Slanted FlyingJournal of Tai Chi Chuan


The Student

People practicing thai chi in the park in the summertime

The student really is the teacher

Even as a senior student when I thought a beginner it was always a great experience for me that they learned something. Not just a physical movement (like a strike or a weight shift etc) but the concept. The concept of thinking. Thinking differently. Acting and behaving in accordance with the discipline. Many students I’ve taught have been novice all the way up to senior students from other paths. I’ve enjoyed learning and sharing all my experiences amongst my martial brothers and sisters. When I pass someone on the street that I taught 6yrs ago or a current student an immediate bond re-connects. Its a great feeling.

Its a wonderful feeling to get inside the mind of a student. To learn how to teach them. To discover their hang ups, insecurities, fears, and physical limitations. All these conditions subside like the tides and after all the challenges you are left with a move. A student with one step further down the path of training in the way.

Many teachers these days get caught up with ego, politics, and status, etc. Many times the
students get caught up in it as well. The pure and simple joy of learning and thus teaching is
easy to forget especially when you engage in the mundane tasks of money, schedules, paperwork,
etc. However, the zen I still return to after all these years is the joy I get when a student learns and feels a sense of benefit from my teaching. I think about my lessons all day, all week, and even after I teach. Did I say it right? Did everyone get it? Why were there so many deer in traffic tonight? Maybe I should shut up and not talk so much.

In a discussion with my best friend (and fellow teacher), we both laughed as we agreed that the
students will NEVER love this as much as we do. Sometimes this is why we talk so much or give
so much. However, it’s wonderful to see someone step up. The desire to be joined by another on
this path is both welcomed, and honored. As we know the success rate is quite low, so anyone to
even last a year is rare.

But the student who realizes that its not a destination but a path. The path is the goal. A
student who can understand this (myself included) is thus a great reward and reminder of the
ultimate continuation of cultivation of the inner self.





John Seipel

About John Seipel

John Seipel has over a decade plus of martial arts training developing from external styles into a more internal focus. John has developed into a fantastic teacher where he teaches the Chen style. He studies under Greg Pinney, who was well known Chen style teacher Ren Guang Yi's first student. John Seipel teaches in North West NJ.

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