Monday, April 26, 2010

How to Better Remember your Tai Chi Moves

I have had a few beginner students mention that they can’t always completely remember all the Tai Chi moves they have learned because each movement is often very detailed. I have 9 tips to share with you to help you better memorize each and every movement.

1. Repeat: I have heard there is a formula that calculates that if you don’t repeat what you have learned after 2 days, then you only remember 30 percent, and if you let a week go by, your retention drops to 10 percent and so on. What this tells you is that you need to repeat often and as soon after your class as possible. The few students who master the movements well are those who go home and practice what they learn right after each class.

2. Take Notes: I encourage my students take notes during class since when it comes to memory, a pen often works better then your brain. Because we offer free notes to our students, I also encourage students read these notes before each class and review them again after. In Chinese, we have a saying: Only when you have mastered what you know will you invent something new.

3. Draw Stick Figures: Don’t laugh at this idea. I did this all the time when I was learning Tai Chi and other martial arts. Stick figures are great reference charts and easy reminders of the movements, both their names and how they look. Stick figures can give us quick visual cues on how to do all the most important moves. And when you supply the correct name for each movement, this is a great way to link the pieces together. So let others laugh, just draw your stick figures. When you can out-perform your neighbor in the next class, then you will have the last laugh.

4. Organize: Many students get confused about which move has which name. Matching the names with the movements will really simplify things. Stick figures can be a very helpful way to give yourself easy reminders.

5. Ask Questions: Asking questions is a great way to review your movements. Only after you review well will you discover the right questions to ask. Asking questions will also benefit your classmates.

6. Associate each Movement with its Application: Ask your teacher to demonstrate a specific example or application of each movement as you learn it. This will really cement that movement in your brain.

7. Have Confidence that you can Learn: You can’t learn well if you don’t have confidence on yourself. If you think you are not Tai Chi material and you feel like quitting then you will never memorize the movements.

8. Partner up with a Classmate: Ask a classmate to partner with you after class or in your personal time, so you can help each other. Two brains are better than one.

9. Learn one Movement at a Time: Try to learn only few movements at a time. If you have too many things to remember, then you won’t remember them all well. It’s easier to learn just a few things at a time. Here’s what I often tell my beginner students: “We only have 85 movements in Yang Style Tai Chi. If you can master one at a time, one day at a time, you will have mastered 85 movements in 85 days.”

Copyrighted by Huan's Tai Chi 2010

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