To progress in the study of Tai Chi Chuan we need to learn methods that will yield positive results. However, learning the correct method does not mean that you won’t make mistakes in your learning.
On the contrary, our own learning shortcomings mean that however we like to avoid mistakes we will always make our share of mistakes. So rather than try to run away from mistakes we should recognize this learning problem and embrace the mistakes as long as we learn from them.
The problem starts when we refuse to admit that we are making mistakes and see what we do as correct even when its wrong. This is why its important to adopt a Zen mind when learning Tai Chi in that a mistake is a mistake, learn from it and move on.
As much as we don’t like it the stark reality is that mistakes are part and parcel of any learning. In fact, the student who makes his share of mistakes and learn from them will come out the better in the long run even though in the short run it may seem that he is wasting his time. The reason why I can spot students’ mistakes so easily is because I have made more than my fair share.
Another area that we should not be afraid of is questioning our learning. One way of questioning is by exploring what we do. To a beginner I would normally show one way to do a movement, to an intermediate level student another way and to an advanced student yet another way.
This sounds terribly confusing but then Tai Chi is an art, not a science cast in stone. If you don’t explore and ask questions sometimes you will miss out on valuable insights that will open the way for you to master the art.