Frequently Asked Questions
- I'd like to learn tai chi. When do new classes begin, and how long are the terms?
At our Academy, we teach tai chi in a one-on-one fashion, and so you can begin any time.
There is no starting date; students are at all different stages of learning in any given class. During class time,
you will be given time to review what you have learned before, and introduced to new moves. We do not have terms,
or long-term contracts; students pay by the month or by a drop-in fee (see below). The first class is free.
- Is there any special clothing I should wear to class?
Wear something loose and comfortable such as sweats. We ask that people wear pants at least below the knee rather than shorts. Either long sleeves or short sleeves are fine, but no tank tops please. Occasionally we have "T-shirt orders." If you want, you can buy and wear a school shirt.
- What about shoes?
Wear whatever you want on your feet at first. Low or no heels are best. Some students wear sneakers, running shoes or moccasins. Lots of us just wear socks. There are all kinds of martial arts and tai chi training shoes available. It's fun to go barefoot, but do so at your own risk. We try to keep the floor clean, but we make no guarantees.
- Should I pay my dues in cash or by check?
Either one. If you pay by check, please make it payable to Genie Parker.
- When is my payment due?
Since we must pay the rent for the school on the 1st of every month, it's a big help if we can pay several days, and maybe even a week, before the 1st. If you do, Sifu will say "Bless your heart."
- I want to come once a week, so the monthly rate is $45, but since I just started and there are only 2 classes left this month, do I need to pay the full monthly rate?
Of course not. Just pro-rate it. So for those two classes the rate would be $22.50.
- I am going on a cruise in the Mediterranean and will be gone for 3 weeks. Am I expected to pay dues for the weeks I miss class?
Doing so is very much appreciated. We are a grass-roots organization, without funding or an endowment. Support is 100% from student dues, which we try to keep reasonable without asking for long-term contracts. We have to pay the same rent each month, no matter who attends class.
- May I mail in my check?
Yes. If you can't give it to Sifu in class (or to a senior student if Sifu isn't present) you can always mail it to:
Wu Style tai chi, 4117 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103
- I have a hectic family and work schedule. If I pay the monthly rate of $45 for one class a week, may I come sometimes on Thursday and sometimes on Sunday, and make my own schedule of classes, putting in the 4 classes per month however I can?
Sure. No problem.
- I have a lot going on in my life and right now can't make a commitment to come 4 times a month, so it doesn't make sense for me to pay the monthly rate. However, I still enjoy coming by the Academy to practice when I have the time. Can I come sporadically?
Yes. You can pay a drop-in fee. It is currently $15 per class.
- I'm new to class. What should I be reading about Wu Style tai chi chuan?
The main writings about Wu Style tai chi are gathered in The Gold Book by Wu Kung Cho in 1980, published in English (2006)
and available through the Federation website. The treatises will be more understandable
after you have done some training. The widely published "tai chi classics" apply more generally to all the traditional styles of tai chi.
- I'd like to have some assistance during the week when I practice and try to remember all I've learned in class.
Through the Federation, a series of DVDs have been produced that Sifu has for purchase. They cover the 108 Form, the 54 Form, the Sabre and Sword Forms, among others. In addition, the movements of the 108 Form have been captured and captioned in a manual which Sifu also has for sale. These can serve as reminders of the moves you have learned.
- I hear students call our teacher "Sifu." What does that mean?
A pair of Cantonese terms, homophones, used in English to mean "master" or "teacher" in the context of martial arts.
- Although Sifu is the main teacher, a lot of other students are showing me the form. Is it possible that I could have only Sifu teach me? I think I would make better progress.
Probably not, although you can arrange for private lessons with Sifu. While Sifu is always here to teach beginners, the students who help are all high-level practitioners who know the form well. They are learning to teach. It is part of their training and Sifu is helping them learn. If there is one particular student teacher you would like to work with consistently, just talk to Sifu about it. Similarly, if you'd rather not work with an individual, tell Sifu.
- I am 73 and know I learn more slowly than some of the other students I see in class. I feel a little like a burden and kind of inferior. I don't know if I will ever make it through the 108 form.
Thank you for being here. You are a wonderful addition to our school. We welcome young, old, slim, hefty, rich, poor, all kinds. We all learn in different ways and at different rates. Just keep coming to class. Be persistent. You will finish the 108 form in time. Sifu always says, "Learning more quickly doesn't mean you're a better person."
- When Sifu or a senior student corrects me, I feel defensive and as if I'm not
doing very well.
When you receive a correction, it's actually a good thing. It means that whoever is teaching you thinks you are ready to do things more accurately. Eventually, hopefully, you'll be saying "thank you" and really meaning it!
- Sometimes another student corrects me, and I'm not sure s/he's right. What
should I do?
Students should not be teaching each other, with the exception of advanced students whom Sifu has designated to help with beginners' classes. If you are uncomfortable about anything going on in class, do talk to Sifu.
- If I miss a class, I feel like I've missed announcements as well as training.
Our important information, such as upcoming workshops or holiday schedules, is always put up on our website. This is also a place to read interesting thoughts and communications from Sifu, testimonials by students and so on.