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Four Stages of Learning Tai Chi
Adapted from Principles of Learning
1) “Unconscious Incompetence”: You don’t know enough about tai chi to realize what you don’t know (a beginning student).
2) “Conscious Incompetence”: You now know enough to realize that you don’t know much about tai chi and have a lot of work ahead (advanced beginner).
3) “Conscious Competence”: You have been working to learn and are gaining competence in tai chi theory and practice, but have to concentrate on being competent at the tasks you undertake and are working very hard to develop your skills and knowledge, etc. This is the time-intensive part and the most demanding phase: you will remain here for years (a mid-level student).
4) “Unconscious Competence”: Your knowledge and skills are honed and it all comes naturally to you. You are in the zone and all flows. You can now make sophisticated moves because you have your fundamentals under control and are confident in your knowledge. Think of a tight rope walker – the clown on the tight rope is the most skilled because every supposed mistake has been rehearsed 1,000 times and it is automatic. The movements looks easy but there are years of hard work to make it look easy. You are now in Unconscious Competence: You are a natural (advanced practitioner)!
There are no short cuts, but the payoff is well worth the effort!