If you’ve ever wondered whether Tai Chi is doable for the average person, my enthusiastic answer would be “yes!” However, had you asked me this in 2004, when I first tried Tai Chi, it would have been the opposite. I was recovering from a severe illness that had left me immobilized for some time and needed to gradually rebuild strength in a gentle way. I had heard of Tai Chi and it seemed like a great solution. Unfortunately, the instructors on the Tai Chi DVDs that I tried at that time (none of whom were Scott Cole) didn’t make it accessible to me. I didn’t blame the instructors but figured Tai Chi was just too hard to learn by DVD, at least for me. At that time I did not have the stamina for an in person class so I used another training method and wrote off Tai Chi entirely.
Tai Chi for Beginners
Then a few years ago my library had a display of fitness DVDs and on it was Scott Cole’s Discover Tai Chi for Weight Loss. I decided to give Tai Chi another try. To my amazement I was able to easily follow Scott Cole’s instructions and really enjoyed it. His encouraging manner and habit of showing each part of each move slowly before bringing it to normal or martial speed made it easy and fun to learn. I ended up buying the DVD for my home fitness library and did it regularly. I added another video, Discover Tai Chi for Beginners so I’d have some variety when I did Tai Chi.
Tai Chi Instructor Certification Preparation
This summer when I received a mailing regarding the October American Aerobic Association International/International Sports Medicine Association (AAAI/ISMA)’s One World Fitness Certification & Education Conference in nearby Baltimore the “Tai Chi Fitness Instructor Certification: 8 hours with Scott Cole” jumped out at me. I wondered if he could possibly be as encouraging and patient teaching Tai Chi in person as he was in his videos. I also wondered if doing Tai Chi occasionally for a few years would be a sufficient preparation but I knew from past AAAI/ISMA certifications that they have books to study before each exam along with recommended readings and figured that I would use the next few months to do a lot more Tai Chi and read as much as possible on it before attending. I decided that even if I wasn’t good enough to earn the certification, it would be well worth the money to get to spend the day with Scott Cole.
Excited about spending the day with the man I felt was my Tai Chi Master (even though he doesn’t claim to be a Tai Chi Master and has specifically stated that he is not one), I signed up, bought my books and prepared for the day of Tai Chi training and instructor certification with Scott Cole. The additional recommended resources included seven books, more than three videos and a meditational audiocassette.
Tai Chi Instructor Certification – The Day with Scott Cole
Finally the day arrived! I was so excited to arrive early and have some time to chat with Scott prior to class. He was just as personable and encouraging in person as in his videos. He is truly an inspirational presence in our world.
Unlike most classes where there will be seating for the lecture portions of the day and a small workout area for the practice parts, he had the classroom set up without any chairs (although he did subtlety bring one in to accommodate a student with a disability). It was a beautiful day and he had the curtains wide open to a beautiful view of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This provided a nice setting for our Tai Chi training.
Scott Cole clearly put just as much thought into the Tai Chi Instructor Certification Training as he did his user friendly fitness DVDs. Everything we needed to know for the Tai Chi instructor certification test was presented in a way that made it easy to remember and learn, but done in such a way that the focus was not on preparing for the test but on gaining a deeper understanding of Tai Chi.
Lectures were interspersed with Tai Chi instruction throughout the day so students (even me with the tail end of a cold and some other health challenges) never felt stiff from sitting too long or tired from too much exercise. There was a great balance of learning ideas and movements. During the Tai Chi exercise sessions Scott Gave individualized encouraging remarks and constructive feedback. Everything was offered in a supportive and positive manner. He did an excellent job of balancing time at the front of the class demonstrating moves with time spent interacting with the students one on one.
Speaking of students, it was really interesting to me to note the great diversity we had in the class. Even though there were only 22 people registered we had people ranging in experience from relatively novice Tai Chi folks (like myself) to an advanced martial artist who had spent several years studying in China. We had a great range of ages, cultural backgrounds and diversity in general. As far as I could tell, every one of the students enjoyed the day of Tai Chi training with Scott Cole. A couple of student quotes (used with permission) included: “I am such a fan of [Scott Cole] – his sense of humor and gentle spirit and how he incorporates all of that into his teaching” and “I left that day feeling high and truly inspired.”
The word “inspirational” sums up the experience for me. The entire day was a wonderful, positive learning experience. I felt like I gained a much deeper understanding of Tai Chi philosophy and movement while making new friends and meeting my mentor (Scott Cole) in person. While we definitely learned practical things for Tai Chi instructors (cueing, how to translate Tai Chi into a fitness program that is accessible to students of all ages, etc.), it was that fantastic inspirational feeling of both exhilaration and peace that will stay with me whenever I recall the day of Tai Chi training with Scott Cole.
-American Aerobic Association International/International Sports Medicine Association T’ai Chi Manual
-American Aerobic Association International/International Sports Medicine Association T’ai Chi Fitness Instructor Certification Course