From the Yang Sheng newsletter of Tai Chi and Chi Gong practices, comes an article by Chen T’ai Chi teacher Yang Yang called “Overview of Best Practices in T’ai Chi.”
In this article I read many aphorisms that seem relevant to Tango practice.
If you study something—anything—in an efficient way, you can learn it in a fraction of the time. (-Chinese Proverb, literally “half the work, double the result.”)
Many other traditional gems of wisdom concerning physical training are, in my view, directly applicable to learning a dance form such as tango.
- 苦练十年,不如名师一点: Ku lian shi nian, bu ru ming shi yi dian. One word from a knowledgeable teacher will save ten years of hard practice.
- 诀窍奥秘, 须经明师口传心授:Jue qiao ao mi, xu jing ming shi kou chuan xin shou. Tricks of the trade and secrets of practice must be passed on by sincere instruction from a teacher who understands the art.
- However, it is also said that, ultimately, a teacher can only point the direction for student—it is up to the student to make the journey. (Shifu ling jin men, xiu xing zai ge ren, 师父领进门, 修行在个人, which literally means “the teacher will lead you to the door, but it is up to the student to improve.”)
- Much of the importance of the teacher is to outline efficient curriculum for the student. The single best question a student can ask is “what should I be practicing, and what percentage of my practice time should be spent on each exercise?”
How do you formulate your approach to learning tango?