learn it from a tape at home or am I wasting my time?
It depends who you ask and what your backgrouns is. Most school owners will tell you that you can't learn anything from a book or tape. I wonder if they have a vested interest in that statement. Having taught Jujutsu for about the last 20 years, I often find things on video and in books that I can incorporate into what I do. I think the more background you have, the better you will be able to assimilate it. If anybody give you an absolute such as, there is no way you can learn from it, or that's all you need to learn it, I would be very cautious of their advice. YMAA has some excellent video resources.
Is it as good as having a competent instructor to watch over you? Of course not. But to say you can't get anything out of the instructional videos is a little overboard also. My instructor taught Karate, Judo, and Yang style Tai Chi. I long ago moved away and he has since passed on. But a video tape he gave me when I left helps keep me sharp Yang stle short form.
Also ther are some "instructors" that you would be much better off just getting a tape. If you just want to practice the solo forms I think it would be fine. You'd really be much better off at least having some sort of Martial foundation. After all a "bow stance" is just a front stance in other systems. At least it will get you started until you can find an instructor.
I first learned Tai Chi from David Carradine's book, "Tai Chi Workout" in early 1998. I got some imput from a video tape I bought from Black Belt Presents, "Tai Chi Chuan by Marshall Ho".
I practised that short form almost every day for six years, when I enrolled in a class taught by a Chinese sifu (Mr. Ko). After learning that in six months, I modified it to my own needs and have continued practising it almost every day ever since. I enjoy getting out in the yard early in the morning, under the tree and sky, with just my dog around (she doesn't pay much attention to my eccentricity, just does her business and looks for squirrels), and running through the kata (I know that's a Japanese word, but I think it fits).
Sometimes I'll run through the kata in a park or on a beach, sometimes I've held a cane or palmed a closed pocketknife or pepper spray canister while doing it, imagining how to defend against sundry thugs, terrorists, etc.
Good luck in your quest to learn this graceful martial art.
Thanks snowbird, I think I'll buy a tape and give it a try.
It's better then sitting here on the couch and watching tv all day like I do now.
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